FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Shit Has Hit the Fan: Shut the Country Down to Save Lives

All my life fear is all I’ve heard.

Fear the immigrant, Muslims, foreignness, black people protesting, black athletes kneeling during the Anthem, germs, foreign travel to non-Western countries, terrorism, etc., etc. Before 9/11, as a teen in the late 1990s, it was fear of marijuana, public welfare abuse and, as always, inclement weather.

There is a clear economic driver to sensationalizing fear in the mass media: viewership and advertisement revenue will increase as more of the public watch to ‘learn’ what to fear and how to keep ‘safe’. In this sense, the American public are like people anywhere, albeit, with a different system conditioning them.

From an evolutionary perspective, reflexive fear may help an animal survive. But acting like a prey animal, with eyes on either side of head to detect approaching predators, is no way to live. For a cornered, frightened rat will do anything their master says to not be crushed underfoot.

Today, after decades of crying wolf in fear, the **it has hit the fan. Over the past three days, the US has seen 5,000+ new daily coronavirus cases. This is an exponential increase of about 5,000 cases higher than Italy at Day 21. Because of the virus’s newness, the human immune system, unlike flu, has little resistance to its spread. There is no clear drug treatment for the virus, and we are about a year away from a vaccine. This virus kills at rate several times higher than flu, and new data shows that young health people are not invincible to severe cases.

Therefore, it is time to channel decades of irrational fear and repurpose it into extremely cautious behavior. The federal government must close all schools and nonessential institutions and businesses in the United States, including bars, restaurants and public areas like beaches, until the threat of coronavirus transmission has diminished. All other nations stricken by even half the US case numbers have done so, as rational responses to their public health emergencies.

Yet, anti-American coward-in-chief, Donald Trump, is different. (Trump is anti-American in many broader ways, but, more strictly, in his combatting the First Amendment in crushing protester rights at campaign events and on the NFL field. And in his shifty response to coronavirus, in which he hastened the virus’s spread through encouraging people to go to work with the disease, displaying that handshakes are ok and acting like all is fine – as Americans suffer one of the worst public health crises ever. In short, anti-Americanness reeks in his utter disregard for Americans’ basic well-being. This was true before the pandemic, but more obvious today. Cowardice evinces in Trump’s xenophobic fear of immigrants, Muslims, foreignness and his inability to stand any criticism.)

Nationally, restaurants, bars and places of public gathering remain open as cases surge past 27,000 – over 23,000 new cases in the past week alone. The federal government must shut down all schools and nonessential businesses and institutions to prevent further transmission.

Why this hasn’t happened yet is due to a mix of the anti-American coward-in-chief’s utter stupidity and because the economy will suffer. But Mr. Coward-in-Chief, I’ve got news for you – the economy has already tanked and this will only exacerbate the more that the virus spreads. Also, semi-rational advisers and/or political allies will eventually push you to shut the country down anyways.

Immediately shutting down the country will help the economy in the long run. Far more importantly, it will help mitigate Americans’ suffering and death under your irresponsible watch.

For decades Americans have been conditioned to be perpetually afraid, fearing everything from immigrants, Islam, marijuana and non-European foreign travel. Now there is actually something to be rationally fearful over.

In response, we should act responsibly and in solidarity with our neighbors by staying inside. But many people, including Trump supporters dubious of a ‘hoax’, are unlikely to do so.

Therefore, we need the federal government to mandate a shutdown today to save lives.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
César Chelala - Alberto Luis Zuppi
The Pope is Wrong on Argentina
James Preston Allen
Alexander Cockburn Meets Charles Bukowski at a Sushi Bar in San Pedro
Jérôme Duval
The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It
Neve Gordon
Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic
Alvaro Huerta
To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans
Prabir Purkayastha
Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies
Raouf Halaby
Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President
Thomas Drake
The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia
Negin Owliaei
Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water
Felice Pace
A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?
Ray Brescia
What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Covid-19 Opportunity
John Kendall Hawkins
An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland
Nolan Higdon – Mickey Huff
Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time
Susan Block
Coronavirus Spring
David Yearsley
Lutz Alone
CounterPunch News Service
Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail