Hunkering Down for the Long Haul

As if an Easter spent alone wasn’t depressing enough, the weather around here was awful. A bitter cold wind was shaking all the trees, the sky was a gloomy gray, and for a short while there was even snow. No one is more eager than we are end the shutdown of public life, but we hope it doesn’t so soon that it causes more deaths.
President Donald Trump had expressed a hope that the churches would be packed on Easter and the country would be “raring to go” by today, but of course that didn’t happen. Now Trump is hoping to reopen the country on May Day, but the same experts who talked him out of the Easter reopening are warning that date might also be premature. The shutdown has slowed the spread of the coronavirus, but it hasn’t yet stopped it, and that might well take a frustrating amount of time.
The impulse to hurry the reopening of the country is understandable, given the catastrophic damage the shutdown has done to the economy and the psychological toll it is taking on many Americans. Trump is eager to win reelection, and he’s right to note that voters are more likely to know one of the 17 million Americans who have lost their jobs than one of the more than 22,000 Americans who have died of coronavirus or even the half-million who have been sickened by it.
Many of Trump’s most outspoken supporters have taken to criticizing the medical experts who are urging caution, especially Dr. Anthony Fauci, but recent polling suggests the public has more faith in experts in general and Fauci in particular than it does in Trump. Fauci has recently become more outspoken about his differences of opinion with Trump, which will no doubt escalate the attacks on him, but Trump will likely have to put up with it for a while, as firing Fauci would be disastrous to his reelection chances.
The country is eager to get back to business, but it seems a majority don’t want that to happen until it be done without getting someone they killed. If Trump can get more people tested and hospitals better equipped to deal with the current crisis the happy day that’s clear might come sooner rather than later, but until then most Americans will endure hardships rather than sacrifice their own lives or those of their fellow citizens.
As hard as it is, which is damned hard, that’s where we’re at.

— Bud Norman

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