• AJ Freeman

8 Weeks to Life: The Uniquely American COVID Crisis

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

they´re all red states.

8 weeks.

As long as I draw breath on this Earth, I will always remember that well-developed modern societies had the tools to largely quash these repeated outbreaks of COVID-19 Coronavirus, and do it in less than two months.

We could have been done with this shit in May...as it stands, 2021 is canceled too.

There´s no secret sauce here, we´ve seen it work over and over: you just have to encourage your citizens to stay at home to reduce transmission of the deadly disease, then give them enough money to continue living in a building and eating human food for 6-8 weeks.

This is the way.

The only way.

New Zealanders enjoying their functioning society, June 2020

Of course, as Americans, we do not live in a well-developed modern society.

That has made itself clear as a telescope lens this year.

Sure, we might be able to claim the trappings of capitalist plenty--multiple space programs (even a couple somehow owned by individuals!), billion dollar sports stadiums, police forces equipped to stand a chance at occupying a small European nation--it's an outstanding place to be rich. And white.

On the other hand, it's a really tough place to end up as anything else. Between the standard starvation wages, crippling medical expenses and egregious police violence, sometimes it seems like the easiest thing to do as a poor minority in America is shrivel up and die.

Of course, all of that was before the plague arrived.

the main public transportation system in the global center of commerce is a homeless shelter during a pandemic.

It´s no secret that the COVID crisis disproportionately affects the American underclass, but have you ever really considered how vicious a cycle it is in our society? The domestic handling of the pandemic is almost like an instruction manual on propagating the spread of the disease:

  1. Force the most vulnerable members of the population to continue working menial jobs with high public contact.

  2. Offer near-zero material support so even those who do find themselves symptomatic have no choice but to go out and infect others.

  3. Place no restrictions on large indoor gatherings.

  4. Profit.

The head of the national Coronavirus Task Force must be so proud of his work for Coronavirus.

Mike Pence has a high approval rating among disease vectors.

The most devastating thing about the comprehensive clusterfuck created by the national COVID response is that all the tools have been used, and used poorly. You ever try to put something together using stripped screws and a headless hammer?

Early in the game, things like lockdowns and travel restrictions were viable options. Countries around the world used these along with mask mandates to mitigate the spread of the disease.

The people bought in, and got results out. Now, the travel restrictions are imposed on us--who wants Americans in their country, anyway?--and you know as well as I do that the next lockdown orders will be met with violence.

remember when your countrymen protested public health protocols by storming City Hall armed with the tools of war?

The United States of America claims about five percent of the global population.

The United States of America claims about 20 percent of the global COVID death toll.

It´s almost as weird as realizing that ¨The Land of the Free¨ has the world´s highest prison population.

We Yanks laugh at ¨backwards countries¨ like, say, Mexico, with endemic corruption of public officials and bare-bones public services, but rarely take the time to look in the mirror at our own statecrafting shitshow.

At least other nations have the excuse of not being sufficiently well funded to engineer operations of the scale needed to combat Coronavirus...when you´re talking about a nation where incoming Western Union transmissions are a top-tier source of domestic income, it´s a valid rationale.

...but when we´re talking about the richest, most powerful civilization in the history of humankind--at least, that´s what it says in the brochure--turning an 8-week cycle into a seemingly endless slog of misery is an extraordinary feat of criminal indifference.

For me, the phrase ¨the cruelty is the point¨ has always carried the aftertaste of glib hashtaggery, an attempt to distill complex issues and motivations into a bumper sticker.

Part of my horrifying 2020 education was discovering that sometimes it really is that simple.

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