A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 17

A pre-Trump death panel.

Wednesday, March 25

Senate Republicans and Democrats forge ahead on a $1.8 trillion stimulus/giveaway plan; the fine print remains unclear. Beneficiaries could include cruise-ship lines and casinos—many of the latter having been allowed only because they promised to generate state tax revenues. Trump escalates his denial of COVID-19, pushing to get people back to work by Easter. The peak of the epidemic won’t even have taken place yet, say many experts. Social distancing in open-space cubicles doesn’t seem very possible, not to mention on mass transportation. 

“Nobody voted in Donald Trump thinking he would become a ‘one-man death panel’ empowered to dispense with American lives like cannon fodder,” says a professor of law and medicine at the University of Ottawa.

The GOP in general seems in denial—or perhaps certain that a few hundred thousand deaths would be preferable to economic ruination, not to mention election defeat. The Texas Lieutenant Governor, a former talk radio personality, says that older folks should be eager to die rather than submit younger generations to another Great Depression.

The news from New York City is bad, with the number of cases appearing to double every three days, according to Cuomo, to nearly 16,000, with around 200 deaths statewide. Governors of various other states have sought to exclude visitors from Gotham. I anticipated slurs against Asians—but making pariahs of New Yorkers?

Meanwhile, Britain’s Prince Charles tests positive, says the BBC. Insufficient social distancing among the jet set, perhaps?

And in Italy, strict lockdowns are causing people to freak out. Some are looking to rent neighbors’ dogs in order to have an excuse to take a walk. One exasperated Umbrian mayor took to social media to berate dog walkers. “Where the f*ck are you going?” he railed. “Stay home, you irresponsible dickheads!”

It’s almost time for dinner: the end of the balsamic chicken, couscous, and another green salad.

Entertainment: Two Twilight Zone episodes, one of The Detectorists, and one more of The Crown

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *