1. Trust me, I’m old, and I know stuff. Today the TV news told everybody what I told you 10 days ago, like How the Masks Work Or Don’t, and the truth that yes, this virus does spread through dry air by speaking or just breathing in indoor spaces. (Those posts are below).
On last week’s grocery-store run, I used a surgical mask (the square flat kind) from my first aid kit, left over from years ago. It quickly got hot, moist, became a blotter for collecting every kind of ambient bacteria & virus on its surface. Also, air was pouring in all around the edges, and I had to keep touching/adjusting it with my gloved grocery-store fingers. Not so great really.
Next time I tried what we used to wear for grass-fires in Alameda County Fire Department. (It wasn’t enough either, but it was all we had then.) A bandanna, cowboy-bandit-Style. A simple triangle of cloth over the nose, tied in back, and the front corner tucked inside your T-shirt. Actually fits better, protects more than the surgical mask. Neither mask nor bandanna is 100% and the N-95 respirator masks are only for up-close personal contact with sick people, where WE should not be.
That’s the whole point. Drs and nurses are dying in shocking numbers now because they HAVE TO BE up close to sick people, and hospitals have run out of masks and other critical protective gear. Nurses in their twenties are having to write their last will and testament. When not-sick people hoard or price-gouge critical medical gear, in practical reality, it’s the same as murder. Likewise, anyone who is casual about the 6-foot thing, now you know that even though you feel fine you might cause the deaths of an unknown number of people, by spreading the virus unknowingly to some people who will spread it unknowingly to many others, who will spread it to thousands more. PLEASE DON’T DO THAT. Keep the rules. It’s an inconvenience for us, it’s life itself for potential millions.
2. There’s good news and bad news. First the good news. California is a bit ahead of some other states because we have an intelligent honest governor who saw the obvious, and took immediate decisive action. So far our infectious rate and death toll are lower than predicted– (but that’s just so far). It’s estimated we will lose about 5% of our population instead of 20% because we declared the social space, and we did not delay any action, like Trump told the whole country to do. However, we are still far below our peak, guesstimated at a month away. Those deaths deaths are already inevitable. But we’re having significant success in the control process. There is actually hope, IF we strictly adhere to the rules. We started earlier than New York and we still have a chance to do better than they can, it’s already too late to stop the numbers infected there, but not yet too late for California– IF we don’t get overconfident and careless. We have not yet seen even the tip of the iceberg. It might take 3 to 6 months, but it could take 19 months or more, depending on what we do NOW. It will end sometime, and the more we stand firm against it, the sooner it will reach its peak, and then begin to gradually diminish.
3. The bad news. There’s too much to tell, so I’ll just hit a few points. Trump has refused to allow any of the 700,000 people who lost their insurance along with their jobs to get Obama care. This is Trump’s #1 vendetta, he hates everything done by Obama and has steadily destroyed everything he can. The Obama administration & Congress had set up and funded a preparedness/ response system for pandemics after the Ebola pandemic (2014 thru 2016). One of the first things Trump did was to delete it, and transfer the money to something else. (His glory-wall? Who knows.) This week, only after screams of terror and warning from the medical experts, Trump took back his insane order of “everybody go to church Easter Sunday, and a miracle will make the whole pandemic go away.” Trump only reluctantly, and much slower than necessary, allowed the fed. govt. to send some supplies to some states, but he is blatantly holding out on states that he doesn’t personally like, especially New York, because the state has so many lawsuits pending against him for many crimes and illegal business practices. (there are thousands of other lawsuits pending against him all over the U.S. but he has dodged them by claiming “Executive Privilege.”) He finally allowed some hospital ventilator machines to be sent to California, but only a few of them actually worked. Gov. Newsom sent them to No. Cal to an expert repair team, then back to So. Cal where needed most. I won’t say any more about the fool on the hill because it makes me sick, but Just be aware that the most dangerous thing in our country now is not the pandemic, it’s still Donald Trump’s delusional and destructive obsessions.
4. Some more good news. Everywhere I look these days, I see people stepping up to help each other. Even some corporations have developed a conscience. Humanity is not as sick and selfish as some of our so-called “leaders” are. Right now it’s a fact that our former democracy is staggering under the weight of an insane infantile dictator, and that’s the truth. But we as individuals have not, and will not, give up our democracy, our decency, our integrity, or our sense of humanity.
We are still more good than bad. One of history’s greatest teachers once said “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” I believe that. In my life I have seen it happen, and I know that all the lies in history have never been able to do that. We as a nation, as a brotherhood, as a family, as neighbors, as caring and respectful people wherever we are, we have the power to write history, right now. It will be what we make it, and that’s the bottom line. We can make a difference. That’s what I believe. And trust me, I know stuff.
5. Who should you believe? Nobody. Listen to the experts who have actual training and experience first, and don’t just believe the orange-faced guy who yells the loudest. Don’t accept what you hear, until you have looked at it with your own good common sense, and tested it in your own heart. There is a common wisdom in our human species that we are desperately in need of right now, because we are on the brink of an immense breakthrough of human evolution. Yes, seriously. It’s happening and there’s no turning back. It’s not just the pandemic, it’s showing up in the earthquakes, the tornadoes, the volcanoes, the firestorms, the massive floods, the tsunamis, the hurricanes. The earth is changing, and the human species is about to break through to a new way to live, because it must. We have made a mess of things, and now we have got to change.
Lots of people are looking for ways to understand all this. I can recommend something that helped me to get a grip, get my feet back on the ground without the fear. Two DVDs made by world-known futurist and cosmologist Barbara Marx Hubbard. One is: “Visions of a Universal Humanity,” and another, “Humanity Ascending.” Or read her book Conscious Evolution. For me, they made some real sense out of all this. What’s happening on our tiny planet is not random, and it’s not just an end, it’s an absolute beginning of something we’ve never seen before. The ideas and truths in her work and the many others on the DVD will make you feel a lot less helpless and less afraid. Read her book, and give it some thought. After all, you’ve got some time now.
I also recommend keeping a personal journal or diary of your thoughts and feelings. It helps you get some clarity, and keeps things from spinning around quite so confusingly. It will help you calm down, and give you “someone to talk to” that you can trust, who you can’t offend, who will truly listen and remind you to respect and appreciate yourself and others. It will make everything feel a little more controllable.
Simple meditation can release those stress-knots in your neck and shoulders. Sit quietly in a private place and take some deep, calm, breaths. (This alone works wonders.) Gently but firmly one by one, push away all the wild worried thoughts that barge into your brain, and claim a safe space for yourself. You might want to think about it as “opening your heart-mind” to God, The Presence, the Buddha, Allah, or whatever you know or sense as the Universal Spirit of your own natural understanding. Or the classic practice is to make your mind completely empty. (I admit, I have never been able to achieve that.) Be still, be safe, let all your body sink down, and know that right here, right now, you are completely safe, and the unknowable universe loves you, and sort-of bathe your soul with the silence. Take peace for yourself, and know that it’s there for you, deep down, wherever you are, always.
6. Most of us will survive this pandemic. Millions of us will not. The sort-of-good-news is that even though the numbers of people involved is much greater than the Ebola pandemic, the ratio of infections-to-deaths is lower than that was. This is also true of the H1N1 virus, called “Spanish” flu of 1917-20. It lasted 3 years and 500 million people died, about 1/4 of the world’s population. We know better now, have better medical knowledge and techniques. If we can hold down the numbers to what we can somehow have enough medical people and equipment to treat, this will not be as bad as that pandemic was. It will still be very bad, and it spreads a lot faster. We should decide to stop as much of it as we can, because, the truth is, we can. It’s a choice.
What matters now is what we do now, so that we save the lives that are not yet infected. We can, and I ask you please, let’s do, save ourselves and them. Don’t break the rules. Don’t cheat or fudge. Don’t be careless. You are a causative agent in either the survival or the destruction of human life. Make the right choice, you know you want to.
To get ahead of this catastrophe, we have to think ahead. The guy who said this better than anybody was Wayne Gretzky, legendary hockey player. He said. “You don’t want to be where the puck is, you want to be where the puck is going to be.”
That’s where we can make a difference. Look ahead, think ahead, make a plan, and do it.
“The Great Gretsky”