Sacrificing Citizens to COVID-19. Where is the True Grit?

My dad fought through the Pacific Theater in WWII with the 11th Airborne Division.  He returned to the USA and started a manufacturing business with his brother, also a veteran of WWII, that was in a ghetto in Brooklyn, NY.

The business took off until a suspicious nighttime fire burned the plant to the ground.  You could not get property insurance for a business located in the ghetto, so he lost everything.  The two brothers reorganized, got financing and reopened nearby – building a manufacturing business again.  Nighttime burglars set fire to this plant five years into operation. Being uninsured, they lost everything once again.

They started over again and built a new successful business that lasted for years.  I was aware of the differences at home after the loss of the second business but always had a safe home, food on the table and clothes on my back. They were different times with few living paycheck to paycheck but mom going back to work and grandma watching us when we got home from school until my parents got home. My college fund was used to live on so when I became a junior in high school I was told I was going to a state school if I could get a scholarship or to a city university living at home if not. I started working part time at age 15 to help at home. I never felt scarred or deprived by these changes. My parents and aunt and uncle showed true grit and resolve rebuilding their firms, raising four children and providing an education and home for us all.

I say that with the utmost respect and awe while I read about all of the small business men and women complaining about the possibility of losing their small businesses if the state and county governments do not open up businesses in the midst of the Covid-19 epidemic.

We still have no treatment other than supportive care. A vaccine to prevent Covid-19  is months off as well. Personal protective gear for health care workers is still in short supply and much of the advertised products are either inferior or being sold by scam artists.  Testing for asymptomatic but contagious COVID-19 patients is still inaccurate at best and takes days to get results.  Antibody tests to see who had the disease and has some level of immunity are still full of statistical and procedural problems. 

Despite this, the Palm Beach County Commission is voting on June 5th to move ahead and relax restrictions in restaurants and stores and open bars and lounges and theaters.  They have not adequately addressed the staffing and equipment shortages at senior independent, assisted and skilled nursing facilities. 

The number of new reported Covid-19 cases has increased each day last week. First this was rationalized away by claiming several days data was included in Wednesday’s numbers. When Thursday’s numbers were even higher, they said it was due to more testing access, but all was well because only 7% of those tested were positive.  Well 7% of more cases will mean more sickness, more potential complications and more potential hospitalizations and deaths. I guess seniors, the young and the disabled and infirm are expendable in the eyes of the Governor and Palm Beach County Commissioners if the rate of new hospitalizations doesn’t overwhelm the system. They caved to the business interests before and continue to do it again now.           I keep wondering how my dad and my Uncle Harry and their generation would have handled this situation.  I bet they would have pulled together, protected their loved ones and friends first and lost their businesses only to rebuild again when it is safe. Where is the true grit that greatest generation proudly earned?

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