The crisp leaves rattle around in the autumn wind outside my window. Some birds chirp while a vacuum cleaner hums upstairs. It smells vaguely like… old baseboard heater? And I see people walking around downtown without masks.
I fundamentally don’t understand why people can’t seem to do a simple thing. If you’re alone, that’s fine. But not throngs of people passing each other, waiting outside restaurants, or going in and out of stores. THIS SHIT IS AIRBORNE! It’s maddening that hasn’t gotten through to some people.The fact that we still have bars and restaurants open is insane. Nationally, we’ve hit over 181,000 infections reported in a single day. That was yesterday, and it’s one out of several worldwide records we’ve set for infection spread. Hooray, we’re number one!
At some point, thing’s have got to break- either we descend into plague-induced chaos, with overflowing hospitals and mass graves like those seen in NYC in the early days of the pandemic, or the goddamn federal government provides some relief. I know I’m shouting into the ether here, and the profoundly lame duck that is the outgoing administration won’t do anything anyway, but it feels nice to vent.
Unemployment is currently reported as around 7% nationally, but that doesn’t take into account those who are underemployed, stopped looking for work, or can’t work for whatever reason. That also doesn’t account for how hard those affected are being hit. Half the nation couldn’t afford a moderate emergency before the pandemic, much less now that so many businesses have gone under. Those jobs, those sources of livelihood, aren’t coming back- most, at least, are gone.
We have to get the pandemic under control, first and foremost, while not neglecting the economic ruin that has hit millions of Americans. I think that a four-week lockdown, packaged with a rent replacement/forgiveness program, direct economic support for individuals and small businesses, and adequate funding for a nationwide test-and-trace program, would go a long way towards that end.