Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Flooding into the Country

When President Donald Trump announced a travel ban on flights from international countries into the United States, Americans abroad panicked and rushed to get back into America before the deadline. More than 40,000 people flooded into US airports. These Americans were forced to wait in long lines in the airport, crowded together, which of course was an ideal place for the Covid-19 virus to spread. Some people had to wait 7 hours to get through customs and health screenings. People with symptoms were not separated from the crowd. Workers did not have protective gear. It is hard to imagine a better scenario for spreading the deadly virus all across America.

Walt Disney World made the right decision to close all its theme parks, but on Sunday, (3-15-2020) the final day Walt Disney World was open, they decided to go out with a bang by having the huge crowd press together for a fireworks show. Abigail Disney, the niece of Walt's brother Roy Disney, saw a photo of the huge crowds and commented on twitter "Are you fucking kidding me?" Since that comment, Disney has taken down the photos from Twitter.

As I write this, there are 203,521 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the world. At 9 am today there are already 6,417 new cases of people infected with the virus. 8,205 people have died. President Trump announced that there are to be no gatherings of 10 people or more. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer suspended the sales of all alcohol at any bars, clubs, restaurants, and hotels, or other venues where alcohol is typically consumed.

The Democratic Primary voting went on as planned in Orlando. Five other states postponed voting, but Florida decided to proceed despite the pandemic. My polling place was in a Methodist Church. I parked near some headstones, but was afraid I might be in the wrong place, since there wasn't a soul in sight. I noticed a woman walking past the cemetery to a building next door and decided to follow her. Sure enough this was the polling place. I approached the community room entrance with two very old gentlemen. One man looked like he might have crawled out of his death bed to get to the polling place, his eyes were so bloodshot. On a bench at the entrance someone joked that we looked criminal as we walked in. The one elderly man said he had done this many times in his life. He stressed that point several times as we walked down the hall. Yet, it was rather criminal to have the elderly going out to vote when the rest of the country was on lock down.

A line of chairs separated the community room in half with police tape tied along the line they created. Anyone on the West side of the main street the church was on, had to go to the reception tables to the left and anyone on the east side of that street were supposed to go to the other reception table to the right of the dividing line. As I stood in line I realized I was not giving myself a cushion of 6 feet behind the men I had entered with. To pick up my ballot I had to hand over my drivers license. There was some hand sanitizer on the table but the poll worker handled my card and handed it back without using it for herself. I squirted some sanitizer on my hands and rubbed it in, then put the license back in my wallet. Voting only took a second since there were really only 2 candidates. I didn't stay to sketch, deciding to instead get back to the studio to self isolate, and finish the sketch above.

Governor DeSantis announced that the State Florida ordered an additional 2,500 test kits to supplement the resources already available to test for COVID-19. These additional test kits will enable the Department of Health, working with Florida health care providers, to test up to an additional 625,000 individuals. Florida recently partnered with private laboratories around the state to expand COVID-19 laboratory testing capacity. To date there are 160 Covid-19 cases in Florida and 5 people have died. Those numbers will rise as testing begins. The Florida Department of Health reported 1,483 people have been tested for Covid-19 as of Monday (3-16-2020). To contrast that news, South Korea has been doing over 10,000 tests a day. The World Health Organization’s top official, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, criticized some nations for not doing enough to detect and contain the deadly Covid-19. “We have a simple message for all countries: Test, test, test. Test every suspected case. If they test positive, isolate them and find out who they have been in contact with two days before they developed symptoms and test those people, too,” Tedros said.

With little leadership coming from the President, I turn to Governors who are responsibly gearing up to the unimaginably large number of cases that are to come. New York Governor Cuomo pointed out that, "This in an extraordinary time in this nation's history. It will go down in the history books as a moment of true crisis, confusion, and chaos. In a single moment your whole concept of life and society can be shaken. This is a character test for all of us. Life has been turned upside down. This is a hard time on every level."

A CDC projection estimated that the U.S. Covid-19 pandemic could infect between 160 million and 214 million Americans over a period of more than a year, and kill anywhere from 200,000 to 1.7 million people in the United States. This is a worst case scenario if nothing is done to slow the curve of infections through social isolation and adequate testing and treatment. That higher CDC estimate is more dead than in WWI, WWII, and Vietnam combined. We are fighting a war for survival against an unseen enemy. Stay home. Stay safe. Be calm and caring.

"What did you do when all around you lost their head? - Rudyard Kipling


Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

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