Tom Magazzu

Tom Magazzu - Editor

We can all understand taking precautions against COVID-19. Health experts, government officials, and much of the public understood the 2-3 week stay-at-home Flatten the Curve objective to keep some relative containment and initial hospital admissions manageable. That was over two months ago. Alabama’s restrictions are easing somewhat. However, some states are holding fast to lock-downs and business closures. Life there has morphed into a Find the Cure holding facility.

There are several interesting situations that you may not have seen or read about.

Governors in several states including Michigan, Oregon, and California have doubled down on executive closure mandates and are essentially saying they see no specific reopening dates on the horizon. Pushback is beginning to swell.

There has been a huge outcry in New York City over apparent racial disparities in social distancing enforcement and arrests. Mayor Bill de Blasio has decided to more than double the ranks of “social distancing ambassadors” who are trying to persuade people to comply with the policy. Now, 2,300 non-police city workers will be out hoping to foster communication rather than the confrontation of enforcement.

It is also interesting that NYC protesters can be arrested for violating the 6 foot social distancing mandate in an open-air protest march. Yet, they can be thrown into a police van and transported without a second thought.

I received an Op-Ed submission last week from a former Alabama house member from northeast Alabama taking the governor to task about her Safer at Home update that allowed restaurants to seat diners beginning on Monday, May 11. He seemed to grasp the that restaurants need time to order food and rehire or hire new staff since the facilities were idle or near idle for six weeks. They needed time to review procedures that follow the state’s new recommended health guidelines. Two-three days for that was a challenge. The former representative understood that. Then he turned right around and complained because the governor didn’t announce the change on Wednesday to allow the restaurants to take advantage of the huge Mother’s Day income opportunity, saying she was “flying by the seat of her pants.”

And this guy served his area for 18 years? Does he understand the social distancing aspect at all with the Mother’s Day push? Ivey’s updated order was already aggressive. The LAST THING we needed is for people to suddenly crowd hundreds of state restaurants that are trying to stay below a 50% occupancy rate and allow for social distancing of six feet.

It’s the same issue with churches. They would love to have greeted families and had collection plates passed around on Mother’s Day. However, people would flock that day without regard to their own health or the health of others.

Besides, a restaurant turning away customers, running out of food, or giving lousy service on day one of reopening could damage its reputation for the critical weeks ahead and risk long-term viability. It may be Helter-Skelter in Montgomery now, but with reopening much of society that week, Ivey was right on the timing.

CNN last week featured teenage climate activist, Greta Thunberg on a coronavirus panel alongside health experts on its “Coronavirus – Facts and Fears” live town hall on Thursday night. It also included former acting Center for Disease Control Director, Richard Besser, former Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, Anderson Cooper, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Other than claiming to have recovered from mild symptoms of COVID-19, and her celebrating significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions from worldwide lockdowns, I’m not sure how CNN gives the Swedish 17-year-old any credence for anything.

In the lunacy of modern-day society and journalistic contrivance, she was named Time’s 2019 Person of the Year and nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her nothingness. Maybe that suits CNN perfectly.

The Facebook group, Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine, gained more than 380,000 members in a few short weeks. Early last week Facebook shut it down.

Garrett Soldano, organizer of a Michigan anti-quarantine group, started the page in April after Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer, expanded the state’s mandated stay-at-home order. Facebook has recently started censoring information by taking down pages that violate its community standards or promote opinions that run counter to recognized COVID-19 health officials.

A Texas state district judge last week sentenced Dallas salon owner, Shelley Luther, to seven days in jail and handed down a $7,000 fine after she refused to close her beauty salon. The judge referred to her as selfish and said she could avoid jail time if she apologized and closed the salon until Friday when the governor’s order was to be lifted.

However, Luther told the judge that she would not apologize for keeping the salon open during the COVID-19 pandemic, and reasoned that she needed a way to feed and support her children.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the fine and sentence were outrageous for social distancing violations. He said he would pay the $7,000 fine and take Luther’s place under house arrest so she could go back to work. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton decried the sentence and called for Luther to be released.

Many others have also been outraged and a GoFundMe page for her defense had quickly generated $250,000.

During the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in NYC, the private Christian organization, Samaritan’s Purse, quickly moved to create a makeshift 68-bed hospital in Central Park complete with medical professionals to help people who have contracted the coronavirus. Nothing was said during the crucial early weeks when the added help was vital. After the initial crush waned, outspoken New York City Council Speaker, Corey Johnson, objected to the presence of any such humanitarian aid that he baselessly claimed as discriminatory. In his eyes, the mere presence of anything associated with Franklin Graham meant any COVID-19-positive LGBTQ patients would just be left outside the tent to die. He decided it was time for Samaritan’s Purse to leave NYC because it’s alleged hate ran counter to the city’s values.

Yet another example of having no clue how Christ-centered religious organizations work and what actually drives them.

As an added note, New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo who has been getting nightly national coverage of his press conferences, sent COVID-19 patients to nursing homes to “recover” over the vehement objections of family members and administrators. There is really no way to accurately assess the number of needless senior deaths that occurred. That must be Cuomo again imposing his personal values on life and its level of productivity. Relatives of the deceased should sue him and the state into the year 2030.

It should be noted that as of last week, 10 states accounted for almost 70% of all US cases and nearly 75% of all US deaths. Those 10 states have 52% of the US population. New York and New Jersey alone account for 35% of all cases and 44% of total COVID-19 deaths, with only 9% of the U.S. population.

The 30 US counties (1%) with the most COVID-19 cases, account for 48% of all the cases in the US and 55% of all deaths. That is 3.6 times greater that that group’s 15% share of the US population.

24 of those 30 counties are in the northeast corridor between Philadelphia and Boston.

On Friday, Sorrento Therapeutics, a San Diego, California-based biopharmaceutical company claimed to have discovered a coronavirus antibody breakthrough that has shown 100% inhibition of COVID-19 in laboratory tests.

The antibody-centric biopharma company that typically focuses on cancer claimed the treatment shields healthy cells from COVID-19 and flushes the virus out of the body within four days and supposedly could be more effective than a vaccine in quickly combating COVID-19.

The poll question at last week asked if you were going to attend worship services this past weekend. Less than 23% of you indicated “yes,” while just over 47% of you checked “No, I don’t think it is a good idea or safe yet.”

Over the last week or two, local COVID-19 cases are trending upwards as well. Most NW Alabama cases appear to be in Franklin county with one nursing home alone reporting 48 cases.

That doesn’t negate our need to be vigilant and aware. It is not time to let our guard down; we are NOT back to normal in any sense. As I understand it, there was a lot of carefree senselessness out and about this past Friday night. A common-sense approach toward normalcy should be the goal as we navigate the coming weeks and months. Remember, EVERYONE can spread it.