In the past week, there were nearly 15,000 deaths in the United States due to COVID-19 for a total of 55,415, and of those, 623 were in Texas where another 150 died last week. All that and much of Texas reopened for business as of last Friday.
While we’re still told to practice social distancing and wear a mask, many still don’t, like the police officer I noticed walking into an urgent care medical office to drop off some material from the city.
That $1,200 stimulus payment we’re all supposed to get won’t go far for many who were put out of work as they still have the same bills to pay. Even worse, too many still haven’t gotten the money that was authorized more than a month ago. Loans to small businesses provided by the second stimulus were absorbed by big businesses because too many banks would rather loan to them than small businesses. The third stimulus just added more funds and rules, but still doesn’t address the needs of those out of work.
The unemployment rate is over 23% with around 26.5 million Americans out of work. Many workers were furloughed but still aren’t going back to work as their businesses aren’t on the reopen list yet. Many others were laid-off and therefore have less hope of returning to work in the near future.
Food banks all over the country are running out of food as they experience three and four times normal demand. Given the dire straits so many are in right now it’s a good thing Democrats in the House are working on another stimulus bill that will offer direct payments to the American people as well as provide funds for state and city governments so they can continue to pay their police, fire and other essential workers.
Unfortunately, there may be problems getting such a bill passed by the Senate as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a radio interview, ”My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now. That’s not something I’m going to be in favor of.”
New York Republican Congressman Peter King was livid.
“McConnell’s dismissive remark that states devastated by the coronavirus should go bankrupt rather than get the federal assistance they need and deserve is shameful and indefensible, to say that it is ‘free money’ to provide funds for cops, firefighters and healthcare workers makes McConnell the Marie Antoinette of the Senate.”
Trump seems worried that taking too long to reopen businesses will leave the economy in a slump that will cost him the election. I worry that reopening without taking the necessary measures — which the medical community says involve mass testing and contact tracing followed by quarantine of those found testing positive — will ensure that many more people die than necessary and a second shut down may become necessary ensuring further economic damage and uncertainty.
We’d all be better off if we do it right the first time, but Trump and Gov. Greg Abbott don’t seem to share my view.
We’ll continue to stay at home for all but essentials like groceries and prescriptions as I have the good fortune of working from home. I hope anyone else that can work from home will so they can remain healthy.