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Another Wave, the Same Mistakes

We are in the process of repeating the errors we’ve made over and over

Credit: Sergi Escribano / Getty Images

The highway day of new cases in over a month. But the president is not talking about that. With 200,000 lives lost, it would be great to say the worst is behind us. All I can say is the worst is still in charge.

A new study shows 9% of Americans have been infected with Covid-19. Despite the fact the Rand Paul believes otherwise, we are nowhere close to herd immunity. Rand reminds me of the famous expression: “Never listen to a libertarian eye doctor for advice on a pandemic.” I never knew what that expression meant and now it seems so obvious!

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Two hundred thousand people died and only 9% of the public has been infected. A year from now will those 9% have immunity? We don’t know. We still don’t understand what immunity is conferred, how long it lasts, and how many strains are covered.

Message for “herders” (pick one: herd immunity, herd mentality, or herd thinner): 200,000 lives is too high a price to pay. Even if we cut the death rate in half, which I believe we can, the cost of 50% immunity is another 400,000 American lives.

“Don’t worry. It’s only old people,” the herders say. Only 10% of white people who died are under 65… but 30% of Black people who die are under 65. Guessing most of the herders are as white as Rand Paul.

“But hey, it’s only college kids. Stop worrying about them. They don’t get sick.” A new study finds there is a one- to two-week lag from when young adults get Covid-19 to when people over 60 get Covid-19.

Remember all the armchair epidemiologists when Florida started leading the country in cases? “But no one is getting hospitalized or dying!” And then they led in hospitalizations. And then deaths.

I say this to at least five people a week: “No, you can’t isolate older people.” Or people with a disability. Or people immunocompromised. It is a fantasy of people who prefer not to sacrifice.

So as the end of the first wave hits in the Midwest and in smaller counties around the country, a second wave is showing signs of starting in the Northeast. Over 1,000 new cases in New York today for the first time in months.

Each time we get a wave, our recovery and response is worse. We start declining, people get relieved and break habits. The very talented governors of Texas, Arizona, and Florida decoded: “Hey, cases are going down a bit. Open the bars!”

The virus does not care about herders or truthers or deniers. About governors who don’t know better and don’t care. And since Trump doesn’t care about the virus, it works out just perfectly for the virus and not so good for the rest of us.

What does Trump care about? Using the Justice Department to inappropriately end preexisting conditions while signing something worthless saying he isn’t. What else? Pretending to cut prescription drug costs while he sues to eliminate protection of the donut hole. What else? Allowing hundreds of thousands to die unaccounted for while claiming to do an A+ job.

Trump has a worse record on health care than the virus itself. It’s not hard to figure this out. Trump is destroying health care for seniors and destroying Medicare. And increasing the cost of prescription drugs.

The fall is here. Colleges are underway. We are in the process of repeating the mistakes we’ve made over and over. We have many chances to get out of this cycle. The best chance is with a leader who cares and knows what the hell he’s doing.