This is a little update on how the COVID-19 virus is impacting life here in Southern California.
Like millions of others, I am self-isolating. About the only place I have been in the past 10 days is the grocery store where I feel more like a forager than a shopper. After some 10 days of panic-buying, many of the shelves are better stocked, but meat, soup, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and eggs are still in short supply.
If there is an upside to this crisis it is the fact that the vast freeway system in Southern California is barely in use. Freeways are free of the heavy traffic that normally gridlocks them. Also, the air seems cleaner and fresher because of the mandated stay at home order from California Governor Gavin Newsome.
So far, the virus has had a relatively minor impact on Southern California. Here is the latest breakdown: In Los Angeles County: 662 confirmed cases, 11 deaths; Orange County: 95 cases, 0 deaths; San Bernardino County: 17 cases, 0 deaths; San Diego County: 205 presumptive cases, 0 deaths; Ventura County: 35 cases, 0 deaths.
Riverside County, where I live, has had 48 cases and 6 deaths. That’s in a county of 2.2 million.
I guess staying home is working, but I don’t see how our economy can survive much longer with people unable to work.
I know he has gotten some blowback, but I like what Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said recently when asked what we should do once the 15-day stay-at-home order is finished next weekend.
“My message is that let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living, let’s be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country,” he said. “Lots of grandparents out there are willing to take a chance against the COVID-19 virus in order to save the economy.”
For some reason, Patrick was criticized for saying this. The fact is, what he said is the truth.
It does no good to destroy our economy and send the nation into a depression. We will survive the Coronavirus but that means very little if 25 percent of the population is unemployed. There needs to be some balance between fighting the virus and keeping our economy from collapsing.
I am shocked, however, at how inept and partisan Congress has become during this crisis. Rather than work together to pump much needed financial aid into the economy, Democrats and Republicans are bickering over what kind of “pork” to include in the unprecedented $2 trillion stimulus package.
That kind of political partisanship is shameful when millions of Americans are no longer working, the stock market is crashing, and our economy is on the verge of recession, if not a depression.
This pandemic is unparalleled in modern history and dealing with requires adult, rational behavior rather than the kind of childish bickering and squabbling we are seeing in the House and Senate.
Disgusting is the only word to describe it.
Probably the most vociferous condemnation of this behavior came from Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy who called some of his colleagues “A-holes.”
“Do you know what the American people are thinking right now?” Kennedy asked while speaking on the Senate floor. “They’re thinking that the brain is an amazing organ. It starts working in a mother’s womb, and it doesn’t stop working until you get elected to Congress.”
But Sen. Kennedy wasn’t finished.
“Do you know what the American people are thinking right now, Mr. President? They’re thinking that this country was founded by geniuses. But it’s being run by a bunch of idiots.
“I get politics,” Kennedy continued. “I have been around it my whole life. But there comes a time when we have to stop thinking about the next election and start thinking about the next generation. What are we going to leave to our children if we allow this economy to crash? And it is happening as we speak,” Kennedy said.
“I mean no ill will toward my Democratic friends. I like and respect every one of them. But let’s pass this bill,” he added.
Amen to that. I couldn’t say it any better.
In the meantime, I will continue to shelter in place at home, venture out only occasionally when I need to go foraging in the grocery store and keep washing my hands.
Oh, and I will also continue to hope that our once robust economy survives not only the COVID-19 virus, but the stupidity, self-interest, and unbridled partisanship of many members of Congress.