Bearing Witness to the Pandemic May 24 – 31 2020

This week the nation passed 100,000 deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic from over 1.7 million confirmed cases. Five months into the crisis there is still an average of about 1,000 deaths being experienced every day. One of the saddest front pages of a national newspaper many of us will ever see in our lifetimes is that of the May 24 New York Times where they listed in page after page the names of homes of just 1,000 victims.

The CDC reported this week from mortality data that there was an estimated 85,000 to 113,000 excess deaths so far this year compared to what should have been. Nursing home residents and workers are thought to be responsible for over 25,000 of these COVID-19 related deaths. Some 34,000 workers alone were reported to have become sick on the job.

Trump spent most of the Memorial Day weekend playing golf and tweeting dozens of insults at others. (Read more about this in Bearing Witness to Trump at https://bearingwitnessheartland.com/2020/06/03/bearing-witness-to-trump-month-40-may-24-30/) Finally, later in the week he expressed his condolences for the victims of the pandemic. But he could not help himself from making it all about him. He said that if he had not done such a good job then we would have lost 1-2 million people instead of just 100,000. Well, thank you POTUS for only sacrificing 100,000 lives because you had 3 years to prepare the country for what experts predicted would happen, and then you were in denial and slow to react once it started.

That somber milestone was apparently lost on many others. As restrictions came off in many states, vacationers and partygoers are seen across the country, like Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, gathering in large numbers in close proximity to each other without wearing masks and behaving like there is not a pandemic that has just killed 100,000 fellow Americans.

Many conservatives continue to follow the mis-leadership of Trump by refusing to wear a face mask to protect others. Editorial writers have rightfully pointed out this is a corruption of conservatism. It is a conservative value to take responsibility for the outcomes of your actions as well as protect members of your family and community from possible harm. It seems these so-called conservatives want all their liberties and rights but none of the obligations and responsibilities that come with them, as if they are the victims. Just like Trump continually whines about.

Another 2 million filed for unemployment this week bringing the total to a staggering 41 million jobs lost. I suppose we should thank the president for such a swell job that it is not 100 million jobs. Despite the grim economic news and depression-level unemployment the stock market continues to climb and has soared 35% since the bottom two months ago. This just proves there are two economies in an increasingly unequal disparate America. One for the investor class where their money works for them, and the other is of the working class who have to work for their money, when they have jobs that is.

Trump makes good on his promise this week to withhold funding of the World Health Agency and sever ties with it. The US is the largest source of financial support to this increasingly critical organization that many impoverished nations of the world depend upon. Yes, maybe Trump can only make America Great Again, relatively, by making the rest of the world worse off.

Finally, some sense of normalcy is returning to everyday life. Houses of worship are opening back up across the nation, although with substantial reduction in permitted occupancy. Wisely, many have decided to stay closed. However, as the month ends across some southern states which opened up prematurely, infection rates are climbing, not decreasing.


The above news items have been taken from a number of international, national, regional, and local news media sources including print, digital, and broadcast. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.

Featured image from The New York Times at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/23/reader-center/coronavirus-new-york-times-front-page.html.