Here are some of the better editorial cartoons I have seen about COVID-19.
Here are some of the better editorial cartoons I have seen about COVID-19.
We reached a milestone this evening with news that the United States is now the country hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Without a reasoned, coherent, and unified effort this pandemic is going to only grow more intense and deadly.
This is the type of 3 A.M. phone call that so many of us were talking about in the 2016 election. This is the type of crisis we never wanted to have occurred, and the reason we stressed the need to have an educated person sit in the Oval Office. We now see what happens when the village idiot is elected.
What happened over the past many weeks is a shocking display of ineptitude, sloppy and slipshod work from the Trump White House, and stunning disregard for sciences and data-driven policy creation. This Administration simply failed to take the pandemic seriously. The world was awash in sick and dying people from the virus, and yet broad testing for the virus in our country was denied. We now have a second crisis of a shortage of masks and protective gear to protect doctors and nurses on the front lines, as well as ventilators to keep critically ill people alive.
This is complete incompetence from the highest office in the land. When it comes to Trump there are only a few items that matter. First, the infantile mind is bored at the White House and wants to play golf. He needs to pretend that all is fine so he can lumber about as he breathes hard while hitting a ball. He wants to mitigate at all cost the unemployment numbers as they run counter to his election-year plans. If a high number of elderly people die as a result what does he care? The very words and actions from Trump this week alone proves he is more concerned with money loss than lives saved.
Though many of my progressive friends might disagree, I know Thomas Friedman to be intelligent, insightful, and a powerful and needed voice in our journalistic community. Today he proved all of that in a smashing column that was an open letter to Donald Trump which has verve, timing, and fact.
In part, Friedman wrote the following.
In all honesty, though, sir, you immediately and crudely jumped into that discussion with a tweet last Sunday night — “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF” — that polarized and caricatured the whole debate. Your critics accused you of only caring about the stock market, not human lives. Meanwhile, your supporters accused your critics of moral preening and ignoring how many people would die from a deep and prolonged economic depression.
We must do better. To be sure, we need an immediate all-out push by states and the federal government to get hospitals the equipment they need to deal with a surge of coronavirus patients, an effort that is at long last underway. But beyond that, you need to articulate the three-step plan that is out there and is yours for the taking.
Step 1: First, you need to call for a 50-state sheltering-in-place/social-distancing program. While the experts differ on how long that national lockdown should be — two weeks, four weeks, eight weeks, whatever the C.D.C. recommends, I say — they virtually all agree that it is needed to manifestly slow the spread of the coronavirus, to prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed and to buy us the critical time we need to collect the data required to inform all future decision-making.
As the public health expert Ezekiel Emanuel, vice provost for global initiatives and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote in this newspaper on Monday, you need to “immediately order the closing of all schools and nonessential businesses and impose a shelter-in-place policy for the entire country. The majority of the population is already experiencing some version of this protocol or feeling the effects economically; we need to standardize these protocols for the full public health impact.”
We cannot have Florida and Nebraska more open while New York and New Orleans are more closed, but with undiagnosed infected people still moving between the two. You have to use your bully pulpit to stop that. The more you slow the spread everywhere, the more time for needed hospital equipment to arrive and new treatments to emerge.
If you have not seen them, check out the widely referenced graphs in an analysis on medium.com titled “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance” by the engineer-entrepreneur Thomas Pueyo.
“Strong coronavirus measures today should only last a few weeks, there shouldn’t be a big peak of infections afterwards, and it can all be done for a reasonable cost to society, saving millions of lives along the way,” Pueyo wrote. “If we don’t take these measures, tens of millions will be infected, many will die, along with anybody else that requires intensive care, because the health care system will have collapsed. … Every single day we delay the coronavirus, we can get better prepared.”
I realize, Mr. President, that some of your Republican “red state” governors and rural mayors are telling you not to ask them to shelter in place, because their less densely populated states have not been that affected. But they are doing you and their citizens no favors.
As my Minnesota friend Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, pointed out to me, this virus hits large metro areas first, because of their density and global connections — and many of those are in “blue states.”
“But this virus will find everyone,” he told me. “It may start in the cities, but I can tell you that it is going to hit central Minnesota. Don’t be on the wrong side of this. This is all of us against the virus, not red states versus blue states. And if we all don’t act now, one day it will just be one big fire” of infection.
Step 2: We use this period of lockdown to gather as much data as possible about who has the coronavirus, where they live, what their ages and degrees of illness are, what the mortality rate is at what ages, and what other ailments or immune deficiencies they may have.
Your presidency and our immediate future are inextricably intertwined. You need to rise above what sustained you during your first three years — dividing, misleading and impugning experts and the deep state — and give the country what it so desperately needs and craves now: a science-based plan.
All residents of Wisconsin, along with millions around the nation, are finding ways to self-distance and remain safe during this pandemic. I assume that for some people being in the basement in a workshop, or gathering ingredients from the pantry and baking, or pulling out the sewing machine and starting on a project are perfect ways to be creative while adhering to governmental orders so to curtail the virus.
As for myself, the perfect place for self-distancing can be found on the third floor of our home in a window seat. It is almost as if when this floor was built the dimensions were made specifically for me. I can sit for long stretches of time with a book in hand and hot coffee in a cup nearby and feel perfectly at home. Unless there is a vehicle without a muffler, or someone slamming garbage can lids, there is no outside noise to be heard. With no phones upstairs there is no one to call and disturb the peace.
All my life I have found the reading nooks which have been cocoons of sorts, insulating me from the world noise and the stresses of life. This current spot is also a cocoon from the virus that has spread far too widely, not only in Madison, but around the country.
Sitting under a very large oak tree on the front lawn of my Hancock home, while I was a boy, started my love of finding the right place to read the right book. I discovered Ian Fleming and the adventures of James Bond under that tree back as a boy, and throughout my life I have worked to locate those perfect places for reading whether it was an apartment I was renting, or now the home that James and I own.
The other night as I sat here in this window seat a rather heavy rain was falling on the isthmus. And I again rejoiced in the soothing sounds as the drops hit against the windows and plopped down on the roof. For many years when living in an apartment that sound had been denied to me. But once we bought the top two floors of this house the sound of my boyhood, when the skies open up, can again can be thoroughly enjoyed.
Today I am reading about Winston Churchill and throughly enjoying his profoundly funny and perfect comedic timing in the delivery of his lines, either when spoken in the House of Commons, in a diary entry. Churchill: Walking With Destiny by Andrew Roberts is simply a brilliant book. I am reading Chapter 14, the years of the Great Crash and the economic implosion.
Churchhill has told a friend that his sole consolation over the Dardanelles disaster was “that God wished things to be prolonged in order to sicken man-kind of war, and that therefore he had interfered with a project that would have brought the war to a speedier conclusion”. Churchill was deeply involved with that military operation, and it was a colossal failure. His opining on God’s role in it was really quite wickedly funny. Churchill also declared that the existence of the Almighty could be deduced by “the existence of Lenin and Trotsky, “for whom a hell is needed”.
The author also describes how on September 21, 1929, when Churchhill is taking a three-month tour of Canada and the United States, he will meet Charlie Chaplin at a large party. Chaplin was perhaps the most famous actor in the world at the time and despite his support for communism, which he absolutely abhorred, Churchill got on very well with him. It is just yet another example of how Churchhill was not allowing politics to prejudice friendship.
Charlie Chaplin will visit Chartwell, the wonderful home of Churchill in Britain, in 1931. Churchill’s children managed to persuade him to do his boiler hat and walking stick routine. Churchill asked Chaplin what role he was playing next and Chaplin answered Jesus Christ. Churchill quips, “Have you cleared the rights?”
Winston Churchill often found himself at the center of historic moments throughout his entire life, and so it probably comes as no surprise he will actually be on Wall Street on Black Thursday. The very next day from directly under his window in the Savoy Plaza Hotel a man will throw himself 15 stories down to the pavement causing as Churchill reported “ a wild commotion and the arrival of the fire brigade”.
We all need to find our sources of strength during this pandemic. We need to find our outlets so we can continue to be challenged with ideas, moved by humor, and filled with optimism. History books often allow for all that to happen and we can do ourselves a great deal of good by stepping back away from the news, from time to time, and entering a world of books. Learning new things and understanding that there is always a better tomorrow. We can get through this pandemic. Stay safe.
Find your special place and turn the pages.