Tuesday, April 14, 2020


Yesterday I posted this on Twitter:

Someone I don't know -- his bio and banner tell me he's a fan of the band Rush, and he follows the My Pillow guy and the Claremont Institute, among others -- responded:

Would liberals be happy if there were 2 million deaths? Would I be happy?

I wrote this on February 29, the day of the first U.S. covid-19 death:
Trump wants you to believe that everything's under control, and that America will largely avoid outbreaks. He's crossing his fingers and hoping the virus's spread will abate in the spring.

But I hope he's right. I want him to get away with this because the damage a botched epidemic could do to his poll numbers isn't worth the risk to Americans' health and the profound disruption they'll experience in their lives.
Twenty-three thousand American deaths later, I still feel that way. If America got a lucky break right now -- if good treatments emerged sooner rather than later, if the virus turns out to be less lethal than we feared (as some are arguing) -- I'd welcome it even if right-wingers insisted they were right all along and Trump's poll numbers went up. This is a horrible disease. I'd love a miracle, even if there were political benefit to people I despise.

But the likely course of this disease isn't good. It was better where local authorities pounced early, mostly on the West Coast. It's bad where they acted too late -- and yes, I'm very much including New York City.

But now we know what to do. May 1 is too soon to reopen the country, yet at least one right-wing governor is talking about a partial earlier reopening.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, is eyeing a plan rollout as early as this week to begin opening parts of his state back up for commerce. During an interview on Sean Hannity’s program on Fox News on Monday evening, Abbott reiterated the need to get Texas back to work as early as this week—and definitely ahead of the previous schedule of May 1.

“We want to open. Texans love to work. Texans are dying to get back to work,” Abbott said during the Hannity interview. “We want them to get back to work, but we have to do so in a very safe way so that we don’t regenerate the spread of the coronavirus in the state of Texas. But we’re working on strategis as we speak with medical experts and business leaders to find the right strategy so we can unleash our economy.”

He added that he believes Texas—and many other states—can reopen well before May 1.

“I think most states can reopen even sooner than later. We don’t have to wait until May 1,” Abbott said.
Do I want the virus to spread in red states? No. Too many people will suffer, including people who don't support the way their leaders govern. And viruses don't respect borders.

But if right-wing politicians are going to act foolishly, then the virus will spread. People will die. It would be fitting if the pain that resulted could be seen a direct consequence of bad decisions. And I would hope that the people who made the bad decisions would recognize what they'd done and take steps to undo the damage.

I don't know how the rest of you feel. That's how I feel.

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