One might have thought, back in March, that by October, this country would have been reasonably well-situated regarding the national response to coronavirus.
No one without a severe hidden agenda, or a nasty case of baked-in confirmation bias solidified by a diet of propaganda, can argue that is so.
The stats are ugly, and the matter as a whole is today more in the collective cross-hairs of tens of millions of us than it had been since the pandemic kicked into higher gear in America, in March, into April.
In the boxing world, the effects of the virus have actually settled–knock on wood–though all of us might be wise to consider the possibility that could change, if everyone doesn't wrap their brain around best practices for mitigation of infection. And, not be a cynic, but that is not likely to happen, being that the wearing of a face shield is still a political, not common sense matter, for tens of millions of Americans.
Opinion alert: I do not for half a second believe that because Donald Trump became infected with COVID, saw his oxygen level drop, and has ingested just about every available anti-viral chemical/cocktail/treatment that is on the market or pre-market, he will “see the light.” The former real estate mover and shaker, and bankruptcy maker, entered Walter Reed hospital Friday night, Oct. 2. In his post hospital release video, Monday, Oct. 5th, we saw evidence he would and will not be a changed man, one who is all about empathy.
HE IS WHO HE IS, AT 74 WON'T BE CHANGING
The person who told reporter Jonathan Swan from Axios Monday, August 3rd that “it is what it is,” when asked about the death toll in America, he is still the President.
Swan, you might recall, asked the impeached leader if it was not “wishful thinking” to proclaim mission accomplished with (at that time) 155,000 were dead from COVID.
“I think you have to have a positive outlook — otherwise you would have nothing,” Trump said, referring to his favored backstop boast, that he quickly called for limits on travel from China to America. “Those people that really understand it, that really understand it, they said it’s incredible the job that we’ve done.”
OK, but approximately 1,000 citizens die PER DAY because of COVID, sir. “They are dying — that’s true. And it is what it is,” Trump said. “But that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing everything we can. It’s under control, as much as you can control it.”
It's not “under control,” not unless the definer is speaking through lips stained by slurping the Kool-Aid, voters decide on Nov. 3 whether this sort of person “deserves” another four year stint, or the nation and world would be better off with somebody who has shown an ability to empathize with those facing stern challenges, and emotional travails.
Plenty of you disagree with me, and our ability to in a public forum discuss that difference in opinion is one upside to being a citizen here, because it's not an option in some places round the world.
BLOCK A BADGE OF HONOR
Trump took issue when I'd respond to his Tweets, and call him a pathological liar, and con artist, so before the election, he blocked me.
Trump's friend Vladimr Putin has journalists who talk shit too much fall out of windows in their apartment buildings. So at least that isn't our status quo.
I confess, the leeway given to Trump by tens of millions of people, including some who I know, and like, and respect, is perplexing and disappointing.
Take, for instance, the widespread acceptance of Trump's repeated boast that his “travel ban” from China saved “millions of lives.” That “ban” was weaker than the pathetic spray tan that he favors, which makes him look like the color of a Cheethoh left out in the sun.
Trump studied and used as a blue-print to aid in his policies to manipulate people the teachings of Adolph Hitler, it has been stated.
The Fuehrer would probably consider Trump one of his all-time best adherents. “All this was inspired by the principle—which is quite true within itself—that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility,” Hitler wrote in ‘Mein Kampf,' ”because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.”
It is almost impossible not to think of Trump's standard operating procedure, his constant slate of publicly spewed lies, when you look at Mein Kamp and this passge: “It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously,” Hitler wrote. “Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.”
Discerning people now know, if they didn't before, that ‘The Art of the Deal‘ is, in fact, built on a foundation of fabrication, the ‘art of lying.'
Most people are too busy to fact check Trump's vomitous stream of prevarication, or are resistant to the need to do so, because of what Hitler realized. Trump knows they won't, because of his constant laying down of rhetorical mortar fire, against the press, with the labeling of the “fake news.” He does that, he told 60 Minutes' Lesley Stahl in 2016, “to discredit you all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.”'
WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS AN ARMY OF FACT CHECKERS
Face checking folks understand that Trump's “ban” wasn't actually strict, or effective.
Trump on January 31, 2020 forbade “The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the People’s Republic of China, excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.” If you were in China, and a resident of the US, you could travel back home. Same went for a ‘alien' married to a US citizen. Oh, you could travel from China to the US if you were the unmarried and under 21 brother or sister of a US citizen…and so on, and so forth.
Here was another lie, committed to paper, in Trump's ‘travel ban:' “The Secretary of Homeland Security shall take all necessary and appropriate steps to regulate the travel of persons and aircraft to the United States to facilitate the orderly medical screening and, where appropriate, quarantine of persons who enter the United States and who may have been exposed to the virus.”
No, ‘all necessary and appropriate steps' to achieve ‘orderly medical screening' were not taken with the stringency the situation called for.
From a July 18 Associated Press story: “Additionally, more than 27,000 Americans returned from mainland China in the first month after the restrictions took effect. U.S. officials lost track of more than 1,600 of them who were supposed to be monitored for virus exposure.”
A flippancy in regard to screening travelers from China, and other nations that were dealing with the spread of COVID before the virus settled in and got comfortable in America, was the norm, during the time frame Trump tells his rooters of the brilliance of his demand for tighter restrictions on movement. A friend informed me that while NY was locking down, his wife, a flight attendant for a major airline, jetting in from Paris, was shocked and appalled to learn that no passengers or staff were screened for COVID when they disembarked in New York.
And the same flippancy holds today; the Trump team did not do official and thorough contact tracing for the Saturday, Sept. 26 Rose Garden gala to introduce prospective Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, even after it was reported that a bunch of people in attendance had tested COVID positive (see graphic below).
When and where people become infected is one of the mysterious elements of coronavirus, and clarity on that issue is distressingly absent as the White House continues to be attacked for their insouciance in handling the rash of infections experienced by top tier officials.
Trump and Joe Biden did a debate in Ohio on Tuesday, Sept. 29, and persons aiding Trump in debate prep before the faceoff, like advisors Kellyanne Conway and Chris Christie, announced they were COVID positive.
But the White House crafted no official and thorough contact tracing plan in response.
Our status quo is, to me, still vexing. I watched Trump, after being released from Walter Reed on Monday, Oct. 5, walk out at the White House to soak up some energy to feed his narcissistic side. Some thought it looked like he was gasping for air at times, while he did a mask rip with the energy of a WWE talent.
And he also taped a quickie video, for social media, telling people that he's learned lessons from being COVID positive, top of the list being that no one should be too afraid of COVID.
He then lied, and declared that a vaccine is thisclose to being finished and available to the masses.
“I learned so much about coronavirus,” Trump said, the level of irresponsibility reaching arguably record levels. “One thing that’s for certain, don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it. We have the best medical equipment. We have the best medicines all developed recently, and you’re going to beat it. I went … I didn’t feel so good. And two days ago, I could have left two days ago. Two days ago, I felt great. Like, better than I have in a long time. I said just recently … better than 20 years ago. Don’t let it dominate. Don’t let it take over your lives. Don’t let that happen.…Maybe I’m immune. I don’t know. But don’t let it dominate your lives. Get out there. Be careful. We have the best medicines in the world, and they’re all happened very shortly, and they’re all getting approved. And the vaccines are coming momentarily.”
No, it doesn't seem like Trump learned lessons from being infected, and needing to be fed beyond copious treatments, including one or two or more that are in the experimental stage. To be exceedingly charitable, maybe he did, but is keeping them to himself. The vaccines are NOT coming momentarily, and we can be sure some people will get sick, maybe die, because they listen to Trump and believe him, and do not take measures to rebuff infection, because he lies and tells them a vaccine will be available any day now.
CHEW ON THE WISDOM OF THE BREADMAN, NOT THE CON MAN
Some folks in the boxing sphere did indeed learn lessons from COVID, after feeling the effects of the virus personally. Stephen ‘Breadman' Edwards, the trainer from Philadelphia, tested COVID positive on July 28, and came away with a healthy respect for the strength and tenacity of the virus, he told me.
“I'm good, shakin' and bakin,”' Breadman told me in a recent phoner. “I'm a lot better.”
It started out with a dry cough, and his nose was stuffed up. Then, the next night, “I lost my sense of taste, and smell.”
Edwards, who paired with Julian ‘J Roc” Williams, and enjoyed the junior middle's title triumph v. Jarrett Hurd May 11, 2019, went into quarantine.
“It was two weeks of being on a rollercoaster,” Breadman told RING. “I didn't talk about it, didn't go on social media, until I was out of the woods!” He paused, when I asked him how dark it got, and if he was 100% confident the whole way through that his immune system would be up for the challenge. “I wasn't sure I'd come out of that,” he admitted.
During the test of mental strength and his body's armor, he said he thought about the father of Tony Harrison, and how Ali Salaam, born Joseph Harrison, died April 19 from COVID.
“I said, ‘Shit, man, I don't know what death feels like, is this it?' I was sweating, my body was weak…I mean, I'd never talked to anyone who'd died (as they were in the throes of a severe illness). But I am mentally strong, and I just buckled down.”
The trainer continued, sharing one thing that really lifted his spirits, gave him an infusion of energy which helped him focus on staying positive about his capacity to prevail.
“My kids (they are eight, and nine years old) were running in the Junior Olympics, they made me feel better. I said, ‘I'ma beat this thing.' But Mike, I can see how the elderly can give up.” His lungs held up well, but the fever, the fatigue, some of the other hits to his body made him understand that COVID is not, in fact, akin to a flu bug. Edwards lost about 15 pounds, and this isn't a portly person to start with.
Because he did his research and respects science and listens to doctors, Edwards smartly kept away from family. For 18 days, in fact, Edwards stayed apart from the fam.
His wife's parents had an open house, so he stayed there. And, it's clear, Edwards understands how and why he is blessed. How many people got infected, and will battle the virus as the President underplays the seriousness of the impact, and didn't have the option to lay low in an open house?
“This disease is killing people,” he didn't dispute that before, but know, his empathic side is ramped up. “It's one of the things we can't dispute. It killed Tony's father, and I know three people who died. I was never dismissive, I was never thinking, ‘It's just the flu.”
More than 211,000 people in America have died from COVID to this point, and after Trump gave the impression that the virus is something no one should allow themselves to be too fearful of, it's easy to think that number is on the way to 300,000, and higher, unless something happens which forces a shift in the handling by our top leadership.
And for the record, it's not like Edwards was out and about, gallivanting, thinking he was immune from this thing, that the media simply over-states the depth of the virus' lethality. “It wasn't wreckless behavior, I was working,” he shared with NY Fights, in his typical candid fashion.
I didn't ask Edwards to go there, I let his words speak for themselves. But I will go there–Please listen to scientists, physicians who aren't clouded by bias, epidemiologists, and the like. This became a political matter the second it came on the radar screens of Trump and company, so realize that you need to not trust, and work hard to verify who is talking BS, and who is a credible source about COVID.
I trust Stephen ‘Breadman' Edwards, and his description of how COVID affected him, much than I do Donald Trump. And so, I offer, should you.
–Contact Michael Woods, via LinkedIn, if you like.