Pastor Tony Spell of Baton Rouge knows what you can do with your social distancing. “The virus, we believe, is politically motivated,” said Spell regarding the 1,170 people who attended services at his Life Tabernacle Church on Sunday. They came on 27 buses from five parishes, and will do so again, because “it’s not a concern,” according to Spell.
Under the circumstances, it is comforting to imagine Spell as an outlier, just another flake flailing against the tide of rational medical advice coming from all corners about controlling the now-exploding spread of COVID-19.
Yet Spell has company, in the guise of no lesser a light than the Republican governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves. After a few days of social distancing discomfort, Gov. Reeves has blown off every safety recommendation on the books and reopened a wide swath of businesses via executive order — including gun stores and real estate offices — which he has deemed “essential.”
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As of this writing, Mississippi has nearly 400 active cases of coronavirus, and at least five people in that state have died. That number will grow with the help of Governor Reeves.
When Donald Trump writes a letter to the governors of Mississippi, Louisiana and the other 48 states informing them all that he is softening the COVID-19 safety guidelines, in defiance of all expert medical advice, why shouldn’t people like Pastor Spell and Governor Reeves feel free to feed their people to the virus? It’s political! The president says it, so it must be true.
There’s a lot of that sort of thing going around right now. On Wednesday, four Republican senators — Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse, Tim Scott and Rick Scott — very nearly blew the $2 trillion stimulus/bailout bill to hell because the unemployment benefits contained within were too generous.
Feel free to read that last sentence twice. It won’t make any more sense the second time. More than three million people have filed an unemployment claim in the last several days, a number that is likely vastly undercounted due to unemployment offices getting overwhelmed by both volume and illness.
Meanwhile, hospitals in cities like New York are being hammered by the sheer numbers of sick people coming through their doors. Health care professionals all over the country lack even the most basic equipment to combat the virus because Trump ignored the problem back in January — when something concrete could and should have been done — in order to look good on television for another day.
Almost 75 percent of the country supports a national quarantine.
Contrast that with our coward president and his lickspittle allies. Consider that we are only at the beginning of this thing, and that the worst is yet to come by orders of virus-multiplied magnitude, and already they are buckling under the pressure from the money to “get back to normal” as soon as possible.
Something interesting is happening in China, if The Wall Street Journal has the right of it. That nation is beginning to emerge from its own devastating coronavirus experience, but business as usual doesn’t appear to be kicking back in:
In some ways, China is where the U.S. and Europe hope to be within weeks or months. Yet many Chinese factories find demand for their products has evaporated. Consumers in China and elsewhere are reluctant to spend over worries about what they have lost and what lies ahead.
For U.S. businesses tied to global trade, exporters and multinational companies, China’s limited return to normal foreshadows the potential for a sluggish U.S. recovery. Consumption, which makes up more than two-thirds of the American economy, looks to be hobbled by lost jobs, fallen income and diminished confidence for an unknown period.
Want to know why Trump and his voracious pals want to herd us back into normal life even as the air is potentially lethal with the virus? Consumption. The machine that lines their pockets has ground to a halt because people decided they want to keep breathing instead of buy stuff. That is happening in China. Wait until it happens here.
For Trump and the capitalists, that is the end of the ever-loving world as they know (and own) it. They will wring the coppers from our bones and not think twice about consumers getting consumed. Someday soon, Trump may well announce the all-clear in defiance of the experts. What remains to be seen is whether people will listen.
This is still only the beginning. Stout hearts. Do not listen to the president.