Referencing the Coronavirus menace, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO (World Health Organization) Director General, says. “We Are All In This Together.” The pandemic virus has been disruptive to our national health system and to the economy. The American response to this pernicious infection should be an immediate White House declaration of war on a scale akin to the New Deal, Marshall Plan, and the Great Society combined. It was not! Read the 3/30 Time Magazine cover story, “WHEN THE WORLD STOPS: What to Know and Do About the Global Pandemic,” a compendium of essays about coronavirus. My favorite is Viewpoint, “Disease In A World Without A Leader” by Yuval Noah Harari. On March 30, global Coronavirus stats reveal 782, 365 cases with 164,566 recoveries and 37,582 deaths. The US coronavirus figures reveal 164,700 cases and 3170 deaths since its Jan/2020 arrival in the state of Washington. NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo reported 75,795 cases and 1550 deaths.
NEW YORK: New York is the epicenter of coronavirus, in the United States. The 3/30 NYC stats are 38,087 cases and 914 deaths. Break-down by borough: Queens is hardest hit with 12,756, Brooklyn 10,171, Bronx, 6,925, Manhattan 6,060 and Staten Island 2,140. This will [put] focus on some of the little-known aspects of coronavirus culture in the US and beyond. NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, assessing the magnitude of the pandemic and its effect on New Yorkers and the nation, launched his plan to do something about it.
Cuomo needed White House approval for the requisition of services necessary for New York to weather the aborning public-health crisis. He needed FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, the US military and a waiver for NYS to access tests for the virus from local labs and massive inventories of ventilators. Whatever Andrew wants, Andrew gets, sorta/kinda. NY got what the Governor wanted and quickly became the state with the lion’s share of virus cases. The NYS high rate of virus infection is in relation to its aggressive testing practice, which has administered more tests than any other American city or state or any other nation, including China, where the virus originated.
Governor got most of his wish-list items. New York got a USNS (United States Naval Ship) outfitted with 1000 beds to address the hospital capacity shortage that was wisely foreseen. NY hospitals are creating pop-up extensions to accommodate the surge in coronavirus cases. The CDC green light to use NY labs for testing was the major breakthrough. Governor has appropriated dorm rooms for hospital capacity. Some ventilators were provided, but not enough. Therein lies the existing hospital crisis. The Ford Motor Company and GE have agreed to retrofit their factories to start producing ventilators, which are, or will be, needed in states across the country.
Cuomo is the combatant for which the coronavirus has been looking. His daily TV updates on the NY coronavirus intensive are like dispatches from a war zone. The updates are an anatomy of the virus, complete with charts and math model projections, which inform, while also placating the fears that attend the crisis. Friends from California, Florida, Georgia and Texas comment on the Cuomo leadership model, something they say their local politicos fail to provide. If they are not getting it from the White House, why not NY’s Gov? His many NY detractors have been generous with compliments about his outstanding management of the COVID-19 crisis. Media junkies must read Maureen Dowd’s 3/27 NY Times opinion piece, “Let’s Kick Coronovirus’s Ass: In this nightmarish moment, we’re feeling warm and fuzzy about the cold and calculating Andrew Cuomo.” It is classic Dowd nice/nasty.
With lockdown orders in effect throughout most enlightened American states, the time is now to complete the 2020 Census form, which has been collecting dust on home/office desks. Don’t know about you, but the Manhattanville US Post Office on West 125 Street in Central Harlem has been MIA with mail delivery since October 2019. While in lockdown, research the myriad, free tax-return services, since the April 15 US tax deadline has been pushed back to July 15.
The Democratic Convention to nominate its 2020 presidential nominee will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 13 to 16. Former Obama VP Joe Biden is presumed nominee, barring some other glitch in the scheme of things. He promised to have a woman running mate. Will she be Kamala Harris, Amy Klobachar, Stacey Abrams, or Elizabeth Warren? Biden is being obscured in media during the daily COVID-19 updates where Trump appears spewing forth untruths about the virus and its possible treatment. Most thought that Trump began to listen to his Task Force scientists and medics when he reversed his position to open America for business on Easter and decided to extend a lockdown and quarantine period through April 30. According to some pundits, the epiphany was in response to his national southbound polling figures since his Easter/back to business utterance.
Man does not live by health and economic crises alone. The higher part of our right brain/left brain selves would die without art and culture, which makes the human spirit soar to imaginable heights or plunge to new depths. Check out the 3/19 NY Times essay, “The African American Art Shaping the 21st Century, with commentary by 35 Black denizens from the world literature, film, music, theater, performance art, on Black artists who have influenced them. Some creators who comment are Ta-Nehisi Coates on Kendrick Lamar; Kerry Washington on Beyonce/Lemonade; Oprah on Toni Morrison; Issa Rae on SCANDAL; Kerry James Marshall on GET OUT; Desus Nice on Black Social Media; Kenya Barris on Glenn Ligon; and Billy Porter on POSE. Essay is informative and eminently readable in about 15 minutes. Crises give birth to creative expression.
The ABC/ESPN 10-part documentary on basketball legend/billionaire Michael Jordan, originally scheduled for a June ESPN telecast, has been rescheduled to start on April 19. Social media prevailed on TV network bosses to change the air date because its followers, bored with cabin fever, crave sports news programming. Other Jordan documentary partners include Netflix, Jordan, the NBA and Mandalay Sports Media.
Next week signals the onset of rituals for two Abrahamic-centric religions, Judaism and Christianity. Palm Sunday on April 5 begins the final week of the Lenten season, which ends on Easter Sunday on April 12. The most important day in the Christian calendar, Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus on the third day after his crucifixion, which always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox. Happy Easter! Passover, (Pasach in Hebrew), begins at sundown on April 8 and continues through April 16. It commemorates the liberation of Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. HAPPY PASSOVER!