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COVID Update May 9: When we look back on this time, the tally of people who died from the virus & those who died out of neglect & indifference will be told.

It is not a pretty picture. 1/
I’m really trying not to focus on mistakes of the past when I say this: pretending like the virus wasn’t real, minimizing it, not investing in testing or protective gear, or even the dismantling of our pandemic response capacities. 2/
We know if we would have been dealing with containment instead of community spread, so many lives would have been saved.

If we use the benchmark of South Korea, we would have fewer than 2000 deaths. Even if we did as well as the world average we would have 11,500 not 72k.3/
Trump’s interest in fighting the Coronavirus was at its peak when 2 things happened— the stock market tanked & he heard of contemporaries of his getting sick & dying. 4/
Maybe it’s a coincidence that the more the threat of Coronavirus was defined as more deadly to people in nursing homes, with pre-existing conditions and black & brown communities. 5/
Maybe stock market investors don’t care as much about something that doesn’t threaten them. People in nursing homes aren’t productive— not contributing to GDP, a drain on Social Security. 6/
I find a pattern of more people talking with increasing comfort about how this is really a “nursing home problem.” They assume away that “we should protect those people”— so the rest of us can get on with our lives. 7/
These generally aren’t people with detailed public health proposals for nursing homes. They’re seldom public health experts. But they’re passionate about the economy, schools & have a new found empathy for working people losing their jobs. 8/
When they talk about isolating sicker people, they never explain how it works with an asymptomatic population & the number one place of spread being the home. 9/
They — @DanPatrick @ChrisChristie— want to make sure we don’t lose our “way of life.”

Every time they mention caring about the small business owner or hourly worker, I race to check where they stood on the tax cuts for large corps vs cuts for the little guy in 2017.10/
I wonder why some people have so few dollars in their pockets compared to those who got their taxes cut & their stocks bought back & their estate tax wiped out. I assume Dan & Chris will be outfront arguing for these folks to get paid a living wage & have family medical leave.11/
If you’ve made it as far in life as a nursing home it’s because people can’t take care of you at home any longer. Maybe because you’ve lived a long time. Maybe you have a disability that requires a lot of support. 12/
Home and community based services would be an excellent thing for Congress (and Chris & Dan) to get behind. Allowing people to stay at home where it’s safer & more comfortable. Paying caregivers & family members to take care of them. 13/
.@RebeccaCokley keeps saying HCBS should be a top priority in CARES 2. I’m sure all those folks who care deeply about nursing home deaths will be right behind her. 14/
There’s a similar proposal that says let kids go to school unless they have a pre-existing condition or live with someone who does. Then they can distant learn.

Of course the number one place COVID-19 spreads is the home but never mind that. 15/
All this is to say is we need to respect the rights of the perfectly healthy, non-elderly people who live in large houses to get back to their lives. 16/
The rights of others— separate and unequal— are of lesser consequence. 17/
This “thinning” of the population has unintended/intended consequences in a sorry/not sorry kind of way. 18/
There is a country following this approach. Sweden. And their architect defends the death toll and expresses surprise at the nursing home deaths. Surprise but not much concern.19/
If we follow closer to Sweden’s path, our death rates would be 25% higher per capita. And Sweden has a more fit, less diverse population. So for the folks who say lets follow that path, if we’re tracking to 200,000 deaths, it’s another 50,000+ people.20/…
COVID-19 is a threat but not as much of a threat as eugenics.

Not sure eugenics is at work? What if the target of COVID-19 were children? People of European origin? people who owned horses?

Would we think about 2000 deaths every day differently? More troubling? 21/
The average number of years lost for someone who dies from COVID is 10 years. The skin color is most often brown or black. Some people have the temerity to be sick or disabled.

Is our policy response the same as it would be if that were different? 22/
I know people act out of fear, but if Dan’s way of life places less value on certain people, maybe that way isn’t worth preserving. 23/
Minimizing the death toll doesn’t seem like it’s too controversial a number one priority. All of us being created equally doesn’t seem like too contraversial of a value to finally lead with in this country. 24/
What about the argument of all the non-COVID deaths? Shouldn’t we worry about them? Is that a math argument, a justification for another purpose, or a problem with a solution? 25/
Yes we need to treat people with cancer. Yes we need COViD and non-COVID functioning hospitals. Yes, safer rural hospitals should be back in business with good infection controls & warning systems. Yes, telemedicine & telepsych can happen now. Feels like we can do this too. 26/
Surely opening the economy will save other lives or livelihoods? I don’t think anybody, let alone any evidence, suggests the economy bounces back with thousands of unnecessary deaths every day & no plan to safely open. 27/

And even a modicum of sticking to a plan would provide a lot of that confidence. 28/

Instead, sacrificing people on the margins represents part of a lazier path, one with the benefit of not chopping much into Trump’s core voting base, one with costs concentrated to specific populations & states. And populations the stock market of 2020 cares little about.29/
In the end the virus will be beaten. By science. By patience. By public action. Part of the history will be written proudly.

But like internment camps, Katrina, family separation & nurses and doctors without PPE, the ugly history of discarded lives will be written too. 30/
As of this date, it’s not too late to write that history differently. Home & community based services, a safe re-open plan, treating those with the least the same as those with the most. That’s a crisis that would make us a better country./end
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