Monday, March 23, 2020

Death is not the worst outcome

The worst possible outcome right now of Trump's "send 'em back to work!" policy is not a massive death toll, as truly bad as that would be.

It's the flooding of hospitals with the sick, and triage being performed at every health care facility in the country as the injured and ill continue to pour into those facilities, side by side with all the infected who need at least palliative care (which is all we can offer now), but may need ICU care (which we don't have enough of).  And what of non-covid19 patients who need ICU care, too?

Trump would essentially turn the entire country into a disaster film, where demand literally outstrips supply.  I just came from the grocery store where shelves are emptying out of things you wouldn't think they'd run low on:  milk; cleaning supplies; sugar; flour; laundry detergents.  Have the trucks stopped running?  Or are people panicking more and more, and hoarding for fear the shelves will be (as they are now) empty, and remain that way?  I was reassured the toilet paper manufacturers could meet the demand.  I haven't seen a roll of toilet paper in a store in 10 days.

Now stretch that out over months, as the people who literally make and transport and deliver and shelve that stuff, fall ill and crowd the hospitals.  Houston has the Texas Medical Center, and still doesn't have that kind of hospital capacity.

As bad as death is, the enormous suffering Trump would inflict on the country, all in the name of keeping his job and raising the flagging stock market, is worse.  And yet there's nothing we can do, short of ignore the President.  Now, more than ever, that's precisely what we need to do.

But that's not going to solve anything, either.

(well, and yeah, these people are monsters.  But focussing solely on deaths is not to focus on the problem.)

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