Posts Tagged 'pandemic'

Pandemic Notes #3

Among the 21,138+ Covid-19 deaths in NYC are neighborhood men who ran a local pizza joint and a corner bodega.

There are now 96,662+ coronavirus deaths in U.S. under the vicious incompetence of Donald Trump and his grand-old-pary-of-death-enablers. (These are Saturday’s numbers and will be bigger when this is published.)

Because the Republican-fascists are waging a multi-pronged battle to both suppress the number of deaths (see Florida, Georgia) and/or to simply deny them (see Fox and the other conspiracy-vectors), it’s important to remember the names of their victims. Lots of local media have obituaries on-line. This morning the New York Times is dedicating its front page to 1% of the victims. (That piece-of-shit Trump went golfing Saturday.) There are also these sources:

Those We’ve Lost

Faces of Corvid

Naming the Lost

Here’s a good analysis of the life-and-death contrast between NY and CA. I gather some people are entertained by the Brothers Cuomo on TV, but the picture above of the Cuomo-De-Blasio freezer trucks are a better representation of their criminal irresponsibility. Cuomo’s and De Blasio’s actions only look good in comparison to the genocidal Trump. (I wrote about these body-storage trailers in my first pandemic commentary.)

I am surprised people are falling for Cuomo’s performance. His miserable history, his actual actions, as governor have been on display for years now. His plans for the future: austerity, disaster capitalism, corporate control of education. It’s a softer nightmare than Trump’s gargoyle-riot, but it’s still vile.

The pandemic should have ripped apart the facade of bullshit that coats this nation. The responses to this disease, forecast for months, reveals the savagery of the republic like nothing else: the contempt for the elderly; the war on the poor; the murderous racism; the domestic terrorism of misogyny; the way the brutes gather for putsches in state capitals. The monstrousness of selfishness against public health, the unmasked sociopaths ranting about their “liberty” when they’re nothing but canon-fodder for their plutocratic masters.

In The Plague, Camus writes of the “secreted humours” being purged from the earth itself, the “abscesses and pus-clots that had been forming in its entrails,” all spilling out. Quite the documentarian, Camus. The shit rises — perhaps it will boil off?

Yet through it all, we, and I still think we are the majority, prevail.

“There’s no question of heroism in all this. It’s a matter of common decency. That’s an idea that may make some people smile, but the only means of fighting a plague is — common decency.” ~ Camus

And now, because you need some beauty in, and of
our world.

Pandemic Notes II

This April has been cooler than March. More rain, too. Or so it seems. The cruelest month? “Breeding/Lilacs out of the dead land” wrote Eliot, ladling out more metaphor than botany from his chilly Modernist citadel.

The NYC death toll is now over 13,000. I can’t keep up with the tally. In addition to the documented increase, they’ve now added several thousand probable coronavirus-deaths because of the big spike in at-home deaths.

As Republicans/sociopaths continue to hound the parents of children murdered in schools with taunts that it didn’t happen, the GOP’s organs have piled on with the conspiracy garbage, claiming over-counts, denying deaths. TV “doctors” Oz and Phil, quacks performing as medical professionals, belittle a mere 2-3% fatality rate and suggest that swimming pool deaths are contagious.

Now, not all Republicans are these raving scumbags, but they all “approve this message” when they vote for their authoritarian paladins and corrupt hucksters. They’re the audience for this garbage, they’re the little foot soldiers for their plutocratic masters. And they are the rich vein of funding. Wonder where that Nixonite David Nunes comes from? The fascist outrage machine is highly lucrative. Sunbelt retirees are a kind of cattle to be endlessly milked and bilked.

I can’t tell you how many “oh, look! nature is returning!” things I’ve seen in the last month. Some are fraudulent, magnified by gullible/hopeful social media users. Some are more overtly political, like the reactionary Daily Mail’s article about vultures over NYC. The British old folks’ tabloid suggested a flock of Turkey Vultures (three in the picture) was ominous and foreboding, gathering because of COVID deaths. But as readers of this blog, you know vultures coast over the city throughout the year (and over the years).

Other of these nature-returns stories are manifestations of a birth or rebirth of people’s attention. Hear more birds outside? Less car noise: check. (Lesson: cars and motorcycles are poison.) Migration and breeding season: check. It’s people’s own attentiveness that they are marveling about. The birds have always been there, but quieter streets and more home-time mean people are noticing them more.

I do hope this attentiveness stays with people. You can hear the birds through the traffic, if you listen.

Pandemic Notes

We live on 6th Avenue in Brooklyn, at the top of the Harbor Hill moraine, and look down towards Upper New York Bay. The water begins a block from 1st Avenue. That’s where you’ll find the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal facility stretching north from 39th St. In the last couple of days, some three dozen gleaming white semi-trailers have appeared there.

Typically, there’s little activity at the SBMT, at least that’s what it looks from up here. A tiny security company vehicle crosses the wide parking lot. A couple of times a week, a short train moving junk from the recycling plant just to the north runs to the dock further south, across tracks that run through the terminal’s enormous parking lot and then down 1st Avenue. The unexpected train whistle in the early morning booms up the hill. There’s often a large puddle on the parking lot, too, that serves gulls and crows, hangers-on at the recycling plant, as a place for baths. Periodically, local politicians have a photo-op on the terminal grounds to promise jobs at the site. For the four and a half years we’re lived here, the most notable activity noted down there was the arrival of several vast white tubular structures, like pre-fab missile silos. They sat there for years before they were dissembled on site by blow-torches. It was all quite inexplicable. As the sparks flew, I wondered what it that was all about, and how much it cost us in “economic development.”

The white semi-trailers look like the freezer trucks that have been parked outside area hospitals to take the overflow of bodies. Officially, 5,789 have died from the pandemic in the five boroughs of NYC as of 9am April 12. I say officially because a concomitant spike in deaths at home weren’t initially being counted. Nobody was testing at-home deaths. There have been very many more of these at-home deaths than the usual 20-25 a day. Undoubtedly, a good number of these were, and continue to be, coronavirus-related. The leadership, locally by Mayor Bill DeBlasio, and state-wide by Governor Andrew Cuomo—while vastly better than the murderous disaster of Trump—has been terrible. We are led by mediocrities and/or monsters. More details on the alarms sounding for months while Trump golfed and shoveled garbage tweets to his cult members.

Hospitals, morgues, funeral homes, and crematoria in the city are all filled to capacity, overbooked like some hellish airline flight. After spotting these white semi-trailers, devoid of commercial branding, I found this article about the city ordering 45 refrigerator trucks.

Of course, in a city of eight million, life goes on. Yadda god-damned yadda. I look down on the street and see three bros yucking it up as they triangulate the sidewalk with their six-foot distancing. None are masked, so they essentially block the sidewalk for themselves.

There seems to be a good mapping of coronavirus skepticism and climate disruption skepticism. The flavors of American fascism—militant ignorance, deranging conspiracy thinking, anti-expert “populism,” plutocratic string-pulling—combined with fundamentalist End Times fantasies and religious fatalism result in a deadly brew indeed. A number of Republican governors, especially in the Deep South—a region with the worst health and infant mortality rates in the nation, states historically designed to kill African Americans—have refused social distancing measures and even countermanded local versions decreed by mayors. Sub-Trumps and satangelicals—a portmanteau of my own, as far as I known, combining Satan with evangelical, because what else is the evangelical-Trump connection but some species of devil worship?—these fuckers model the vicious racist theocracy they wish to impose on the rest of us.

Meanwhile, there’s no end in sight.
***

The New York Review of Books has an excellent series of dispatches from around the world on the pandemic.


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