Thoughts & Essays

Pandemic Notes: 6/11/20

As of June 11, 2020, there are just over two million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States. Over 113,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 since February. There is currently no treatment for COVID-19 save supportive care. Vaccine development is proceeding rapidly, but it remains to be seen when, if ever, we’ll get a vaccine.

Most if not all states in the U.S. have given up on quarantines. At least twenty states are seeing cases on the rise. There will almost certainly be a second wave of infections. Some predict this will happen in the fall. I suspect that by fall we’ll be dealing with a third wave of cases.

The federal government continues to lead a profoundly stunning failure of a response to the pandemic. The Trump administration has grown bored of the pandemic and is now pretty much ignoring it. As is, for the most part, our media.

Something close to 1,000 people a day are dying of COVID-19, right now, in America.

Meanwhile, the anti-racist protests continue all across America. It’s now been two weeks of protests against institutional racism in general, and specifically racist police. This week has been, by and large, one of peaceful protest.

A “defund the police” movement seems to be gaining a bit of traction. Enemies of the idea are painting the idea as a move towards anarchy, claiming “the radical left” wants to get rid of all cops without replacing them with anything else. This is ridiculous, of course.

The idea is to take most, if not all, of the extremely large budgets (millions of dollars per department; in some places billions of dollars) allotted to police, and redistribute it to public health, civil services, and social services, which would then take on many, even most, of the jobs a policeman might do. For example – insurance claims, mental health crises, well checks, domestic abuse, and more. The idea takes into account that we might need to keep small police forces to deal with some things. Those forces should be demilitarized, thoroughly trained in de-escalation tactics among other things, and heavily regulated.

I’m behind the idea, depending on what details eventually emerge. The movement is relatively new. It’ll take awhile for it to get up to speed.

In other news, Trump apparently intends to address the nation on racism. He will, according to reports, do so at an in-person rally, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 19th, with a speech written by Stephen Miller. Yes. Our white supremacist president will address racism by gathering a large crowd indoors during a pandemic at the site of the Greenwood Massacre on Juneteenth with a speech written by a known Nazi-wannabe. That should be helpful.

Required Reading & Resources