Infections from the COVID-19 Coronavirus continue to rise, even in rural Floyd County with an increase of 1 to thousands that have pushed the worldwide total past 10 million and past 2.5 million in the United States.
The pandemic has brought human suffering to levels not seen in centuries, devastated the world’s economy and continues to infect rich and poor nations.
In America, a record surge of new cases spotlights a “historic failure of the United States to control the virus add exposes a crisis in governance extending from the Oval Office to state capitals to city councils.
In a heinous disregard for human life, the re-election campaign of president Donald Trump directed the removal of thousands of social distancing stickers from seats before his failed rally in Tulsa. Infections have increased dramatically since that event that urged attendees to ignore using masks or obeying social distancing recommendations.
Nations of the European Union have blocked citizens from the United States from entering their country with a prominent French virologist calling the failure to deal with the virus an “explosive situation.”
On Saturday, one day after claiming the U.S. had the virus “under control,” vice president Mike Pence postponed campaign appearance in Arizona and Florida, citing major increases in cases in those states and “out of an abundance of caution.”
“Unfortunately, in the United States, the discussion about Covid-19 is a political discussion,” said Christian Brechot, a French virologist who is president of the Global Virus Network, in an interview with FranceInfo. “Indeed, you have a part of the Republican electorate for whom all this is an invention to ruin the economic progress made by Donald Trump.”
Hospitals in Texas and Arizona say a rapid increase in virus patients threaten to overwhelm their resources and ability to cope.
In Houston, Fire Chief Sam Pena told television station KHOU that the increases had doubled or tripled response times because of spiking calls.
“The longer it takes us to service those critical calls, it is going to cost us lives,” he told the news station. “Our system is getting strained.”
Harris County, which includes Houston, raised its virus threat meter to its highest level and said the situation is “severe and uncontrolled.”
Here in Floyd County, where masks are “required” when entering stores, restaurants and other public places, we see many barefaced and ignoring social distancing. Sadly, the “requirement” by Gov. Ralph Northam, has little effect because it calls for enforcement by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), which has only the authority to threaten businesses with license restrictions and, to date, none have been punished for letting customers break the rules.
As bad as the numbers appear, they should be worse, says the head of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S.
Robert Redfield says the “true caseload” should be 10 times higher because antibody tests show a wider number of infections than previously thought.
Which brings a disturbing question: Which is the worse threat? The actual number of cases, including the ones unreported, or the inaction by our leaders who put political agendas ahead of the health of the nation?