They preach about masks and social distancing and blunting the devastation from the coronavirus, and then act like the rules don’t apply to them.
Perhaps it wouldn’t seem like such a betrayal if we were not plunging into the deadliest period of the pandemic, worse even than when the virus invaded our country at the start of the year.
But the fault lies with us as well. It is beyond my comprehension that so many Americans are still lax in wearing masks or are attending big gatherings, especially with CDC chief Robert Redfield warning that the coming months are “going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation.”
Con 2,885 Americans having died from Covid-19 on Wednesday–the highest one-day toll of the pandemic–the severity of this crisis is no longer subject to debate. The same goes for the 200,000 new cases diagnosed that day, and for the 100,000 people now hospitalized, which is straining facilities across the country.
If nothing changes, Redfield says, gli Stati Uniti. death toll could reach 450,000 by February. It sounds alarmist, ma allora, so did the prediction last March by Anthony Fauci (who spoke to Joe Biden’s team yesterday) that up to 200,000 Americans could die from the virus.
The press is increasingly covering Covid, but not with the five-alarm-fire approach of last spring. That may be in part because it’s so depressing and we’re all suffering from virus fatigue, but President Trump’s election battle is consuming much of the media oxygen. He has barely mentioned the worsening pandemic, while making a 46-minute White House video recycling his unproven allegations of massive election fraud. If Trump had routinely conceded the election, in my view, Covid would be getting at least twice as much coverage.
And then there are the Democrats.
Some of these Democratic officials are even worse offenders because they implore their constituents to do the right thing, and quietly do the opposite.
CNN anchor Brianna Keilar, to her credit, delivered a diatribe on how “a number of Democratic leaders” have been “apologizing or reversing course after multiple occurrences of do as I say, not as I do.”
The list is a long one. The latest example is Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who made a video urging residents to stay home before Thanksgiving. Then he and eight guests from his daughter’s wedding took a private jet to Cabo and stayed in a timeshare. Adler apologized after the trip was revealed by the Austin American-Statesman.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock also urged people to stay home for the holiday, then hopped on a plane to Mississippi to celebrate with his wife and daughter.
Remember California Gov. Gavin Newsom attending a packed, maskless birthday party at a chic Napa Valley restaurant as he was imposing restrictions on the state? Turns out San Francisco Mayor London Breed went to a birthday party at the same place, the French Laundry, the next night.
At least New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo canceled plans to have his elderly mom and two daughters visit for Thanksgiving after a public uproar.
These and other officials, Keilar said, are “asking Americans to make sacrifices that they themselves are unwilling to make, and appearing sorry only when they’re caught.”
And how about our intrepid lawmakers? Democratic and Republican leaders have been at an impasse for months over a rescue bill that would among other things provide some unemployment benefits as well as aid for struggling small businesses. Now Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, after being prodded by Joe Biden, say they’re willing to negotiate with Mitch McConnell, even though his $ 908-billion plan is less than half of what they’ve been demanding.
But really, both sides have played politics rather than take steps to ease the immense suffering out there.
As a snapshot of the public mood, hundreds of people turned out to protest the closing of a Staten Island bar, caring not at all that the place was flouting the rules on indoor dining and a cease-and-desist order.
The good news is the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines should start rolling out by year’s end, e Trump, for all his missteps on Covid-19, deserves some credit for that.
But it will take months to get the vaccines fully manufactured and distributed–Barack Obama, George Bush and Bill Clinton have offered to set an example by taking the shots–so this will be a very rough winter. Our elected leaders need to step up, and live by the same rules they’re imposing on the rest of us.