Kenneth J LaBry Lafayette United States of Ame
Ruminations on current events driving the world.
Recent suggestions that the US national elections be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic seem to be lacking education on the US Constitution. The Congress has the only authority to do this and with a polarized Congress this will not happen. Secondly the Constitution did provide for the scenario of a delayed election, but specifically stipulates that the current administration's term ends on January 20 and cannot be extended due to a delayed election. In the event of a delayed election the Speaker of the House of Representatives assumes the Presidency in a temporary role until such time as a proper election is held. Either the legal advisors to the Administration are woefully lacking on their education of the Constitution or they do not think that any of the citizenry are sufficiently well versed in the Constitution to call out their veiled attempt at totalitarian rule. Either way they fail badly.
The current Administration would do better to develop a plan to deal with the deteriorating economy of the US due to the pandemic. They lack the understanding that the economy is driven by the pandemic and cannot be restored without controlling the pandemic. The recent loss in GDP of 33% is egregious not just for its magnitude as a pandemic and subsequent business stoppage can easily cause such a downturn. but it is comparison to the other impacted countries in the community of industrialized nations that is most unsetling. The US has lost 33%GDP, the EU has lost 1% GDP and China is still gaining GDP as are other Asian nations. They are replacing the US in the Global Economy. What does this mean for the US? It means that it is no longer dominant on the global stage. It now has to compete for influence and commerce on the world stage from a position lagging behind much of the rest of the industrialized world. The thing that global pandemics do is they change world. The leaders become followers or do not survive and the followers become leaders demonstrating a new way to live.
It seems that a general education on the basic biology of viruses is in order because the US obviously has about 40% of its population that did not pay attention in high school biology. Viruses require a host to multiply and proliferate. The host can be most any living organism and in the case of Covid-19 the primary host is the human species. This means that the protein spikes on the virus are most well adapted to latch on to human cells. This virus is of microscopic scale and requires an imaging electron microscope in order to see it. Billions of virus can occupy the size of the head of a pin. The virus proliferation is very important because the more the virus multiplies and generates more total virus is in the country and the world and the greater the difficulty in quelling virus blooms like we are now seeing. This also brings us closer to the virus becoming endemic. When the virus becomes endemic it is here to stay indefinitely. This means that around the world we would be destined to endure cyclical blooms like we are currently encountering in the US for the indefinite future. This will require a shut down of almost all public activity each time, for two to three months, to gain control of the virus spread. As long as there is Covid-19 virus somewhere in the world this is a likely scenario. As for a vaccine, modern medicine has never been successful at building a vaccine for a corona virus. The common cold is a corona virus. How many of us have had a common cold? Many people get them multiple times per year. If the antigen reaction is similar then a vaccine is likely to only be effective for a very short time. Also consider that even if an effective vaccine is generated, modern medicine has only been able to eradicate one virus and that is Small Pox. In all of it efforts and with very effective vaccines humanity has not been able to eradicate any other virus. So this leave us with the need to adapt and change our behavior to live with Covid-19 among us. We know from example that this can be done as most of Europe, Asia, the Pacific Rim and may African countries have done so. It will require a collective effort to wear respiratory coverings (masks), physical distance, (keep more than 6 feet between people), limit interactivity to only necessity, change the work environment to accommodate physical distancing and air handling sanitation and convert to remote and teleworking as much as possible. This needs to be a lifestyle change and not seen as a temporary action. This will have to be endured for years to deal with this virus. If we do this we can adapt to recover an economic platform that will benefit the populace and allow for a good standard of living. It will not be the same as we had become accustomed to but will be a survivable scheme for all. If we do not change the behavior of the populace then we are destined to continue this cycle of opening activity and then having to shut down weeks later because of a raging virus bloom and each time because we continue to pile up the amount of virus generated which grows with each bloom then the cycle becomes more wide spread with greater severity. This will continue to occur until the other 96% of the world which is being affected by the behavior of the US populace, since the virus anywhere is the virus everywhere, reaches the end of its patience with the childish actions of the US populace. I do not see this taking very long. We already see the early actions being taken where US occupants are only allowed to travel to 12 countries currently, none of which are major trading partners. US goods are already becoming circumspect in Europe, Asia and the Pacific rim. Even though current data does not indicate that virus transmission from surfaces is great, simply the perception that goods could be tainted is causing purchase hesitation by trading partners. Also trading partners are very hesitant to allow vessels and aircraft carrying freight to access their ports and airports. The US is already the pariah of the world. If the behavior does not change now the world's attitude towards the US will become pervasive and reversing this will take a generation or more.