California Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered a shutting back down of the economy. He is hardly alone, and this is in spite of the early actions by the state. It is not the only state doing this. The virus is back with a vengeance. There are many reasons for this state of affairs. one hopes that this will serve as a lesson for the future. Yes. There will be a shut down of the economy, to be followed by a new reopening.
The first critical point is that policymakers reopened too fast. Why? There are many reasons. The first is that the chamber of commerce and others placed undue pressure on electeds. Leaders chose to open, in spite of best practices recommendations by public health officials. Incidentally, open-air protests, both right and left, are not at the heart of the spikes. What we know is that the worst places to go to are bars. Incidentally, these are now to closed. Why? It’s not safe
Lack of leadership at the national level. It’s not the public health professionals who are not telling people what is happening. It’s Donald Trump who still refuses to acknowledge how serious this is. Real men don’t wear masks, and it’s not that serious until it hits the base. And by that, I mean his white, red state base. Here is where politics enters into the fray, and how masks have become a sign of political support or, in the words of the president, hate. It should not be this way, but it is.
the spikes are what they are. Southern states like Texas and Florida, which opened faster than experts recommending, are putting the breaks. They are reversing the openings. California, which led the way in shutting down the state economy is joining them. This is hardly a surprise. If you have been to the beaches, and other places, people are refusing to wear a mask. Never mind there is a state mandate, but with little to no endorsement. For that matter, the condo where I live refuses wearing masks,.
One day after Los Angeles County announced a Fourth of July weekend beach closure and cancellation of all fireworks shows, Gov. Gavin Newsom warned during a press conference today that additional statewide coronavirus restrictions could be coming ahead of the holiday.
“Tomorrow we’ll be making some additional announcements on efforts to use that dimmer switch’ that I’ve referred to and begin to toggle back on our stay at home order and tighten things up,’’ Newsom said. The framework for us is this — if you’re not gonna stay home and you’re not gonna wear masks in public, we have to enforce, and we will and we’ll be making announcements on enforcement tomorrow.’’
Why is this happening? People are not taking this seriously. Some still believe this is a hoax, or they will not be affected. Or for that matter, they will not be affected as badly as others if they did get it. This is particularly the case with the twenty and thirty-something crowd. And here is where it matters, to look into the safe spaces of the far right. Many of these ideas start in places like 4Chan, and Infowars.
A good example of the lies is that the COVID numbers are inflated. Even those based on diagnostic tests. They are not. The estimates of excess deaths come from modeling and understanding of how badly we have done with testing and other aspects of the response. But if you have seen your crazy uncle or friend on Facebook tell you that the hospitals are empty. Or that the numbers are inflated. Or that they are forcing death certificates to list COVID as a cause of death when it is not, a lot of these ideas originate in places like this.
I will not link to either because I do not want to give them the traffic. If you are interested, they are easy to find. Be ready for a lot of conspiracies, half-truths, and lies. The good ones have a nugget of reality in them. Why they are easier to swallow. However, once you start poking holes, they fall apart.
Why are we seeing this resistance to science and authority? Partly because of racism as I explained in another article. Masks are perceived as a muzzle, not unlike that used on African slaves. This makes people uncomfortable and triggers some ideas, such as the replacement of whites, which is at the heart of white supremacy. There are other reasons why people are refusing to wear masks. Some are innocent. If I am by my condo, I am home. Yes, we see this with neighbors all the time. If you are not with your family unit, you are in public, this is a good rule of thumb. The second rule of thumb is that you have it, and you could infect others. Be mindful as you go out.
So where are we exactly when it comes to the epidemic? Well, the actual data is not good. this comment from a CDC official is at a national level, and a ten thousand feet overview:
“We have way too much virus across the country for that right now, so it’s very discouraging,” Schuchat said in her interview with the Journal’s Howard Bauchner.
She said there was “a lot of wishful thinking around the country” that the pandemic would be over by the summer. “We are not even beginning to be over this,” Schuchat said. “There are a lot of worrisome factors about the last week or so.”
“We’re not in the situation of New Zealand or Singapore or Korea, where a new case is rapidly identified and all the contacts are traced and people are isolated who are sick and people who are exposed are quarantined and they can keep things under control.”
California and other states will slow down, and reverse openings. It is what the California Governor calls a dimmer switch. This will have negative effects on the economy. As we were starting to reverse the cratering in jobs, this will go back. Worst case, we will have to go back to another six weeks of housebound quarantines. California fears the Fourth of July because it will leas to parties. And it is not alone.
Remember, the virus and infection rates have a fourteen-day lag. So we will see it by the 20th
Sadly we all can do something about this. Yet, there are people who refuse because the president has signaled to them the patriotic thing is to fight the government he leads. Wear a mask. It’s not political. Wash your hands. Carry gel if you have no access to a bathroom. This is what patriots do. They protect their fellow citizens. This fourth will be different than others, but we all can do our part. If things go well, we will have a vaccine by this time next year. And like masks, I expect hesitancy, because there is a cross over between the same people who are screaming that the government is taking away their freedom with a piece of cloth, and those who believe vaccines are dangerous and part of a globalist conspiracy. That is for another day.
What we definitely need to accept is that we will need a form of Universal Basic Income to reduce the trauma of less income. Those who will be affected the worse by a loss of jobs are the same people who cannot afford to not work and do not have savings or sick leave. It is time to accept that as a nation we will need to do this because the dance with the virus will mean we will reopen and need to close back down. The nature of our economy will be different on the way out of this. Other nations already do support their people and will be in a better place when we come out on the other side.
For the duration, governments need to start fining mask-slackers. The time for educating people is passed. We need enforcement now. It is the only way, with testing and contact tracing, to go back to some semblance of normal.