One person is dying every 30 seconds today.
Not from heart disease, which the CDC lists as the major cause of death in this country.
Not from cancer, the second leading cause of death, nor from accidents, the third leading cause.
One person is dying every 30 seconds today from COVID19.
As so many have said…it didn’t have to be this way.
A simple mask, social distancing and thorough hand washing – done by everyone in this country – could have tamped down this viral infection long ago.
Far fewer jobs would have been lost.
Far fewer small businesses would have permanently closed their doors.
Children would have returned to in-person learning in September
But because we have lost the ability to separate fact from fiction in our political discourse; because we have turned politics into a team sport instead of a serious vote for the kind of governance we want to have; because we no longer see the humanity of each other when we look into our grandfather’s or our grandmother’s faces – today we will probably see another record-breaking day of infection and death in this country.
(Breaking news: Per MSNBC reporting, sadly I am correct.)
Aah but for a mask…the nation for a mask
The part of me that finds him so detestable wants to completely blame Donald Trump for his failed public health leadership during this pandemic.
But I knew in 2016 he was not qualified by any standard to be POTUS.
So to expect disciplined and sustained leadership from him was a joke. To believe he would honestly task Vice-President Mike Pence with leading the Coronavirus Task Force and then keep his sticky paws off it was a fool’s errand
There was too much TV time devoted to others to keep Trump from pushing scientists and medical experts out of the limelight.
I want to blame the ineptitude of Republican Governor’s who felt they had to tow the Trump line or find themselves on the end of a mean tweet or a call for their resignation.
But they are no worse than McConnell or the Senate GOP, who have done nothing until the past week to provide a COVID relief package for those who have become unemployed or lost a business to the pandemic, to provide PPE for front line workers and other protections for them and the public put forward by a House Democratic majority and Speaker Nancy Pelosi last May.
And Senators really haven’t done anything yet, because there is no agreement, merely a negotiation taking place.
As detestable as I find all the above – Trump, McConnell, most Republican Governors and the Republican Senators – they are not ultimately to blame.
We are. At least that part of the collective “we” that refuses to be the least bit sensible and wear a mask.
This is probably part of the same “we” that thought it was cool to wear a bandanna over our noses when we were kids and played cowboy. Part of the same “we” that wraps mufflers around our noses when it is cold outside and the tip of the nose feels tingly from it. Part of the same “we” smart enough to wet a kerchief and place it over our mouth and nose to keep out a dust storm or smoke inhalation during a fire.
But for an invisible virus that can kill us cold with something as simple as a cough or a sneeze: nope, “we” say that is a bridge too far. And some part of the collective “we” have gotten so darn right crotchety about it, “we” think it’s okay to harass and threaten violence to people just trying to save our lives!
No, as Pogo said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
We are literally killing ourselves for the “freedom” not to wear a mask.
Killing ourselves, those we love, and complete strangers.
Thirty seconds at a time.*
* This statistic came from an MSNBC news segment featuring Hallie Jackson on Friday, December 4, 2021.