Covid And The Hangover

At the end of The Candidate, Robert Redford, playing Bill McKay, who wins an improbable election, turns to his campaign manager and asks the question, “What do we do now?” For many who spent the last four years obsessed with hating Trump, this isn’t their concern. After all, Trump lost, which was enough. For others, there’s still a nation to deal with, and among a great many concerns, we’re still in an again-increasing pandemic.

So Joe Biden, what do we do now?

In a victory speech on Saturday night, Mr. Biden said he was quickly focusing his attention on the pandemic, including plans on Monday to announce a new task force of coronavirus advisers. But he faces a nation divided over mask rules and business shutdowns, even as experts say the situation may further deteriorate before the new administration takes over in late January.

It’s unfair, in a sense, that an incoming president is saddled with the policies, or lack thereof, of his predecessor. After all, one of the reasons for regime change is that the incumbent failed to do enough to get re-elected, although whether this applies well to Darth Cheeto is dubious. Nonetheless, this is the nature of running for office, taking the responsibility of doing better than one’s predecessor, no matter how badly he screwed things up. If you’re not up for the task, you shouldn’t have run. You asked for the job and got it. Now, do it.

Of course, Biden won’t take office and thus have the actual authority to act until inauguration on January 20th, also known as Eviction Day. We’re likely to face a significant surge during this period.

“I see this as a very precarious moment,” said Dr. Ashish K. Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, who said that the Trump administration had “basically thrown in the towel” on trying to control the pandemic, while Mr. Biden and his team have nothing to wield but “moral power and social power” until Jan. 20.

“Without significant action,” he said, “the idea that we have another 100,000 deaths by Inauguration Day would be a conservative estimate.”

Whether this will come to pass is unclear, and what will happen to education, the economy and the mental health of a nation similarly remains a mystery. But it’s unlikely to magically get better. Even if a vaccine is approved by then, and even if there are steps to be taken that would ameliorate the problem to some extent, will Trump deal with it?

Will Trump, who has yet to accept the humiliation of being a lame duck, be big enough to put the welfare of a nation ahead of his petty feelings of personal hurt? Never having done so before, it’s hard to imagine a bigger man would suddenly emerge.

But at the same time, Biden ran saying he had a plan.

  • A decisive public health response that ensures the wide availability of free testing; the elimination of all cost barriers to preventive care and treatment for COVID-19; the development of a vaccine; and the full deployment and operation of necessary supplies, personnel, and facilities.
  • A decisive economic response that starts with emergency paid leave for all those affected by the outbreak and gives all necessary help to workers, families, and small businesses that are hit hard by this crisis.

Putting in the adjective “decisive” isn’t exactly a plan. He’s made clear he wants to “spend whatever it takes, without delay,” but offers nothing more than the basic outline of what was already being done. A nationwide mask mandate has been mentioned often, the authority for which remains a mystery, but is there anything more?

And what in the world does he mean by this?

Make no mistake: this will require an immediate set of ambitious and progressive economic measures, and further decisive action to address the larger macro-economic shock from this outbreak.

One can easily respond by pointing to Trump having given up on dealing with Covid, the followup to his stable genius solutions like swilling Clorox or ingesting random malaria drugs. After all, “herd immunity” sounds like a cool solution, even if it doesn’t play out in reality and only costs the lives of a few million olds to find out. And the fatality rate isn’t as bad as it could be, even if the effects on hearts, lungs and minds will linger for three generations.

The problem with winning an election is when it’s over, you won an election. After the high of ousting Trump, the dancing in the streets as if it was a Rose Garden where no one uttered “superspreader event,” there will be an inevitable hangover. As the days between now and inauguration pass, and Covid infections and consequences rise and return to the front burner of American cognition, the vapid vagaries of the campaign plan need to come into focus.

Biden likely doesn’t actually have a plan, which is why he’s creating a task force to come up with one. On the plus side, this could well mean an actual executable plan to deal with Covid, whatever that means at this point. Or it can mean telling people to wear masks and social distance, which isn’t an entirely new concept or one that’s proven efficacious even among those who have no issue with doing so, but are tired, bored and just can’t manage to do it.

The vaccine is in the works already, as is the effort to manage its distribution, and there’s nothing more to be done for now. We need a stimulus, but what that means remains a “progressive” mystery. It’s not going to be easy for Joe Biden to fulfill his promises, and it’s a fairly good bet that there really isn’t much he can do to make our national response to Covid any more effective, except by offering “moral power and social power.”

But Joe Biden asked to be president and got his wish. It’s now time for him to say what we’re going to do now. Covid won’t wait.

25 thoughts on “Covid And The Hangover

  1. jfjoyner3

    Joe Biden’s promises to save us already are coming true, Pfizer announced successful tests of a COVID vaccine. See? He told us he would save us. How could anyone doubt him?

  2. B. McLeod

    First order of business is more tokenism. CBS this morning reported his statement that cabinet posts will be passed out to as many women and people of color as possible.

    It’s the same old Biden who has never been known for great things. But of course, he was elected for not being Trump, and it’s a low, low bar.

      1. B. McLeod

        It rather underscores the fundamental dishonesty of the obvious lie that he is working for everyone. He was never honest, and he isn’t honest now, but, he still isn’t Trump. So, hooray, I guess. The shine will wear off before he even takes the oath.

  3. Steve King

    Like Obama he is going to find out the hard way that he has to work and produce results instead of stand around, talk pretty, and look pretty. Which is all Joe has done for the last five decades. So who is going to run the Executive branch?

    1. norahc

      And just like Obama spent his 8 years in office blaming everything bad on W, I’m sure Biden will repeat what he learned while VP and blame everything bad on Darth Cheeto while taking credit for everything good.

  4. John Barleycorn

    Well one thing is for sure, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy isn’t giving him any office space anywhere.

    Perhaps some of those “militia” folks have been training to implement a shadow government, and he can ask them for some help?

    Nothing like wall tents in November to focus the mind…

    Speaking of which, was it part of your plan to loan Biden the Healey to class up his wall tent HQ transportation options when traveling to the transition “negotiations”?

    And is it true that those negotiations will be taking place at the Kentucky Fried Chicken next to Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx?

  5. Kathryn M Kase

    You write: “It’s now time for him to say what we’re going to do now. Covid won’t wait.” And, yet, that is what we’re going to do now: wait. As you’ve pointed out, Biden takes office January 20. Until then, he has no authority to implement a COVID-19 response.

    Further — and I say this having had some experience with government response to COVID — Biden’s obligation is to have a response that is ready to implement on January 20 and calibrated to deal with the viral spread as it is then. Unfolding a plan that Trump ought to be implementing now will change nothing and it will be waste of precious transition time.

  6. Curtis

    The reality is that Covid is a really nasty, contagious virus. It exploded this fall in every country that allowed it to get a foothold. France, UK, Italy, Spain, Germany and Europe as a whole are all having record number of cases. If they lock down, the protesters come out in huge numbers. The next five months are going to really difficult in the northern hemisphere.

    It’s almost like covid is a force of nature and only our hubris makes us think we are in control.

  7. DaveL

    Sure, Biden may have articulated no plan that’s going to change the situation on the ground. But if there’s anything the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it’s that a politician doesn’t have to change the situation on the ground, they just have to change how it’s perceived. Look at Andrew Cuomo, who still holds the silver medal among state governors for highest COVID-19 deaths per capita, second only to neighboring New Jersey. Yet he’s hailed as an example of successful pandemic management.

      1. MIKE GUENTHER

        These people act like Trump is mixing the vaccine up in the basement of the White House or something.

      2. LY

        OK, assuming he manages to pull that off – how would that not be a literal crime, possibly even murder given that people would most assuredly die from that?

        Don’t answer, or even bother posting this if it trips the stupid meter to hard.

        1. SHG Post author

          It doesn’t deserve to be posted, but a smoked pastrami buys a lot of good will. That said, no, no, no, no, no. Crimes aren’t things that feel crimish.

          Do you realize that you’re just as enamored as your SJW opposites, believing it whatever meaningless horseshit confirms your bias and makes you feel right? If you don’t want to be just as inane as they are, don’t be.

          1. LY

            I don’t care who would have done it, but denying medical treatment to people who may very well die because of it? I hope there’s a special place in hell for anyone who would do that.

  8. Pedantic Grammar Police

    He’s right. Nobody wants the bad Trump vaccine! We only want the good Biden vaccine. The new improved Tide is 98% better than Brand X!

  9. KP

    Gosh Boss, where to start??
    This guy should be betting his life on his words! ” “the idea that we have another 100,000 deaths by Inauguration Day would be a conservative estimate.”” or at least some jail time. There being no downside to ridiculous guesses by these medics allows them to mislead politicians completely.

    The “second wave” of Covid INFECTIONS needs to be seen as false positives from the tests. Where are the deaths? Looking at a graph of the UK figures, deaths and cases maxed in April, then deaths declined to a flat line. Cases as positive tests bottomed in July then rose again, with no further deaths. That’s in an article saying Covid is no worse than a new flu with a 0.2% kill ratio, and it was written by an ex-exec from Pfizer!

    All Biden has to do (and probably will do) is fart a lot and actually do nothing, and Covid will die away as people get fed-up with being tested and just get on with their lives. The inventor of the PCA system said it was never meant to be a diagnostic test and won’t work as one, but we’re using it as one.

    Any lawyers know any science? How the PCR test works?

    1. SHG Post author

      Next time, don’t start. There are, at the moment, 1000 deaths per day, so hit the tip cup for wasting my bandwidth with this drivel.

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