It goes without saying that this is an unusual and highly critical time in the history of this country and of the world. According to Worldometers, by 8:30 pm (GMT) on April 5 the covid-19 pandemic had caused the deaths of more than 69,330 people worldwide and 9,550 people in the U.S.—and the worse is yet to come. Lives and livelihoods have been greatly disrupted for most people. What are some of the lessons that can be learned from all this?
Denial and Delay are Deadly
For those of us who live in the U.S., the seriousness of the covid-19 pandemic in the U.S. could certainly have been greatly lessened by swifter and more decisive action.
It seems to be without question that DJT denied the gravity of the threat for weeks and delayed taking steps that could have lessened the pandemic’s detrimental impact on the country.
On January 22, the day after the first case in the U.S. was confirmed, DJT declared in a CNBC interview, “We have it totally under control.” In a tweet more than a month later, on Feb. 24, he reaffirmed, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.”
And less than a month ago DJT was still blaming “fake news” and the Democrats for exaggerating the seriousness of the pandemic. He tweeted,In mid-March the President finally switched to recognizing the seriousness of the pandemic. Nevertheless, it seems incontrovertible that the spread of covid-19 cases and the number of deaths in the U.S. have been at least partially due to his denial of the problem and delay in taking decisive action.
In this case, and others, denial and delay are often deadly.
“Big Government” Is Necessary
Since the time of Ronald Reagan, many people in this country have agreed with his first inaugural address declaration in 1981: “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem."
For a long time, and especially during these last four decades, the Republican Party has emphasized the advantages of having a small federal government.
But what about now?
The covid-19 pandemic has made it evident that the problems faced by USAmerican citizens are much too great to be dealt with only on state or local levels. Accordingly, Congress passed and on March 27 the President signed a massive relief bill.
That bill, called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) Is a $2.2 trillion aid package that will provide financial aid to families and businesses impacted by the current pandemic.
While there are certainly serious questions about the CARES Act—such as there being too much money made available, without adequate oversight, to large corporations—it will substantially benefit many ordinary people who are suffering financially.
Yes, in times of crisis, big government is necessary and beneficial.
Things Will Change Drastically
You know these dates: 10/24/1929 (“Black Thursday”), 12/7/1941 (“Pearl Harbor”), and, of course, 9/11/2001. Those are days that marked the beginning of long, significant changes in American society—although by now the latter date seems much less consequential than the first two.
But 1/21/20 (the date of the first covid-19 case confirmed in the U.S.) may result in drastic changes that will rival those pivotal dates in 1929 and 1941.
In the U.S., the death toll from covid-19 surely won’t be as high as in WWII (over 400,000), but before the end of March it surpassed that of 9/11 and in time it may well exceed the combined total of the wars in Korea and Vietnam (around 95,000).
It is hard to imagine at this point what life will be like in the U.S. by the end of next year. There will likely be some drastic changes—and some things may be even worse than most of us can imagine now.
But life will go on—at least for most. Adaptations can and will be made. And, overall, some drastic changes may well be for the better. At least that can be our hope and our prayer.