It's become obvious we will have to navigate this crisis without presidential leadership, so here are some simple things you can do to help your neighbors and yourself.
We need to practice social distancing right now. It's not just to protect ourselves, the younger generation needs to follow suit to protect their grandparents, parents or any family members who may have underlying health conditions too.
But not everyone is getting the message. There has been a recklessness disregard by political representatives and some employers here in the US about the nature of the threat and the danger it presents.
Some workers are still being bullied or coerced into doing what most of us already know by now is dangerous: taking the rush-hour subway, commuting in large crowds, hitting the bars and clubs, interacting as though nothing unusual is happening or will.
It's madness. Some idiots are even heading out to St. Patrick's Day parties in packed bars and restaurants, despite weeks of warnings about the dangers that now present.
In New York City our mayor resisted closing the schools until late Sunday afternoon because he knows how many low wages, barely making it workers depend on them to feed and babysit their kids while they work.
But by protecting their livelihoods they would have helped to accelerate the spread in the city, so ultimately the mayor had no choice. He had to halt this socioeconomic spread before it really took hold because it's increasingly obvious the coronavirus will disproportionately impact the poor, or at least at first.
It's remarkable how every longstanding systemic weakness in the nation is being exposed by this virus as if a bill has finally come due. Our broken health care system, our chaotic airport processing lines, our failing infrastructure, our hard to close schools, our already overfilled hospitals, and our long overfilled prisons.
The inability of our medical system to deal with the exploding number of soon to be arriving patients in a critical condition will not just be one of the developing problems of this ongoing emergency, it will be the defining one.
So what can we do right now to help? Stay at home. It may be too late for many already but it can still help to prevent the spread of the virus. It's literally the least we can do.
Italy has shown us where we are headed if we refuse to heed all the dire warnings, and the Trump administration has been woefully unprepared.
We needed testing, ventilators, surgical masks and we needed them months ago when Trump and his administration were still calling the coronavirus a “hoax” instead of a “national emergency.”
Trump was too confident, too cocky, too lamentably sure of himself despite all the warnings and he went golfing last weekend with the now Covid-19 positive President Jair Bolsonaro and his staff at Mar-a-Lago. It was a criminally irresponsible decision, and it has shown us the limitations of Trump's brand of leadership. On Friday when he was asked to address the shortcomings in the US approach to testing, he refused to own any of it: “No, I don't take responsibility at all,” said the President.
Does he think we don't own TV's or laptops? Does he think we missed it last week when he said there were only five or so people infected in the US and that “it would all blow away” soon or that "the numbers are going to get progressively better?"
The numbers are exploding. Trump creates more confusion than confidence when he contradicts the medical experts standing next to him on the White House podium.
This Sunday when he came before the cameras again to announce his latest movement, but he spent the opening remarks crowing about the markets rather than expressing human concern. As late as yesterday he was still ludicrously insisting that his administration has the virus “under control.”
President Trump says the coronavirus is “something that we have total control over.”
Completely and utterly false.
The president is followed by Dr. Fauci: “the worst is yet ahead of us.”— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 15, 2020
It has done nothing of the kind. The truth is we are facing a national disaster, a cascade of circumstances that threatens not just the city but the nation and the world. It threatens moms, dads, brothers, sisters, you.
It has become blindingly obvious that we will have to navigate this crisis without him. He could have taken action, he didn't. So here are some simple things you can do to help your neighbors.
First shop local, online and off, and buy gift cards of any local businesses you want to support, or order takeout and tip a little more than usual. It's the little things. They all add up.
As they say in Ireland, give a little it could help a lot.
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