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The new unemployment numbers came out this morning. Nearly 7 million more Americans filed for unemployment last week — pushing the total numbers of people who’ve filed for unemployment in the past 3 weeks to at least 17 million. It’s expected that millions more will lose their jobs and millions more either have not filed yet because the systems are overwhelmed or because they don’t believe they’ll even qualify for unemployment. The real numbers could be close to 40 or 50 million Americans that are out of work.
And Congress is in recess.
The United States is the epicenter of a global pandemic. Tens of millions of people have no income. They’ve lost their health insurance. Hospitals and ICU’s around the country are overwhelmed. And the United States government passed a bill that doesn’t provide people with any health insurance and promises one small check that still has not been received by a single person yet.
I don’t care how you look at it — this is a failure by our government. It’s absolutely a failure from Donald Trump, but it’s not just him. It’s a failure from Democrats in Congress that have a super-majority in the House and voted for a shitty bill that failed to even begin to grasp the size and scope of the problems Americans are facing. That bill had a non-binding oversight provision that was supposed to mean Trump couldn’t just say where trillions of dollars went. He fired the person who was supposed to give the oversight and is going to run it from The White House. This isn’t even chess versus checkers. Democrats are playing checkers and Trump came to the table with blowtorches and rocket launchers.
So here we are — over a month into the worst of this pandemic, with over 10,000 people in the U.S. dead, and not a single American has received anything yet. Even all that talk about treatment for the coronavirus being covered? It’s just talk. People are getting bills in the mail for it.
For years, this would be the place where I say, “The United States is the only developed nation in the world to send people bills for their health emergencies.” But I’m growing to think that we aren’t a developed country. We’re woefully underdeveloped. Our healthcare system is clearly underdeveloped. Politicians from both parties have allowed insurance companies and executives to raid it for billions and billions in profit. Our emergency preparedness system is clearly underdeveloped. Doctors and nurses can’t even get the basic protective gear they need. Our social safety net is missing. Countries around the world — nations that we like to see as our peers, have provided more income to replace what’s been lost and have done it faster.
Our jails and prisons, which have more people in them than any country in the world, now have the highest rates of infection of any single hot spots in the world. And as we beg Democratic and Republican mayors and governors and attorney generals to intervene, they drag their feet and offer up lies about why they can’t do anything. In the meantime, the staff in these jails and prisons keep infecting incarcerated people, who infect each other, who infect more staff, who go out and infect their families and communities.
Our police state, which only knows one gear — which is arrest, arrest, arrest — is now in crisis as police departments are now overwhelmed by the coronavirus. Tens of thousands of police across the country now have it. The NYPD is overrun with it.
And listen — I know everybody has a hard job, but you learn who’s who in a crisis like this. Our government is failing us and it’s not because it has to be this way. It doesn’t. We have options. We are where we are right now, in great part, because our nation has a history of making bad choices.
At the end of each story we publish about the coronavirus, we are now sharing the following information:
Coronavirus, officially named SARS-CoV-2 but also known as COVID-19, is a novel virus that causes a number of respiratory illnesses, including lung lesions and pneumonia. The virus spreads easily from person to person through the air when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes.
COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China, has spread to 184 countries. More than 1.49 million people around the world have become infected and more than 89,000 people have died. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic. President Donald Trump declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency on March 13. Less than two weeks later, on March 26, the United States surpassed China in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can take between two to 14 days to appear. The CDC recommends calling your doctor if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms, including fever, cough and difficulty breathing. If you also experience persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse and bluish lips or face, seek medical attention immediately.
In order to keep yourself and others safe, be sure to wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing and avoid touching your face. The CDC is recommending that gatherings of 50 people or more be canceled for the next eight weeks. Click here for information on how to prepare for a quarantine.