I stopped writing for a while because it felt like I just had the same news to report and the same sad statistics. As time has gone by it seems the people of the USA have lost their taste for the preservation of human life. But as we have re-opened and the protests have raged over racial injustice the coronavirus fire has started burning hotter.
We have come to another lethal turning point in our situation and it needs to be logged. The events all feed into each other and it's important to mark them for what they are. Windows of opportunity that can close on us. We are running out of time to avoid major damage on a scale no one alive in the US has experience before.
In several states including Arizona, Texas and Florida they are approaching their real "first wave." The US is huge with differing cultures across it. This has led to an uneven spread of coronavirus. There is a myth that has been very hard to crush that this is the dreaded second wave. The one predicted to make the first look like child's play. But that isn't what we are actually seeing. We never got past the first. Most places were spared in the early days by shutdowns and just by being so far apart or not being heavy travel destinations. Some even made sure to do a good job with phase 1 testing and tracing to control the spread. The problem is that not all places reacted the same and in the end, the people just quit. It left the fire burning a slow and steady flame that was just waiting for the fuel to get out of control.
My hope is that this will be enough to get people back on board with fighting this virus. The biggest issue we face is going into the winter and flu season without a plan or preparations. THAT is the worst case scenario. And right now, it's what we are facing. So here is what needs to happen.
Every citizen tested, every 2 weeks until FULL control is gained. That means new infections across the nation are down below 100 a day. This will take a huge effort to make happen but we are the United States of America. If other countries can battle this virus and win then we can get control of it. We have the resources, we just need the will and cooperation of the people.
Proper contact tracing programs MUST be instituted. We need a computer system for this and the full cooperation of the American people. Nothing else will do. We must track the movement of a person who is found infected and be able to quarantine their contacts and decontaminate the areas they have been in.
We must have a proper quarantine policy that is followed strictly in all 50 states. 14 days is NOT sufficient as there are cases reliably tracked to having taken 28 days to emerge after infection. There is a relitively high false negative testing rate with coronavirus so the ONLY way to be sure is to keep people who have had direct contact quarantined until the danger has passed. Pre-symptomatic people are highly contagious. This is NOT the same as an asymptomatic case where the person never shows symptoms. We are still unsure of how common or how contagious asymptomatic cases are but we KNOW how contagious pre-symptomatic people are.
Quarantines MUST be enforced strictly. No exceptions. Proper penalties must exist for those who break them such as to discourage people from doing so. There can be no room for wiggling here. A proper public information campaign must be waged to get the people to cooperate. The alternative is martial law and I am not eager for that to happen. Quarantining the infected and their contacts is the ONLY way to ensure that the rest can continue on with buisness. This virus can make a person sick for MONTHS! If enough get sick the economy shuts down under the weight all by itself.
Mask wearing in public MUST be mandatory with fines and a lack of admittance to those not in compliance. There is NO good reason for people not to wear a cloth mask in public. None. And it is NOT a freedom issue either. You aren't allowed to endanger the lives of others. If endangerment is allowed then freedom cannot exist. It is an excuse by selfish, mentally ill people who will use any excuse they can find, and THIS excuse does not hold up to scrutiny. You can't decide not to wear cloths in public and no one calls that a breach of bodily autonomy. Not wearing a mask right now is FAR more dangerous than showing another person you jiggly bits!
There has to be a consensus by the authorities, experts and media on the basic instructions for the people. No more political agendas, no more media hype or downplaying. People need simple, easy to understand, reliable information and they need it now! We have to unify the people. We need to deal with disinformation swiftly and to do so we need transparency and education for the public. Naturally this is the role media is supposed to play. Over the years the penalty for a journalist publishing false information has died out and "opinion" based reporting has taken it's place. Opinions are not news and are not what we need right now. While certain details about the virus itself and how it behaves may be learned over time, our general instructions do not. Stop trying to entertain people or get something from them and just report the news.
Support systems MUST be in place for those quarantined. They need to know they will not lose their jobs, home, utilities or anything else if you want them to comply. Nothing less can be tolerated. They also need a supply delivery method that is a reliable system across all 50 states to ensure they do not have to leave their homes. If you make people chose between quarantine and their starvation they will chose not to starve every time. Some of what we have to do is get people to understand that we won't LET them starve or go homeless, hence the unwavering support we must enact and project.
Domestic economic restructure must begin NOW. We are running out of time to save ourselves from a total economic collapse in the next 18 months. The pandemic is here to stay and many jobs are gone forever. Lucky for us many OTHER things are now in high demand that we can use to replace them. This will take money, time and dedication. Ideally we would focus on the domestic production of vital supplies such as life saving medicine and testing supplies that we currently have to get from outside the country in some amount or completely. This would generate jobs from administration, to construction, to engineering to non skilled labor and more. As we get the most vital systems covered we should continue on to commodities. We need to ensure the long term success of our people regardless of what happens in the world at large and stop competing for the supplies we need both globally and domestically.
The support of small, local food producers has to happen in rural communities all over the country. Small loans and incentives should be given by the Federal and State governments to support this. Factory farming, specifically meat production is vulnerable to this pandemic. By shortening the supply chain and diversifying we can bring more economic stability and food security to millions.
We have to get affordable, quality healthcare to all people equally. In a time like this any weak link in the chain can spell disaster for the whole. Forget about the humanitarian need for it for just a moment. If we have people who are at a higher risk for infection and complication in our communities then the risk goes up for everyone else. No one is safe until everyone is safe. This would also go a long way to calming civil tensions and help stabilize us as a nation. On the moral end of things it's just the right thing to do. Minorities are dying at three times the rate of everyone else in the US. If we continue to tolerate this is us saying that they are worth less and that we do NOT believe that all of us are deserving of an equal opportunity to live and thrive. THAT is what's causing the protests and civil unrest. Dealing with the healthcare aspect is the bare minimum we have to do.
There are many concerned with the "freedom" issue of all this. Freedom should not be a problem here. We have laws for a reason. They exist not to crush freedom (or they SHOULDN'T!) but to maintain it. If people are in danger they cannot be free. Period. We don't let people drive drunk. We don't allow assault. When a person choses to take an action that harms another they are taking that persons freedom away. If any policies enacted for coronavirus lead to corruption then it's our job to remove that person from office. Fear of that happening cannot be a barrier to action at all. It is a balancing act that we have and always will have to face. But if something is a danger to our people we don't freeze up. If we do our freedom is lost anyway. You can't be free if you are dead.
NONE of this is negotiable. And it's just the bare minimum. It doesn't come close to addressing the other issues we have to deal with. But if we can't do these 10 things we are a failed state. Period. It isn't just the risk of the virus itself here. As other nations see our failure we look weak. This encourages them to acts of aggression against us and our allies. It already has. We can't fight a war on 2 fronts here let alone the 3 we are facing now. The virus, within, AND without.
We are fighting a war. Make no mistake. It's one against our own system and ignorance. We have gotten so fat, entitled and lazy that we are literally sitting on our asses at the beginning of the end of our civilization as we know it. If we can't beat this, we can't beat anything. Fight for it. Accept nothing less. If to do these things we must protest then follow the guidance. Wear a mask and quarantine. But to do nothing now is to give in to the death of REAL freedom and the death of our people. Tolerate no wavering. Give not one inch. It will be hard and success is not guaranteed but if we do nothing our failure IS a guarantee. So pull yourself up by the boot straps and demand excellence from your leaders, yourselves and the people around you. Fight for you lives because that IS exactly what's at stake.