Saturday, December 19, 2020

Don't Ask For Whom the Bell Tolls...

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
It's all starting to make sense.
    The demand for public schools to reopen in late August/early September, business as usual, even though public schools aren't profit centers. The lack of ventilators and PPE, stealing that PPE from other states, even other countries, allied countries like Canada and Germany, the porous travel ban from China.
     It was all of a piece, pointed to where we are as a nation right now.
    Last Tuesday evening, the National Cathedral tolled over 300 times, each peal of the bells representing 1000 Americans who'd died from COVID-19. I am sure to the more educated of us it brought up historical images and accounts of Medieval Europe in the early 14th century during the Black Plague and those church bells tolling for the newly dead. And I'm sure many of us also wondered, could the dour men with the well-worn, rapidly-filling wooden tumbrels calling out, "Bring out your dead!" be far behind?
    That same day, Politico got perhaps the scoop of the year when they revealed certain HHS emails between top Trump appointees. The most damning one was the email written by then Science Advisor Paul Alexander to his boss Michael "The Shadows Are Long" Caputo, then the Comms Director for HHS. As Trump was preparing to hold his Nuremberg July 4th rally, Alexander wrote, "There is no other way, we need to establish herd, and it only comes about allowing the non-high risk groups expose themselves to the virus. PERIOD."
    The "non-high risk groups" to which Alexander was referring were our children from elementary school to college.
     Now it's all starting to come together.
    All the "fuck-ups", all the "incompetence". The stolen PPE, non-existent ventilators, forcing states to bid against themselves and the federal government, Trump not invoking the Defense Production Act, qualified scientists getting pushed to the margins, being muzzled, the quack cures being peddled by the White House, specifically the Oval Office, the completely dysfunctional farce of the Coronavirus Task Force that was taken over by the world's most evil professional son in law and now the bottleneck in vaccine shipments.
     It. All. Fits. And they weren't exactly doing a very good job hiding it. So why has it taken us so long to finally put the pieces together? Why did it take last summer's emails from Politico to clue us in as to what was really going on?
    This evil agenda of the Trump administration, this hamfisted attempt at herd immunity (which Trump called "herd mentality" during the NBC Town Hall that was supposed to be the second debate, during which he was advocating for a herd immunity) was the only thing besides the tax breaks and weakening America while strengthening Russia in his sick zero sum geopolitical game at which he was successful.
The Swedish Model
The herd immunity theory, which has no scientific basis in a COVID context, is estimated by medical experts to be one that could result in two million to two and a half million deaths (Business Insider put the number at 2.3 million last September 1st).
     Apparently, that level of carnage, that number that would be horrifically high to normal people, was perfectly acceptable to Trump and the other murderous psychopaths in his administration. As far back as March 14, as America was assuming the mantle of being the planet's new Ground Zero after China then Italy, when Trump got a briefing from Dr. Anthony Fauci and other medical experts, Trump suddenly blurted out, "Why don't we let this wash over the country?" Dr. Fauci, obviously unwilling or incapable of believing anyone in the Oval Office could be that genocidal, didn't know what Trump meant by "wash over." When Trump explained it to him, Fauci said, "Mr. President, many people would die."
    Fauci, like any other conscientious physician, was horrified by even just the theoretical fatalities. Keep in mind, the COVID deaths back in mid-March were just in double digits. By the time Business Insider published its article on September 1st, the death toll in the US was already up to 183,000.
    We've lost about 135,000 Americans since then. In just three and a half months. Let's get technical for a minute.
   The very hypothetical "herd immunity" strategy necessarily involves a formula called R0 (pronounced R Naught). The model for COVID, while still being very sketchy to this day, is defined as the number of people to whom a subject infected with COVID-19 passes the pathogen onto previously non-infected subjects. The theory behind herd immunity is that once the virus reaches a certain level of entropy, or spread, it will tire and cease replicating itself.
    Keep in mind the Spanish Flu of a century ago had no vaccine and herd immunity is what it took, after two nightmarish years, to finally exhaust the virus. Whether public health officials or not adopted and implemented a strategy of herd immunity, that's pretty much all we had besides basic mitigation measures such as mask wearing and social distancing. 
     But the Spanish Flu took two years, from roughly April of 1918 to April of 1920, to burn itself out. At a time when the population of the planet was roughly 1.5 billion people, the virus killed anywhere from 50,000,000 to 100,000,000 souls. Think of the huge percentage of the world's population we lost just to H1N1 or the Spanish Flu.
     That's what Trump wants to inflict on us, even though 50-70% of the nation would have to be infected. Right now, we're looking at roughly a 6% infection rate (Over 17,500,000 confirmed infections). But if you're Donald Trump, that's not nearly good enough.

...It Tolls For Thee and 999 Others
(A Russian funeral, May 13, 2020. Anton Vaganov/Reuters )
So here's where we are now. The United States is losing so many of its citizens, individual tolls of the National Cathedral's bells have to represent 1000 lost lives or else the bells would be tolling constantly 24/7. Each flag on the National Mall represents 10 lives. Symbolic crosses in equally symbolic cemeteries have to represent 1000 lives lost because there just isn't that much real estate to accommodate enough crosses, enough dead bodies to fill Yankee Stadium six times over or Fenway Park in Boston nearly ten times.
     Imagine how difficult it is to bury all those bodies.
    Hence the refrigerated trucks outside hospitals in Brooklyn and elsewhere, silently loading dead bodies as if off an assembly line, hence corpses rotting in front of funeral homes in unrefrigerated UHaul trucks because they couldn't process the corpses quickly enough. Trump wanted that. For you, me and any of our loved ones. He didn't care who died from the virus and his partnership with it. As long as it wasn't him.
    Amazingly, the herd immunity theory, which would kill at least seven times the number we've already lost (and virtually every hospital long since having passed the breaking point), is still getting play in the right wing. Not too long ago, Rand Paul, who'd had COVID, brought Dr. Fauci to testify before the Senate and touted the "Swedish Model."
     I'd imagine that privately, Fauci couldn't believe he was hearing about the Swedish Model again months after Trump loosely floated a herd immunity solution. Scott Atlas, the quack Trump plucked off a Fox News sound stage, advocated for the herd immunity then brazenly denied he, Trump or anyone else in the government advocated such a strategy. Here's how well the Swedish model worked for Sweden:
     "Still, Sweden in some ways took the approach Trump was asking about: Unlike most of the world, the country never locked down. Shops, bars, and restaurants remained open. Students went to school. And Sweden ended up with a far more deaths than neighboring countries that did shut down: Its deaths per capita are more than five times higher than Denmark's, nearly 10 times higher than Finland's, and 11 times higher than Norway's."
    Their GDP also took a bigger hit than their Scandinavian neighbors. Only then did Sweden back off from its own model. So much for saving the economy by reopening. (And Trump reasonably thought he could save the economy, hence his reelection chances, with 50-70% of the population sick and over 2,000,000 dead or dying.)
    The callously genocidal intent notwithstanding, the horrifying thing is that they lied about how serious the disease was while ordering us back to work, our kids back to school, ridiculing those who wore masks. (Trump's comments to Bob Woodward last winter prove that). Even as Trump was privately telling Woodward how deadly this virus was, he was going to the press briefing room day after day and telling us the cases would go down to zero in no time, that it was nothing worse than your average flu and that by spring, "like magic", it would miraculously go away like dew on grass on a hot summer day.
     They pushed us into harm's way, in other words, without giving a damn about the casualties. That kind of cold-bloodedness in the modern age is matched only by the August 1998 Omagh bombing in Northern Ireland. The "Real" IRA, a militant splinter faction, actually used the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) to push people down High Street away from the empty courthouse where they claimed the bomb was and into the blast radius.
     Yes, I just compared Donald Trump to an IRA terrorist, even though the Omagh bombing killed 29. Trump's killed 318,000 and counting.
    And I defy anybody to give me the name of a more successful biological terrorist than Donald Trump at any time in this planet's history. Think of everything Trump has done and not done since this pandemic hit our country a year ago. Everything has been pointing to to the horrid outcome we're seeing now: A surrender to COVID-19 just as surely as Trump had surrendered to Putin while on the campaign trail five years ago.
      And, the Kremlin notwithstanding, COVID-19 has been in charge since January this year.


At December 20, 2020 at 7:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too many of us are in denial about the Trump Crime Team's disregard for us 'little people' in America. It seems that everyone in Trumpland is expendable except HIS current wife, children, and his lapdogs. No wonder he admires Putin, Kim, Xi and the other maniacal dictators. He's just another petty, but dangerous, madman.


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