by Errington C. Thompson, MD –
A couple of months ago, I was lamenting at how hard India was being hit by the coronavirus.
Their hospitals were being overrun. They did not have enough vaccines. The whole picture in India was extremely dire. Little did I know the coronavirus would resurge here in the United States.
Just six weeks ago, we were reporting fewer than 7,000 new cases per day in the United States; now, in early August, we are reporting over 100,000 new cases a day—14 times as many.
Our hospitals are being overrun. Sadly, some patients are being admitted to some hospitals and there are no beds. These ailing, already admitted patients are having to sit in the waiting room for hours, if not days, before beds become available. Hotspots are popping up all over the United States. From Southern Missouri to Florida, to South Louisiana to the whole state of Arkansas, coronavirus is back.
The Weapons at Hand
Basically, we only have a few tools to combat the coronavirus: We have social distancing. We have masks. We have handwashing. And we have vaccines.
That is it. When you get infected, modern medicine does not have any magic formula to make you better. Sure, there have been reports that steroids improve outcomes, but that is not the same as penicillin for pneumonias in the 1950s—which cured 98% of those infected. It is time for us to recognize that the coronavirus is deadly, and that it is not going away anytime soon.
I have heard some of the most ridiculous arguments trying to justify not taking the vaccine. For example, that it (the vaccine) is against nature and evolution.
If I operate on a patient with acute appendicitis, that’s changing the course of that patient’s life. Acute appendicitis used to carry a mortality rate greater than 50%. Now, the mortality rate is less than 0.1%. I’m changing evolution for that patient. Isn’t this a good thing?
I don’t hear anyone arguing that we should get rid of the polio vaccine. Americans used to die from polio, but now that we have almost universal vaccination against polio, Americans are living. These are all good things. With over 600,000 deaths secondary to Covid-19, it is clear that Covid is a public health nightmare. Let’s roll up our sleeves and fight Covid with the focus and determination that it deserves.
The delta variant of the coronavirus is more infectious and spreads more easily than its deadly predecessor. Currently, it appears that the vaccines are still effective against the delta variant. The Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine seem to be highly effective, and they seem to have few side effects. These vaccines will keep you out of the ICU. They will keep you off the ventilator. They will prevent you from dying.
Now, a vaccine is NOT a space suit that protects you from any outside force. These vaccines decrease the chance of you contracting this virus, but they do not eliminate it. We still have to look out for ourselves to be safe. The bottom line is that the benefits of taking the vaccine far outweigh the risks. Get vaccinated!
With all the news that has been flying around lately, it is hard to discern what is important and what is not. The news is coming at us fast and furious.
Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York now in his third term, decided to resign effective later this month. NY Attorney General Letitia James found he had sexually harassed at least 11 women over several years. Cuomo finally acknowledged that he “might have stepped over the line,” but argued that “the line has been redrawn so many times” it was unintentional. But at least, at last, he finally did the right thing.
If we are going to truly be progressives, we can’t let powerful people like Andrew Cuomo continue to play the old games. Cuomo’s excuse is that the line of acceptable office behavior has changed. This is true—kinda—but not really. When was it okay to ask a coworker to wear shorter shirts or wear her hair down because Cuomo thought it looked better?
Just a superficial glance at Ms. Brittany Commisso’s story reveals that Cuomo didn’t care about the #me too movement or women’s feelings. According to Ms. Commisso, Cuomo’s advances started in 2019, not 2009 or 1969. Cuomo, like Al Franken before him, is a huge disappointment to me.
A bipartisan group of senators have agreed on a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, adding 19 Republicans votes to go with 50 from the Democratic side (Independents Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont caucus with the Democrats.) Passage of this bill is a huge win for President Joe Biden’s platform—and for his determination to find bipartisan support whenever and wherever he can. More importantly, this is a huge win for Americans who depend on roads, bridges, safe, lead-free water lines, and the other measures to be financed by the bill.
Now the Senate has to get the human infrastructure bill passed—the one that encompasses education, childcare, family services, healthcare access, job training, and other direct-to-people services—and not a single Republican will vote for it. Yes, it’s time to eliminate the filibuster!
The Voting Rights Bill seems to be on eternal hold, but we truly need this bill to combat the voter suppression laws that are being passed in red states. Unfortunately, the Senate’s “For the People Act,” S.1, is dead in this Congress, because of the opposition of Sen. Joe Manchin of WV. That bill would “expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and implement other anti-corruption measures for the purpose of fortifying our democracy, and for other purposes.”
Surprisingly, though, just before 4 a.m. on August 11, all 50 Democratic and Independent senators, including Manchin, voted to discharge the bill from the Rules Committee, moving it forward to debate.
Manchin said he has “made it crystal clear that I do not support the For the People Act.” Over a number of months, however, he has proposed amending the legislation “to make sure our elections are fair, accessible, and secure.” The language he proposes will now replace that in the original S.1.
Unfortunately, the only way even his watered-down version will pass over the solid opposition of the Republican Party will be by ending the filibuster. There has been a lot of talk about ending the filibuster, or even carving out an exception for voting rights (as it was for judges and major budget bills)—but it still remains as a massive roadblock to government of the people.
There are huge and intense wildfires out West. There has been massive, historic flooding in Germany. Oh, and the permafrost is melting in Siberia, which is releasing tons and tons of methane, a greenhouse gas—and now scientists fear that limestone under the turf there will release even more.
Donald Trump and jail
Yet, there was another story that deserves our attention. According to a blockbuster New York Times article, Donald Trump, toward the end of his presidency, tried to pressure the Department of Justice into issuing a statement that the 2020 election was corrupt or fraudulent.
I know that this does not seem like a lot. During the Trump presidency, there were times when I thought nothing would surprise me, but this is a big deal.
Do you remember when Donald Trump called up Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger? President Trump asked him to find just enough votes to overturn the Georgia results. Some of us saw that recorded phone call as direct, irrefutable evidence that Donald Trump was trying to tamper with the election. Others looked at that call as Trump honestly believing that he won the election and trying to correct something that was terribly wrong.
But when you read that NY Times article about how Donald Trump was pressuring the Department of Justice, everything becomes clear. Donald Trump knew the election was not fraudulent. Trump asked Department of Justice officials to simply state that the election was corrupt and he told them to leave the rest up to him—and some Republicans in Congress.
A smoking gun?
These notes, taken by the acting Deputy Attorney General while the call was taking place, should end all speculation about whether Trump really knew that he lost the election. He did. It also removes all speculation about Trump’s intent. As a number of commentators with legal training have said, it is as close to being proof of an attempted coup against the elected government of the United States as we have ever seen in our nation’s 244-year history.
What this evidence shows us is the real Donald Trump. We have known for years that he is a liar. He is a con artist. He is a narcissist. And he is not a patriot. And this report, and the DOJ notes, prove that Trump never, ever believed in America First (which was his campaign slogan). Instead, as many of us have pointed out for years, it has always been Trump First.
Now, just maybe, this is the smoking gun that will force Trump to pay for his crimes.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed here, as well as assertions of facts, are those of the author. They do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of The Urban News.