We Are About to Commit Collective Suicide

Please take five seconds to really savor this headline from the Wall Street Journal:

This is literally insane. We’re already at 70,000 deaths. We’ll get close to 130,000 even if we keep every social distancing measure in place and just ride the bell curve down normally. At this point, a projection of 135,000 is pretty much an absolute minimum.

But we’re not going to do that. We’re going to reopen. We’re going to deliberately make the pandemic worse at the urging of our commander-in-chief and then we’ll have to go through all of this stuff all over again. Or else watch the graveyards fill up.

It doesn’t surprise me too much that Donald Trump wants to do this. He lives in his own fantasy world where something—hydroxychloroquine! a vaccine! bleach!—will miraculously come along and make everything better. But how is it that Republican senators are OK with all this? And Republican governors? And Republican House members? And Republican cabinet secretaries? Do they not care? Do they truly think all the experts are wrong? Or what?

Words start to fail me at this point. I wonder what people in other countries think of our descent into collective madness?

And there’s one more thing that’s possibly even more bizarre. A lot of rural red areas want to reopen because “we don’t even have a dozen cases of COVID-19 out here.” That’s what everyone says, of course, and by the time they have a few hundred cases it’s too late to do much about it.

But the fact that these rural areas have very few cases does give them an option that big urban areas don’t have (not yet, anyway): test-and-trace. The whole point of test-and-trace is that you can only do it if the level of infection is low. It’s simply too overwhelming when thousands of cases per day are popping up. But Sutter County here in California? They have a low population and very few coronavirus cases. They could implement test-and-trace if they were given the money and expertise to do it. And then they could reopen safely.

But even though this would make Trump a hero to his base, it’s the one thing he seems unwilling to countenance. Why? Because everyone has been criticizing him for the lack of testing, and that’s a death knell for a narcissist like him. He can never admit that he did anything wrong on the testing front, which logically means he refuses to put any effort behind a better testing regime. We’ll get one eventually, probably through a combination of bureaucratic inertia and state governors taking the reins, but it will take a lot longer than it needs to. And in the meantime tens of thousands of people will die.

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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