Playing With Fire in a House Filled With Gas: Trump Places Stock Markets and Profits above People

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Bottom Line Up Front: As of this moment there have been 381,699 cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with a total of 16,558 deaths. 262,657 of the cases are still active, of the closed cases 102,489 have recovered and as mentioned 16,558 have died for a 14% death rate.

I know that I am beginning to sound like a broken record, but the response of the Trump Administration to it has been abysmal, despite the warnings of U.S. Intelligence Agencies that the pandemic was coming, the administration did nothing. The President made light of it, said that it would have little impact, and played the part of Denier in Chief for two months, but then the stock markets crashed, and all of a sudden the President decided it was no longer fake news and ordered Vice President Pence to head up the effort to contain the virus and its effects. To his credit Pence did. try, and some policy changes began to occur, but to tell the truth, it was too little too late. The Virus had been spreading in the United States for weeks before Pence even received the mission. As a result the virus spread to tens of thousands of people, many who didn’t or don’t know that they are even infected, who in turn spread the virus without realizing they are doing so.

Because I have worked in ICUs and ERs in major civilian and military hospitals in two past pandemics; AIDS during its most deadly period the early to mid-1990s before effective drugs were developed to help infected people live somewhat normal lives. The in 2009 I was in a different Medical Center dealing with H1N1. As such I have been following the COVID-19 infection numbers and death rates with interest since it first came on the scene, but much more so when the first case appeared in Washington in mid-January. Now for the last month I have been watching the progress of the virus by following the data supplied by the CDC, Johns Hopkins, WHO, and this website https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ .  It tends to be updated more frequently than the other sites, mostly because it is relying on updates as they are released by countries, and in the case of the United States, the states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories.  It is one of the sites mentioned in DOD and Navy message traffic to use in getting solid data and updates about COVID 19.

In the United States  https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/ there have 46,145 total reported infections with deaths. Currently 40,185 of these cases are active. 670 cases are closed and of that number 295 have recovered and been discharged, but 582 have died, giving us a 72% mortality rate. The biggest issue has been the delay in testing and unavailability of test kits. Likewise we are now facing an acute shortage of ICU beds and ventilators, as well as severe shortages of PPE for health workers and first responders, which would include police, fire, and EMS. Likewise there is a critical shortage regular hospital beds and places to put them because our system of managed care does not deem surge capacity important.

These numbers change multiple times a day depending on when countries, or in the case of the U.S. our states and territories report their daily data. The disturbing item to me is that with the exception of China, South Korea, and Japan and a few other Asian countries that instituted draconian measures to flatten the infection curve, the virus is showing exponential growth in the United States and western Europe. The reason it hasn’t exploded in many underdeveloped Second and Third World countries is that it was most likely late getting there because they are out of the way and do not get the kind of visitor, tourist, and business traffic that Western Europe and the United States have. Likewise they do not have the test kits or adequate medical care to document the spread. However, once it takes hold it will become a killing machine, wiping out millions in those unfortunate countries, and probably leading to more refugees, infections, and deaths.

Two weeks (March 8th)  ago the United States reported 541 infections and 22 deaths. By March 18th there were 9,259 cases and 150 deaths. Four days later we are at 46,182 cases and 582 deaths, a death rate of 66%, well over the worldwide percentage. But expect this to fall to somewhat  closer to the world average. However, that being said, statistics at the beginning of a season do not necessarily reflect those at the end of the season.

Since the virus is often spread through people who are asymptomatic, and many people refuse to self-isolate or in public violate the six foot buffer zone, I recommend that any person who reads this article practices an abundance of caution for two reason; first two protect themselves, and then, just in case they are infected but are asymptotic, protect themselves and others from getting the virus. This should be the case anytime they leave their homes to do necessary shopping, or go to a medical appointment. Anyone who goes out should not only observe the measures issued by the CDC, but go further. Personnel and their families should wear some kind of surgical, or other mask to reduce the possibility of transmission protecting them, and in case they are asymptomatic anyone they come in contact. These can be hard to find but there are a number of groups or individuals making relatively effective face masks, which though not to the N-95 standard would give them a modicum of protection. Some of the designs and patterns are online. Likewise I recommend that when leaving home that personnel wear vinyl disposable gloves, carry some kind of hand sanitizer (if you can get it) , wash your hands after every physical contact with a probably contaminated surface, and care antiseptic wipes in your car to wipe down the steering wheel, door handles, and gas pumps.

Call this an abundance of caution on my part, but the virus knows no borders, races, religions, rank or status.

However, yesterday and today, after occasionally acting the part of a real President, Trump went back to his baseline. He blamed everyone but himself, and 8 days into a 15 day campaign to try to stop the virus by social distancing and shutting down businesses, he threatened to revere a key public health decision because the “economic costs might be higher than the virus itself.”  In his news conference comments he tried to make his threat sound a little more humane by suggesting that isolated people were more prone to suicide, would outnumber the people infected and killed by the virus. While I know that social isolation can be a killer, its effects can be mitigated by people that care. However, if people go back to work, stores and restaurants are opened just as the virus is hitting stride the infection and death rate will make those of the past few days look like peanuts. Millions will be infected, and many of them will die, and the the economy will collapse like a house of cards. Not just because of the effects of the virus, but because the business leaders, stock holders, and even his cult followers will abandon him because they will finally realize that they mean nothing to him.

So, because I am tired I wish you a good night.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

8 Comments

Filed under Diseases Epidemics and Pandemics, economics and financial policy, History, laws and legislation, leadership, life, Military, News and current events, Photo Montages

8 responses to “Playing With Fire in a House Filled With Gas: Trump Places Stock Markets and Profits above People

  1. Much to talk about here! Trump’s handling of this pandemic has been … unhinged. He has been up, down, touch the ground, all around. First, he said it was no more than a cold and no more than 15 cases would ever come to the U.S. A month later, he “knew” it was going to be a pandemic before anyone else knew. In my book, his responses throughout have been signs of serious mental illness! Now, he says he’s giving it 15 days, and then ‘his’ stock market must come up. As you say, Padre, money and the market are all he cares about. He’s also planning to take ‘bail-out funds’ for his own businesses. Why are the dems in the Senate holding up the “emergency relief bill”? Because it does one hell of a lot more for a) the fossil fuel industry, b) the airline industry, c) the hotel industry, and d) the casino industry than it does for the restaurant and other employees who suddenly, through no fault of their own, find themselves without a paycheck. This nation is bankrupt with $23 trillion in national debt, and yet … we can afford to give money to industries who, yes they will lose some money, but their CEOs are still living the life of luxury while some of us wonder how we will pay the rent next week? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Sorry, Padre … I growl a lot these days.

  2. Jack Kelllbach

    I realize that anyone who has the audacity to disagree with this blind hatred of President Trump (I didn’t even vote for him!) is going to be in the extreme minority here but it seems to me that it is, in fact, the Democrats who have put their partisan interests above the needs of the country, especially in this current crisis. In fact, last Saturday night, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed “delight and surprise” at the “bipartisan cooperation” on the desperately needed Stimulus Package. No so fast, my friend. Enter the Democratic left who trashed the bill as a “crony capitalist slush fund” and a handout to the wealthy. This is not only false, it’s dangerous. Government told Americans to stay home and essentially ordered a stop to US commerce. Without revenue, companies can’t pay the bills and, without access to government loans, companies of all sizes will be forced to lay off employees by the millions. House Majority Whip, James Clyburn, was heard cynically advising Democrats to view the crisis instead as a “tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision”, which took the form of the 1,100-page Pelosi bill which includes a Green New Deal mandate that would require airlines to offset their “carbon emissions” and the House’s failed “election reform” that would require states to allow early voting, mail-in voting and same-day voter registration. The fact that these issues have absolutely nothing to do with the coronavirus and are just more evidence of the dysfunctional and always politically-opportunistic state of Democratic “leadership(?)”.

    Please forgive me for speaking out, Padre Steve, as I am a devoted follower of your blog and usually agree with much of what you say so thoughtfully just not always!

    • padresteve

      Jack, We have to agree to disagree. Both parties have put pet items in the Bill which hopefully will be passed regardless. For me the issue is public health and I wish that the President would focus like a laser on that, show some leadership as a “wartime President” and I have viewed this as a war without bullets since I first read about it. Reopening businesses and relaxing the social distancing policies as the virus hits its peak is a recipe for disaster. This article was not about the bailout bill proposals, which are many. The problem I have is that this is a policy that is absolutely dangerous and irresponsible, the Bills will work themselves out and there will be positive and negative in whatever is passed. However, there will be more Bills passed to keep businesses in operation and people paying their bills before this winds down.

      • Jack Kellbach

        I agree that the issue is public health and I defer to your background and expertise on this subject. Also agree that Trump is being way too optimistic about predicting (mandating?) when people should start going back to work. His tendency toward salesmanship has rarely been confused with thoughtfulness. Of course, he values the economy (as he should!) but it will be disastrous indeed if he compromises the health of the people in any way in a, likely futile, attempt to prematurely jumpstart the economy. I believe that he’ll have the benefit of sound council which he’s shown an unnerving tendency to (frequently) disregard thus far. Having said this, just don’t think that constantly bashing the President is completely responsible under the ‘wartime’ circumstances either. Peace, Padre, and good health to you and Judy.

      • padresteve

        I admit that the title was kind of bashing him, but it was truthful. I wish I could say wonderful things about the way he was handling this, and even give him credit for a “win” in this horrible situation, but every time I almost have a little bit of hope that he is being serious, he blows it up, and I hate that, because we all depend on him as the President to guide the country, provide leadership, and mobilize the nation in the crisis. If he would do that I would give him appropriate credit, but sadly he won’t do that. Catch you later and my best to you and your family.

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