I hate to delve into politics outside my wheelhouse, mostly on the fear that if I start I may never stop. But New York’s civil courts have ground to a virtual halt due to COVID-19, with all conferences and legal filings halted except for emergencies.
And so I venture for a moment into a different space as I watched Trump be dismissive of the virus for at least 51 days — from a January 22nd interview (“It’s going to be just fine…We have it totally under control” until his March 13 declaration of emergency. And now prematurely discussing people going back to work against the advice of medical professionals.
With this backdrop I think that the folks most likely to be affected are going to be Trump supporters and red-staters. These are the reasons:
First, there are higher percentages of smokers in red states making them more susceptible to the consequences of viral infection;
Second, this population is more likely to believe (at the outset) that the virus is a hoax and, therefore, not take precautions;
Third, this population is less likely to take the advice of government officials, as Trump has talked incessantly about the Deep State out to get him.
Fifth, red staters have generally lower education levels and are less likely to pay attention to the warnings;
Sixth, with the virus first hitting (predictably) urban areas like Seattle and New York City, many folks will be delayed in thinking that this could really affect them.
Now toss into the mix a few other factors: Coal mining country is chock full of people with lung disease. A particular problem for parts of Pennyslvnia, Ohio, West Virginian, Kentucky and Indiana (among others).
And the Bible Belt could be hit also due to the communal nature of religious congregations. The ultra orthodox Hasidic community has already seen this. The virus, of course, knows no religion. It merely spreads with opportunity.
For many, many people the reality of the virus won’t truly hit home until someone they know has been affected. (In an odd way, this is similar to the advance of gay rights — most people were opposed until they realized that people close to them were gay.)
I would, it should go without saying, hope to be very wrong and that the virus vanishes with people social distancing themselves from each other. This is one of those situations where there is no us/them divide, as anyone can infect anyone else. But humans are social animals, and we gather for dinners, a beer, a religious observance or a ball game among a thousand other scenarios.
Putting together a group that both takes the situation the lightest (generally red-staters), and those most at risk for health reasons (again, generally red-staters) may prove to be a very deadly combination. For all of us.
And on the political front — and this is my only political comment — betrayal is a hell of a thing.