I didn’t watch Trump’s Oval Office speech, but according to those who did, it was the usual blame-someone-else and aren’t-I-smart? kind of crap that informs little and calms no one. From the Washington Post:
In an Oval Office address Wednesday night, Trump said that his European travel restrictions will not include the United Kingdom and will include exceptions for Americans who have received “appropriate screenings.” He and administration officials later tweeted that the restrictions apply only to people, not goods and trade, and will not include a bar on U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Trump spoke sternly about what he called a “foreign virus” that “started in China and is now spreading throughout the world.”
“The virus will not have a chance against us,” Trump said. “No nation is more prepared or more resilient than the United States.”
Yeah, somehow that does not instill confidence. For one thing, there’s no such thing as a “foreign virus.” It’s a virus, period, so even if it came from China or the planet Cardassia, it’s a disease that has to be dealt with. A virus does not distinguish between U.S. citizens or legal residents; it won’t check your passport before infecting you, and carrying a U.S. passport will not somehow magically protect you unless you blow your nose into it. Washing your hands and using a Kleenex will.
The NBA is suspending their season until further notice after one player tested positive, and the NCAA is going to hold March Madness in empty arenas. Nursing homes and adult care facilities, including the place where my parents live, are instituting screening procedures for visitors. I’ve gotten e-mails from hotel chains, airlines, and public transit reassuring me that they’re being extra careful in their cleaning procedures, and so far the public schools, including the ones where I work part-time, are following prudent but not over-reactive steps to keep the virus at bay. The trending videos on YouTube are songs to sing for at least twenty seconds while you wash your hands. I prefer the first two verses of Lewis Carroll’s poem “The Jabberwocky.”
Meanwhile, Florida is bracing for impact.
So far, there are 147 pending test results for coronavirus. There are 476 people currently monitored. Two Florida residents have died from the disease, which can be especially life-threatening for those with complicating health conditions and those of advanced age.
House Speaker José Oliva, R-Miami Lakes said the Miami-Dade case was “to be expected.”
“Miami is the gateway to the Americas,” he said. “People fly in and out of Miami every day. It’s one of the busiest airports of the country.”
The news came after a rash of eight cases was announced Tuesday night and one day after Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office rejected at comments made by Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading infectious disease expert on the federal Coronavirus Task Force.
Gov. DeSantis is a vocal sycophant to Trump so this response is not unexpected, but it seems that the virus has a powerful sense of karma.
The lesson here is to not panic, be informed, listen to the people who know how to handle a pandemic, and don’t try to find someone to blame for biology, epidemiology, and viral evolution.
And wash your hands.
Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”