COVID Update: Help is on the way - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

COVID Update: Help is on the way

Top photo courtesy of the CDC

It’s been a year and a couple days since my first post about the coronavirus. A few weeks later, on a photo from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) I wrote, “WE ARE NOT PREPARED.”

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw during spring Spring Training 2020 (Claudia Gestro)

No we were not. Our sports reporter Claudia Gestro was in Arizona for Spring Training when the major professional sports leagues cancelled their seasons. Our president at the time, the proven liar Donald J. Trump, had just survived an impeachment trial, one in which only one Republican voted to convict.

The rest had vowed to let Trump walk long before the trial began, vowed to not allow witnesses or evidence. Trump’s lawyers didn’t even need to mount a defense. Just show up and remind the GOP senators of who owns and controls the GOP base. 

We remember Senator Susan Collins telling us she thought Trump had learned his lesson. He sure did. Trump learned that the vast majority of Republicans in Congress were going to kiss his ass and allow him to get away with anything — anything.

So, for the nest ten months while he remained in office Trump lied to us, the American people, day-after-day about the coronavirus, played politics with the disease and the measures we needed to take to fight it; refused to help the states fight the disease, had his no account son-in-law Jared Kushner dole out PPE and other equipment based on who flattered the president and who didn’t. 

In that time doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel were going without proper PPE, using gowns and masks over and over, instead of one patient per item. We saw hospitals and medical personnel overwhelmed by the volume of patients going into the Intensive Care Units and so many not coming out alive. These very same hospital workers saying they were burned out last April and May — and the worst was still yet to come.

Articles and books came out telling us what the president was doing to hamper the scientists trying to defeat the disease, and what he wasn’t doing, what he should have been doing, to fight COVID-19.

There was that time in February 2020 when Trump didn’t want a cruise ship to dock in California because he didn’t want the infected passengers to mess with the U.S. totals because it would reflect badly on him. What we did see was just how petty and heartless he was in the face of of a global pandemic.

In the summer Bob Woodward’s book Rage came out, and to promote it Woodward provided recordings he had with Trump who admitted he had been lying to the public about the pandemic, downplaying the severity so people wouldn’t become alarmed. All while Trump was encouraging his most rabid supporters to engage in violent pushback against Democratic governors that dared to try to fight this pandemic responsibly. He actually defended the terrorists who were caught planning to kidnap and murder Michigan Governor Gretchen Witmer. “Maybe it was a problem, maybe it wasn’t.”

All because the Trump base, stirred up by an endless barrage of lies about the COVID-19 pandemic, the efficacy of wearing masks and shutting down parts of American society, were butt hurt about being asked to do their part to fight the pandemic. Poor babies. Nobody’s rights were (are) being curtailed.

The terrorists showed up at the Michigan capitol in Lansing with guns, trying to intimidate lawmakers as they pranced around in their pseudo-military garb trying to look tough. 

There was something interesting posted on Facebook recently. It basically said, “you so-called Christians in the U.S. are not being persecuted. You’re being called out for not living as Jesus instructed you to live.”

Attacks against the scientists, doctors and nurses fighting the coronavirus grew, with Trump supporters attacking them, spouting Trump’s lie that the pandemic was a hoax. Doctors and nurses were posting videos from inside their hospitals and apartments, talking about how burned out they were after 12-hour shifts taking care of primarily COVID patients, but others as well because other medical issues didn’t stop. And for months not enough gowns, gloves, masks and ventilators. 

In May I quoted the Francis Ford Coppola classic film Apocalypse Now in this post, because the better angels of our nature (as Abraham Lincoln put it) had not prevailed, that good did not triumph, in the fight against the coronavirus. And although we probably have several Captain Willard-like warriors in our military, we weren’t going to call on one to terminate the Commander-in-Chief’s command — “terminate, with extreme prejudice.”

We don’t do that sort of thing in this country. We settle our differences at the ballot box, or in extreme measures, with impeachment or the 25th Amendment. Sadly Senate Republicans continue to give Trump a free pass, so impeachment was out of the question and the cowardice of then Vice President Pence and the Trump cabinet took the 25th Amendment off the table. Even after Trump suggested we get disinfectants injected into us to cure the coronavirus. So the change had to come in November, at the ballot box, when 81 million people voted for Joe Biden.

The nurders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor occurred and people took to the streets to protest systemic racism that made black men and women targets of law enforcement. The man who put his knee on the neck of Floyd is finally going on trial for the murder, but the men that broke into Taylor’s apartment and shot her boyfriend and killed her, were let off the hook by Kentucky’s attorney general. But the city of Louisville was forced to settle with Taylor’s family over he killing.

The protests continued from April through the summer, while a pandemic was raging through the country, with the number of infections and COVID-19 deaths going up every day. Over 3,000 deaths per day in late 2020. Trump used the military to clear a path through Washington, D.C. so he could have a photo op of him holding a Bible — upside down — in front of a church that he never attended, and was rebuked by the pastor. He told the governor of Minnesota and the mayor of Minneapolis he would send in the National Guard to stop the protests if they didn’t do it themselves.

People not connected with the protests, other than to use them as a pretext for rioting, started the mayhem. Some protestors joined in, to be honest. I remember quoting the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in one of those posts from last year. “… a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.”

So the marches for for social justice and progress continued. The right, led by the media outlets of Fox News, OAN and Newsmax tried to weaponize Black Lives Matter and antifa, trying to make the claim both were terrorist organizations. Maybe they were led by Trump, who did his best to label both as such whenever he put his thumbs to Twitter. It was a political ploy, to try and win the election in November.

Leaders on the moderate left were concerned because the calls to “defund the police” sounded too much like getting rid of police departments and the right was using that to scare voters into thinking a Joe Biden Administration would actually end all police departments in America. We know there are people, voters, in America dumb enough to believe that bullshit because roughly 74 million voted to keep Trump in office. Talking about incomprehensible voting decisions: Spanish-speaking voters (Cubans, Venezuelans and others) in South Florida and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas voted for Trump, even after all the racist rhetoric aimed at Spanish-speaking brown people. They were led to believe a Joe Biden Administration was going to turn the U.S. into a socialist country like Venezuela or Cuba. You know, Biden has on his side Senator Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, two avowed Democratic Socialists. For the Hispanic Trump voters The Donald may have been a racist that hated people of their ethnic background, but at least he wasn’t Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro.

Biden was, and is, one of the most moderate Democrats to become president in my lifetime. He supports the filibuster, for example and believes there are Senate Republicans he can work with … Come on Joe, get real. The Senators we now call “moderate” Republicans are not seeking re-election so, WTF is Biden talking about? And the ones that are leaving never looked moderate to me. Just last week they voted in lockstep against the latest COVID relief package.

Talking about Chutzpah, Senator Wicker Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi who voted against the bill, tweeted about how restaurant owners and other small businesses would benefit from the bill he voted against, as if taking credit for it. When a reporter asked him about his hypocrisy Wicker called it a “stupid question.” 

What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding? Don’t know why Wicker’s hypocrisy makes me think of that song by Nick Lowe, but it does. 

Back when this pandemic first became the main focus of American life someone I know kept sending articles he wrote that compared COVID-19 to things like car accidents and cancer, pointing out the small number of COVID deaths (in those early days of the pandemic) to the hundreds of thousands of accident or cancer deaths. I kept telling him to make those comparisons after the coronavirus had been around for a year because it was false to compare one week, or one month of the virus to a year’s worth of cancer deaths. I refused to let this site become a platform for disinformation. A close friend told me, back then, he wasn’t going to live his life in fear … being smart, listening to the scientists and protecting myself was living in fear? Actually, after watching and reading reports about what the coronavirus does to people, both those that die and those that survive, I did develop a healthy fear of getting infected.

For most of my life I always thought it was hard to make E.R. doctors and nurses cry because they face death and suffering every day, but COVID changed that. Doctors and nurses wept after shifts, when 2-3 patients died every shift (3 shifts per day), every day, unrelenting. Then to hear and watch them talk about taking care of their co-workers that caught the virus and needed hospitalization — and in some cases, the morgue.  Doctors and nurses do cry. Who can blame them? 

Then we see these insane Trump Cult members screaming at the medical workers, saying they are part of a hoax. There is only one person responsible for all that hate and vitriol. Donald Trump caused all of that. 

But let’s skip ahead. 

On March 11, 2021, after signing the American Rescue Plan Act, President Joe Biden gave his first prime time address from the White House.Unlike the previous four years, this presidential address was filled with hope, a plan for the future, near and long, it had optimism and honesty. He said if things go south, because ignorant governors were removing COVID restrictions too soon that would in turn cause another wave of infections, the U.S. would have to return to strict precautions, like continued mask wearing, social distancing and limited openings of schools, restaurants and other events. Of course places like Texas, Mississippi and Florida are acting as of the pandemic is behind us. What’s one more round of super spreader events if we are going to have enough vaccines for every adult my the end of May?

After Biden’s address a dipshit congressman from Kentucky, Thomas Massie tweeted:

He got roasted pretty good on twitter, and the one reply captured it perfectly, “that’s what you got from that?” referring to Biden’s prediction that if we all do our part we can probably celebrate Independence Day, July 4th, with our family and friends, provided we are all vaccinated. No one will need Biden’s permission. We don’t need anyone’s permission to celebrate any holiday. Biden’s hope is that by July 4 we can be in a position to start getting back to normal.

As of today about 8.5% of the U.S. population is or has been infected. Over 530,000 have died. Here in California the numbers have gone down considerably. On January 12 we had over 45,000 new cases in one day. On March 11 we had 3,560. Governor Gavin Newsom says the state will recover from this pandemic faster than any other state. That may be, but some GOP groups have started a recall effort anyway. They’ve been at it for over a month now and still haven’t gotten enough signatures to put it on a ballot. And if they did succeed in getting a referendum to recall Newsom, who would the run against an otherwise popular governor? A boot-licking Trump Cult member? Good luck with that.

Now we’re waiting on our shimmy checks, $1,400 for many, more for parents with dependent children. Here’s my gripe with the bill. Parents with depended children will be getting monthly payments. What about parents without dependent children and those of us that are single? What, we don’t have months expenses? Still, it’s the most progressive relief bill since FDR’s New Deal legislation over 80 years ago. Child poverty cut in half, COBRA benefits pay 100% for six months.

Next year Democrats will be working to make some of these benefits permanent. Like the tax credit that cuts child poverty in half. Will Republicans want to raise the taxes on the middle class and the working poor in 2022? I think not … well, we don’t know that for sure.

Wow. I just realized I haven’t even mentioned the January 6, 2021 insurrection that Trump and his bootlickers instigated, not did I mention the investigations against Trump that are now escalating in New York and Georgia. Nor did I mention the pile of shit New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is getting buried under. Members of his own party (Democrats) are telling him to resign and they are putting together an impeachment investigation. Cuomo needs to resign. Save his state great embarrassment.

Oh, and the so-called cancel culture. It is a made up term.

And then there is Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson and his conspiracy theories … and now he just said he wasn’t afraid on January 6 because the terrorists were white and were law abiding and wouldn’t harm law enforcement. But had the attackers been Black Lives Matter and antifa … Johnson has indicated he might not run for re-election. My friends and family in Wisconsin: help that tool make the right decision and then vote in another progressive.

Stay safe, wear your mask in public, stay six feet a part and wash your hands. 


About the author

Tim Forkes

Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality. Contact the author.
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