Following is an op-ed from contributor Ken Frederic of Bristol, Maine.
We are halfway through the month-long house arrest imposed on all Mainers by Governor Mills. To her credit, she could not have done anything less, once the President extended his recommendations through April, considering the situation in Cumberland County, and seeing the number of out-of-state plates showing up in Maine. But who can suppress laughing at the virtue signaling mental midgets who last year took away plastic bags and mandated reusables only to take away reusables and mandate plastic bags this month? What has the hoarding of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and the truly reprehensible “Fish Tank Lady” story, taught us about the character of some among us? How troubling is it to see the effective collapse of our “just in time” distribution system for these items? How would we here in Maine fare if a natural disaster closed Route 95 for a week or two in the winter?
The Novel Corona Virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, are not laughing matters. It appears, based on what we think we know so far, that people infected with the virus die at a rate about 6 times that of those infected with common flu. Unfortunately, we know a lot less than some think we do. For instance, we do not know how many died FROM the virus and how many died WITH the virus. At least in New York, everyone who dies while being treated for COVID-19 is (reportedly) classified as a COVID-19 death, regardless of the actual cause of death. It has been theorized that the actual cause of many COVID-19 deaths is a hyperactive immune reaction to the virus in the lungs, not the virus itself and that also may be why there is such a range of symptoms. To date, we don’t know how many people have been infected because we don’t test people who aren’t showing symptoms and testing healthy people for antibodies is months in the future. We do not know the real mortality rate.
It may take months to learn what we need to know about the Novel Corona Virus, but we have learned a great deal that should change our thinking dramatically. We have seen that we are dangerously dependent on a fragile distribution system and that we depend on unreliable foreign sources for necessities here in America. The commodities today are hand sanitizer, face masks, and pharmaceuticals. But China also manufactures virtually all high voltage transformers used in our power grid and we do not keep a robust inventory of spares. Hopefully the scramble to supply hospitals with ventilators will teach us the wisdom of anticipating emergencies and having essential materials stockpiled in dispersed locations at or near the point of need.
We have also seen irrefutable evidence that we’ve allowed (much of) our media to become terminally corrupted by the control of political operatives. Hopefully all inquiring minds noted the explosion of disinformation, misinformation, and outright lying by many in the media and many more seeking fame, money, power, and political advantage by following Rahm Emanuel’s replay of Winston Churchill’s “Never let a good crisis go to waste”. It would require an entire newspaper to just list the instances of MSM retroactive continuity (history being rewritten) in the past month. Beyond that, the inane demands of certain Governors challenges even the most even-tempered to their limits. None were any worse than Gov. Cuomo demanding the Federal Government supply him with 40,000 ventilators or decide who should die. When he made that demand, there were 4,400 unused ventilators in a New Jersey warehouse awaiting distribution to New York Hospitals. Cuomo admitted there were more than 4,000 ventilators delivered and unused but justified his demand as what the need MIGHT be in another two months.
The attempted hoarding is deplorable but what should have blood shooting from our eyes is the notion that it is up to the Federal Government to solve New York’s problems. It is not. Governors are not elected to squander all they can collect and ride around in a chauffeured SUV, waving and maybe tossing pieces of candy to their admiring subjects. They are elected to be the chief executives of their state and prudent custodians of the state treasury. It is up to the Governors, County Commissioners, Mayors, and Selectmen, and citizens of Maine to anticipate, plan for, stock supplies for, train for, and execute the local responses to emergencies, disasters, and pandemics. The Federal Government is miles away and days or weeks away. Hopefully that lesson has been learned by us, the people of Maine. It’s beyond common experience to suppose it has been learned by the majority of those currently in Augusta.
We’ve all heard and perhaps read the ignorant and the vicious parroting, by the usual suspects, of “Trump lied, People Died” and “Blood on his hands” talking points. The facts are that the President shut down travel from China at the end of January. That crowd, however, called the shutdown irrational and racist. Meanwhile, Oxiris Barbot, New York City Health Commissioner, was telling New Yorkers that Corona Virus was no threat in the U. S. and to go about their normal lives, ride the subway, patronize restaurants, and celebrate the Lunar New Year. On the other coast, Nancy Pelosi was doing the same in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Just days before that, the World Health Organization reported that there was no evidence of human to human transfer. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci called the virus no real threat to America, yet. We must learn and remember when the first cases were identified in America, the timeline of what followed. Then we can read or listen to that crowd’s revisionist history with a healthy dose of caution, doubt, and knowledge of the truth. Better yet, do not read and do not listen to media run by that crowd or the rantings of their local minions at all. They have squandered all credibility on baseless, debunked attacks, accusations, sham investigations, and pathological hate speech. There are reputable sources: The ones that crowd denounces. Don’t be part of that crowd.
Ken Frederic is a native of Ellsworth and graduate of UMO. He and his wife, Betty Ann, retired to Maine in 2012 after 43 years as a Department of Defense consultant. They now live in Bristol and are active in the community, St. Patrick’s Church, and Republican politics.