Republicans Are Leaving Us to Die

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. As some asshole with a blog noted:

…it’s pretty clear that many Republicans (#NotAll…) want to restart businesses at the expense of the health and lives of workers. This should surprise no one. For four decades, Republicans have attempted to overturn environmental protections and worker safety regulations to LIBERATE BUSINESS (to use the phrase of a prominent local politician). Which is to say, they are willing to have people suffer and die for money. COVID-19 is no different.

Ryan Cooper goes to the dark place (boldface mine):

Protests aside, American officials at all levels of government seem completely oblivious to the situation in civilized countries or the arguments about test, track, and isolate. They reacted in blind panic to the pandemic, and then when it became costly to keep containment measures going, they are blindly relaxing them long before the virus has been controlled. Only a few states like Oregon are even talking about contact-tracing measures, let alone isolated quarantine, but realistically for this to work it would have to be the federal government doing it, given the expense and the fact that people can move across state lines at will. That sort of coordination is nowhere in sight.

However, there is a darker possibility. Officials could be pursuing a different strategy to defeat the virus: herd immunity. If roughly two-thirds of the population contracts the virus (and if the resulting antibodies are both universal and long-lasting, which is not at all clear), then statistically the virus will not find enough new victims to perpetuate itself, and will eventually die out. The New York Times reports that even as Trump urges states to re-open, his own analysts behind the scenes are predicting 200,000 daily new cases and 3,000 deaths per day by the end of June — which is what someone pursing a herd immunity strategy would do. The problem is that, as scientists Carl T. Bergstrom and Natalie Dean explain in the Times, it will take months for the statistics to shake out, and the eventual infection rate will rise well past two-thirds — likely about 80-90 percent. With a U.S. population of about 330 million and the most recent estimates of infection fatality rate of about 1 percent, that means something like 2.6 to 3 million Americans dying.

That rate is not well established so far, but even half or a quarter of that number would be cataclysmic. Yet it is hard to avoid the conclusion that is where the United States is headed, unless a vaccine is developed and moved into mass production at unprecedented speedEven if Trump is not actively aiming at herd immunity, there is no indication that he is even considering the test, track, and isolate option, let alone starting to construct the elaborate and efficient bureaucracy that would be needed. Neither is there any sign that he would be capable of doing such a thing even if he wanted to. Absent major developments, it seems highly likely we are going to keep bumping along with moderate levels of new infection for months or even years.

They just don’t care, and they don’t believe they will get very sick or die.

At some point, we will develop therapeutics or a vaccine. Do we want Trump and his Republican enablers to control their distribution? After all, they played–and are still playing–shenanigans with protective equipment and ventilators.

Come November, vote like your life depends on it. Because it does.

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3 Responses to Republicans Are Leaving Us to Die

  1. Martin says:

    I’m not a biologist, mad or otherwise, so I have some questions.

    Doesn’t the fact that people recover from COVID-19 indicate that their immune system has ‘figured out’ how to produce antibodies, and, therefore, they are immune to a second infection?

    Unless the virus mutates, in which case it’s like flu shots where we get inoculated for a different strain every year. Even then, there may be more than one (flu) strain out there, so effectiveness is not guaranteed. So is it even reasonable to have any hope in finding a COVID-19 vaccine that’s widely effective?

    It seems like COVID-19 is more like particulate matter. Even if you have acquired immunity, can it be carried — on hands, at least, or maybe present in nasal passages without causing infection or testing positive — and transmit to others?


  2. GeoCrackr says:

    You say “vote like your life depends on it” as if Joe Biden has been advocating anything different – for all intents and purposes he is JUST AS OKAY murdering 2.6 – 3 million Americans to save his rich friends’ money as Trump is (same w/ Pelosi and Schumer). So *how* are we supposed to vote, exactly?

  3. AWJ says:

    I suspect Jack Burkman speaks for a lot of Republicans: “So what if 1 percent of the population goes? So what if you lose 400,000 people? Two hundred thousand were elderly, the other 200,000 are the bottom of society. You got to clean out the barn.”

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