As a general rule, Americans don’t do the cower-in-the-corner thing very well.
Usually, we are the people who storm Point du Hoc, run into the North Tower as the South Tower is collapsing, who board rickety little boats that land in Plymouth, fly planes into the eyewalls of hurricanes, and who tackle Pickett’s Charge.
We are famous for putting future generational triumph above individual safety, cling to divine order, pray for guidance– and JUMP.
This time, though, it’s different… which is why this current state of viral affairs won’t go on much longer. We won’t stand for it.
…oh, we are a smart, thinking people, too. We can be cautious– and brash. So, we build Clipper Ships, and Atlas Rockets –and install guardrails on our Interstates. We listen politely –for a while– to the experts. But when the experts start running out of correct answers, our typical response is:
“Oh, to hell with this. The first three planes crashed into buildings. Let’s Roll..”
This mindset is a precious, precious thing– beyond gold is it’s measure. Courage and determination and death-defiance against all odds courses through our national veins.
So, we will sit at home. For now. We will give the garage that deep cleaning it’s needed for a couple of years. We will write actual, hand-written letters. We will read our bibles, paint the bedroom, bleach the toilets. We play Word Cookies on our phones. And wait. And watch.
But, we are Americans.
We aren’t the Chinese, who are indeed an ancient, beautiful people with culture that runs the human gamut, but ultimately has put very little value on a single human life– and are thus predisposed to despotic control.
We aren’t the Europeans. Duh. Most Americans are here because our ancestors got the heck out of there, what with their petty princedoms, their rigid caste systems that flung every other generation into asinine wars.
We are Americans. And, at least last time I checked, WE were in charge. Our framing documents verily START with that word. There’s even an Amendment to the Constitution that says it best:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
…or to the people…
This, of course, is the genius of the American System. Unfortunately, the dull and bizarre twilight of the last two weeks has caused this brilliance to be less easily seen, less easily divined. We tend to think that the entire world is locked down, that we are all huddling in fear, waiting for the dreaded Virus to invade our homes and our lungs; while we wait for the OKAY sign from some faceless bureaucrats.
This isn’t true.
Thousands and thousands of little creations are taking place, new treatments are being tried, new innovations are coming to light. These things aren’t figured into Dr. Fauci’s models. Many exciting and even divine things are going on outside the gray walls of our self-imposed lock-down.
Only our way of life –the American Way of Life– can produce these near-daily miracles. And they have nothing to do with Government, or the Government Response.
In fact, they happen IN SPITE of the government response…
Abbott Laboratories is rolling out a Test for Wuhan Coronavirus that gives accurate results in 45 minutes. It expects to deliver 50,000 of those tests to hospitals on Monday (!), and be producing several hundred thousand in a week or so. The FDA has approved (–through its emergency guidelines) the use of a “Critical Care Decontamination Unit” manufactured in Ohio (and ready to go) that can sterilize tens of thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment at a time. Such systems are en route to hot spots around the country as I write.
Innovators and entrepreneurs are springing into action. Several have developed methods to “split” existing ventilators so that as many as eight patients at a time can be ganged into a single pump; the parts have been designed, and are 3D printed. A clever robotics whiz has invented a simple gizmo that can mechanically pump a bagged oxygen mask. It costs $300.
Medicines and new treatments are being improvised. Don’t believe me? Take a look at “clinicaltrials.org”– there are over two hundred such trials in the pipeline addressing the SARS-Covid19, dozens of which are enrolling patients right now. Tonight.
Despite the scorn of several wicked governors, the use of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin packs are showing great promise in hospital trials across the country (and around the globe) to clear the virus in suffering patients, and as a prophylaxis for those tending to them. Patients that had been near in extremis have been saved.
Thus, Mylan Pharmaceuticals of Morgantown, West Virginia, is ramping up production of the anti-malarial medicine, and expects to be able to ship enough of it to treat 1.5 million patients in the next ten days or so. An Israeli company, Teva Pharmaceuticals, has donated 16 million doses. Bayer and Novartis have likewise shipped over 6 million doses. Ameal pledged to make 20 million tablets available by April 15.
The two medicines, taken together, work– and they are cheap. The only real hurdle at the moment is availability. That will not be an issue next week.
American doctors will save American patients– without regard to the regulatory hurdles. Again, they will be circumspect for now. For now. Then their American blood will start pumping to the surface. I friggin’ guarantee it. We don’t take this crap lying down, curled in ball, soaked in tears. We don’t.
…and then something else will happen: it will start dawning on people that we were told to cower under the covers to “flatten the curve”, or TWO MILLION Americans will die. Now, two weeks into this, Dr. Fauci –the great medical Svengali at President Trump’s elbow– now says, oops, maybe 200,000; maybe less. Maybe, maybe only 85,000, too, according to one adviser– and those between now and August.
Wait, wait, wait: 650,000 Americans die every year from Heart Disease. 400,000 from cancer. What makes these Covid19 deaths so special that we throw OTHER patients out of hospital beds, that we sit home, and pour lighter fluid on the economy, ruin millions of lives, destroy thousands of families, and disrupt supply lines that will take years to fix. What, again, exactly, we’re we told?
Yes, we’ll give it a week or two. Then we will peek above the trench.
But, that’s it. Then, I wouldn’t want to be the Germans staring back through the field-glasses at Chateau-Theirry.