Saturday, July 11, 2020

Back to school with U Bum: 'Readin, 'Ritin, 'Rithmetic, & Rigor Mortis

By Vincent Boom-Batz, M.D.
Spy Medical Editor

Under normal circumstances, schools would be opening soon around the country and the little darlings would be off their parents' hands all day long.  There's only one problem this year: to the usual three R's Pres Super Spreader and his Trumpublican toadies (in other words, the entire Republican Party) want to add a fourth R: Rigor Mortis.

Desperate to bail out his floundering re-election campaign, President U Bum is demanding that all public schools reopen for in-person classes.  There's only one tiny problem, as noted by The New York Times:

No nation has tried to send children back to school with the virus raging at levels like America’s, and the scientific research about transmission in classrooms is limited.

The World Health Organization has now concluded that the virus is airborne in crowded, indoor spaces with poor ventilation, a description that fits many American schools.  . . .

“I’m just going to say it: It feels like we’re playing Russian roulette with our kids and our staff,” said Robin Cogan, a nurse at the Yorkship School in Camden, N.J., who serves on the state’s committee on reopening schools. 

Oh.  That's a problem.

People who know what they're talking about share the same concerns:

“You have to do a lot more than just waving your hands and say make it so,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a professor of the practice at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “First you have to control the community spread and then you have to open schools thoughtfully.”

After carefully weighing the complexities and risks in a nation already reeling from unchecked community spread of a lethal pandemic, President Super Spreader decided to – wave his hands and say make it so.

To the extent that President PAB can be said to have thought processes, it seems to reflect his hope that if the kids are back in school, their parents will go back to work, the economy will recover and he might be able to sneak his way back to the White House through the machinations of the Electoral College (aided by convicted felon Roger Stone, who's tanned, rested, ready, and back on the streets).

What could go wrong?  Actually, we know exactly what could go wrong because the movie is still playing: reopening businesses without an effective national testing-and-tracing strategy has led to results like this (from NBC News):

Even the dimmest bulbs among Southern Republican Governors are beginning to catch on that a promiscuous reopening of businesses without a comprehensive plan was a recipe for death and devastation.

If that's what happens when the bars are opened, imagine the results if kids are sent back to school with the same lack of planning that has turned the Sunbelt into a reasonable approximation of 14th Century Europe.  Apparently there are differing views depending on whether you are a public health expert or a corrupt desperate narcissistic bigot:

Adding to the confusion, optional guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in May set out ambitious safety precautions for schools. But the president, and many local school system leaders, have suggested they do not need to be strictly followed, alarming teachers.

What's the difference? After all, we hear that children's cases of coronavirus are no worse than sniffles:

Trump, in a town hall earlier with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, repeated his false assertion that the United States is only experiencing record new cases of COVID-19 because of increased testing, Lemon pointed out.

“So, we have more cases because we do the greatest testing. If we didn’t do testing, we’d have no cases,” Trump told Hannity. “Other countries, they don’t test millions. So up to almost 30 million tests. So when you do 30 million, you’re gonna have a kid with the sniffles and they’ll say it’s coronavirus, whatever you want to call it.”

Lemon was aghast that Trump keeps repeating the testing falsehood, but this time with an even more outrageous twist.

“A kid with the sniffles. That’s what he said, a kid with the sniffles. You don’t need me to tell you that that’s not true, right?” asked the “CNN Tonight” host.

Of course, those sniffling, or even asymptomatic, children can readily transmit the virus to their parents, grandparents, teachers, or any other adult with whom they come into contact.  While many teachers are dedicated to education, they don't seem to be willing to lay down their lives just to give President Tiny Toadstool the appearance of a win:

But this week, as the administration launched a full-throated campaign to pressure schools to reopen in the fall — a crucial step for jump-starting the economy — it all but ignored the potential risks teachers face. 

More than one-quarter of public schoolteachers are over the age of 50. Teachers say many of their questions about how schools will operate safely remain unanswered. They point out that some classrooms have windows that do not reliably open to promote air circulation, while school buildings can have aging heating and cooling systems that lack the filtration features that reduce virus transmission. 

Talk about pathetic – don't they understand that Ol' Bone Spurs has commanded them to sacrifice their lives for the common good, by which he means good for him?

Unpacking the teachers' objections  reveals that one problem is that the Grifter-in-Chief is ordering schools to reopen without providing the resources they need to do so without massacring their staffs.  Republicans used to call such Federal commands “unfunded mandates,” but for some unknown reason they haven't spun up the fake outrage about forcing strapped local school districts to spend billions to gratify U Bum's vanity.

Don't worry – we're just kidding you.  Everyone knows why the entire Republican Party is willing to turn American schools into killing fields:
  1. They are spineless cowardly worms who will follow their Dear Leader no matter how insane his position.
  2. They never cared about the lives of the real Americans whose anger and bigotry, but not their desire to live, they have catered to for half a century.
If you think about it, what's the difference between sentencing hundreds of thousands to sickness and death by (a) not financing a safe reopening of schools and (b) not financing guaranteed health care for all regardless of income?  Sacrificing a generation of teachers for political gain is as Republican as Roger Stone.

There is of course a sensible way to move to a phased reopening of in-person teaching this year that the Republican Party continues to ignore:

The President's political enemies are making the
ridiculous argument that many schools can't
afford to safely reopen

First, we need to have adequate numbers of tests available and distributed for diagnosis. We do not have that in place, and it must be within two weeks. Second, we need to provide protective personal equipment to every health professional who is going to be caring for patients. We would not send soldiers into war without body armor. . . . Third, . . . Everyone should be maintaining physical distance. In public, everyone should now be wearing a surgical mask. . . . if everyone wears them, they will diminish the spread from those who are unknowingly infected to others.

Next, we need to test enough to be able to classify every American as documented infected, suspected infected, exposed or not yet known to be either exposed or infected. . . .

Everyone who is infected or presumed infected  . . . should be separated into dedicated clinical facilities. Serious cases and those at highest risk should be hospitalized. Every convention center in every major American city should be converted into an infirmary where presumptive cases and documented cases with mild illness can be cared for and segregated, . . .

Everyone who has been exposed to an infected person should be placed in quarantine. All the hotels that are now empty in our cities could be mobilized with the staff retrained on appropriate sanitation procedures to be able to house . . .   those who need to remain in quarantine for a two week period of time, . . . 

If we take these steps and we simultaneously work on new treatments,  . . .   we can turn the tide and defeat coronavirus . . . .

And by the way, if we do this, it is the best way to get the economy moving again. Because if we eliminate the threat of coronavirus in the space of 10 weeks, the economy can be sparked into action. If we proceed in ways that are half-measures, incomplete approaches, gradual and not effective, we will persist with people falling ill, with people fearful, with workplaces disrupted, with an inability to get the economy humming again.

If only we had known this when there was time to execute this plan in time for a September reopening.

Once again, we're just having fun at your expense.  This plan was published by ProPublica. 

On March 26.

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