By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (8/10/20)
The global pandemic now stands at 20 million cases with over 5 million in the US. The US case count doubled from the end of June. Over 165,000 people have died over a six-month period. Wisconsin has over 60,000 confirmed cases. Vernon County now has 64 with no deaths, Richland Center – 37 with four deaths, La Crosse – 908 with one death.
Coronavirus in the US is on the decline from a 2nd peak twice as robust as the peak of the first wave — 35,000 new cases per day in April compared to 67,000 in July. Deaths were over 2,000 per day in April and are now also decreasing again at 1,000 per day.
Schools closed, some schools are reopening. Jobs were lost at an incredible rate and are just now coming back at a very slow rate. Shops and restaurants closed, reopenings are still a mixed bag. Places like Europe, Australia, Japan — countries that took the risk seriously are doing well by comparison. Retail sales in Europe are at pre-pandemic levels. German factory orders have recovered to almost pre-pandemic levels as has industrial output in Italy.
Italy was the global poster child for the pandemic early on but now has had 55 deaths in a recent seven-day stretch compared to 7,189 in the United States.
Trump still bangs back and forth between asserting how well he’s managed the pandemic and only hours later assuring his fans it’s a hoax. But he assures us he’ll have a vaccine for the hoax virus by election day.
Trump and his administration embraced optimistic models of how the coronavirus would go away and early on it was Blue states suffering ,so blame the governors. But airborne transmission of the coronavirus has proven to be more persistent than these optimists hoped. As good an example as any, NBC News on August 6th relayed the story of how “a 56-year old man with coronavirus attending a single church service in Ohio led to the infection’s spread to at least 91 other people across five counties… it spread like wildfire”. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said at a news conference…”very, very scary””.
Or consider the case of a Smithfield meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. During a five-week period this spring 929 workers — literally one out of every four — were infected. Forty-eight were hospitalized and two died. These were not high-risk persons but were working in a high-risk environment with insufficient precautions taken by their employer, Smithfield. Meaning – it didn’t need to happen like this.
Which leads directly into something we hear from Trump and others — that only 2 people died. There are a few problems with being so dismissive. Consider this 6-minute video explanation from Dr. Brad Spellburg titled, ‘Why you don’t want to be in his ICU bed’. Note that the opening graphic reads, “Children Hospitalized For COVID Need ICU Care At The Same Rate As Adults”.
We are also hearing more about the challenging and lengthy recoveries of many with open questions about long-term compromised health. If you live in Vernon County you may very well have contracted Lyme disease. Most people spot the symptoms, receive treatment and recovery with hardly an inconvenience. But I’m sure many of us know others who live with ongoing, ope-ended consequences.
So with all this ongoing news over six months of risk or denial, what’s a person to do? Go to Sturgis, South Dakota is the choice of some hundreds of thousands of bikers descending on a town with a population of 7,000 residents. It’s a ten-day affair, but maybe it will be okay. Right?:
“But on Friday, throngs of ralliers parked their bikes and walked shoulder to shoulder along the downtown streets, nary a mask in sight. Police officers stationed at the intersections also were not wearing masks.
“Bruce Labsa, 66, drove from North Carolina last week to be among the first in town. This was the first year he would be able to attend the rally since retiring, and he did not want to miss it. On Friday, he was not wearing a mask, and he said he had no concerns about catching the coronavirus.”
“I don’t know anyone who’s had it,” Mr. Labsa said.”
There you go, Bruce doesn’t know a single person that’s had it. Chances are, he will.
Line up for school, kiddies!
Now we’ll send our kids to school. The false argument is whether it is better to send them or keep them home — yet we skip over the part about how to send them safely — and we’re not even doing that.
Nearly 100,000 children tested positive for the coronavirus in the last two weeks of July, a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics finds. Just over 97,000 children tested positive for the coronavirus from July 16 to July 30, according to the association.
Or we can embrace the notional lie that kids don’t contract the coronavirus. I’ll leave you with this title and link, “Children Can Get Severe COVID-19, CDC Says — Especially Black And Hispanic Children”.
What are we to conclude beyond…
“Slowing the coronavirus spread has been especially difficult for the United States because of its tradition of prioritizing individualism and the missteps by the Trump administration.
“…one country stands alone, as the only affluent nation to have suffered a severe, sustained outbreak for more than four months: the United States.”
The article touts our libertarian tradition while acknowledging a consequence, “we don’t succeed as well as a collective.”
The article references a testing goal of 5% of tests positive as an indicator the spread of the coronavirus is under control. From daily case reporting for August 8th test positivity for Texas was 19% and Florida was 17%.
No, we don’t have more cases because we test more, we have more cases because we are failing to heed the experts and we are not controlling the spread. All of these points intersect – one of the gatekeeping criteria for children returning to school was the scale of positive testing rates. But we are stubbornly ignoring this and much other guidance over how to be safe.
I feel like I should say, ‘even Kansas’ when I note that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment noted that counties with mask mandates “have seen a decrease in COVID-19 cases”. It’s a similar story for Alabama, where cases declined after a mask mandate.
Here is one chart of COVID-19 risk levels for various activities from restaurant takeout to bars and big concerts. Guess where Sturgis would rank for risk.
700 Iowa lives
We all want this experience to be different. If we’ve taken the guidelines seriously we may be experiencing fatigue, pent up desire for socializing and moving freely. Sad to say we’re not there yet and this article from The Guardian notes the Midwest should expect a surge and cites a statistic for how social distancing in Milwaukee is evaporating. Maybe our hearts or minds want to reject this but one study cites Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) over her refusal to impose a mask mandate predicting her stance “will cost 700 additional lives over the next three months”.
Reynolds can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) who, while faced with the risk of Sturgis counsels us to “put your positive pants on…and have an optimistic outlook”.
People are dying needlessly while some politicians pander and deny.
Georgia School Where Student Who Texted Crowded Hallways And Was Then Suspended Has 6 Students and 3 Staff Infected With Covid
By Ty Tagami
The AtlantaJournal Constitution (8/9/20)
The Paulding County high school that became infamous for hallways crowded with unmasked students will retreat online for at least a couple days this week after revealing that a half-dozen students and three staffers were diagnosed with COVID-19.