Despite the Trump administration’s false insistence that the coronavirus is under control, it is not. And the most dangerous message going out there is that this is somehow just like the flu and yet with far fewer cases. It is not. None of us have an immunity to this virus. It is called novel because it has never gone around before.
Many are surprised that the influenza of 1918 or the Spanish Flu was simply H1N1 that we get vaccinated for today. But back in 1918 we didn’t know that. All we knew is some people survived it just fine and yet others were cut down in their prime.
The CDC and WHO are trying to organize a response, and it’s not treatment. What they know they must do is to slow the virus spread. 21st century medical care is excellent. Singapore has, remarkably, been able to keep alive every single one of its afflicted. But the thing Trump doesn’t understand or care about is the fact that there’s no medical care when the system is overwhelmed. This is what people, particularly Trumpsters, fail to understand.
Katherine Anne Porter, the writer of Pale Horse, Pale Rider, wrote about her experience with the 1918 influenza. She spent nine days on a bench in the hallway of the overwhelmed hospital in Denver with a 105-degree temperature. This is what everyone is worried about and not enough is being written to make people understand this. COVID-19 is very survivable for most of us. But many victims of the virus need what’s called an ECMO machine in order to bypass the damaged lungs and get oxygen in the body while they recover. The US has less than 300 hospitals who can offer ECMO machine treatment. So do the horrifying math. It’s not hard.
I got into a conversation with a woman from West Texas about the virus. She was vexing about the SXSW festival in Austin being cancelled and what a farce that was for a virus that had killed so few. I tried to explain the math to her about the system getting overwhelmed. I began with, “No, you don’t understand,” and attempted to explain to her, but she went full MAGA and cut me off. “Don’t tell me what I don’t understand!”
This is the real problem of Trump. Ignorance is not only embraced but they’re willing to die for it. Italy had to lock down 16 million people because they fear getting overwhelmed and having people die in the hallways of their hospitals. So please, take this seriously. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, stay at home if you’re over 60, and know that these people who supported Trump are in for the shock (and funerals) of their lives. I went through Katrina. I lost everything because of a botched government response but my family thankfully lost no lives. With that deep personal experience, I know between Trump and his cult, we are indeed in very dangerous times.