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Monday, March 2, 2020

Fever


No science is immune to the infection of politics and the corruption of power.
--
Jacob Bronowski, British Mathematician, Historian

I hate talking about this fucking virus.

But it seems like that’s all I’ve done for the last few days.

I'm not trying to add to your anxiety.

Or mine, for that matter. But I have people who are going to die if they get it. Friends going in for surgery tomorrow. Friends with cancer. Elderly members of my family.

I’m not special in that regard, of course.

We all have people we care about who are at risk.

The thing is, I live in an impoverished part of the country.

A hell of a lot of people here don't have healthcare, and if they do it's lousy. They have plans with high out-of-pocket costs that they can’t afford even under the most dire of circumstance. Their plans don’t cover anything but the bare minimum, they’re difficult to use (by design), and expensive. That’s the kind of health insurance plans poor people get.

If they get anything at all.

A significant number of the people who live in this little Southern town, they're sick all the time already.

Because that’s how life is here.

That’s how life has always been. It’s a fixture of this place – and many other places in America.

The medical infrastructure here is, charitably speaking, mostly crap. Much of it is for-profit, or run by religion. People don’t have family doctors, they go to those lousy little pay-as-you-go clinics when their kids get strep throat or step on a rusty nail. Everything else they treat with discount over-the-counter meds they get from the Dollar Store.


I'm surrounded by people who can't afford the flu vaccination.


Now when I said that on Twitter, can’t afford a flu shot, naturally social media went immediately down the rabbit hole and spent the next 24 hours telling me how I could get “free” flu shots at any pharmacy.

Of course, it was never about the flu shot.

And leaving aside the part where a lot of people obviously don’t read the fine print when it comes to “Free Flu Shots (with most insurance),” I used that example only to illustrate a point about poverty.

Poor people don’t get vaccinated, they get sick. 

Sure, there are programs to get poor kids the mandatory vaccinations they need to attend public school, but optional vaccinations are a luxury most can’t afford. You can sometimes find the flu shot for $25 or so at places like Costco or a local pharmacy, but for a lot of people that’s a tank of gas or food for a week. So they get the flu, and shingles, and pneumonia. And they go to work with it. Because that’s just how it is when you’re poor.

Another example: In any impoverished area, a lot of people have bad teeth. Or missing teeth.

It’s one of the first thing you notice.

Why? Because it's a hell of a lot cheaper to get a tooth pulled than it is to get it fixed. Poor people can’t afford crowns or fillings or even routine cleanings if they don’t have dental coverage. They also tend to have lousy diets, because proper nutrition and the education to recognize it are also out of reach when you’re on the bottom rung. All the brushing in the world won’t help when you diet is mostly sugars and you’re drinking unfluoridated well water and can’t afford to the see the dental hygienist.

What’s the point of these examples?

What’s the point of talking about poverty in a pandemic?

Because when the government tells you to buy a couple weeks worth of supplies and just stay home if you think you might have been exposed, well it demonstrates that those in charge are profoundly ignorant of reality.

Poor people can’t just stay home.

People who live paycheck to paycheck can’t just stay home.

People here go to work sick, because they can't afford not to.

They send their children to school sick, because they can’t afford not to.

People here get the flu, because it's cheaper than the vaccine. And most of the time it doesn't kill them. They get teeth pulled, or let them rot out of their heads, because it’s the only option they have. People here just live with health issues, until they don't. Because they can't afford anything else.

The point of my comment about flu shots was to illustrate the larger issue.

And I used the flu as an example because the president himself brought it up during his coronavirus press conference two days ago:

Trump: You look at flu season.  I said 26,000 people?  I’ve never heard of a number like that.  Twenty-six thousand people going up to sixty-nine thousand people, Doctor — you told me before.  Sixty-nine thousand people die every year — from 26 [thousand] to 69 [thousand] — every year from the flu.  Now, think of that.  It’s incredible.

So far, the results of all of this that everybody is reading about — and part of the thing is you want to keep it the way it is.  You don’t want to see panic because there’s no reason to be panicked about it.

But when I mentioned the flu, I said — actually, I asked the various doctors.  I said, “Is this just like flu?”  Because people die from the flu.  And this is very unusual.  And it is a little bit different, but in some ways it’s easier and in some ways it’s a little bit tougher.

Think of that. That’s incredible, Trump says of the people who die from the flu.

Incredible.

He didn’t know.

He didn’t know. That’s the incredible part.

Trump: I want you to understand something that shocked me when I saw it that — and I spoke with Dr. Fauci on this, and I was really amazed, and I think most people are amazed to hear it: The flu, in our country, kills from 25,000 people to 69,000 people a year.  That was shocking to me.

And, so far, if you look at what we have with the 15 people and their recovery, one is — one is pretty sick but hopefully will recover, but the others are in great shape.  But think of that: 25,000 to 69,000.

Over the last 10 years, we’ve lost 360,000.  These are people that have died from the flu — from what we call the flu.  “Hey, did you get your flu shot?”  And that’s something.

Trump didn’t know how many people die from the flu every year.

Why would he? Because the majority of the people who die from the flu are poor, elderly, infirm, immunosuppressed, etc.

These are the very same people who are vulnerable to the Novel Coronavirus – a disease with a significantly higher mortality rate.

And Trump is using the flu to tell them not to worry, right?

I mean, you see it, right?

Of course, this really wasn’t about the flu. Or even about the coronavirus.

It was about how the privileged profit from poverty.

If you're a selfish greedy predatory asshole like Rush Limbaugh, you tell those poor people the coronavirus is just the flu, just a cold, because anything else makes Trump look bad. Because if Trump looks bad, then Rush looks bad. And trust me, every confederate flag waving son of bitch who doesn't have a pot to piss in down here listens to Limbaugh like he's the second coming of Dale Earnhardt Jr. 

And Trump himself?

Trump daily demonstrates that he’s more worried about how this pandemic will affect his reelection campaign, how it will impact the stock market and thus the 401Ks and the profits of those who might blame him for the disaster.

Poor people don’t have 401K retirement plans and stock portfolios.

Trump has spent $28 billion of your tax money propping up the very farmers he screwed, solely to ensure they keep voting for him. But do you see a single penny for poor people? Do you see the Trump administration offering up emergency flu shots or money for food or a week’s wages so that these people might be able to stay home if they’re exposed? Do you see Trump pushing for emergency regulations that would prevent businesses from firing those who stayed home, as instructed by the government?

Do you see Rush Limbaugh pushing for such?

No, you don’t.

Why?

Why indeed.

The point here is this: when the virus finally does hit that population, what do you think is going to happen?

These are people who get medical advice from Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh and I’ll tell you with 100% certainty what’s going to happen, they're going to keep going to work until they can't.

And they're going infect everybody around them, because that's just how it is. The poor, the elderly, the infirm, the immunosuppressed, the weak and the most vulnerable.

This whole "Don't go to work if you think you might be coming down with something" is privilege talking, the kind of thing people with wealth say. The kind of thing people with Stage 3 Lung Cancer, a person most vulnerable to something like the coronavirus, say when they don’t personally ever have to worry about being exposed, when there is no risk to them, when they value profit over people.

People on the bottom don't have that luxury.

They go to work, no matter what, because there isn't any other option.

They can't afford to buy a month's worth of supplies and bunker up. They can't even afford a $20 flu shot or a teeth cleaning. And conservative pundits are busy telling them it’s all a hoax anyway. Nothing to worry about.

And where do these people work? What jobs do the working poor do? Do you know? Because they’re fixing your fast food and waiting your tables and pushing carts at the local Walmart.

You maybe starting to get the picture now?

And so, the government’s primary preventative measure will fail right out of the box.

If you don't understand this, then you've never seen actual poverty up close.


That’s my point here.


The point isn’t how many people the disease kills or doesn't kill.

Citizens are worried. Right, wrong, it doesn't matter. Americans are worried and it's our leaders’ job to address those concerns sincerely, not call them a hoax and complain about the stock market.

And when it does come?

When the virus spreads into the local population, the ones too poor not to get sick?

Here, the local government can't handle an epidemic. They can't even afford to fix a fucking pothole.

And the state is run by science denying religious nuts who think hurricanes and diseases are punishment from their shitty miserable god for gay people or some such nonsense.

When it happens, with this outbreak or the next, there won’t be enough medical resources and competence to go around.

Those in charge know it.

They know.

This morning there was a press conference here in Florida. Turns out, the Florida Department of Health waited 24 hours after finding out about two emergent cases of coronavirus before informing the public.

Because they don’t know what to do, they don’t have any kind of plan, and they they can’t stop it.

This morning, Washington State is reporting five dead from the virus.

Meanwhile, in Texas, a patient infected with COVID-19 was accidentally released from the Texas Center for Infectious Disease and … went to the mall. She spent two hours there in the food court, then went to a hotel, before doctors managed to track her down. Officials say the risk that she infected others is low.

But then, they’d have to, wouldn’t they?


I don’t know, maybe we’ll get lucky and the virus will die out and we won’t get widespread infection.


Maybe we’ll get lucky and researchers will develop a vaccine, get it approved, and get it to the market in the next few weeks – as Trump has repeatedly claimed.

Just a very quick update on the countermeasure development in the form of vaccines and therapeutics.  I had told this audience at a recent press briefing that we have a number of vaccine candidates and one prototype, to give you a feel for the timeframe of a vaccine and what its impact might be now and in subsequent years — is that I told you we would have a vaccine that we would be putting into trials, to see if it’s safe and if it induces a response that you would predict would be protective in about three months.

I think it’s going to be a little bit less than that.  It’s probably going to be closer to two months.  That would then take about three months to determine if it’s safe and immunogenic, which gives us six months.  Then you graduate from a trial — which is phase one — of 45 people, to a trial that involves hundreds if not low thousands of people to determine efficacy.  At the earliest, an efficacy trial would take an additional six to eight months.

So although this is the fastest we have ever gone from a sequence of a virus to a trial, it still would not be any applicable to the epidemic unless we really wait about a year to a year and a half.
-- Dr. Antony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, at the Trump Press Conference.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and there’ll be enough vaccine for everybody and everybody will be able to afford it and the most vulnerable will get it first instead of the rich and powerful. Sure. Maybe.

But, if this goes sideways, well, then just like everywhere else, there’s not going to be enough resources to save those at the bottom.

The medical system will have to do battlefield triage, save the ones they can and to hell with the rest. We won’t have any choice and the medical experts have as much as told you so.

Don’t think so?

Two days ago Trump held a press conference.

The message was repeated over and over by Trump and the various medical types he pushed at the podium: if you're healthy, you're probably okay. You'll survive. If you're healthy. But if you're not, if you're old, or have cancer, or a compromised immune system, then without significant medical care, you're gonna be in trouble.

Right now, that medical care is available.

But once the virus is widespread, once thousands are infected, once the system is saturated, then what? What’s the plan then?

I'm at ground zero if this thing goes sideways.

Sure, my immune system is still pretty good, reasonably robust, but all the people I care about are at significant risk.

Trump: I think you have to always — look, I do it a lot anyway, as you’ve probably heard.  Wash your hands, stay clean.  (Laughter.)  You don’t have to necessarily grab every handrail unless you have to.  You know, you do certain things that you do when you have the flu. I mean, view this the same as the flu.  When somebody sneezes — I mean, I try and bail out as much as possible when they’re sneezing.  I had a man come up to me a week ago.  I hadn’t seen him in a long time, and I said, “How you doing?”  He said, “Fine.  Fine.”  And he — he hugs me, kiss.  I said, “Are you well?”  He says, “No.”  (Laughter.)  He said, “I have the worst fever and the worst flu.”  And he’s hugging and kissing me.  So I said, “Excuse me.”  I went and I started washing my hands.  (Laughter.)  So you have to do that. You know, this is — I really think, Doctor, you ought to treat this like you treat the flu, right?  And, you know, it’s going to be — it’s going to be (inaudible). Wait.  I want to have — I loved — that was so nice of you to say “thank you very much.”

ReporterWell, thank you, Mr. President.

TrumpGo ahead.  Give me a nice question then.  Don’t ruin it.  Don’t ruin it with a bad question.  Go ahead.

And fucking Nero is up there fiddling conspiracy theories over the stock market and his reelection instead of doing his job.

Trump: Yeah, sure.  Sure.  I think Speaker Pelosi is incompetent.  She lost the Congress once.  I think she’s going to lose it again.  She lifted my poll numbers up 10 points.  I never thought that I would see that so quickly and so easily.

I’m leading everybody.  We’re doing great.  I don’t want to do it that way.  It’s almost unfair if you think about it.  But I think she’s incompetent, and I think she’s not thinking about the country.  And instead of making a statement like that, where I’ve been beating her routinely at everything — instead of making a statement like that, she should be saying we have to work together, because we have a big problem, potentially.  And maybe it’s going to be a very little problem.  I hope that it’s going to be a very little problem.  But we have to work together.

Instead, she wants to do that — same thing with Cryin’ Chuck Schumer.  He goes out and he says, “The President only asked for two and a half billion dollars.  He should have eight and a half.”  This is the first time I’ve ever been told that we should take more.  Usually, it’s we have to take less.

And we should be working together.  He shouldn’t be making statements like that, because it’s so bad for the country.  And Nancy Pelosi — I mean, she should go back to her district and clean it up, because it’s the number one — if you look at percentage down, that was one of the finest in the world, and now you look at what’s happening.

And I’m just saying, we should all be working together. She’s trying to create a panic, and there’s no reason to panic because we have done so good. 

We have a government of corrupt, incompetent, greedy fools. Science deniers, religious nuts, hacks, flacks, goons, loons, and poltroons. Trump daily tells you he doesn't give a fuck about half the country and would just as soon see us eliminated.

This is a guy who can't work a toilet or an umbrella. Who thinks it's the light bulbs making him look orange and not the actual orange goop he smears on his face every day.

This is a guy who thinks wind turbines cause cancer and coal can be burned cleanly so long as you’re voting for Trump.

AND NO ONE DARES TELL HIM DIFFERENT.

Worse, all the people in charge of this crisis, a) don't think it's a crisis, and b) think medicine first and foremost should be for profit and are right now figuring out how they can make bank off the plague.

THEY'RE CERTAINLY NOT GOING TO CALL HIM OUT.

So, yes, I'm a bit concerned.

I’m concerned because all the people I care about are at risk.

So, forgive me if I don't have the greatest confidence in these greedy ass-kissing Rapture monkeys to manage anything but their own stock portfolios with any degree of competency.

This plague or the next, sooner or later, America is going to pay the price for not having a universal healthcare system.

Sooner or later, we’re going to pay the price for putting profit over people.

We’re going to pay the price for electing fools to run our country.

The bill is going to come due.


Nobody is capable of really thinking about anyone, even in the worst calamity.
-- Albert Camus, The Plague

74 comments:

  1. I (along with thousands of others) work as a contracator to a huge employer. The employer just came out with an oh-so-righteous message about how if we're sick, we should stay home. That's great for the direct employees who get up to 8 weeks a year of sick leave on top of their regular weeks of vacation, but the contractors? Most of them are lucky to get 10 days of "PTO" (paid time off) to cover sick, vacation, and other life events that require taking time off work. We simply can't afford to lose a paycheck...and we're all people with multiple degrees and technical certifications. The situation of people barely making a living wage with no paid time off is so, so much worse. This is why I'm so worried about a pandemic breaking out; all the people who do the calculations and come down on the side of going to work sick because they have no other choice. If you die at work, your survivors get a payout. If you pass out at work, there's a chance you can qualify for worker's comp. If you die at home, you get nothing.

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  2. Spot on. My wife and I got sick (not the coronavirus) last month due to the Food Lion cashier sneezing and coughing as she rang up our groceries, whilst telling us she was home sick but the manager said he was short handed and insisted she come in else she might lose her job. That reality, as you so aptly described it, is magnified by dumbass store managers like that one.

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    1. I thanked the bagger at my local store the other month who was wearing a mask. She said she felt the need to protect people, but couldn't stay home. And management okayed it. I was kinda agog that management would even *consider* NOT okaying it! I thanked her again; I'm one of the vulnerable.

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  3. This begs the question, "Why do you think it has had the effect it has had in China?" You have hit on the answer here. There are many who cannot afford health care in Wuhan, and they keep working til they drop, because they must. Jim, you have already seen what will happen here, over there.

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  4. Vaccines on the ACA list are available without charge to almost everyone in states which have expanded Medicaid. The Republican leadership and their tame Supreme Court justices are responsible for states not expanding Medicaid.

    The ACA list is – I think – under the authority of the Federal Department of Health and Human Service.

    Fk the Republicans. Fk the Roberts Court. Fk Trump.

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    1. Florida did NOT opt in to the Medicaid expansion.

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    2. Georgia didn't opt in either

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    3. Neither did Wisconsin.

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    4. Neither did North Carolina. Frickin' dumbass Greed Over People.

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    5. Neither did Oklahoma, a very poor state, full of those poor workers. I am one of them. Stocking up enough food for a week is a joke.

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    6. There are plenty of people who don't qualify for Medicaid (basic or expanded), have poor or no insurance, or their insurance isn't honored by any nearby pharmacies. Those people don't get flu vaccines unless they have an extra $20-$30. Which they probably don't have, even if they aren't anti-vaxxers.

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  5. I work in a place that has one hundred percent free lunches at the school. It's that sort of poor. The majority of the population is older.

    I don't know what to do when these kids ask about the virus. I don't know what to tell them. I'm legally not allowed to say the truth.

    I can't tell them "your government is incompetent and greedy and not only does the president not know you exist, but couldn't care less about your life".

    All I can do is try to reassure them. Lie to them, to their faces. Try to get them to keep themselves clean, not for their sake for the most part but for their relatives, who tend to be older.

    I have family myself I'm worried for. But the fact that I'm legally, as a teacher, not allowed to tell the truth, is I think the summary of who we are now.

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    1. One piece of advice you can give them is "Wash your hands."

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    2. Mr. Trump HAS "washed his hands"- of any responsibility by setting up Mr. Pence as the Fall Guy for his own miserable incompetence.

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    3. Teach them how to properly wash their hands and why and how soap works. In the last week I've found most adults have no idea. This video is NOT in English but it is a great visual representation of just how hard it is to properly wash your hands. https://twitter.com/MuaPeace/status/1234076218649141249?s=20

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    4. Sorry, but washing their hands is not going to help them when someone at McD's or Walmart coughs or sneezes in their face :(

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    5. Think of it as a form of Herd Immunity - the more people that wash their hands, the lower the transmittance rate. It will help at least SOME...

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  6. Well said and sadly so true Jim. It's such a hopeless and helpless feeling. What is happening in this country is a crime.

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  7. Welcome to the Titanic. We may be sinking, and there aren't enough lifeboats for everybody on board. As always, first class passengers will have seating priority - and if you're in steerage, fuck you, nobody cares if you drown. You should've been rich enough to buy a first-class ticket.

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  8. With this particular strain of the coronavirus, being healthy won't really help. It's taking everyone down.

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    1. What's your source for that? All the data I've seen suggests that it's almost exclusively the elderly or people who already have significant health issues who are dying from this.

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    2. In Iran, a 22 year old female soccer player died. In China, the doctor (40s, healthy) who blew the whistle on the coronavirus died.

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    3. And a small percentage of young healthy people die from the flu.
      This is just a bad flu.

      Please understand how percentages work.

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  9. Anonymous, I agree with every word you posted. I’m retired now but I used to work in food service for a large hospital. Yes our people had sick time but they got written up if they actually had the nerve to use it. They were expected to come to work sick. The people who made your food and passed your trays in patient’s rooms... think about that

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    1. Hoping for it - in CERTAIN 'institutions' like Mar-A-Lago.

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  10. Covid-19 is nothing. The worst affliction any American can have is being poor and that is only repaid with scorn, contempt, and alienation.

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  11. I've lived through that. My parents didn't have health insurance or money, so my brothers and I all have permanent damage. (And my dad was a college professor--he just didn't work at the schools that had money to throw around to English professors.) My husband and I had as much insurance as we could afford, which wasn't much. He worked in pulblic radio. They don't have beg-a-thons for the staff salaries. Yeah, sure, just go get another job, that'll fix the problem. We lived where we could afford (low income neighborhood) and got exposed to pretty much everything. I worked at one of those big box stores that wouldn't let you take more than two days off no matter how sick you were. Those kinds of crap-ass retail jobs are the easiest to get when you really need the money and you could not afford to get fired. So I went to work with bronchitis. I pity everyone around me.

    The people with money think everything's easy. I wish all of them could be forced to live in a poor person's world till they really truly understand.

    At least now we have Medicare.

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  12. "These are people who get medical advice from Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh and I’ll tell you with 100% certainty what’s going to happen, they're going to keep going to work until they can't."

    So you're saying mostly 45 voters will die. I feel really bad for the non-trumpers who will be collateral damage.

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    1. Jesus Christ, those people whose likely deaths you are dismissing are human beings. Sure they got us here. Because they have been lied to from cradle to the approaching grave.
      Don't join them in deciding some lives don't matter.

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  13. You deserve kudos simply for "Rapture Monkeys." It will be my new name for the VP from now on.

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    1. The whole phrase... "greedy, ass-kissing rapture monkeys".

      I personally feel that if your public policy positions are based on the rapture, you should have to give away any retirement funding you have. Be consistent.

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    2. Plus, I got dibs on their stereo equipment.

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  14. I don't want to give In to fear, but I'm elderly, my wife is elderly, and my mother-in-law is 87. We're blessed to have health insurance, but that insurance isn't going to do us much good if we happen to be in the vulnerable section of the populace. I look around and see so many of the people you described, the ones who have to go to work because losing a paycheck may be the difference between having a place to sleep out of the rain or sleeping on the street. This clown circus dumpster fire of a government, presided over by the thermonuclear bowel evacuation currently disgracing the Oval Office, is going to have thousands of deaths for which they are directly responsible. Heaven knows, I or my loved ones could be among them. The way things are going, it's almost a guarantee that everybody is going to get this thing sooner or later, and a good number of them are going to die. No vaccine will be forthcoming in the near future, and despite my best intentions, I am afraid.

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  15. You are so right about it all. I could cry. Bu I will vote.

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  16. I’m an RN. We are mandated by the facility I work for to stay home if we are sick BUT if we do it counts against us. This is the policy. So people are afraid to call in sick because they don’t want to lose their jobs. This is in the healthcare industry, I can totally imagine it being the same or worse for others.

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  17. The Republican opposition to the ACA is one of the signs of the true face of conservatism. The ACA is Romneycare, the most conservative plan that could be devised that would significantly expand the availability health care in the USA. Conservatives hate it.

    The opposition to the ACA, the second Iraqi war, all the Trump administration policies are signs that intellectual conservatism was a smokescreen: in the end it was just excuses for racism, authoritarianism, and plutocracy. All the honest conservative intellectuals have now jumped to places like the Niskanen Center. Some, like economist Brad Delong, have gone further, saying, “The baton rightly passes to our colleagues on our left.”

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  18. I live in a rural area in WV and see the same things you do. Except I'm 60 and have COPD and high blood pressure, which give me a better than 6% chance of dying if I'm infected. I guess I'm supposed to drown in my own fluids once the medical system is remotely saturated.

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  19. On top of all that Jim and other commenters have said, there's also this: Alex Azar basically said "We're not going to do a damned thing to make sure everyone can afford to get the vaccine for this thing if and when it becomes available, because think of the pharma companies who need to make money on this? You don't want them to suffer, do you?

    Of course, if you're poor, F%$# you.

    https://www.statnews.com/2020/02/27/azar-coronavirus-affordable-trump/

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  20. I have thought about an amusing indicator of White House concern = Trump Rallies. I predict the first thing to go will be the wall of 'diverse' supporters behind the Trump... "Breathing down on him" so-to-speak.

    I thought - wow - they really recognize the risk if they cancel the rallies.

    Not sure if he can stomach to cancel the rallies (both for his own optics and his own ego)... SO maybe they will create a 'treatment' group - of tested and clean fine Americans. They will be quarantined - and shuffled around to not look like exactly the same crowd... They will be let out to populate his rallies.

    If it wasn't his own ego the rallies would be feeding, I would instead suggest they would CGI in cheering crowds, but - that won't feed the beast in charge.

    Well, interesting times.

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    1. I don't know about keeping a clean herd handy to fill his rallies, but I'd bet a week's income he can no more stop the rallies full of us unwashed folks than he can stop eating Big Macs made by that wheezy guy that coughed on the lettuce at one of the local McDs.

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  21. Exactly Jim. I have lived in Florida and West Virginia. The poor, the undeucated will have to work and can't stock up. The virus will go through the USA like a wildfire before long. I am elderly with immune system and respiratory problems but I am extremely fortunate to have the funds and the know how to stock up. I have done so and will be sel isolating soon. I live in Washington state and my community may already be infected. I am horrified at the effect this will have on our most vulnerable. And our batshit crazy "leaders" will sit by and watch them die. I have hope that our governments on the west will be more proactive but I am already seeing significant pushback from reds and preppers.

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    1. Just one thought - there are lots of educated poor.

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  22. Thank you. The status quo is designed and operated by and for people with medical coverage (annual physicals/checkups, dental, vision, affordable co-pays and deductibles with affordable out-of-pocket maximums, paid medical leave/vacation/time off, guaranteed jobs after unpaid maternity/paternity/family medical leave, child care they can afford, preschool they can afford, housing they can afford, food they can afford, and insurance they can afford on everything. They don't live in flood plains or next to industrial and waste sites. They work no more than one job. They know nothing about poverty -- or they choose to forget it or to ignore it, imagining it is the result of a character defect, lack of effort, or lack of ability. It's something they believe poor people deserve -- those people. So it makes sense to them that the response would ignore those people. It makes sense to them to vote for people like the monster in the White House and his creators, explainers, excusers, justifiers, defenders, and supporters in their Party. Cruelty is the point of a class war. "If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

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  23. "Ass kissing Rapture monkeys" Well said - if not frightening - as usual.

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  24. The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

    John Kenneth Galbraith

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  25. Being sick right now, and having just gotten out of the hospital, I have already decided if I get it, I will head to the nearest tRump rally and make sure to shake hands with every single person I can. Especially the moron in chief. Because I have an impaired immune system, and highly doubt I would be among the survivors. That is the kind of vicious bitch who wants revenge I am.

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    1. Sharon you are my hero! May your sacrifice not be in vain. I'm 100% sincere I'd love to see someone with enough sense give this to the twitler and chief.

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    2. I'll drive you clear a path have ya spit in a cup of water n do my best to throw it in his face baptizing him in the name of Christ.

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    3. Please don't. I'd be tempted too. I wouldn't want to die with one of my last acts being one of utter cruelty and malice though.

      Do they deserve it? Probably, many if not most.

      But Justice without Mercy is over rated. We don't beat opponents by becoming them.

      Actually, I don't want to die at all. If I have to, and I do, one day, blast it, I'd like to take every opportunity to be kind before then.

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  26. Most assisted living centers are staffed by low-paid workers. Just saying.

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  27. A healthy 20 yr old woman returned from Israel to Texas and died of presumed seasonal flu on Jan 16. The article was just a yearly reminder to wash your hands which Americans routinely ignore. WHO announced the novel virus on Jan 30. Many people may have died of Covid 19 or suffered "seasonal flu" before it was identified. That 18,000 people in the US are already dead this flu season is no surprise. To assume that none of those were Covid 19 is seriously foolish. Went to the grocery yesterday. People were wearing masks, but I saw nothing to suggest they were taking other precautions. Handling things and putting them back. No distancing. Standing in the cashier lines like cattle to slaughter. The recommended distancing is 7 feet. Folks, find a hospital grade antiviral spray and use it - on yourself, in your car, in your home. You can't count on hand sanitizer or antibacterials. Wash your hands AND your face. Take your shoes off at your door. I spent 11 years in public health - flu outreach, flu shot clinics. This is no time for complacency. I shit you not.

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  28. lets not forget this is being run by the orange idiot who had to ask an aide what the Arizona Memorial was all about. His ignorance and self centeredness is pathetic

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  29. "Imagine if this happened under Obama" gets to be an old phrase after a while. There's no way a competent and thoughtful president like him would engage in the propaganda the White House is now.

    There was a scare today in the Nebraska Panhandle as the only hospital we have in a 14,000 square mile area which can address the issue of this virus had a person suspected of coming down with it. This afternoon, the hospital said they tested negative.

    There really ought to be bumper stickers which say "Conservatism kills."

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  30. Spot on, as usual. It's demoralizing to see clever, caring, qualified people who CAN and WANT TO fix the problem sidelined when it counts, and voices muffled/choked. The Good-Old-Boy network is limitless, apparently. Keep telling the Truth.

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  31. I deem you no "vicious bitch," but a true Warrior Woman - you plan to ennoble your death by gathering an honor guard to escort you to the Afterworld. [Okay, the shift in cultural context may read as ironic, but truly I jest not.] All honor to you.

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  32. Jim,
    Here's a piece of he puzzle you haven't noticed yet... This viral pandemic is acting a lot like the 1918 Spanish Flu which killed 6% of the world's population in two years. That would be 110 million people. At current rates that will be 456 million people worldwide. The Spanish Flu kinda died out in the summer, but roared back the next fall and was many times worse than it had been before. And the kicker? It killed more healthy young adults than the young or the elderly. Their fully formed immune systems over reacted. Hang on to your hat. Here we go.

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  33. Kathleen PfeifferMarch 2, 2020 at 10:43 PM

    Another aspect is coming clear too... those who can are hoarding already. I live in NM (and one of those "at risk" folk... poor, older, chronic asthma/bronchitis). My husband works at WalMart and literally from leaving his shift with all grocery stocked and even some inventory in the back to returning to his next shift to find nothing but a small number (as in under 10) of canned veggies, canned tuna and meat, NO rice or dried beans and the same in cleaning supplies just in one day. Last night he took a picture of the rice and bean aisle (again having been restocked just the night before) and it looked like the prelude to a hurricane in Florida. We don't even have any confirmed cases in NM as yet. Other stores are seeing the same thing. Sooner or later the distribution center won't be able to keep up and the poor can't afford to "stock up" themselves (including the WalMart employees themselves). The virus itself may not kill us but the greed might well.

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  34. Here in Australia the 'horror' flu season of 2018 killed 255 people (circa 1 per 100,000). Scaling that up to the US's population, that's the equivalent of just under 3,331 deaths (in a BAD season)!

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  35. I guess that to "counter" coronavirus there is a ... rate cut now?

    Nothing says looking out for your people like a rate cut.

    Right as always, Jim.

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  36. Der Furor is leading US all right into a major mugging by reality. I wonder if His adoring masses will be able to put 2 and 2 together and not get 22 this time...

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  37. I made a note two days ago:

    "The corona virus will kill off the rural, the poor, the ill-informed and the stupid mainly due to lack of adequate access to healthcare in our for profit system.

    "Maybe their learning experience will unfortunately come at the expense of loved ones. I am sad for their probable loss."

    I have not changed my mind.

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  38. I go to the dentist always and get my tooth filling and pulled out of teeth.

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  39. The company I work for has started suspending all travel and site visits -- as have many of our customers. So I made a simple note of this on my social media and it turned into a fucking shitstorm of politics, paranoia, harshing on the liberal media, and blissful ignorance. Literally all I was doing was providing information, a status report if you will, and did not mention Donald Trump, the poor, or anything but the simple fact that coronavirus *is* changing us and our day to day lives.

    I suppose that I shouldn't be surprised that almost half of the comments were that coronavirus is the same as the flu. It's not, and even when explaining that there is no timetable for rolling out immunization or vaccines (which are still under development apparently) and why that's a problem because it's a separate virus from anything else, the absurdity continued.

    If even a large swath of the middle class actually bothered to read and digest the summary about coronavirus via Johns Hopkins instead of spending hours of their day fapping to Rush Limbaugh we'd all be better off, if only slightly.

    https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-disease-2019-vs-the-flu

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  40. To me, one of the few 'bright sides' is that this experience will bring fact-based reality head to head with the 'alternate facts'/'we make reality' crowd. One way or another, financial, medical, or both impacts WILL have to be dealt with - even if they refuse to acknowledge them publicly or admit that the Fearless Leader (who switched from citing the '15' cases to the '11' deaths today - I rather suspect to keep using a nice low number) may have led them astray.

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  41. Want to bet he will want to cancel the 2020 election? How bad will it be by then? Bad enough that this will be just what the Facist ordered.

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  42. "Trump: Go ahead. Give me a nice question then. Don’t ruin it. Don’t ruin it with a bad question. Go ahead."

    He is SUCH A FUCKING CUNT. "Kiss my ass. Only say nice things about me. You're not allowed to say mean bad poopie things about me."

    I CAN'T TAKE THIS INSANITY ANYMORE.

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  43. This essay should be required reading for everyone. Thank you, Jim.

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  44. The one thing that Trump does not take into account. Is that 1 percent of 1000 is a much different number when it is 1 percent of 10,000, or 1 percent of 1 billion. There are more than 3 billion people in the United States. Yes, he is right, there are millions of millions of poor people. They should be getting paid leave. They should be getting health Insurance during this time. It burned me up when I read that CEO’s asked Trump not to enact the mandate that they create the equipment at a reasonable cost. Would it be CEO’s like Eric Gjerde of Airon Corp, Thomas Polen if Becton Dickerson Company, Dean Bennet if Biomed Devices, Ken Hekking of Burrell Inc who all make ventilators? It is maddening.

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  45. Rapture monkeys? Best label for these evil clowns yet invented! Thanks for a good laugh!

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  46. Third night fever, 103°. My doctor says to just stay at this hotel if I can afford it until I'm asymptomatic plus 3 days. My husband is 77 with heart conditions and diabetes. No one there to take care of him like I do, everyone is freaked out. I lay in this hotel room, and I can't get a test because the tightness in my chest isn't bad enough, yet. They don't have enough tests here in Long Beach California is what my doctor says. They're being very strict about who can get one. I don't know if the tightness in my chest is from anxiety or the disease.
    So I'll charge it and owe it, & not telling the hotel because I don't want to get kicked out. I'll tell them when I leave, they said they leave rooms vacant for 4 days after check out. They're going to want to really fumigate this room. I order DoorDash, so expensive with my hazard pay tip for the delivery guy. If I didn't have a credit card, I would have just stayed home in our two bedroom one bath house. I feel so germy.

    What happened to the drive-thru Google run testing center thingies? This is f****** scary. I feel like shit.

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