I checked the CDC.gov website this morning. Here we are 18-19 months in this worldwide COVID-19 pandemic; you know, the one that people increasingly think is over or is not as bad as the experts say or worse, never happened. Yeah, it isn’t over. According to the CDC, “the current 7-day moving average of daily new cases (146,182) increased 6.1% compared with the previous 7-day moving average (137,783).” The government agency reports that there are now a total of 41,593,179 COVID-19 cases reported as of September 15, 2021. THE CDC has reported an astonishing 666,440 total deaths to date. That number doesn’t seem to get a rise in anyone these days unless you are, like me, someone who knew a fellow human being is part of this statistic.
What has gotten people a little more anxious is this reality: hospitalization rates are increasing, including rates in children ages 11 years and younger, according to the CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network. They report that “the weekly rates of COVID-19-associated hospitalizations for these children are the highest they have ever been.” The rate for children four years and younger was 2.4 per 100,000 (for the week ending August 28, 2021). The rate for children ages 5–11 is 0.9 per 100,000 (for weeks ending August 9 and August 21, 2021). I know, These age groups are currently not eligible for any of the available COVID-19 vaccines.
These numbers don’t bother some people, but they sure do bother me as a parent and a grandparent. My granddaughter, Anabella Ruiz, four years old, was diagnosed with COVID a week ago. She and her parents, my son Antonio and daughter-in-law Crystal, were quarantined. Anabella developed a bad cold and a low-grade fever. Today, as of this writing, she seems well on her way to a full recovery. We’re all glad to hear it.
But that’s not the point. Anabella shouldn’t have gotten it in the first place. According to my son, she most probably contracted it at her preschool—the one in Texas. You know the state where the Governor is prepared to kill everyone to satisfy the crazies in the GOP base (too harsh?). The Texas Tribune is tracking the virus in the state, and one of their recent headlines said it all, “About a month into this school year, the number of reported coronavirus cases among students is approaching the total from the entire 2020-21 school year.” They add that the state data on school cases is “incomplete and likely an undercount.” Hell, with no mask mandates required and people acting like it doesn’t exist, what would you expect.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve had to contend with denial, misinformation, threats, and the disintegration of public health safeguards. Worse is the fraying of whatever mutual contract we had for neighbors looking out for neighbors, for Americans to practice what they preach:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare…” United States Constitution
This pandemic has been a test of justice; those with the least resources and protection were easy targets for the virus. The last administration and the administrations of many Governors, County, and local officials have created an atmosphere where the local contingent of crazies constantly threatens domestic tranquility. People attack retail workers and show up at Board of Education meetings to protest and disrupt with outlandish conspiracy theories and selfish demands. We may not be at war with planes and tanks and infantry but trust me when I say this is a war for the common defense of our neighbors, our families, especially those who are most at risk. A significant number of Americans have turned their backs on that responsibility. Instead, they have said, “You’re on your own. We owe you nothing.” They have abandoned us all as we work to ensure the general welfare of the United States of America.
It is all in service to a delusion. It is to a sphere of aluminum foil through which they receive their instructions. Those instructions come from each other and the puppeteers who pull strings. The actions are all at the expense of the common purpose. That is to fight against a virus that threatens our lives, economy, and future. They would instead immerse themselves in shouting matches, and desperate sloganeering, and quest for power over the rest of us. But, what will they reap? A dead country, dead people, dead future. And for what?
Those that know better and encourage it are complicit. I mean, those people do know better, but they continue to enable it and lead it. They sit in their offices, television studios, editorial rooms, and behind their news site paywalls and laugh and count their money while America burns. All of this is in service to Free Speech, owning the libs, the illusion of freedom with no accountability, the economy, and some pictures of a strong America that does not exist and probably never has.
I wish I could tell you that we’re all going to be alright. That tomorrow, the deniers and apologists for them will wake up, brush their teeth, make their coffee or tea, and exclaim aloud that they get it. That being patriotic, that freedom, that being citizens of the United States of America carry specific responsibilities if we are to be a nation. The exact messages that we’ve heard for decades. Those messages came from the same types of people directed at those of us who protested. We were told, “You have a responsibility. Nothing is free. We all must respect the flag and our laws.”
Hypocrisy is one thing. Refusing to see and hear the facts of what is literary in front of you is another. I honestly don’t know which is worse.