The days are indistinguishable. Monday could be Friday. Or even Sunday. No “Miller Time” on Friday night (OK I’m dating myself). You can’t go drinking to celebrate the weekend. Or to celebrate anything. Endless dinners at home. Beer in a bottle sure. Not the same as fresh out of the barrel – on tap at a good Irish pub. Why bother? Just calories. And goodness knows with the ‘fridge always in easy reach – none of us needs more calories!
Where I live, this is nearly the end of the 4th week of house arrest. And each week the restrictions have tightened. Now – new cases are leveling off at the apparent top of the curve. And still, our Governor wants more. Or should I say less. No gyms, of course. And now hilly, green parks with trails to run, bike and walk and rocky ridges to surmount are off limits. Healthy people can only stay that way by getting out and moving. A lot. The last thing left of the small things which make life tolerable. Gone.
When this is over – and I have to believe it WILL be over or I will go truly crazy – I hope the epidemiologists and learned public health doctors and oh-so-sure-of-themselves politicians will demand a true study of why so many people died from COVID19. Yes it’s more vicious than the seasonal flu. But the flu – with or without a vaccine (only 50% of us even get it) – shouldn’t be killing so many people either.
I think those studies will find something Americans should already know. In the richest and best educated nation on earth (or so we think) we have some of the unhealthiest people in the world. Who is dying here from COVID19 complications? Overwhelmingly it’s African-Americans and Latinos. In some jurisdictions they are twice as likely to die as whites. They already have the markers for getting very sick or dying when they contract the virus. Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, asthma. Often they have no health care. No family doctor. And very often they are the ones out in front. Working the essential jobs which require using mass transit to get there.
Actually the number of unhealthy people in the US – and truthfully all advanced nations – is huge. No matter who we are, where we live and what we do for a living. We are fat. We are lazy. We are couch potatoes watching sports and gobbling up chips. Even in cities with good mass transit – if we have cars, we use them. According to the Centers for Disease Control more than 20 percent of 12-19 year olds are obese. And close to that even for 6 to 11 year olds!!! Overall – says the CDC – over 40 percent of Americans are now obese. With all the serious diseases obesity and even moderate weight gain spawn. Just a few years ago, the percentage was about a third. I didn’t see any of these people – of ANY age or color – hiking, biking or even walking their dogs in the hilly parks our deep-thinking Governor just closed.
None of this is likely to change soon. This week Bernie Sanders made a very gracious concession speech as he left the Democratic Presidential nomination to Joe Biden. I think Bernie knew that with the trillions of dollars of deficit spending we’re unleashing to save the nation from diving into a corona virus-caused depression, there isn’t a chance in hell for his cherished Medicare for All. Or free college. Or permanent college loan forgiveness. Or any of the deficit-financed reforms he hoped to enact. We’re printing money like it was Bitcoin. And it’s just as ephemeral. No one has the slightest idea how all that money will be paid back. IF it will be paid back. Can the federal government with Congressional approval and the Federal Reserve with no one’s approval just keep piling up debt instead of dollars in the US Treasury? I’ve watched CNBC carefully all these weeks. Lots and lots of talk about this but – and perhaps I’m just a dunce – I still don’t understand how any nation can just rub the bottle and ask the Genie to create money that doesn’t exist. Some day – through Treasury bonds and bills – it has to be paid back. With at least a tiny bit of interest. Will there be any way our children and grandchildren can do that? Can someone please put Finance 101 into very, VERY plain, simple English?
Ok. I said these were random thoughts. I don’t feel very organized when I spend my day in running clothes. Yes Virginia, I DO shower before I go to bed. Happy now? I’m obviously not.