Covid-19: A Flyover Country Perspective

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Hello everyone. I hope all is well.

You have to admit, good news is hard to come by these days. But I did want to mention something I learned yesterday from my wife that qualifies as a positive development. For weeks now, the hospital she works for has been operating like the rest of most American health care facilities: lack of testing for Covid-19.

Finally, that’s going to change in the coming days as the FDA has approved a Rapid Test Kit that will provide results within hours. Up until now, any Covid-19 testing was sent out to another facility where the results could take up to 3 days. The new test kit will allow my wife, who’s the lab manager, to conduct the test on an instrument they already possess at the hospital. In other words, sending it to another facility will no longer be necessary.

So what does this mean? Finally, we’ll begin to see, in real-time, who actually as the virus. So far, Humboldt County, California, which is near where her small rural hospital is located, has only two active cases. With the ability to test more patients and get the results quicker, that number is expected to rise exponentially. In Curry County, which is where we live in Oregon, there are no positive cases currently. Again, this is likely to change with the FDA approval of the new test kits.

It’s hard to say how many people have the virus in my neck of the woods. The thing is, this is a very rural area where population density isn’t a problem. The whole state of Oregon, with an approximate population of about four million, currently lists only 161 people who’ve tested positive. Inevitably, that number will also rise in the coming days. Once news starts to spread of positive cases in our area, the panic level will also increase.

So far, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has not declared a shelter-in-place order, such as the one our neighboring state Governor Gavin Newsom issued on Thursday. While Restaurants and bars are closed in Oregon, the Governor is being pressured to follow Newsom’s lead. It’s only a matter of time. We can only dodge what is clearly about to come for so long.

A New Normal

On March 2, I wrote a post, Coronavirus Thoughts, amid news of the first death from the virus in Washington State. That was 20 days ago. It seems like a lifetime since then, as we’re now approaching 450 fatalities and over 30k cases.

All of my favorite sporting events have been postponed or canceled altogether. On a personal note, our relatives had to cancel their visit this past week. While we were indeed disappointed, it was the right decision, considering all that’s going on with air travel. I too have a trip planned in early May, with plane tickets already purchased. Right now, that’s not looking good either.

I worry about the future of my country. Here’s what I know: the attention span and patience of Americans aren’t exactly a beacon for the rest of the world. How long will we, as a society, tolerate being told we can’t go anywhere? What about the lack of sporting, cultural, and other entertainment events? Those diversions aren’t there, so we’re left trying to make do the best we can.

But isolation has a way of breeding anxiety and discontent. I don’t feel we’re at a breaking point yet, but I think that day is coming. The chaos and bumbling of the current administration in Washington D.C. certainly don’t inspire confidence. I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it: Mr. President, please shut up. You’re not helping! A self-isolation for about a month wouldn’t hurt.

While many of us are doing our best to isolate ourselves, there are too many who are not—just looking at the spring break crowd and the beaches are proof positive. Young people don’t get it. I was a young person once. I remember that mindset where you don’t care what the adults say. For me, the most important thing was, hey, where’s the next party?

So it’s hard for me to criticize them for doing what most twenty-somethings have been doing for generations. But they do need to take it seriously. I hope that changes. Soon.

But for the so-called adults? The adults who watch Fox News and nothing else? I read an article in the Washington Post the other day that ought to make everyone’s blood boil. Here are just a few of the quotes from the some of “deniers” and “hoaxers:”

“I’m not changing anything I do. This is BS.”

“I don’t feel the need to panic. If you don’t have a fever, you’re going to be fine. If you’ve got a fever, just get it checked. If you’re not sick, we don’t need everybody to stay home.”

“We just need to trust the Lord to solve this. I don’t know anybody personally with the virus. We shouldn’t be thrown into a state of panic because of what we hear, rather than what we see and witness.”

That last quote was from a 73-year-old retired salesman who was passing out little cards that read “C.O.V.I.D. 19” with the acronym “Christ over viruses & infectious diseases.”

And then there’s this from an 84-year-old churchgoer, who wants to know how the virus “got out of China.” According to the man, from what he saw from a Chinese expert on YouTube, it originated from a biological laboratory into the meat market.

So much disinformation; so many conspiracy theories; and a president of the United States who doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Sigh.

I fear the worst is yet to come, unfortunately. I do get a sense that testing is ramping up in some parts of the country. But we need to do so much better. And the first people who need to be tested are the health care workers who are on the front lines of this crisis. It’s unconscionable we aren’t massively testing them yet—every day if need be.

Addressing the economic catastrophe we’re about to face will take another post at another time. Currently, Congress is working on a multi-trillion dollar package to help the American people and struggling businesses. Of course, it’s political, and of course, both sides are calling each other names. What else is new? Oh well, it’s going to pass at some point—sooner rather than later, hopefully.

Please be well out there, my friends. If we stick together, we’ll get through this. If we don’t? Never mind. I can’t go there.

11 comments

  1. Yesterday we took a drive to see what was happening at the local grocery stores. The lots were full. Totally full. So much for social distancing.

    And the fight over the assistance package is, while nothing new, totally disgusting. People suffer while the nobs in congress fuss over where to spend the money. Somehow I think I know who will win.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right Nan. I do like the self-righteous indignation and clutching of pearls from Mitch McConnell though. This from a guy who spent last weekend having dinner with Brett Kavanaugh while the crisis was in full swing. His hypocrisy and shamelessness never ceases to amaze.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just got home from working at the world’s busiest airport. There are still Americans who are flying in and out on vacation trips. Forget about the attention span. Some folks just don’t care.

    This was my first day back after having the weekend off, and I returned to be briefed on the number of colleagues who are out sick as well as those who have already tested positive. You would think that the last place anyone would want to be right now is 30,000 feet in an aluminum tube for up to 16 hours in close quarters with people who may or may not have the virus themselves.

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we’re toast based on what I’ve seen. Take care of yourself, your family, and don’t feel selfish about not worrying about others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean Bro. We’re just not cut out for this sort of thing in America. Selfishness is certainly a common trait, along with the attention span deficit. I agree with you. I think we’re toast as well. Now I’m hearing our wonderful president hint that he’s ready to end this whole thing and get people back to work. Speaking of selfish!!! He’s the king….You take care as well Bro….and be safe

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  3. Thanks Jeff. I am glad to learn the news your wife shared. I just read a piece that said, in great detail after several interviews, the US president is not handling his situation very well either. Without his campaign outlets and never fully understanding the severity of the health issue, he has taken to berating people in the White House for not altering the financial fall out, dropping in unannounced on meetings and disrupting the agendas, criticizing people who he feels are not doing enough or defending people who have criticized him, and fuming at media who dare to criticize him.

    Never being know for his patience or even-temperedness, the White House is even more of a powder keg than before. This gets to the very heart of leadership. Is the leader a calming influence in the heat of the crisis or is the opposite? Clearly, Donald Trump is the opposite. His focus is primarily on his perception first, helping people second. With that less than egalitarian mission, others will have to show him the way. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The reported actions of our ego-driven leader in this article are not surprising. But in many ways, also laughable as he fights against himself and his “need” for adulation.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank Keith. Now, how long before Anthony Fauci gets ‘reassigned’ or just canned altogether? It would not surprise me, and I’m sure it won’t surprise you either. How can 50% of the public say he’s handling this well? I don’t get the American people Keith. I really don’t.

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      1. Jeff, I saw that statistic. It is very tribal as far too many get their info from Trump or his sycophants. Trump is on TV everyday, when it would be better if he let people in the know talk about this. But, he cannot do that.

        When I saw him appoint Pence, my first thought was he is the fall guy. As it continues people like Pence and Fauci will get the blame. He will dump Pence in a heartbeat to save his hind end. Keith

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yep, his re-election is all that matters to him. He doesn’t care who he has to take down to do it.

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  4. If you correlate the electoral college with the most votes with where the Corona has spread most in the U.S. you can envision a logical way for Democrats to win the next Presidential election.

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