Brooklyn Boro

Dumb and dumber

August 23, 2021 William A. Gralnick
Head shot of writer William Gralnick
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So, New Yorkers, you think you drew the short straw when it comes to Governors. Ha! To paraphrase Henny Youngman: “Take my Governor, please!” In an expression from Peanuts, “He’s a blockhead.” Your governor likes to touch people, particularly women. Our governor is trying to kill everyone. His tool is a combination of politics and idiocy. He wants Potemkin Villages—lots of businesses with no people left to patronize them. The subject is Covid.

Here is a man who, if he could fiddle, would be pulling a Nero. Florida, in case the fact has escaped you, is leading the nation in the resurgence of Covid. The culprit is the Delta variant. Here are some statistics as of this writing. There have been 12,888 people in the state who have been hospitalized with it. That is higher than last year’s all-time high. That figure encompasses 255 of 261 of them in the state. One has to get the figures from the hospitals because in his infinite wisdom our Governor no longer allows daily health department briefings. I guess he figures if you don’t hear about them, they aren’t there.

The next day from the above figures showed another 20,000 plus admissions. That’s a one-day figure. In all 261 hospitals 89% of the intensive care unit (ICU) beds are filled. We have an 8-day average of a whopping 18,120 cases a week. And I guess if you don’t hear about the cases, nobody dies. Tell that to the 80 families who have lost loved ones to this point in the resurgence. In south Florida there has been an unprecedented surge. Memorial Healthcare System reports admissions of 1,600 persons overnight, the largest number than it has ever recorded. It has asked Uncle Sam for oxygen and more ventilators. The famed Jackson Memorial has seen a 385% increase in Covid patients in one month. It is requiring all employees and on-site vendors to be vaccinated and pushing hard to raise the 60% employee rate. (Kudos to the Fl. Sun Sentinel for its stellar research.)

Everyone is exhausted, disheartened, and angry.  There is a trickle-down effect. The restaurant industry, near collapse a few months ago, had a breath of life, and now is close to being on life support. Businesses are dealing with changing policies that have only just been implemented. And what tune is Nero playing? With another Florida joker at his side, Senator Marco Rubio, he’s calling for immediate intervention on all fronts in Cuba. “Never, since the Bay of Pigs have we had the opportunity of making change in Cuba. The people are ready for it.” It is not unusual for Governor’s to have foreign policies, especially when they are running for national office, but not so usual when they are dealing with a domestic crisis. His brain trust is undoubtedly telling him Cuba is the perfect distraction. The ninny in South Dakota probably wishes that the Canadian government needs overthrowing, but lucky Ron he has Cuba. What they are not telling him is to duck, there’s yet another variant on the horizon, this one found already in England, India, and parts of South America. Oh yes, they are probably advising him to pick a fight with the President of the United States. They don’t tell him that such things don’t usually end well.

And why is this happening? Because there are wide swatches of this country and the world where the vaccination rate is so low that the virus has room to room and freedom to play so it invents new costumes for itself to fool us for a while. What is needed to stop this is two-fold. The first is masks, now better N-95s, which are now plentiful. This severely cuts down on transmission. Then vaccination—both shots.

Here is the coup de gras. At first DeSantis refused school districts to mandate the use of masks. This while the cases are soaring, and public schools are about to open. Many have defied him. His response. He has threatened to withhold money from them. Now isn’t that a great education policy?! He began to take some heat for that, so he came up with a fix. The state will use taxpayer dollars to pay for private school education for any child or parent of children who are anti-maskers. Frankly, it is hard to believe. As a political scientist, when I was still young enough to be asked my opinion on things, I was asked if Senator Strom Thurmond of SC, decrepit, partially demented, near deaf and pushing 100 should be in the Senate. My answer was that if South Carolina wanted him they should be able to have him—and live with the consequences. I’m changing that pure democratic theory. It’s too damned dangerous. I’m into “if he’s a bum, throw him out.”

And DeSantis may not be the dumbest rock in the pile. CNN reports that Peter Feaman of Palm Beach County, a Republican national committeeman, likened the door-to-door vaccine effort to the deployment of Nazi brown shirts during the Holocaust. And in the Stupid State of Texas, a 46-year-old state Republican Party Executive Committee and Dickinson city councilman, H. Scott Apley, died five days after his last rant against vaccines.  His stupidity leaves a widow and fatherless young children—all now praying they are not infected. Good grief.

Some final thoughts. One big difference in this month’s numbers than those of last year, is the overwhelming number of admissions are younger people, teens and young adults between 18-35. An ICU doctor was asked to comment on the situation. He said, “When I enter a room with a young person in it who is clearly not going to make it, they beg me for the vaccine. I have to tell them, “It’s too late.”

It’s tragic when a parent loses a child but in the end the child is at peace. You will live with the pain forever if you don’t get them and you vaccinated.

Lastly, when the robotic Gov. Ron DeSantis comes to Brooklyn to ask for your money and your vote — read this again.

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