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The Virus: Week Twenty-Two

Continue from The Virus: Week Twenty-One

The day after that it’s reported that the US economy has shrunk by 33% in the second fiscal quarter, and that former GOP candidate and Trump enthusiast Herman Cain has died from the virus, and that while he battled it for weeks, someone on his staff using his account kept tweeting criticism about those of us who have taken this virus seriously, as the man died from it, and that meanwhile Trump is threatening to delay the presidential election, and that in addition he is continuing to dispute the validity of the election results before the election has occurred, and not to mention that one person is dying from this godforsaken virus in the US every sixty seconds now, and that the reality of this seems to have continued to escape too many people, and that Buddy, the first dog in the US to test positive for the virus, has also died from the virus, and furthermore that Congress has left early for a long weekend without renewing the $600/week relief bill, and that as a consequence millions are about to lose the only money they have coming in right now as this virus decimates public health and the economy, and that in the meantime they are laying John Lewis to rest, and that for just a moment you could see on the live footage before the start of his memorial service that people were lining up to get their individual pictures taken smiling in front of John Lewis’ casket, which held his dead body, and that every person has to take their mask off first so that the photo of them standing in front of John Lewis’ dead body can capture their smile, and this is the same day that NASA launches Perseverance on it long journey to Mars, as we seek to discover what forms of life may once have existed there, and how habitable we could make that planet for ourselves. The day after that you could hear more and more about the growing number of experienced teachers who are quitting their jobs rather than risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones by being forced to return to unsafe classrooms on unprepared campuses administered by administrators employing an entirely different human calculus. On the front page of The New York Times the headline reads: “Virus Wipes Out 5 Years of Economic Growth.” And then it was August; and on August 1 and August 2 and August 3, I tried to figure out how devastating this approaching fall and winter will be, as schools are being forced to open long before we are prepared for what will come next. And then the next day an enormous explosion blasted apart a huge section of Beirut, killing well over a hundred people and leaving a hundred thousand homeless and smashing homes and business and infrastructure to smithereens. The day after that, Facebook and YouTube and Twitter flagged material Trump shared about the virus as false, and took it down, and temporarily prevented the accounts from sharing more of the same misinformation about the virus that he and his comrades have been disseminating for six months or more, but there is no end in sight to the lies, the disinformation, the mismanagement, the mass cruelty, the ignorance and stupidity and duplicity, and the indifference to widespread devastation and death. For those who still hope it will make a difference, or go the way they hope it will, we are constantly reminded that election day is now just a few months away.

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