The Coronavirus Just Turned Much Nastier…Get Used to Shelter in Place

The Midwest is about to erupt; Asian countries that seemed under control are seeing spikes in infections and are returning to isolation; and Trump and Kushner lie and twiddle their thumbs. This is not looking good at all.

Before we review the ever bleaker prognosis, an utterly predictable report from the gas and oil industry and a repeat announcement encouraging you to contribute to the Navajo & Hopi COVID-19 Relief Fund. First, this shared by one of our readers, Cristy Holden:

Whiting Petroleum Becomes the First Petroleum Company To Go Bankrupt, A Day AFTER Handing Out Millions in Exec Bonuses—Gotta Love Capitalism

Whiting Petroleum Corporation has become the first oil and gas sector casualty of the current slump in crude demand caused by the dual gut punch of the Covid-19 pandemic and the price war between producers triggered by Saudi Arabia and Russia. Crude oil had plummeted from a high of just over $60/barrel to $20/barrel before staging a rally yesterday, boosting the price to just under $29/barrel. Too little and too late for Whiting.

Over the last three months through Tuesday (March 31), the company’s stock had shed 91% of its value. A fracking company, Whiting operates in several states including N.M. The day prior to their bankruptcy announcement its board first acknowledged its inability to pay its debts, and then voted to give top executives a $14.6M “bonus” for their leadership. Their press release acknowledged that obligations to their buyers will be honored and no immediate plans for layoffs were mentioned. Yet.

So, you can’t pay your debts, you’ve lost over 90% of your company’s value, and you were led to that position by an executive team that, as a reward for their leadership, will get $14.6 M in bonuses. One of those execs receiving $2.2 M had been with Whiting for only eight months. This is how the corporatocracy works. The rich get richer and the rest, well, we fend for ourselves.

Navajo & Hopi Nations Beset By Spiking COVID-19…. Grassroots volunteer effort launched

It’s time for those with resources to show generosity. If you have the means, please make a contribution to the Navajo & Hopi Go Fund Me campaign below. And please share this information with others you know who might be able to contribute.

For details on the virus running rampant in Navajo and Hopi Nations, click here to read yesterday’s post which provided extensive details and placed the outbreak in historic perspective.

The Coronavirus Plot Thickens

“I have all this data about ICU capacity. I’m doing my own projections, and I’ve gotten a lot smarter about this. New York doesn’t need all the ventilators.”

Jared Kushner

Alert to Donald Trump: This is not some kind of board game of Risk where the family gathers and pretends they are moving pieces around in real world conflicts. You can’t just put your utterly inept son-in-law in a role that has life or death consequences for millions of Americans. Jared Kushner, “doing my own projections”… “I’ve gotten a lot smarter”… ok, maybe if you are suddenly so smart you should unplug your computer and listen to Dr. Anthony Fauci who has decades of education and experience working with these kinds of numbers and actually doesn’t need to get “a lot smarter.” Do your stupid “projections” about the availability of ventilators incorporate the desperate pleas from Governor Cuomo and one NY hospital administrator after another?

Let’s start with some facts: Despite the President’s pronouncements, we do not have enough respirators, PPE, or testing kits, and we are not nearing containment of the virus, we are not doing a good job. Let’s look first at Louisiana, then New York, New Jersey, and California.

“That is the single largest, I should say, most pressing issue when it comes to surging our capacity. These ventilators are very hard to come by. But we did distribute 100 today to the region. But we actually need at least 1,000. So we have got a long way to go.”

Louisiana Governor Jon Bel Edwards

“Officials from New York began to warn that the health system was nearing its capacity to handle the waves of patients, with possibly just days until it reaches the limits of ventilators and hospital beds. New Jersey, which has the second-highest rate of infections and is tracking New York’s pace, is trying to get ahead of the curve and avoid the dire fate of its neighbor. New York and its suburbs have the nation’s most intense concentrations of infection and leaders have been vocal for weeks about their need for equipment. Doctors, nurses and paramedics have been entering wards in improvised gear, including garbage bags and rain ponchos.” 

Bloomberg News: “New York, New Jersey Seize Ventilators Before Pandemic Crests”

Ponchos and garbage bags are not Personal Protective Equipment and in California, just days ago the federal government sent California 170 ventilators. They were all broken. As California nears the virus peak, they are woefully short of ventilators. Donald Trump seems to believe that if you say something often enough, it just becomes true.

“Citing reports that Ford and GE Healthcare plan would produce 50,000 ventilators in 100 days, Mr. Trump said 10 American companies were quickly increasing ventilator production. ‘As we outpace what we need, we’re going to be sending them to Italy, we’re going to be sending them to France, we’re going to be sending them to Spain, where they have tremendous problems, and other countries as we can,’ he said.”

NY Times: “As Governors Plead for Tests, Trump Promises Ventilators to Europe”

100 days! New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, are California are out of ventilators now or are sharing them with two patients, against all medical precedent, and he pronounces ventilators promised in 100 days as a victory and then crows that we will have a glut of respirators. The same delusions typify his characterization of the situation with testing kits.

“President Trump told governors on a conference call Monday [March 30] that he “hasn’t heard about testing in weeks,” suggesting that a chronic lack of kits to test people for the coronavirus is no longer a problem. … “Literally we are one day away, if we don’t get test kits from the C.D.C., that we wouldn’t be able to do testing in Montana,” Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, a Democrat, said, according to an audio recording of the conversation obtained by The New York Times.”

NY Times: “As Governors Plead for Tests, Trump Promises Ventilators to Europe”

So, we do not have enough ventilators, PPE, and testing kits, but that isn’t the only delusion under which the administration is operating.

We are not two or three weeks away from being able to ease restrictions. The coronavirus is about to explode in the midwest, south, and farm belt.

Coaxed and reassured by a clueless president that their numbers look good, almost a dozen midwest and farmbelt states are not sheltering in place, practicing social distancing, or doing anything to help contain the spread of coronavirus. And that promises to result in an explosive 4th wave of the epidemic in the US. As reported in CNN:

“It is now clear that the epidemic has found a foothold not just in coastal cities, but also in mid-sized cities and towns across the country. Albany, a town in the western part of Georgia, near nothing in particular, was the first to gain attention as the epidemic appeared, possibly spread by people at a funeral. To date, 462 people have been diagnosed in Dougherty County, where Albany is situated, and 18 have died. The outbreak there revealed a likely problem for the next wave of affected areas. Unlike the large cities — Seattle and New York City among them — Albany has just one hospital network.”

CNN: “What happens in the 4th wave of the pandemic?”

Click here to read the full CNN report.

This same scenario is playing out across the country and our country has no one to blame but Donald Trump. In the next few weeks, towns like Albany, Georgia will explode with cases and with limited and poorly equipped health facilities. Suddenly Donald won’t be trying to rescue voters in blue states, but his own constituents, people living in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Idaho, Utah, and Tennessee. Not only that, with their utter absence of restraints and their ignoring recommendations not to travel, they likely will have reseeded the virus in countless urban communities just getting over the first brutal wave.

And even in countries that have done everything right, a new wave of the virus is erupting….

“Vietnam has banned public gatherings of more than two people. Hong Kong has closed nightclubs, karaoke bars and mah-jongg parlors, and deployed health inspectors to check that restaurants are seating parties at least 6 feet apart. Singapore has warned that anyone standing within 3 feet of another person in line could face up to six months in jail.

Suddenly, Asian governments that appeared to be bringing the coronavirus under control are imposing new social restrictions as the numbers of infections — many from overseas — continue to rise.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer: “Asian countries impose new restrictions as coronavirus infections come roaring back”

And so, even countries that did everything right from the first signs of the virus, are now seeing a resurfacing of the virus. We have not been doing everything right and Trump continues to try to bolster the American spirit with false pronouncements and predictions of churches full on Easter or now with another two weeks of isolation, we will get the upper hand.

This is not just incompetence; this is criminal negligence. Trump’s persistent downplaying of the seriousness of this pandemic, and his unsubstantiated rosy pronouncements about how well he is doing in addressing the virus and when it will end, has provided non-stop fodder for Fox News who reports his comments as if they were the Gospel. And people believe it and so they flock to churches, beaches, and malls spreading the virus over and over.

And now let’s close with the most depressing facts of all

Donald Trump has botched the response to the coronavirus in almost every possible way—and yet his approval rating just hit its highest point ever.

Consistent majorities say they approve of his handling of the pandemic, and he’s now leading in head-to-head polls in key battleground states like Florida.

What do we do?

I wish the path forward were clear. With shelter in place restricting canvassing and other campaign activities, there are limited opportunities to generate public debate and consistent rebuttals to Trump and his cronies. Meanwhile Trump has the media awaiting his every word at highly uncritical daily press conferences.

So, I pose a few questions to you: What do we do? Staying alive by sheltering in place is obviously the most important priority, but how do we use our time at home to mount anything like a defense against this monstrous misinformation campaign and the impact it could have on the November election? Over the past 2-3 weeks Retake has published numerous posts about what new economic, health, political systems could look like. But given our constrained circumstances, our isolation, our inability to meet one-on-one or in groups, how do we foster those ideas and ensure that in November we have newly elected leadership willing and able to adopt elements of those systems?

Comments welcome.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne



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13 replies

  1. Initiate a series of Zoom meetings?

  2. Looks like the Trump Bump from unending Covir-19 press conferences was short-lived… https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/. The Apr. 2 Rasmussen poll has him 9 unadjusted points underwater, 17 points down based on 538’s view of their Republican bias.

  3. The fact that Trump’s approval rating is up was literally keeping me awake last night. I have a new baby, and he was sleeping peacefully, but I was feeling complete horror and couldn’t close my eyes. It’s hard to think constructively when tired and so afraid of my fellow Americans. Sorry, I know that’s not helpful to any of your questions… :\

  4. What to do? A couple of ideas:

    All those people in your contact list, many of whom you haven’t been in touch with for years and often live far away – give them a call. I’ve done this with a number of people over the last few weeks and found that people, who usually might not have the time, really enjoy catching up and comparing notes on what is going on in their area. They often will have time for more in depth discussions about how the epidemic has been handled by both the state and national government and other political issues. In particular it provides an unusual opportunity to discuss with the more conservative leaning about the role of government.

    Something that I haven’t done, but have seen and which actually looked like fun was having zoom parties – essentially a zoom get together with a group of friends who are each in their own homes, but having a drink and chatting. This seems like a good way to reduce the feeling of isolation that many are experiencing.

    In terms of campaign related activities, it seems like it would be an excellent time to do as much phone canvasing as possible. Right now I think people are much more likely to answer cold calls than they would normally.

  5. How is it even surprising that Trump’s approval rating is going up? Who is challenging him in any serious way? Biden has exactly zero fresh and inspiring ideas. He looks bleak compared to Trump. Politically, the whole thing is dispiriting, but is not surprising. Of course, when Biden loses the election, it will be Bernie supporters who will be blamed again.

    Time to start building local agriculture (CSA). They have witnessed a 360% increase in member applications. They are putting people on the wait list. Most of the people who will sign up with them now will remain members even after the crisis passes. We should focus on the systems that we can build locally that will sustain us in the times of crisis.

  6. P.S. And, honestly, I wouldn’t even know how to even begin canvassing or calling for Biden – the numbers for my inspiration about the aforementioned candidate are in the negative.

  7. @ssmegss and everyone: check the numbers again. The majority of people still disapprove of Trump, according to https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/.
    Read/listen to Heather Cox Richardson. Her blog posts are about current events; her video talks (Tuesdays and Thursdays) are about history and how things have developed over time. She is a masterful historian, better-informed than almost anyone I’ve heard; and she is always encouraging, even when relaying bad news.
    Her video talks are cached on her Facebook page. Her blog is at https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/ .

  8. We should not be worrying about trumps approval ratings. The same media outlets that mislead the public about trumps competence, are presenting him as the hero of the Corona Virus response. The spell will break, once these followers, face the cold reality of deaths in their families and communities. The trump supporting “news” outlets are still portraying an alternate reality complete with their own set of facts.. They are even promoting doctors who will misrepresent the facts, to put trump in a good light. Perhaps reality will set in

    What we should be concerned about is the conversation going online, and the scandal over Zoom. The unquestioned use of online platforms for discussions, and “activism” creating more information silos. Zoom was sending data to Facebook, and was deceptive about their data collecting. I don’t see anyone asking how this will impact anything. Even the education system going online, has not drawn any real scrutiny. No research or data tracking was done, on the kids who participated in online education over the years. They had to get a GED to graduate so there is no way to know of the impact. They were deliberately excluded from testing, and evaluation, to make the numbers look better.

    The local corporate media appears to be distracting us with squabbles over the state budget, in the never ending divide and conquer, to sell advertising. In the middle of a deadly pandemic, they are still at it. There is no way to guess how much money the state can expect from the federal government, or calculate any budget at this time. The republicans are trying to stay relevant, with the help of their cronies in the business community. They are about to learn that viral pandemics can be expensive, and that their support of an incompetent and dangerous criminal that they failed to hold accountable has deadly consequences.

    It looks like the strikes, workers demanding safety and protection, have been censored locally. The firing and systematic smearing of a worker who stood up to Amazon, is an example of how they suppress the news, that effects workers. Someone should be paying attention, but the facts might bring panic. it is clear from the supermarket shelves, that people have no faith, in there being food there next week or next month. It looks like this Pandemic is going to drag on for months due to the inaction at the beginning, and the FACT that we have no tests. We have seen the corporate CEO’s systematically fail us, as they vie for positive attention, and grovel for trump.

    The only reason we have to shelter in place, and watch the death count on social media, is because trump destroyed the CDC. The other agencies that were supposed to protects us, like the FDA are now useless, nothing more than a branding opportunity. We are seeing how the hospital administrators who support the trump agenda, are splitting from the doctors and nurses on the front lines. They are even cutting pay, because they are losing money due to the Corona Virus. The flaws in the system are becoming clear. Doctors and nurses that speak up are getting fired, they are learning that the corporations they work for demand their silence. This has been true all along, leaving only physician marketers to speak for doctors.

    It looks like our state might escape some of the worst of the pandemic, due to our governor’s quick action. This might bring people from states that did not, to come here to occupy their second homes, putting more stress on our system. They will also bring virus with them. Locals are already noticing the expensive rigs, and out of state plates.

    They are trying to get sanders to drop out, yet no one is very excited about Biden. He is not really showing any leadership or the cajones to deal with this catastrophy. We are going to have to unpack how we got into a Pandemic, and the enablers and liars will need prosecution. The Obama administration which includes Biden, failed to prosecute the war criminals that are now running our government.

    Remember to practice social distancing, no one wants to end up on a ventilator. There is some evidence that the virus can cause lasing damage to some people. They don’t even have enough medication to put people on ventilators. There is a severe shortage of opiates. These drugs are necessary to keep someone calm on a ventilator. They have been lying about all of that too. I have little or no faith in our healthcare system. If it comes down to it, the people with better reimbursing insurance will get the best care, the rest will end up in the halls. No one paid attention to any of that either.

    • Thoughtful and I agree. My response isn’t very constructive : we need a coup to take out this administration but I truly fear ICE gestapo and I’m a US citizen. So Bernie’ revolution is right on but how does America pull off a coup?
      Could we do this w/o violence and guns? Our current social and political media network is missing some vital component, It may be the element of sabotage…

  9. We have the DNC to thank for where we are today. What they did to put up a candidate who is far weaker than Hillary in 2016 is going to come back to bite us. Many people, including myself and my husband, are not going to vote for Joe Biden. In fact, we’re encouraging Bernie Sanders to run as an independent in November. He probably won’t to that, but Biden has Zero change of beating Donald Trump.

    The argument that a vote for a third party candidate is a vote for Donald Trump is no longer valid, in my opinion. The reason is that Joe Biden is going to lose anyway. Paul mentioned DJT’s ratings, and this goes to show that progressives cannot mount a viable candidate without joining hands with other disaffected Americans and young people, in particular.

    The chance to beat Donald Trump in November has been sacrificed by the DNC’s cozy relationship to the same people behind the GOP. I no longer believe that working for change within the system is possible.

    Sorry to be a downer, but this is my view.

    • If Biden is the candidate and ANY Democrat fails to vote for him, they are basically being childish and short-sighted. It is one thing to be principled, but it is another to fail to recognize the enormous difference between Trump and just about anyone the Dems could come up with. I just don’t understand how anyone who has paid any attention to Trump the past 8 weeks and then can still harbor any thought whatsoever other than to do all possible to unseat him.

    • I agree. We need to sabotage the system and I am disgusted w/ the DNC. Perez has to go.

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