FEATURE ARTICLE

Thursday, September 16, 2021
banantex2020@gmail.com
Atlanta, GA, USA
AMERICA AND THE DEADLY POLITICS OF COVID-19 (6)

“Your child will wait for another child to die” to get an ICU bed –Judge Clay Jenkins, Dallas official)

hen I started this series over a year ago I submitted that the convergence of politics, arrogance and ignorance would doom America’s efforts in combating the Covid-19 pandemic. And even though we now have a new –different administration in the country, not much has changed. Republicans have turned their traditional obstruction politics into a full scale Covid-19 “war”, as they are determined to frustrate President Biden’s efforts at combating the deadly pandemic. And quite surprisingly, there persists a dangerous crust of ignorance in 21st century America. Yet, even as the delta variant of Covid-19 smothers the landscape, America’s culture of foolish pride is on full display-no one can tell me what to do- wear a mask or take a vaccine shot. After all, America is about personal choice and total freedom, they foolishly argue. So when President Joe Biden declared that America was going to celebrate “independence” from COVID-19, on July 4th, I knew exactly, how deadly wrong he was. First of all, health experts have told us that for a community or country in this case, to achieve herd immunity, at least seventy (70%) of its population has to be protected. Yet, when President Biden made that audacious declaration less than fifty percent (50%) of the US population had been fully vaccinated. It does not matter that the Biden administration seemed to have underestimated the anti-vaccine forces in the country and the determination of the Republican party to undermine its efforts to defeat COVID-19 in America.

Like the PBS News hour anchor remarked in her interview with the US Surgeon-general on July 22, 2021, the delta variant of the COVID-19 was already spreading in the country in May, when the CDC relaxed indoor masking recommendation. This decision was premature and indeed, wrongheaded. Again, it would appear that the Biden administration allowed itself to be stampeded by the Republicans’ criticisms to prematurely “open up America” to a rampaging delta variant, a more contagious and virulent strain of the COVID-19. The CDC appeared naïve when it declared that fully vaccinated Americans were no longer required to wear their masks, even in in-door settings. So how do you determine who is fully vaccinated in a crowded bar, restaurant or sports stadium when there is no “vaccine passport”? Or did the CDC assume that Americans are so honest, so behaved that only the fully vaccinated population would go out in public settings to mingle with themselves without masks? I knew too well, maybe, more than the CDC,that the same anti-mask, anti-vaccine population would go out without masks and blend in with the fully vaccinated and spread COVID-19 around. This is the reason I have scrupulously ignored the CDC advice and continue to mask- up in any crowded space, in- door or outdoors; even as I have been fully vaccinated.

With the onslaught of the Delta variant of the COVID-19, the concept of herd immunity is fast becoming a myth, or at best its hope is receding.

I must confess that I am not an expert in anything, but I pride myself on being a very good “student of current affairs”. I have been following closely the situation in Europe- countries like, Italy, France, Australia and found out that whenever they attempt to ‘open up’, the COVID-19 keeps roaring back . So, I knew what was coming to America.

Republicans are all out to frustrate President Biden bid to control the spread of COVID-19 infection in the United States. They are imploring every dirty trick at their disposal-disinformation campaign against vaccination and mask-wearing, distortion of facts and outright blackmail. See what is going on at school campuses, school board meetings- the vitriol, physical violence being visited on innocent teachers and school board members whose only known offense is trying their best to protect their students and faculty from the deadly pandemic

As the delta variant of the COVID-19, sweeps across America, Republican controlled states are doing their worst to aid the spread of the deadly virus. As Democratic controlled states and cities are reintroducing mitigating measures such as mask wearing, Republican controlled states are doing the opposite-rushing to sign executive orders banning mask mandates and vaccine requirements in their states.

As cases of COVID-19 infections were climbing up in Arizona, the state governor, Doug Ducey raced to sign an executive order banning mask mandates and “vaccine passport” in the state. Thereafter, the Arizona governor signed another executive order banning mask mandate in schools.

Incidentally, the anti-mask, anti-vaccine Republican controlled states are leading the current wave of the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. Florida and Texas continue to lead the nation in new COVID-19 infections and death. Florida the first of the Republican controlled states to ban mask mandates and “vaccine passport”, has so far posted the highest number of deaths from COVID-19 in the country.

Texas governor Greg Abbot signed executive orders banning mask mandates and “vaccine passport”, as cases are also going up in his state. Florida, Gov. Ron De SantIs after signing an executive order banning mask mandates in schools even as infections are spiking in schools nationwide; Florida again, leading the way, went ahead to threaten to seize teachers’ salaries and withhold funding from any school that mandates mask wearing. As soon President Biden announced vaccine mandates for certain workers, Ron DeSantis declared a $5,000.00 fine against any business in Florida that enforces vaccine mandate

In a smack of blackmail, Republicans are presenting masking of children as some form of child abuse. Yet, in countries like China and South Korea that have managed to keep schools open during the pandemic they put masks on children’s faces, to protect them.

However, we now know the real reason Republican politicians oppose mask wearing. It is because their internal polling have shown that their white supremacy base do not like it and they do not want to risk losing that their core and most loyal base during elections.

So, Republicans do not mine how many American lives they are willing to sacrifice to the Covid-19 pandemic, if only to appease their white supremacy base and keep them in lock step while keeping Black people away from the ballot box through voter suppression legislations. This is their bloody road back to political power.

Then, poetic justice arrived for the monster governor of Texas playing Donald Trump, as he tested positive for Covid-19 after attending a packed “ maskless” indoor campaign event, where he reveled in the “energy” from the packed crowd. Gov. Greg Abbott still contracted Covid-19 even after being fully vaccinated. And this is the exact reason why health authorities recommended that we all mask-up even if we are fully vaccinated. Recall, this monster of a governor has banned mask mandate in his state and an apparently Republican dominated Texas Supreme Court backed him.-

According to the CDC, Texas and Florida account for 40% of the new Covid-19 infection cases in the US. And on Friday Setember3,2021, Chris Hayes of the MSNBC on his show –ALL IN- meticulously used a bar chart graph to illustrate how across the country, counties that voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election ( hardcore Republican fundamentalists ) are leading in both infection rate and death in the current wave of Covid-19 pandemic. . It is no coincidence that this is the same mob that are resisting masks and vaccinations and violently attacking officials trying to enforce compliance in order to protect them from the lethal pandemic. Even as they see their neighbors dying left right and center, around, them they continue to be adamantly hostile to mitigation measures such as mask wearing and vaccinations-all at their peril. This is the stark reality of ignorance in the 21st century America.

As Donald Trump’s protégé in Florida is banning masks mandate in schools teachers are paying a deadly price. According to The Huffington Post, 15 staff members died in one Florida school district alone, in just ten days .While in Georgia, another Republican controlled state, 25,000 students reportedly contracted Covid-19, just in one week of school reopening.

Meanwhile, Senator Marco Rubio is accusing the Biden administration of “mask fetish” arguing that emphasis should instead be placed on vaccination. This political opportunist is only trying to be clever by half. He knows better- he knows from practical cases that even fully vaccinated people are still being infected with the COVID-19, in a phenomenon described by medical experts as “break-through infections” . But Marco Rubio like Gov. Ron De Santis who are nursing presidential ambitions are desperate to win over the anti-mask, Donald Trump’s white supremacy base .

However, it is not only Republican politicians who are creating problems for President Biden’s Covid-19 containment efforts. There are “satanic pastors” like Greg Locke of Tennessee, who called the Covid-19 virus a hoax and threatened to kick out any of his church members who wear a mask . This is an evil man who should be behind bars; instead of hanging around a church or is it cult building, committing manslaughter while calling the name of God. It is as well that , those evil men are beginning to reap the proceeds of their evil acts. Tim Parsons, senior pastor at center Point church in Lexington Kentucky reportedly died of Covid-19 infection after, admonishing his congregants not to worry about the deadly pandemic as he told them : “ God is in control”.

And a South Carolina GOP leader who spent his final days on earth fighting mask mandates recently died from Covid-infection.

Republicans promote their anti-mask, anti-vaccine lunatics as” freedom loving” Americans. Well, we are now witnessing the explosion of Covid-19 in “freedom loving” red states of Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, Alabama et al. However, Republican politicians have succeeded in reaping political dividends while committing homicide for this long because they have a dumb and fanatically devoted white supremacy base who believe any lie they are being told to their detriment. So those dumb white supremacists truly believe that anyone who asks you to wear a mask to protect yourself from a deadly pandemic is trying to take away your “freedom”. And this is going on in America, the supposed First world, and beacon of wisdom in the 21st century?

One does not need to be an epidemiologist to know that large crowds are a magnet for the spread of Covid-19 infection. So why are the authorities still allowing large crowds at sports stadiums even as the pandemic is escalating in the United States?. The National Football League, NFL has taken off with packed crowd of crazy “maskless” fans. College football is underway. These are super spreader events which are bound to compound America’s Covid-19 pandemic. The London Guardian reported that the just concluded EURO-2020 soccer tournament led to a wave of Covid-19 infections in parts of Europe . Even if it has not been officially reported ,I can surmise that the recently concluded NBA finals might have led to a spike in Covid-19 infection in parts of the country.

Now, it has been reported that a recent Motor cycle rally in South Dakota led to a spike in Covid-19 infection in the state. This same event also led to a spike in Covid-19 infection in the state last year, as the republican governor of the state defied warnings from health authorities and went ahead to host those reckless events in the midst of an exploding pandemic.

Now, my take for combating the Covid-19 pandemic is mask mandate and vaccine passport. No mask no entry through any business doors; no mask no entry into classrooms; no proof of vaccination no entry through any business doors; no fans at sports stadiums (until further notice). For instance, in Italy, they have the green pass( proof of vaccination) that access people to venues like museums, gyms, malls and restaurants. These are the only effective ways of keeping businesses and schools open. After all, scientists and medical experts have warned us that even with the availability of vaccines, the Covid-19 is not going away anytime soon. What is more, they believe mutations would continue to emerge, as the vicious circle goes on. Republicans understand this perfectly well, but they are only engaging in cheap blackmail and dirty politics with Covid-19. And those soulless monsters do not give a damn as to how many Americans die from Covid-19 infections as a result of their callous political scheming. The so-called pro-life party feels it is fair game to play political games with the lives of their fellow citizens .Their ultimate goal is to sabotage President Biden’s efforts, destroy the economy only to turn around to blame him for their own evil plots. To hell with their so-called personal liberty and personal choices and electing to opt out of commonsensical civil norms in the face of a public health crisis.

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