Three months ago, there was a glimmer of hope in the COVID pandemic, but now a shit scene, and doesn’t look like it will be any better soon — from the Associated Press yesterday:
The summer that was supposed to mark America’s independence from COVID-19 is instead drawing to a close with the U.S. more firmly under the tyranny of the virus, with deaths per day back up to where they were in March.
The delta variant is filling hospitals, sickening alarming numbers of children and driving coronavirus deaths in some places to the highest levels of the entire pandemic.
School systems that reopened their classrooms are abruptly switching back to remote learning because of outbreaks.
Legal disputes, threats and violence have erupted over mask and vaccine requirements.
The U.S. death toll stands at more than 650,000, with one major forecast model projecting it will top 750,000 by Dec. 1.
“It felt like we had this forward, positive momentum,” lamented Katie Button, executive chef and CEO at two restaurants in Asheville, North Carolina.
“The delta variant wiped that timeline completely away.”
Beyond Delta, what the shit:
The summer wave was fueled by the extra-contagious delta variant combined with stark resistance to vaccinations that formed along political and geographic lines, said Dr. Sten Vermund, of the Yale School of Public Health.
“The virus was more efficient in spreading among the unvaccinated so that you blunted the expected benefit of vaccines,” Vermund said.
In that guise and context, Joe Biden came out swinging this afternoon on vaccines — he forcibly described the new COVID settings — via The New York Times late this afternoon:
President Biden on Thursday used the full force of his presidency to push two-thirds of American workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, reaching into the private sector to mandate that all companies with more than 100 workers require vaccination or weekly testing.
Mr. Biden also moved to mandate shots for health care workers, federal contractors and the vast majority of federal workers, who could face disciplinary measures if they refuse
The sweeping actions, which the president announced in a White House speech, are the most expansive actions he has taken to control the pandemic since he assumed the presidency in January, and will affect almost every aspect of American society.
They also reflect Mr. Biden’s deep frustration with the roughly 80 million Americans who are eligible for the shots but have not been vaccinated.
“We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated co-workers,” Mr. Biden declared from the White House state dining room, with a portrait of Abraham Lincoln looming over his shoulders.
“We’re going to reduce the spread of Covid-19 by increasing the share of the work force that is vaccinated in businesses all across America.”
“If you break the rules, be prepared to pay — and by the way, show some respect,” Mr. Biden said, in a reference to angry airline passengers who refuse to mask up.
Initially reluctant to enact mandates, Mr. Biden is now waging an aggressive effort that will also put pressure on private businesses, states and schools to enact stricter vaccination and testing policies as the Delta variant continues its spread across the United States.
And along with the unvaccinated dumb-asses, Biden also commented on the ‘bullying’ chaos with schools:
Biden: "Local school officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while their governor picks a fight w/ them & even threatens their salaries or their jobs. Talk about bullying in schools. If these governors won't help, I'll use my powers [to] get them out of the way" pic.twitter.com/yHcmcdKepB
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 9, 2021
Not only through Biden’s administration’s work, but voters see the shit piling up — Brad Bannon, a Democratic pollster, outlined the situation with Republican governors Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis have with future elections in an interesting read at The Hill, also this afternoon:
Florida and Texas led the nation in a dubious category with the most COVID-19 deaths in the week leading up to Labor Day.
There were far more fatalities in the two states than there were in big states with Democratic governors.
There were more than twice as many daily deaths on average in Florida (344) and Texas (226) than there were in California (100) and more than seven times as many as New York (31).
Governors are expendable, the lives of young people are precious. Adding insult to injury and death, both chief executives have threatened and bullied public educators who are trying to do everything they can to protect the health and wellbeing of the children in public schools.
Abbott and DeSantis likely see their destinies leading to the White House.
The dreams of parents are for their children to live long and happy lives. The hopes of mothers and fathers should take precedence over the ambitions of politicians.
DeSantis and Abbott are typical of a new breed of Republicans bound by ideology and unburdened by common sense.
Fortunately for the citizens of the Sunshine and Lone Star states, their governors will be accountable next year for the widespread death and destruction.
Both Republican chief executives up for reelection next in 2022 could face formidable challengers and, in turn, present opportunities for Democrats to take over governors’ mansions in mega states.
We wish, but who knows. I like the looks of it, though.
And as a side-note/update from my post this morning on election officials being bullied and threatened, apparently also that shit also included Republican officeholders — Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan reveals in his new book, “GOP 2.0,” set to be published this week, he and his family were put in danger after the election last November.
Nutshell bit via a review at The Washington Post, from yesterday:
Trump called him “corrupt” — and threats poured in, via voicemail, email and social media. A website appeared with his face centered in crosshairs, alongside his address and a picture of his home. FBI agents told him Iran was behind that page, according to his book, as part of a broader effort to amplify election disinformation.
When his teenage son Bayler tweeted a family motto, “Doing the right thing will never be the wrong thing,” the lieutenant governor liked and retweeted the post. His wife, Brooke, was “furious” with him because she feared he had just exposed their son to attack, Duncan writes, “and she was right.” State troopers stood guard as he played catch with his three boys in their yard. “Imagine explaining that to your children,” he writes.
Legislators privately told him they admired his courage. Then they publicly attacked. “I found myself on an island — one that was getting pounded by bombs and artillery,” Duncan writes. “Lie by lie, the former president sapped the trustworthiness of every single Republican official.”
Trump’s false claims of fraud also discouraged introspection. After debunking a litany of conspiracy theories, Duncan criticizes party leaders for refusing to perform the kind of post-mortem they did after Mitt Romney’s loss to Barack Obama in 2012.
Duncan’s book can be read as the closest thing to an autopsy we’re likely to get from any Republican who holds statewide office.
Hear ye, Asshat Abbott and DeathSantis, the voters are coming.
And, here we are, once again…