Stephen King didn’t write this script (opinion)

But this was not Stephen King. There was reality in America – "social distancing" to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus. And it may take several weeks before we know how well it works.

King wrote a relaxing fantasy about life in a post-pandemic world back in 1978, "The Stand." Earlier this month he commented, reassuringly, on Twitter: "No, coronavirus is NOT like the STAND. There's nowhere near as serious. It's survivor. Be calm and take all reasonable precautions."

Still, the doorstop of a book contains some wisdom that can guide us. One of the figures reflects: "Love did not grow very well in a place where there was only fear, just as plants did not grow very well in a place where it was always dark."

Poet Tess Taylor, who screened in place with his family in the Bay Area, observed that this global ordeal reminds us of something profound. "Viruses obviously don't care if we're rich or poor, white or black, gun owners or radical pacifists," she wrote. "We share our breath … There is really nowhere else, no place to retreat, nothing fenced that has walls that will serve: We are all interconnected, and our health is a function of society – the well-being of others is also ours. "
Despite the advice of health professionals, spring breakers gathered on the Florida beaches. Annika Olson prayed to their peers: "Sure, many of us can shake off the disease. But millions of people can't, and we're putting their lives at risk. You touched the bartender you didn't know had diabetes, the waitress who has hypertension and is a single mom to two children, or the sweet guy who has no health insurance, or you visited your aging grandmother, a friend who was recovering from surgery, or your pregnant colleague.These people all have a serious infection risk and lose their job and lose their lives. The viruses we carry in our bodies right now may be the ones that end theirs. "
In other words, "Don't be a spreader." That was the key line in a very popular video by Mel Brooks and son Max, who Dean Obeidallah noted. The Brooks duo gave us exactly what the doctor ordered: Comedy and facts to keep each other safer during the outbreak of Covid-19. "

Personal challenges

To Thomas Lake, it was a family trip to get ice cream that brought home the reality of a world completely changed. He darted into the store while the family waited outside. "You can feel grief for the loss of face-to-face creepy with the colleague in the next cubicle. For the loss of your birthday party, your vacation, your Friday lunch with your friends. For the March madness … You can hurt the teachers, and quarrel for making lesson plans for the students they may not see again, for the elderly, high school and college, alone and thrifty, losing what should have been their most glorious day on campus, for the old, even those who do not get sick, and longing for to see the grandchildren. You can cry over the fear you have felt."
Lynn Smith, by HLN, went with the family on a nature hike instead of one of the activities that would usually fill their Saturday. "It's a real opportunity right now," she wrote. "We have regretted the divisive times we live in, and now we all have something we can agree on. This is not a hoax or a fear campaign. This is scary – and not in the way that we should all fill toilet paper. "
When Kate BolduanThe 5-year-old daughter said after school one day, "Mom, there's something called & # 39; Corona & # 39 ;, and everyone gets sick," she knew she had to start thinking about the right way to respond. The CNN anchor consulted experts who provided helpful tips, including the need for parents to calm their own nerves. The "emphasize the effect of our own stress and anxiety levels about how our kids handle and deal with this precarious time, "Bolduan wrote.
The crisis challenges people in so many ways, some of which are particularly scary. To avoid infection, the loved ones of those who die may need to be physically separated. Sarah Carlson, a Boston surgeon, wrote: "I'm worried about the patients who will be admitted in the coming days and weeks – whether for Covid-19 respiratory disease or any other illness – because many of them will have to do No visitors means that your loved ones may not have the comfort of being there with them while fighting their illnesses or moving on to life-long care. Nobody holds hands, doesn't wipe tears – comfort provided by phone or video chat. "
David Gelles, an executive producer of CNN, mourned the death of his mother, 75 years old, of a brain neurism, a sudden grief he and his family had to endure without the rituals that would usually take place: "The synagogue was closed. The funeral home was closed, and we could only perform a burial service. … There were no hugs. No kisses. As we participated in the Jewish ritual of pushing dirt on the tomb, the rabbi noted that not everyone may want to touch the handle of the shovel. Some just used their hands to spread dirt on the coffin. "

What went wrong

On the whole, the United States has slowed down by increasing testing that could be the key to slowing the spread of Covid-19. Lauren Calihman from New York, she felt the lack of testing carefully: She has been waiting for three weeks to find out if she has the virus. "If I prove to be positive, Three weeks is a good time for the virus to spread from the few people I may have exposed to hundreds or thousands more. "
Where are the tests? Dwayne Breining, MD, CEO of Northwell Health Labs in New York, acknowledged "growing anger over the low speed of testing" and noted, "Some compare America's weak response to the more successful response from countries like South Korea, but I want to assure you that we are honing our capabilities and working around the clock. The limited supply of test kits has been the biggest challenge." Soon, he said, testing will be much more widely available. "We get to the point … where to test for this virus in the same way we would test for any other flu virus."
South Korea's rapid upscaling of testing has been credited with helping it minimize the number of viruses, but Dr. Kent Sepkowitz, a communicable disease specialist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, wrote that there may be other factors working in that nation's success compared to the crisis in Italy. The population is far younger in South Korea, and the disease is the deadliest among older people, he wrote. "The lack of an effective test program in the United States is a reckless failure and has led (and will lead) to more transmission of Covid-19. But it is important to recognize that survival with the infection is a completely different matter, one that will require very different investments, training and skills. "
Asked about the failure to quickly make tests widely available, President Donald Trump said, "I take no responsibility at all." Julian Zelizer wrote that governors such as New York's Andrew Cuomo and Ohio's Mike DeWine offer a stark contrast to Trump: "Cuomo has shown up to every appearance armed with facts and data. The most important thing is that he radiates the image of a war leader who are dealing with this crisis around the clock, and who will remain in the front line until this one is resolved. He never escapes the moment of the moment, even explaining how and why his state – and the nation – can remain calm. "

The hospital staff who risk their own health to treat Covid-19 patients are the biggest heroes in the history of development. Dr. Shan W. Liu, from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, has a family connection to fight illness: "More than a century ago, my great-grandfather, Wu Lien Teh, vice president of China's Imperial Army Medical College, was assigned to control the pneumonic plague in the northeast in China that killed almost everyone infected. "


Liu wrote that social distancing is "difficult for everyone and potentially devastating for people working in restaurants, airlines and many other industries. But since we don't have a vaccine to prevent people from getting sick, public health strategies are the only ones we have. .. "

"We in the emergency room will continue to come in at all times, cut up and treat everyone who is sick. We ask you to do everything you can to keep the virus contained. We must all do our part."

For more on the virus:

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Trump: & # 39; It's bad & # 39;

Americans looked to Washington for guidance and heard conflicting messages. President Donald Trump on Monday laid aside his reassuring words about the disease. "Another Trump stood on the podium," he wrote Frida Ghitis. "It's bad. It's bad," said a gloomy president to the nation, announcing a new national plan to try to curb the exponential growth of the infection. Gone was the man who had refused and trivialized for weeks. From the earliest days he had acted as if he could, with just the right brag, with his willpower, turn the news."

But would the president's newfound support for scientists last, Ghitis asked? "People like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx tried to educate America. But their main student was the president. Trump was an annoying student, claiming to know as much as his teachers and propagating all sorts of misinformation wrapped in self-aggrandizement. But eventually he seemed to have got it. "

Then on Wednesday, he got ahead of science with words suggesting that some drugs being tested for use on Covid-19 would soon provide relief. "Trump made it sound like the magic pills were in the mail and everything would soon return to normal, " Michael D & # 39; Antonio wrote. While Trump pointed to the use of existing drugs being tried on an experimental basis, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn tempered cautious but firmly tempered expectations, saying he did not want to offer & # 39; false hope & # 39; given the extra research needed. done."
Trump's attack on the media seems to be a factor in how seriously people take the threat of coronavirus. Polls showed that Democrats were significantly more likely to be worried that a family member might be sick from it, he wrote Elliot Williams. So even though the war on & # 39; fake news & # 39; can only look like the grievance of a president who is sore over the coverage he gets from what he thinks is a biased media, it's far greater than that. It is a destructive, ongoing attack that can entail huge public health expenditures."
Trump has called for calling Covid-19 the "Chinese virus." Jill Filipovic wrote, "Americans are sick and dying – and it's going to get worse, largely because the administration has been slow to make testing available. For this, he said at a recent news conference, & # 39; not responsibility at all. & # 39; But he knows someone must be blamed. So he blames a "Chinese virus.""
When the crisis is over, the questions will hang. "Before too long," he wrote Peter Bergen, "Many Americans are going to demand to know why the United States failed to adequately prepare for one of the most important crises since World War II; a crisis that was both predictable and predictable. The United States needs to set up a commission to investigate that issue, if only to make sure the nation is prepared for the next pandemic. "
Alice Hill, who worked in Obama's White House to plan on dealing with biohazards and other threats, noted that by "not foreseeing the disaster we are now living in, Trump joins a pantheon of US leaders whose fantasy fail has not come at a good price. Once the nation comes out of this pandemic, as it pleases, and when Congress once turns its attention to what went wrong, the nation must resolve to avoid future mistakes of this kind. "

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Last time


Some Americans are old enough to remember the last time people were asked to make great sacrifices to the public, like historians Meg Jacobs pointed out.

"This is not the first time that small, seemingly insignificant actions have made life or death meaning," she wrote. "Recovering a rusty screw, a bent nail, an old tire – it may not seem like much. But during World War II, it was everything. Thousands of miles away from the battlefield, Americans on the home front could help defeat the Nazis and save democracy if only listened to the leaders and collected all the scrap metal. Together, cities, piece by piece, cities could donate enough to a bullet or gun or tank. "

It was more: "Repair a shirt instead of buying a new one, paint on nylons instead of wearing the real thing, go without cuffs on pants; in fact, women wore pants instead of skirts since it used less fabric. Their bathing suits shrunk. The fewer pairs of socks worn by women, the more nylon available for parachuting. "

And hoarding was wrinkled.

"Just buy your rationed share of sugar, don't spend extra money on the butcher to get a thicker meat over the government grant. Make a peanut sandwich instead of a meatloaf. From Eleanor Roosevelt at White House, 20 million women signed a pledge to buy just their fair share and surrender their ration coupons. "

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