Saturday, March 21, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day Six: Trump Task Force Rallies, Skyrocketing COVID 19 Statistics, and Closed Borders

Dear Diary,

What started out as White House press briefings about the coronavirus has deteriorated into Trump loyalty rallies.

There's no other way to put it after yesterday's fight between our Liar in Charge and the press.

After listening to Trump's task force lackey's (with the exception of Dr. Fauci whose not a Trump minion) it was apparent... the task force is no longer about COVID 19,
it's there to defend Trump's alternate realities as he spins lies to make himself look good.

At one point, Dr. Fauci directly contradicted Trump's claim about a drug being a "game-changer." Unfazed, Trump went on to contradict Fauci. Like the majority of Americans at that moment watching the drama unfold, I believed Dr. Fauci... NOT TRUMP!

After that it was game on! Trump viciously attacked NBC news reporter Peter Alexander for asking whether he was giving Americans "false hope" by touting an unproven drug for COVID 19.

Here's what I know; all of the healthcare experts in the country are doing their best to fight the pandemic. I'm looking to "real" experts - not Trump cronies - for information.


Skyrocketing COVID 19 Stats

As expected the number of cases have doubled across the country since yesterday. With testing becoming more available cases will continue to skyrocket across the country according to healthcare experts.

Dr. Fauci predicted that Americans will have to stay at home for (at least) three weeks.

Startling statistic: Men are dying at twice the rate of women and no one knows why.


Observations around the country

**Under the category of corrupt politicians:
Four senators under fire for stock-selloffs amid the coronavirus outbreak. This story will have legs as investigators (there's already a call for more investigations) look into the Trump children and the Kushner family. I'll bet they used insider knowledge to cash in on the crisis.

**US Tax filing day extended to July 15th. This hasn't happened in my lifetime. Another first in the Age of Our Modern Pandemic.


Closed borders

Our northern and southern borders are officially closed to all but essential traffic to keep supply lines open. Still another first in a lifetime.



In Medford, Oregon

**Pet food stores are still open. As they should be. Just not allowing more than five customers in at a time. When Shirley and I went we were the only customers there. Washed up when we got home.

**I know there's other parts of the country that are having problems with young people still gathering in crowds despite all warnings. I'm happy to report that's not the case here.

**Just heard that state and local parks in Oregon are closed to visitors.


Random thoughts

**The good news is that spring has sprung and it's time for gardening. Shirley and I will get our vitamin D, a bit of exercise, and the satisfaction from having plenty of projects to do both outside... and in.

**I'm hoping to see a rebirth of reading books among children and adults. Reading has always been one of my loves. There's nothing like getting lost in a good book. 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day Five: Anger, Miscommunications, and Lies

Dear Diary,

The one thing I was hoping for during these terrible times, was that Americans would all come together to fight a common foe.

But...

Anger is replacing patience as needed supplies for the states aren't arriving and COVID 19 cases are increasing hourly.

Things are getting uglier at the White House as reports come out about how badly the Trump regime mishandled this pandemic from the start.

State governors are crying out for federal help right now as the coronavirus cases in their states skyrocket daily. They're feeling the pressure as their constituents panic at the lack of testing, and options.

Trump reverted back yesterday (there was a small hiatus) to attacking the press. If there's one thing he hates it's the truth, so he resorted to his fake news routine...

Which, of course, caused millions of viewers watching Trump to be confused. It seems like every time he holds a briefing the stock market sinks and his lies have consequences.

The big question yesterday was "Where is Dr. Fauci?

The Trump Task force didn't have him in the lineup for two days and his absence was noted by all because he was the only member of the team that was consistently telling the truth - and even correcting Trump on live TV when necessary. Update: We should hear from Dr. Fauci today.



On the home front - Medford, Oregon

**Thus far there's no shortages of alcohol. I went into a nearly empty state liquor store yesterday, and bought a couple of bottles of good booze. They were still well-stocked. Yes, I washed my hands with soap as soon as I got home!

**Pharmacies are still open. My wife was able to pick up her prescription with no problem. Again, there was hardly anyone there. More handwashing.

**Had a scare when our eldest son Richard called and said his 18-year old son, Roanin, woke up sick this morning. He called the ER and they instructed him to go to a triage set up outside the hospital ER where they checked his temperature - which thank goodness wasn't high - and sent them home with instructions on what to watch for. 

**It's weird. We've known our neighbors for seven years and party with them, but had to stop because of our new reality. Texts just aren't the same, and forget phone calls... they're for emergencies!

In conclusion...

… important events are happening so fast, both near and far, that's it's impossible for me to report on them all daily. This diary is more of my way of coping with this brave new world than anything else. 

These entries reflect my journalistic, personal, and emotional responses to the coronavirus, and how it's affecting us all.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day Four: Silence and Fear Descends Upon America

Dear Diary

The news hasn't been very encouraging in the last 24 hours.

The enormity of this pandemic continues to wash over my senses, dulling them to the constant alerts on every news channel. It's starting to feel like a bad science fiction movie.

So many sudden and crazy societal changes from coast-to-coast. Cities sheltering in place. The growing death toll that authorities say will get much worse.


Random thoughts

What will gambling addicts do now that casinos are shut down across the country? There's no slot machines fleecing the elderly population from Jersey City to Las Vegas because they had to roll up their sidewalks and close.

Congress passed another emergency bailout bill, but the stock market wasn't impressed and the Dow closed down 20,000 points.

Did you know that the coronavirus started with bats? They infected humans in China and the rest is history.


Oregon observations

** Shirley and I are isolating in our house. Our only contact with the outside world is one of our sons, Nate. He keeps his distance when he does come by. We will probably have him do our shopping when the need arrives in a couple of weeks.

** Downtown Medford is empty. Restaurants and bars are all closed. Small businesses are shuttered up. There's restrictions against 10 or more people gathering in one place.

** Another one of our sons, Richard, and his girl friend both got laid off from their jobs here in Medford. Three days ago their were 800 unemployed people in the Rogue Valley. Now there's 18,600 and counting.



Surreal news

Watching state after state declare they had their first coronavirus fatality like a death race...

Invoking the same war act we had in WW II for factories to gear up on needed items - in this case respirators and masks instead of tanks and planes...

The federal government telling citizens not to leave their homes unless they absolutely have to...

Panicked shoppers, reminiscent of the Cuban Missile crisis when the public raided stores stocking up on supplies...

The stock market closes the floor to traders because of a COVID 19 breakout and is now doing all business via telecommunications... 

A final thought...

While I'm not worried about Shirley and I, I am concerned about my father - he's 92-years young, and my 72-year-old sister. 

Thank goodness for phones.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day Three: Acts of Kindness, Virtual Vaca's, and a Growing Reality


                                          Dear Diary,

It got worse yesterday with the growing reality that we're in for a shitstorm of coronavirus deaths unless the whole country self isolates right now!

The cases of coronavirus increased fivefold since last week. Health officials are telling us that the US is at a tipping point.

It's getting harder to deal with the rapidly changing realities. The thought that the majority of Americans are being urged to stay at home has Orwellian overtones to some people - like me.

Disclaimer: I'm a combat veteran (Vietnam/Cambodia circa 1970) with PTSD. As a matter of experience, I find it hard to trust the government will do anything right.

But there's no choice right now. Trump and his minions were truly alarmed yesterday and have been pulling out the economic stops to stem the COVID 19 tide from engulfing the countries elderly and people with health conditions.

Here in Oregon



There was a couple in their 80s sitting in their car at a Safeway parking lot in Bend, Oregon yesterday working up the courage to ask a stranger for help.

They waited for 45 minutes before asking someone to help them out. You see they were afraid of going inside the store and getting the coronavirus. They desperately needed someone to shop for them. They had no immediate family to help out.

The good news was when the woman finally rolled down the window to ask for help, she picked the right person. A young woman took their money and grocery list, and did the shopping for them, leaving the bags and their change outside the car.



Today's random thoughts

** I heard that there's no cases of humans getting their pets sick if exposed to COVID 19. But...and this is important...if visitors pet your animals they can transfer the virus on the pet's fur - not harming the pet - but possibly harming the owner(s).

** I don't know what to think about the three states (Arizona, Florida, and Illinois) that went ahead with the presidential primaries yesterday even though the other states postponed theirs. Patriots, or idiots?

** Scary to think the future of the rest of the primaries is uncertain.

** I have to admit that I'm not surprised that young people are ignoring all warnings and gathering at traditional spring break spots, like in Florida. They obviously don't get it.

** It lightened up my day when I read about a couple in Australia who were celebrating a virtual cruise for their 53rd wedding anniversary.

Their daughter took pictures of them in their swimsuits, wearing beach robes, sipping cocktails, and sitting in front of a big screen TV watching waves lap up on a beautiful beach somewhere.

Now that's the spirit we all need! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day Two: Closed Borders, Curfews, Nation Shuts Down

Dear Diary:

People are panicking. 

Fear hangs in the air like a black shroud over fortress America.

Can't go to Canada now. The border is closed. 

American cities are rapidly becoming ghost towns as the CDC instructs people to stay at home and not to gather in groups larger than 10 people.

Governors are calling for help from the National Guard.

Wall Street panic. The stock market suffered staggering losses yesterday - Dow down by over 10 percent.

Most people are still unable to be tested for COVID 19.

I'm not surprised that some people - especially Trump supporters - are still trying to downplay the pandemic we're experiencing in real time.

It's true. Bad times always brings out bad people. It's not to say that good people don't step up in bad times, but the bad ones make life even more miserable. Like gouging people in a shortened supply chain.

Here in southern Oregon there's only been minor noticeable disruption. My wife and I are not going out unless we have to. We depend on the local news to see what's happening where we live.


For example

Fear mixed with stupid in Newport, Oregon: Residents have been making 911 calls to the local police department because they've run out of toilet paper!

It's surreal watching Trump call for unity of any kind. His embattled health experts are finally getting through to him and a new seriousness is being projected by taking drastic actions to contain the coronavirus.


Meanwhile...

Our cats and dogs - who are practicing social distancing - have approached Shirley and I with a suggestion; "Stock up on our food!"

I admit to being embarrassed for not thinking about them when Shirley and I went to the store the other day. Don't worry. They have several weeks worth.

Our cat "Bob" was speaking on behalf of the other pets. I slipped him a goodie, and he reassured the rest they'd be taken care of.


Random thoughts

Joe Biden is sounding more presidential every day.

The new "in thing" - is celebrities' announcing they've tested positive for COVID 19.

Hurray for distilleries! Leading the way is Old Fourth Distillery in Atlanta, Georgia, which is now making hand sanitizers and distributing them for free.

Until tomorrow. I'll be safe, smart, and won't fart in closed spaces!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 1: Senior Shares New Reality in America

Good Day World!

It's taken a pandemic to get me to change my usual posting format/style. 

The time has come to shake things up in this brave new world with daily observations from my cocoon in southern Oregon...



Pandemic Diary
Day 1
Like Trump's administration, I've been slow to react to the colossal changes that have come to our society almost overnight.

For some reason, today feels like Day One of an American saga that will be looked upon by future generations in disbelief on how ill-prepared we were for this pandemic.

I can see future historians shaking their head when they study the part ideology played in slowing down the country's response to COVID 19. Republicans will be remembered for resisting the truth amid a sea of facts.

News organizations are stumbling over themselves to keep up with the fast moving developments.

Reluctantly, Trump declared a national emergency to release FEMA funds to fight the growing outbreak of coronavirus in every corner of the country.

The only person with any credibility on Trump's Coronavirus Task Force - headed by his chief apologist Mike Pence - is Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

I've switched channels to Fox News, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC and the one common denominator with facts is Dr. Fauci. I'm really thankful we have someone speaking truth to what's happening to our rapidly narrowing world.

With Trump's well-earned reputation for being a serial liar, the nation desperately needs people like Dr. Fauci to calm our fears with sensible recommendations free from political taint.



Moving on...

**Locally, here in Medford, Oregon, my wife and I, have seen little panic buying. The three exceptions were WinCo, Costco, and Wal Mart. Other local grocery stores were hardly affected. 

**Cocooning with my wife Shirley and I, are our beloved pets: two dogs (a Pug and an Iggy), and three cats (all rescues and one is blind).

**We went to our local dispensary to stock up on flower and edibles because they offered a 40 percent discount on everything! We do have our priorities! Hint: it helps to stay calm. 

**BTW - we were already stocked up on food, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and the rest, because we did our normal monthly shopping a week ago.

**We stopped going to restaurants last week. All of the Sunday talk shows were speculating if the whole country could go on a complete lockdown. 

**I'm 69-years young. Like it or not, I fall into the category of people most threatened by COVID 19 (along with people who have breathing disabilities  or compromised immune systems).

**At this moment I wish our country could come together against the common foe and shed politics in favor of unity.

Finally, there is no need to panic. Be smart. Be safe. Use common sense. Protect yourself by listening to the experts.

Until tomorrow.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Sunday, March 15, 2020

A Reckoning is Coming: Every Elected Republican Owns the Mess We're In

Good Day World!

They elected him even though they knew he was a con man.

They've coddled him like an intemperate royal toddler.

They've cowered before him in the House and the Senate.

They've willfully gone along with alternate realities to protect his gutting of the government. Slashing the CDC for example.

They've foregone bipartisan traditions.

They've traded truth for his fictional version of events.

They turned their heads the other way when he announced that he was the chosen one and was an expert on EVERYTHING.

Experts and political appointees stand behind him nodding their heads like bobble dolls as he manipulates reality from his stump in the Rose Garden.

To all of those GOP sheep who've been blindly loyal to Trump...  


A reckoning is coming

You can feel it in the air as people panic buy supplies in stores that are having difficulty with dwindling supply chains.

You can hear it in their voices; fear of what's coming next amid this pandemic which has folded up our society like an origami sculpture.

Americans want a president they can trust. Never more so than during a national crisis. Not only has Trump bungled the response to the coronavirus, but he's also spreading misinformation about it.

The reckoning will come in November when voters turn out in record numbers to dethrone their wannabe king.

Time for me to walk on down the road...