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The COVID-19 lesson that’s yet to be fully applied in America: Overreact now rather than later

03 / 19 / 2020

Anytime that logic is ignored or not followed in any kind of tactical situation, I get annoyed. Even watching a football game. But when it happens in a life and death crisis like this — and arrogance takes precedence over knowledge and humility — my head feels like it is about to spontaneously combust.

Three main questions:

1) What is the immediate strategy on testing kits for essential workers? Yes, there is an unacceptable shortage of testing kits for the masses. That failure is just a fact and there’s no way to turn it around in the short term.

But WHERE is the PLAN to TRIAGE the test kits we do have in distributing them to doctors, medical support staff and workers on the front lines of medicine and food supply chains? What’s the policy?

On Monday, I was at a national drug store chain, and two clerks were checking customers out. Actually, one was a manager and one was a clerk. I learned this because I noted to my check-out person that he wasn’t wearing gloves. He got a tad defensive, and explained that he is a manager so he’s “not having much contact with customers.”

Are you KIDDING ME? Is this The Truman Show? So there’s either no policy about all employees protecting themselves as they handle hundreds of products for hundreds of customers, or there’s an arrogant manager who thinks is doesn’t apply to him.

Madness. Hear ye, hear ye, all drug store CEOs: Get on a phone call. It’ll take you less than an hour. Come up with a central policy that you sign off on and agree to follow in unison every day at every one of your company’s locations across the country. Logic. Patriotism. Get on it.

2) Governor Cuomo and President Trump: What are you WAITING FOR? People need to be in their homes — ALL OF THEM. Unless our movement from our homes is truly essential, none of us should be mixing with others.

I’m not a doctor. But this is simple math. And people have done it and shown their work. I knew that as soon as one sports league shut down, all of them would follow suit. Then we went from prohibiting people from being with thousands of people down to 100 people. Then to 50. Then to 10.

Do you know what’s next under 10? STAY IN YOUR HOMES.

Most people seem to know this. But “most” ain’t good enough when you’re confronting a pandemic. And that’s where government comes in.

Right now there are 7 million people living under a shelter-in-place order in northern California. The Golden State is usually ahead of the rest of the country.

But in New York, Mayor De Blasio is begging Governor Cuomo to allow him to place an order on the city.

I’m flummoxed by Cuomo’s positions and conflicting statements on this. Generally, he’s been providing great public leadership on this crisis; smart, clear and transparent. And in his Wednesday morning press conference, he made reference to an old Italian saying that he loosely translated:

“A rich person is a person that has their health. Everything else you can figure out. Let’s maintain and protect public health. We’ll figure out the economy afterwards.”

He was right. And while government can address economics simultaneously, if you don’t clear the disease, the rest is not going to matter.

Yet later the same day, Cuomo said he positively refuses to allow shelter-in-place in New York, saying to CNN:

“That’s what’s driving density, people coming out of their homes to go to work. On the flip side, the more you close down businesses, the worse on the economy, and on individual incomes.”

Wolf Blitzer responded: “Yes, but priority #1 is the health of the people of New York and all over.”

Cuomo responded “yes.” Well, which is it, Governor? You can’t have it both ways. Restricting “50 percent” of businesses’ employees from coming to work is a half-measure — and it also seems a bit random.

Last night, De Blasio was being diplomatic in saying that he and the Governor were continuing to talk and try to reach an agreement. But he also was pretty clear on his thoughts about San Francisco:

“That’s where it’s going to be going for a lot of us. It’s very clear rules about staying home with only minimal activity. Get rid of all non-essential work. I mean, horrible human consequences in terms of people’s livelihoods, but necessary to slow down the growth of this disease.”

A new study reported by Sanjay Gupta indicated that four out of five people contracted the disease from someone whom they didn’t know had it. Dr. Gupta boiled down what should be obvious to everyone by now:

‘We all have to behave as if we have the virus. I think that’s the whole point of these studies.”

Another study reveals that China’s early steps were lax, but when they started to get serious about quarantine, that’s when they started to flatten the curve. The study said that 95% of the cases could have been avoided if only the stricter measures were taken earlier.

We need shelter-in-place orders. The Governor answered this question anew this morning with a semantic soup over what you call it. He suggested that words matter, and that “shelter-in-place is a scary term.” Then he said you might have to call it a “modified shelter-in-place.” Whatever. Just take bold and clear action on it.

The American President has been late on almost everything in this crisis. He follows the governors. Cuomo is a big one. He’s pushed the ball down the field and he’s nearing the goal line. I hope he goes the last yard by tonight.

3) Celebrities who are suggesting this is not a big deal, including “doctors” with large platforms, should SHUT THE ____ UP.

Sean Hannity on Monday said Monday that Democrats and the “media mob” were responsible for spreading “hysteria” and “fake news.”


I try to never waste time or keystrokes on Sean Hannity. But he reaches close to 20 million people on radio and TV every week. What he’s doing is tantamount to a crime.

Addiction specialist Drew Pinsky has said that people who feel sick should stay home, but everyone else should “go about their business.”

You’re a doctor? I’ll go with Anthony Fuaci, who’s worked for over 50 years for six presidents and is the leading infections disease doc in the country. Pinsky, stick to counseling. If that.

Finally, Jerry Falwell, Jr. went on FOX News and suggested that the North Koreans and the Chinese executed a secret plot to spread COVID-19 to the U.S.

I don’t have the words here to address Jerry Falwell. Readers can come up with their own… I changed my mind: moronic and shameful.

We’ve passed 10,000 cases as of this morning. And that’s only cases where a test was taken. And that’s nothing.

It’s no fun having to watch our society to a large degree shut down. We are a very social and hard-working people. It’s a huge part of what defines our country. But when you’re facing a serious problem that is threatening to become a monstrous mass murderer — you take every precaution. As Dr. Fauci says, you “overreact.”

Thomas Friedman put it best a few days ago:

“That’s why working every single day to slow the rate of infection and testing everyone possible is everything. Lose that battle, lose the war.”

We don’t have to panic. We do have to attack the pandemic.