Nothing to Fiddle with…

I stumbled to my bed in the early morning hours of December 24th last year, short of breath, heart pounding, and fearing I was having a heart attack. As incredulous as it might sound one of the first things that crossed my mind was the 75 dollar fee for calling an ambulance, so I called a friend instead. That incident served to solidify my belief that health care is indeed a human right. Coronavirus fear is escalating, and as misinformation abounds, we are only as safe as our uninsured neighbor. I am fortunate enough to have adequate health insurance, but even the thought of a 75 dollar deductible for an ambulance fee, foolishly made me hesitate to call for one. I waited an additional two hours for help to arrive, and ironically an ambulance was called anyway.

If someone in my position made a foolish error in judgment due to financial considerations; what of the man or woman with a spouse and families who count on every dime from a paycheck to survive?  The President of the United States a few weeks ago told people if they felt sick they can ‘go to work.’  “ So, if you know, we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work. Some of them go to work but they get better,” he said. So, the leader of the free world just encouraged a struggling American, already afraid of losing a day’s pay, to possibly infect his co-workers, fellow bus and subway passengers and the vendor at the sandwich truck.

Mr. Trump’s latest demonstration of incompetence hopefully is not a harbinger of things to come.  The current spread of the coronavirus, which in one form or the other, has been around since the 1960s, has us confused and hoping we are getting the truth. Its’ current virulence has a possible connection to a change made in an Obama era initiative.  Congress approved, as part of a 2014 global health security package, 600 million dollars following the Ebola virus scare. Forty-nine countries benefited from this program including many engulfed by the coronavirus alarm.  The program expired without renewed funding in September of 2019. Despite assurances by the Trump administration of keeping the pledge to continue the fight against any potential pandemics, Trump allowed the program to fall from 49 countries covered to 10.

Depending on how effectively the current administration handles the coronavirus spread in the U.S., keeping an eye on tomorrow may become the norm. At current employment rates, the federal government is understaffed. The State Department, as an example, has drastically cut funding and staff since Mr. Trump took office in January of 2017.  Consequently, The Bureau of Overseas Building Operations had 22% fewer safety, health and environmental management inspections between 2016 and 2018 in embassies and consulates. In global world relationships, this affects us all. The shortage of Covid-19 testing kits is partially due to the fact that the main components come from China. Until the U.S. ramps up domestic production, of testing kits, we run a serious risk based on ignorance of the numbers of people who could potentially transmit the virus.  

The numbers are literally growing by the hundreds daily and meanwhile, the President so ignorant to the legends of history retweeted a picture of himself fiddling. Along with the tweet was written the caption: Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me!” Mr. President the coronavirus is music to no one’s ears.  

Vote in 2020 for Change.