The Curveless Curve; or, Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda, et al

Frank Bruni said it beautifully. “Republicans are not drinking bleach, but they are drinking the Kool-Aid.”

I’m worried. And because my mother was a world-class worrier, I gave it up decades ago. It made no sense to me to compete with her when I couldn’t possibly. But now, I am worried.

I’m worried that we’re allowing the data spin doctors too much leeway. Not that any of us is turning into a Republican, but that the Kool-Aid fumes are affecting our reasoning.

“Flattening the curve” has become newly-minted shorthand that doesn’t mean what we want it to mean, no matter how much we want it to mean it. What we’re actually looking for is not a curve in motion at all. We’re looking for NO curve, a flat curve, a curve-less curve.

People are still dying from coronavirus.

Maybe not as fast as they would have been had we not implemented social distancing, but more than there would be if we’d done it earlier.

Over 300 people per day are still dying in New York State alone.

So maybe it could have been 500 or 800 if we hadn’t x, y, or z, but IT IS STILL 300, and we mustn’t lose sight of that.

Huffington Post writes, “U.S. DEATHS TOP 60,000, TRUMP’S PREDICTED MAXIMUM More than 60,000 people in the U.S. have now officially died from the coronavirus. The increasingly grim figure exceeds predictions Trump made just last week when he sought to frame a maximum of 50,000 to 60,000 total deaths as a win for America and a validation of his administration’s highly criticized pandemic response. “We did the right thing because if we didn’t do it, you would have had a million people, a million and a half people, maybe 2 million people dead,” Trump said.

He doesn’t know that because he cannot know that. No one knows it.

The same thing is true for the testing stats that are being thrown around willy-nilly. “We’re testing more people than anyone else,” goes the boast. Yeah, we are, but it’s still not enough people to create any sort of immunity or accurate counts.

The same thing is true for ongoing vaccine investigations. One article said “At Least 89 Vaccines Are Being Developed. It May Not Matter. A coronavirus vaccine won’t stop the pandemic without all countries having access to it.” Eighty-nine or eighty-nine million, it doesn’t matter.

Some of our nominal, if not factual, leaders are cherry-picking the numbers, and beginning to point fingers, and I, like Keith McCurdy, am starting to get a/ worried, followed swiftly by, b/ mad.

“Keith McCurdy, 34, a star tattoo artist known as ‘Bang Bang,’ who owns a shop in SoHo and first became well known after he inked Rihanna, felt his blood begin to boil after reading about the $10 million ‘small business’ loan Danny Meyer and Shake Shack received. The money came through the Paycheck Protection Program, the federal government’s $2 billion coronavirus aid attempt for small businesses.

“‘They’re a public company!’ Mr. McCurdy said, going on to distinguish the difference between Shake Shack (which has more than 200 locations) and his (which has two).”

Shake Shack and others have agreed to return the low-cost loans.

Here’s Mr. McCurdy again. “‘We paint rainbows on our windows and clap for hospital workers, but shouldn’t we also be screaming at our leaders here as well as in Washington?’” Mr. McCurdy said. ‘I want to have this tingly feeling, I like Governor Cuomo, but enough with the bromance with Chris. I watch the daily briefings, and I’ve barely heard anything new about what we’re really going to do to reopen or what his plans are for actual small businesses. Everything feels like ‘wait and see.’ Well, my landlord’s not waiting to see. My mental health is suffering like everybody else’s.’”

And the news keeps polishing certain numbers, highlighting them, spotlighting them, and showing them off like cheerleaders in their new uniforms. These are, if you will, the ‘us’ numbers — the ones we like. But then, there are the ‘them’ numbers. The ones we try to shuffle off, shrug off, ignore. No lights there at all. None in the building. No wiring.

Dr. Keren Landman writing about the re-opening mistakes made by her home state of Georgia writes, “Somehow, we’ve reached the point where caring about public health has become a progressive issue, while the nation’s economy has become a conservative one. This division is false; no one should have to choose between financial annihilation and helping to spread a deadly disease. But thanks to unforgivable failures of political leadership, business owners in Georgia are bearing the burden of that choice — and the same will happen in every state that follows our lead.”

She makes the same case for selective data waving.

The thing that’s worrying me is the finger-pointing. Yes, of course, finger-pointing at all, but more, the finger-pointing that stops on a dangerously incendiary fulcrum. Here’s the formula.

We should have done this better.
We could have done this better if only ….
We would have done this better except ….

Every sentence has an ever-rising undertow of blame. Blame is less than helpful in this scenario.

I’ll prove it. Here’s HuffPo again. “GOV. CUOMO SCHOOLS MITCH MCCONNELL WITH BASIC MATH New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ripped into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) for saying they don’t want to send any additional federal aid to his state. Both have described money to help New York in its battle with the coronavirus pandemic as ‘bailouts.’ But Cuomo asked both senators, ‘Who is bailing out whom?’ And he used some basic math to answer the question, noting that New York gives far more in federal tax dollars than it receives.”

Here’s the Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda Formula expressed in its curveless, kind entirety.

Maybe we should have …, And if we could have …, We would have … ,
But we couldn’t …, So we didn’t … , So next.

But we’re getting stuck, or the media are getting stuck, at shoulda, and leaving themselves and the populace buried under the blame card. I think that’s why Prime Minister Ahmed’s words struck me so forcefully.

Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia writes in yesterday’s Times, “Why the Global Debt of Poor Nations Must Be Canceled. Delaying the repayments to the Group of 20 is not enough.”

“On April 15, Group of 20 countries offered temporary relief to some of the world’s lowest-income countries by suspending debt repayments until the end of the year. It is a step in the right direction and provides an opportunity to redirect financial resources toward dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

“But if the world is to survive the punishing fallout of the pandemic and ensure that the economies of countries like mine bounce back, this initiative needs to be even more ambitious.

At the very least, the suspension of debt payments should last not just until the end of 2020 but rather until well after the pandemic is truly over. It should involve not just debt suspension but debt cancellation. Global creditors need to waive both official bilateral and commercial debt for low-income countries.”

That whole Shoulda Formula, the real formula, and the one we need to implement immediately takes us to the logical conclusion that I posit. Next.

What do we do next?

Operative word — in fact, operative word in the entire formula, and it’s not what you think — is We.

Because, like it or not, Beloved, we are all in this together. Ethiopians, Soho tattoo artists, Republican governors and Democratic mayors. There is not even one exception to We all. Not one.

“Seth Berkley is the chief executive of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a public-private partnership that helps provide vaccines to developing countries.” He writes, “If an effective and safe coronavirus vaccine were available today, would it be enough to stop this pandemic? That would depend on whether everyone who needs it can get it. But if what took place during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic happens again, then the answer is no. As swine flu swept across the globe, the vaccines that were developed ended up mostly in wealthy countries, while the rest of the world went without them. That’s what goes wrong when manufacturing agreements or domestic export policies in countries producing vaccines place restrictions on their international availability.”

Where’s the we? Where are the real numbers of people who would be affected?

There’s a principle taught in the Book of Leviticus from the Hebrew Bible that rang a dim memory from seminary for me as I read both Keith Bang Bang McCurdy’s words and Prime Minister Ahmed’s words.

Jubilee Year.

“In Leviticus 25:10, a jubilee year is mentioned to occur every 50th year, during which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest. In Jewish tradition, the jubilee year was a time of joy, the year of remission or universal pardon.”

A Jubilee Year asks for the forgiveness of debt. Carte blanche, across the board. It would solve the ponzi scheme of national economies the world over. Sigh. Too radical, I know.

Maybe we should forgive all debt, and if we could have, we would have, but we couldn’t so we didn’t so next.

What is next? Dr. Berkeley says, “[C]ountries must think globally when the world faces an infectious disease. An outbreak anywhere is a risk everywhere. World leaders need to act now to ensure that everyone who needs the vaccine when it becomes available gets it.”

The word jubilee comes from the Hebrew meaning ram’s horn, or shofar. Blowing the shofar, a trumpet, is a very serious matter. It puts everyone on notice — something important is happening.

“One reason Mr. McCurdy is itching to get back to his local gym, the Prospect Park Y.M.C.A., is that it’s where Mr. de Blasio exercises. ‘That guy’s jogging next to me four days a week and when I see him again, you can damn bet I’m going to let him have it,’ Mr. McCurdy said.”

How about this as a next step?

How about each of us takes a page out of Mr. McCurdy’s book, and begins to give notice to our elected officials, that maybe they should have done it differently, and maybe they even could have. Presumably, if they could have, they would have, but they couldn’t so they didn’t so next. How about we fill in the next blank?

Forgive our debts, up and down the economic supply chain, all over the world for a year. Let us — the whole world — get the vaccine and get healthy so we can get the global economy going again.

The time for blame is long expired. Worry is useless. Our inspiration has got to be change — big change, and we can start by demanding debt forgiveness and vaccines for all the world. Trump that.

Dr. Susan Corso is a metaphysician and medical intuitive with a private counseling practice for more than 35 years. She has written too many books to list here. Her website is www.susancorso.com

© Dr. Susan Corso 2020 All rights reserved.

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Susan Corso

Dr. Susan Corso a metaphysician with a private counseling practice for 40+ years. She has written too many books to list here. Her website is www.susancorso.com