bureaucracybusters

COVID-19: SNATCHING DEFEAT FROM THE JAWS OF VICTORY–PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on February 10, 2021 at 12:08 am

Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory could well serve as the title for a future book on Coronavirus—and the incredibly self-destructive ways Americans have responded to it.

The virus first appeared in Wuhan, China, in December, 2019. Its first reported victim became ill on December 1.

By December 31, the outbreak was traced to a novel strain of Coronavirus.

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that affect birds and mammals. In humans, Coronaviruses can cause pneumonia and may cause bronchitis.

On January 19, 2020, the first Coronavirus case appeared in the United States.

SARS-CoV-2 without background.png

Coronavirus

On February 29, the first American died of Coronavirus.

From January to early March, 2020, President Donald J. Trump and his allies within the Republican party and Fox News Network repeatedly assured Americans they had nothing to fear.

Typical of these false reassurances was Trump’s statement on March 10: “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.” 

But the virus didn’t. 

With the Federal Government refusing to take action, states began doing so.

From March 1 to May 31, 42 states and territories issued mandatory stay-at-home orders. Those citizens who were forced to venture out were advised to wear face masks and keep a distance of six feet between themselves and others.

On April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that people wear non-medical face masks in public to reduce transmission of COVID-19.  

Yet President Trump saw the stay-at-home orders as a two-fold threat to himself—and openly encouraged defiance of those orders.

  1. He couldn’t return to his hate-filled rallies until these were lifted; and
  2. The stock market wouldn’t start soaring again so long as the country was “locked down.”

Without his Nuremberg-style rallies and a roaring stock market, Trump faced the danger of being a one-term President. 

On April 17, he issued a series of tweets to his supporters, encouraging them to defy the law:

“LIBERATE MINNESOTA!”

“LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” 

“LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”

Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia all had Democratic governors. They had urged their residents to stay indoors, wear masks when they ventured outside, and keep a six-feet distance between themselves and others. 

As a result, those governors—especially Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer—were being targeted for abuse and even death threats. And their states were facing disruptive protests by large numbers of Right-wingers standing close together, with few of them wearing masks. The protesters claimed their rights were being infringed upon.  

doonald troump (@doonaldtromp) | Twitter

Donald Trump

As a result of the shutdowns and the increased emphasis on social distancing and mask-wearing, COVID-19 rates dropped by mid-May. 

According to a May 17 story in U.S. News & World Report:

“According to The New York Times, in New York state the figure has dropped over the last month, and case counts have also plunged in hard-hit Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Some states, including Vermont, Hawaii and Alaska, are seeing hardly any new cases at all, the newspaper said.” 

Then came May Day—and after that, the start of summer. 

On July 2, Vox published a story headlined: “A likely culprit in Covid-19 surges: People hell-bent on ignoring social distancing orders.”   

“For months,” it opened, “it’s been clear that the world has separated into two camps: the rule followers, observant of social distancing and hopeful of quashing the pandemic; and the risk takers, who have been storming the nation’s beaches, bars, and burger joints in spite of the coronavirus—and public health efforts to curtail its spread.

“Some states, such as New York, have contained new cases, but others, including Texas and Arizona, brazenly reopened even as cases continued to rise, unleashing a torrent of pent-up partiers. Now, even as an illusion of normalcy has slowly returned, rates of infection are reaching new records, with cases surging in dozens of states….

“’They’re conducting themselves like it’s pre-Covid, and that’s not going to work anymore,’ Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department, told the Washington Post. Younger people, he said, arenot social distancing, not wearing masks or paying attention to hand-washing.’ In one stunning case shortly after Memorial Day, a group of 16 friends all tested positive for the virus after visiting a newly reopened bar in Florida.”

As if this wasn’t bad enough, Trump scheduled his first 2020 re-election rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

It was held on June 20 at the BOK Center. Scientists had learned that Coronavirus is more likely to be transmitted indoors than outdoors, when masses of people are packed together, and when people are loudly talking—or, worse, shouting.

Trump rallies supporters in Wis. as Democrats debate in Iowa

A Trump rally

Masks were available for those who wanted them, but Trump made it clear that his supporters shouldn’t wear masks, as a sign of support for him. Men and women were densely packed together, with none of them wearing masks.

The Trump campaign boasted that 100,000 people would turn up. To its embarrassment, fewer than 6,200 did. Even worse: At least eight event staff members, including two who were at the rally, later tested positive for COVID-19.

The Tulsa event was followed by another indoor rally in Phoenix on June 23. “Students for Trump” featured a packed crowd, with almost no one wearing masks. 

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