Analysis: It’s been 6 months since Covid changed our lives completely

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If you thought coronavirus was no big deal or if you thought it was going to go away, wake up.
Your life is about to change.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, issued a disturbing warning during a White House briefing Tuesday: Americans everywhere need to change the way they live their lives. Right now.
“We would like the country to realize that as a nation, we can’t be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a state that has no cases or one case,” Fauci said.
We really had no idea — and no way to imagine — how much things would change. Back then, China was copping to very few deaths. There were just a few hundred known cases in the US. Stay-at-home orders hadn’t yet started; restaurants were still open everywhere, people were going to school and to work every day.
The halt to normal life was sudden, and it was unprecedented. Remember when we thought it would be for a couple of weeks?
In another six months, we’ll have lived through an election and an inauguration. We don’t yet know whether things will be back to anything like normal for most Americans by then.
In the past few days, we’ve learned that President Donald Trump was knowingly misleading everyone about the severity of the virus to maintain calm. We’ll be studying the failure of government leadership that allowed so much death for a long time, maybe for the rest of the history of this country.

Nightmares become normal

Not in nightmares would we have thought six months ago that nearly 1 million people would have died from Covid worldwide or that nearly 200,000 of them would be Americans.
And another 200,000 Americans could be dead by the end of the year.
Nor did we imagine that the US economy would be teetering, even after a bipartisan agreement to spend trillions on relief. Or that 30 million people would be out of work.
This is not normal. But it’s evolved into a sort of Covid normal, which we’re dealing with, badly.
On Friday, Fauci told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell we’re not done. Not by a long shot. He said we will continue to claw our way past the virus, but we won’t be back to normal for more than a year
“I believe that we will have a vaccine that will be available by the end of this year, the beginning of next year,” he said.
But he added that getting the vaccine produced and the population inoculated will take time.
“If you’re talking about getting back to a degree of normality which resembles where we were prior to Covid, it’s going to be well into 2021, maybe even towards the end of 2021.”
Not good news. The story that made my stomach churn most this week was the one about the drug company AstraZeneca pausing its vaccine trials.

What we’ve learned about ourselves

The horrible trade we’re making every day. Inching back toward normalcy will kill people. Maybe not someone you know. But we must all realize that American lives will end because kids are at school.
The sick bargain Covid has exposed about all of us. There’s a certain amount of death we’re willing to accept.
College kids are cavorting on campus because that’s what college kids do, and even shutting campuses won’t stop them. The vast majority of them won’t die. But their actions will spread the virus. And that will kill people.
People insisting that it is their personal right to not wear a mask who go into public enclosed places are likely killing people.
CNN’s Jim Acosta asked people at a Trump rally why they refused to wear masks. The resulting video is worth watching.

Trump thinks he’s Churchill. He’s not Churchill.

At a rally on Thursday, Trump mangled history to put himself in league with Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. CNN’s Stephen Collinson called that poppycock. Churchill mobilized his country to fight evil. Trump tried to blow the virus off.
Collinson writes:
The comparison doesn’t hold up since Churchill left his country in no doubt of the challenge ahead when he became prime minister in 1940, warning of an “ordeal of the most grievous kind” and adding, “We have before us many, many long months of struggle and suffering.”
Trump never came close to a similar steeling of national resolve at the start of the pandemic. His choice to look away from the threat and hope it would just pass actually has more in common with another British Prime Minister of the era, Neville Chamberlain, who elected not to confront the rising Nazi menace in 1938 in appeasement policies that many historians believe squandered a chance to stop Adolf Hitler before he reached a point of maximum danger.
This, on the eve of September 11. (Speaking of anniversaries, it’s been a year since the first revelations about Trump’s meddling in Ukraine, which ultimately led to his impeachment this past January.)
Nineteen years ago, President George W. Bush was leading the nation through the 9/11 terror attacks, another event that briefly brought the country together, then left it terribly politically divided.
Trump should have taken a lesson from Bush, who chose to lead the country into a war based on flawed intelligence. Trump now says he opposed that war.
Facing his own crisis, though, he’s utterly failed to protect the homeland.
Rather than protecting his supporters, he’s holding mask-free rallies in battleground states.
Rather than helping parents find ways to safely keep their kids learning, he’s threatening school districts.
Rather than maintaining confidence in the medical and public health system, he’s making false promises about testing and vaccines.
And rather than acknowledge any of it, he’s blaming others. Still.