Thursday, March 12, 2020

Are We In a Contagion Trailer? -OR- COVID-19 Pandemic Now, Spanish Influenza Then

Political commentary aside, I have a feeling that in this present time, we are living through a trailer to the 2011 movie Contagion



… and, yes, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Coronavirus (COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus) as an actual global pandemic, specifically, a Public Health Emergency of International Concern ("PMEIC"), the sixth since 2009.

The thing called our president, Donald Trump, went on national TV tonight -- from his Oval Office, not a MAGA Hillbilly Nuremberg Rally -- to announce a startling (but probably appropriate) 30-day suspension of all civilian commercial airline travel (but not cargo) between Europe and the United States (excluding the UK and, well, let's face it, hundred billion ways around that) …


And the day featured another stock market plunge of 6+ percentage points, putting us down under 20 percent or a "bear market" … And the economic consequences of this situation beginning to kick in … We are literally a hair trigger away from a full U.S. Government "teleworking" shutdown (although I work in a side building in a non-government office here in D.C. that might spare me that).

Universities, colleges, and public school systems are closing everywhere -- with only remote / virtual classes -- as are businesses and, pretty much, any mass gathering.

To be clear, much of this is happening at the local and state level since the federal government's response remains constricted and constrained, or as TPM's Josh Marshall aptly calls it, "drifting and headless," and thus badly sub-optimal, as a direct result of Donald Trump's solipsistic inability to acknowledge the situation and take action.

I say that even while fully acknowledging the amazing work that Dr. Anthony Fauci as part of the NIAID and larger NIH system, and, of course, the CDC, are doing, as instruments of the U.S. Government.

The Trumpian response is being exacerbated, of course, by the rightwing media entertainment agitprop machine around him consisting of Fox News, internet garbage, and hate radio thanks to the symbiotically diseased relationship between that complex and Trump. For the most lethal example of that, consider this:

In a sane and rational country, this anorexic psycho bitch (see image of a Frankensteinian hybrid dog and horse above) would be arrested and thrown in jail -- or at least tossed off the air and banned from being anywhere near a place to speak to the public. But in this dumb-ass country, her financially lucrative megaphone is just amplified -- even while leading the her marks into a life-threatening situation.

In terms of this decentralized, uncoordinated, even spontaneous response, perhaps the most spectacular one in terms of getting the public's attention is that only did the NCAA nix having any fans at the weeks-long "March Madness" annual media extravaganza, but the NBA outright suspended the rest of the 2019-2020 season …

Wow. Wow. Americans are going to go bat shit cray-cray …

Updated 5:38 p.m. 3/12/2020: The NCAA has outright cancelled March Madness this year. In the case of the NBA, at least one player (with the Utah Jazz) tested positive for coronavirus.

What's more startling for me is the number of people who've already declared that they are COVID-19 positive to include not just those CPAC (NaziCon) 2020 crazies ("patient zero" himself being a medical doctor) or the Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, but also, oddly enough, actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson. That means the virus is, like, literally, everywhere. As such, it's more about the mortality rate than containment.

Emergency hospital during the Spanish Influenza epidemic, Camp Funston, Kansas, circa 1918


I wonder if this is anything at all what it was like to live through the 1918-1920 Spanish Influenza global pandemic…


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