April 13, 2020. During the past month, Covid-19 has galloped along, infecting more than 1.9 million people globally and killing 118,623. The United States has 572,587 cases that have been counted, but because testing has been so inadequate (and remains inadequate), the exact number of infected people in America is unknown. Likewise, more than 23,000 Americans have been declared dead because of the novel coronavirus, but that number is also suspect because it doesn’t not include people who may have died at home of the disease. The economy is in free fall because so many businesses have been shut down. Virtually all restaurants are take-out only, and all gatherings of people over a very small number have been banned. None of the major league sport are playing, schools have been shuttered, retail stores are empty, and the disease is spreading rapidly among the military, firefighters, and police. Most distressing is the situation at hospitals. In areas hardest hit, hospitals are operating like third-world countries–with ragged staff, too few supplies, and precious few ventilators for the most seriously ill. Trump and his allies continue to blame everyone but themselves for their slow response to the crisis and their inept handling of it since it began, but it’s clear to anyone who’s conscious that Trump has mismanaged this crisis from the start. Initially, he dismissed the threat, saying that only a few Americans would become infected and claiming that a “miracle” would occur to wipe out the virus. In his ignorance and arrogance, he has continually deflected criticism, given ventilators as political favors to Republicans like Cory Gardner of Colorado, and claimed that while he saw himself as a wartime president, he and the Federal government were “backups” to the states. His horrendous misjudgments have cost lives, yet his staunchest supporters continue to think he walks on water. His administration is a colossal farce amidst one of the greater natural disasters of the modern era.
March 12, 2020. The stock market plummeted more than 2,000 points today, after a plunge of 1,400 points yesterday. We are now officially in a Bear market, stocks having lost nearly all their increased value since Trump took office. There are now more than 1,500 cases nationwide, with 40 deaths, and the numbers are growing significantly each day. The truth is that no one knows how widespread the virus is because of inadequate testing, which Trump blames–once again–on the Obama administration. Yesterday, Trump suspended all travel to the U.S. from every European country except the U.K., which, ironically, has more Covid-19 cases than most other countries in Europe. Meanwhile:
- The World Health Organization officially declared Covid-19 to be a pandemic.
- Italy is on a total lock down.
- France closed all schools today until further notice.
- The states of Ohio and Maryland have closed all schools.
- Broadway has closed all shows.
- The NBA has suspended its season, as has Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League.
- Disneyland is closed indefinitely.
- Princess and Carnival cruise lines have suspended all cruises
- More than 250 colleges and universities–including Durango’s Fort Lewis College–are suspending onsite classes. Henceforth until further notice, all classes will be held virtually.
- The NCAA cancelled March Madness.
- The PGA tour is proceeding without fans.
- The NFL is cancelling is annual meeting.
- Museums around the country are closing, and several movie premiers have been delayed.
- NASCAR will hold races without fans.
These cancellations are just as of today. More are expected as the nation braces for more Covid-19 impacts.
March 9, 2020. Today, the stock market plunged 2,000 points in one of its worst days in two decades. Investors are fearful that Covid-19 will cause a global recession. Meanwhile, the Saudis sparked an oil trade war with Russia, and the global oil market crashed. Meanwhile, Israel has imposed a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine on anyone entering Israel, and CNN reports that Italy has now imposed a lock down on the entire country. As Covid-19 continues to spread, the reactions from around the world are troubling, and the endgame on this situation is impossible to predict.
March 8, 2020. As of today, there are 521 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the United States. Twenty-one people have died, and the virus has now spread to 33 states and the District of Columbia. The death toll is more than 3,500 people globally, with over 105,000 infections. The Grand Princess cruise ship, with more than 3,500 guests on board has been isolated at sea but is now scheduled to dock at the Port of Oakland. President Trump had not wanted the Grand Princess to dock, although it carried thousands of U.S. citizens, because allowing them back on U.S. soil would raise the number of infected Americans, and the optics for the president would look bad.
March 7, 2020. The incidence of Covid-19 infections keeps rising steadily. Today, it reached 377. The travel industry is being hit hard, especially cruise lines, but all major airlines are cutting back on flights. Major events involving large crowds are being cancelled globally, and small businesses in the U.S. are being affected by supply chain problems (especially where they obtain raw materials and products from China) and declining customers in their local markets. It is likely that layoffs in many industries are forthcoming (e.g., hotels, restaurants, theatres, airports, sporting events, clubs–any service businesses that rely on customers coming into their location).
Meanwhile, Trump and his aides (like Kellyanne Conway) keep reassuring the public that the situation is contained. Clearly, it is not.
March 6, 2020. Globally, more than 100,000 people have now been reported with Covid-19, and more than 3,000 people have died. In the U.S., there are more than 200 cases in 20 states. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is trying to downplay the situation, saying that it’s well under control. Although globally, the death rate from the virus is somewhere between 2-3%, Trump said his “hunch” is that it’s actually less than 1%. In a recent rally, Trump claimed that coronavirus is a Democratic hoax, and one of his supporters said yesterday that she doesn’t believe coronavirus exists. Unfortunately, viruses don’t listen to political propaganda and don’t care about lies and misdirection. This virus will continue to spread and may or may not result in a global pandemic, no matter what Trump and his cronies assert.
March 3, 2020. In a stunning political comeback, Joe Biden won nine states on Super Tuesday: Texas, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Maine, and Oklahoma. Bernie Sanders won Vermont, Utah, and Colorado, and is likely to win California. Mike Bloomberg, who did poorly in all of these primaries, withdrew from the race after spending hundreds of millions of dollars and has endorsed Biden. Elizabeth Warren trailed badly in all states and came in third in her home state of Massachusetts. Today, her aides say she is considering her path forward.
One thing seems to unite most Democrats–and that is the commitment to defeating Trump next November. Democratic voters are saying that that is their principal reason for selecting a candidate. Sanders is still a viable candidate and could win the nomination, but it seems increasingly likely that voters will turn to Biden because they believe he is the better opponent against Trump. Two weeks ago, Biden’s candidacy seemed dead in the water. Then a landslide victory in South Carolina pumped new energy and money into his campaign.
February 29, 2020. With over 256,000 votes, Joe Biden won the democratic presidential primary election in South Carolina. He garnered 48.44 percent of the vote, far surpassing second-place finisher Bernie Sanders, who received 19.9 percent of the vote. Biden win came with a large percentage of the African-American vote in a state that is far more diverse than Iowa and New Hampshire, which have primarily older white voters. This win gave a huge boost to Biden’s campaign and took some of the wind out of Bernie Sanders’ sails.
Following Biden’s victory, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race and endorsed Biden. They were joined by former democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke. These endorsements may help Biden on Super Tuesday. Going into those primaries, Sanders held a huge lead, but Biden may now be seen as a viable candidate in place of the socialist Sanders, whom many Democrats believe cannot win in the general election against Trump and his right-wing supporters.
February 27, 2020. Lawyer Michael Avenatti, who famously represented pornstar Stormy Daniels in her claim that she had sex with Donald Trump, was found guilty of trying to extort $25 million from Nike. He is also facing charges in California and New York for allegedly defrauding Daniels. The brash, high-flying Avenatti was a nightly fixture on cable news when the Stormy Daniels/Donald Trump story was hot. Now he faces more than forty years in prison for extortion.
March 2, 2020. The coronavirus epidemic has now reached many countries, with epicenters in China, where it started, as well as South Korea, Iran, and Italy. Unlike most coronaviruses, including the common cold, Covid-19 seems to be asymptomatic in infected persons for as long as a week, which means those people can be passing on the virus without knowing that they’re infected. It is predicted that as many as forty percent of the adults in the world could eventually be infected with Covid-19. In the United States alone, that would mean 80 million people infected. With a current projected mortality rate of 2%, then as many as 1.6 million Americans could die. Of course, this is the most dire prediction. Already, steps are being taken to limit travel, and the public is becoming much more aware of what’s needed to protect yourself from a viral infection (primarily, hand washing), so the lethality of this virus will likely be considerably less than the most dire predictions.
That said, it should be remembered that in 1918-1919, the day-to-day news of the spread of the deadly strain of influenza would not have been as alarming as the eventual death toll suggests it should have been. The point is that we can’t tell from today’s news how deadly (or not) Covid-19 will turn out to be.
March 3, 2020. Political commentator Paul Begala predicts that if the democrats have a woman as their vice presidential candidate, Donald Trump will dump Mike Pence and add Nikki Haley to the Republican ticket as his VP candidate.