My fears for the USA

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After everything I’ve read and watched, I’m especially scared for the response To the coronavirus from the USA. I sincerely hope my fears are wrong, I hope Trump is doing everything right, I hope that I’m simply overreacting…but I fear this is not the case. Here are some thoughts I had that I needed to put down on paper to clear my head. Also here is a playlist of clips that I found interesting. All videos are linked as sources below:

-I find myself using China and Italy as examples for the USA, certainly not because their response has been swift in combating the coronavirus, quite the opposite. With that said, China and Italy still have more restrictions in place than the USA! If we want better results than these countries, naturally the USA needs a clear plan that includes national restrictions (not just recommended guidelines). Let us learn from the successes and failures of each country that has been affected. I highly recommend watching this 30min documentary on the response of China, A diary from quarantine. While I don’t think such restrictions are morally correct, another thought is: they did all this…and it was still there was a disaster.

-Trump demonstrated a very late response to combat the coronavirus, even after watching the pandemic play out in other countries. It was not until March 17th, which was already too late, that he finally declared it a pandemic. Great! Better late than never, however, it seems that since March 17th, his response has progressively gotten more laxed, saying that he “hopes to do this [open the country] by Easter.” Dr. Anthony Fauci clarifies: “You can look at a date, but you must be very flexible. You need to reevaluate the feasibility of what you are trying to do.”

-There is a rush by Trump and others like Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick to get the USA opened a soon as possible so that the economy doesn’t get destroyed, even if it puts citizens potentially at risk. As Trump states, “This is a country built on ‘getting it done’ and we have a lot of people who want to go back to work…we don’t want to sit around and wait…I think it’s going to happen pretty quickly.” I agree with this statement! I would sincerely love to get back to work since, as a freelancer, when my work is canceled, I don’t get paid (stay tuned for a post on this). However, are we doing everything possible to go back to “normal” ASAP? From observing other affected countries, I think the answer is an obvious ‘no.’ We have seen time and time again that the sooner that social distancing restrictions are enforced at a national level, the sooner the country will see a positive outcome. Yes, the USA will lose a lot of money during a national shutdown and our economy will suffer, but I’d personally rather have a mandatory shutdown for a month than to be struggling for a year (which would be worst for the economy).

In 2018, Trump dispersed the entire pandemic response team to “streamline” his administration and its head Timothy Ziemer left the administration. Trump also cut funding for the CDC. Even in this video from 2018, the catastrophic consequences from this decision were clear.

-Many Governors describe a bleak situation where they are competing against other Governors, FEMA and foreign countries for PPE that’s vital to their constituents. Here are some short accounts from Massachusetts Republican Governor Charlie Baker, Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. We immediately understand these Governors’ pure frustration after hearing this interaction between Trump and the Republican Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker: “We took very seriously the push that you made previously…that we should not just rely on the stockpile and that we should go out and buy stuff and put in orders and try to create pressure on manufacturers and distributors. But I’ve got to tell you that on three big orders we lost to the feds. If states are doing what the feds want and trying to create their own supply chain on this, then people should be responsive to that because I’ve got a feeling that if somebody has a chance to sell to you or has a chance to sell to me, I’m going to lose every one of those,” Trump, proud of himself, laughs smugly and responds, “Price is always a component of that also, maybe that’s why you lost to the feds.”

-Even if Governors are lucky enough to get the PPE that was requested from FEMA, some have been reported as past the expiration date and unsafe for medical professionals to use. But many requests are straight out denied, like Trump’s response to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: “The president said it’s a war…Well, then act like it’s a war!” Trump and Cuomo give an excellent metaphor. However, in war we equip our men and women at the front line. Why do we not do the same for our doctors and nurses? They have to make due with delayed and expired supplies and, when all else fails, wear garbage bags as armor from the virus.

-As we look at how countries have fought the coronavirus, the USA is doing significantly less in enforcing national restrictions and this has resulted in governors like Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves and Idaho Governor Brad Little not enforcing statewide restrictions. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick goes even further in saying that people should die in order for the USA to get back to normal, “As a senior citizen, ‘are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that America loves…?’ I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed.” Events during a crucial time in the spread of the coronavirus, like Mardi Gras in Louisiana still went on and spring break in Florida was late to give even minor restrictions.

-This is completely my opinion, but I appreciate the leadership of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. I honestly didn’t really know who he was before this, but now I make a point of watching him speak because he provides some comfort to me seeing how he fights for results and, at the same time, uses an empathetic tone showing the emotions we are all feeling: fear, anger, hope, etc… However this is highly contrasted by Trump’s smug comments about how the media is against him, laughter and reading from a script about emotions, but without any emotions.

-I am also grateful to my California Representative Katie Porter who fought for free coronavirus testing. Even with this, a Californian teen recently died from the coronavirus after being told to go to another hospital due to an insurance issue.

-We truly do not know the number of cronavirus cases there are in the USA, since we have not done enough tests. I do not think we will we be more successful to combat this virus by being ignorant to these facts. The Director of Harvard Global Health Institute Ashish Jha states, “South Korea is testing 15,000 people a day. We haven’t even tested 15,000 people so far in America across the whole last two months…worse than almost any other [affected] country.”

-Hopeless, I’m starting to think that the only way this nightmare will end is when we find a cure or a vaccine. However, as Dr. Anthony Fauci said that a treatment would be deployable “at the earliest a year to a year and a half.” . . .

These are just things crossing my mind as I sit in my apartment in Vienna on day 18 of quarantine, with 19 more to go. I sincerely hope I’m overreacting and that Trump has everything under control, however, I fear that the recent past shows a very scary fate for the USA. As an American, there is a very important thing that you can do…stay home! It has been shown that this is one of the best and quickest ways to overcome the coronavirus.

Here is a playlist of clips that I found interesting. All videos are linked as sources above.

Last day we could walk freely

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On our completion of a 1 week lockdown in Austria, I reflect on the last day we could walk freely at Ashley and Julien’s beautiful wedding in Mödling, Vienna. We now continue our 2nd week of lockdown and this will last until April 13th. While 1 whole month of lockdown is our unfortunate reality, Austria has made a lot of improvements! It has been reported that in only 1 week on lockdown, Austria has gone from 40% increase of the Coronavirus cases, to now only 22%. Last week, we had abnormally gorgeous weather for March, which made it harder to stay in. Even with this, Austrians did quite well in adhering to these new restrictions. Next week, snow is in the forecast, so hopefully that will make it more attractive for people to stay home.

Remember, if you stay home: you allow me to get back to normal life and if I stay home, I allow you to get back to normal life! We are all in this together…the whole world!

Donna Elvira ~ Don Giovanni: March 20 CANCELED

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Ah taci giusto core” ~Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni

It’s sad that our Don Giovanni on March 20 with the Divadlo F.X Šaldy Liberec (State Opera Liberec) in Czechia has been canceled due to the Corona Virus. But I hope to see you at my remaining shows as Donna Elvira at 7pm on May 9, 13 / Sep 16 / Nov 5.

Photo: Karel Kašák