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a historian's perspective


     As unbelievable as it may sound, we are on the brink of seeing gigantic history being made as we speak.  It is late March 24, 2020, and the stakes for survival for many can be good or God forbid, an unthinkable error with repercussions beyond ones wildest dreams.



    While this poor Governor Cuomo on TV is begging for more ventilators etc because they will hit a peak, Washington is talking about formulas that eventually they will pass to “help win the war” and, that within 24 hours N.Y will get shipped, was it 4,000 ventilators?  All day, it seemed Capital Hill was saying they are around the corner from passing this rescue bill but at the very last, near 7pm. sorry Charlie, they could not agree to sign.   Oh, God, I just remembered to take my cough syrup.  (Yes, I am at home, my body may be under the weather but not my thinking cap.)

    An undercurrent is the immediacy of those New Yorkers.  But, is it just an undercurrent?


    One thing is very important.  It is wrong to think most states are into this quarantine stuff.  What is critical?  This short video is quite helpful and yet, brief.  While COVID-19 is high on the national consciousness, those most not affected and those most affected are watching the whole thing on TV and various other methods.  Now, what do I mean?  Not affected are those with a job who are not directly affected, like me; actually, slightly affected.  

    Those who are sick, really sick by this Coronavirus, are a growing number but how can you say it, are not the majority of the populace, and thank God.  They are probably not in a good state to watch television, anyway.  And, those of you who received a pink slip thanks to this invisible enemy, as the promise you can be back to work by Easter floated around, should be considered most affected; I bet you are watching a lot of TV.  It is slowly hitting home, day by day, yet many of us in some 16 states, as of today, are stay-at-homes.  Those affected most surely are the travel industries, all the airlines and hotels and entertainment folks.  Restaurants have an outlet, if people order, although each day it is getting bleaker and bleaker for them.  But, not many can say they did an order for a delivery meal from a Disneyland restaurant to save Disneyland jobs, and very, very few are booking any jet tickets to save pilot jobs and all the others associated with an airport (or train or bus stations) like customer services, taxi services etc. 

    Nor, can an uber or taxi driver who depends on driving say, “Oh, I can work at home and get me a paycheck.”

    Ditto with chefs, waitresses, bell hops, their managers, tel receptionists, etc.  Deliveries may scale back things, but for how long? before they wither on the vine.

    Washington DC came to the rescue.  But, for how long can they stave off a sky jump in layoffs and unemployment?  They will rescue—so I hoped—the average American and the underprivileged first before, no correction, at the same time that big giants like corporations will begin to add to the job unemployment rate.  As of Mar. 23, you still had a lot of white collar people still working, albeit in a stay-at-home status, but they were still working.  

    Our Economy has not hit any low point, yet—like the Great Depression or that so-called Great Recession.  Regarding that latest one, if memory serves me right, the worst parts of that Recession were beginning to be felt in Sept of 08 and not til Mar of 09 did it hit tilt when it got at its worst for a great majority of Americans.  Moreover, that so-called worst extreme had nothing to do with health.

    Secondly, the no-pay check deal (ie unemployment rate) did not max until it went beyond 9.1%.  Note, my careful choice of words.  I never said the highest rate maxed out at around 9% or so.  Why?  Because, as many economists noted, govt officials were sly with the numbers.  It will take a half a chapter to mention it all but quite a few expert researchers showed the figures of unemployment topped 17% for a while.  Also, at that time the number of welfare checks went through the roof at exactly the same time.   So here we are barely at a unique entrance into what may seem a week of a tough time, and our President on Mar. 24 gave the impression that if we don’t get people back to work, people will be committing suicide like all over the place.  

    From Sept 08 to Mar 09, people were not committing suicides en masse, but then again not everybody were out of a job from 1 night to the next all at practically the same time.  Furthermore, 2 giant industries—the airlines and cruise ships—were not on their knees like now.  But, thats where that blasted Washington DC Bill becomes so important, to help those in need before families and individuals become desperate in terms of financial matters.   Why?  Because as the medical experts tell us, everybody has to hold on till that so-called curve flattens out.   That may seem invisible but, it is no theory.  And, I think each state will have it’s own curve.  It is a killer, in various degrees.  The American people can hold out and must, for the sake of getting a hold of this invisible enemy, and then, and only then can they be able to whip it. 



    The pressure will fall mainly on the people of 7 big states.  If they can hold, the rest can to.  Why 7?  Simply stated, they have the most populace and they will be getting hit big time, I surmise. 

    New York and California.

    They are followed by Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan and NJ.  And, Washington because they got hit the first. (Note, all the above 7 states have a lot of people who are tied into the airline and cruise industries).

    Health wise, moreover, the number of infected folks in those states is not showing signs of anything approaching a stableness.  Also, for many, to those out of work who are hoping for a steady pay check by next week it may seem like a million miles away.   It is one thing to hit a peak, and its another if the downward road will form a nice and fast road and with no hick-ups.  You are talking about people’s lives and a whole lot of people, not just some dum numeric statistic on your desk that you got to memorize for a quiz.  The recovery phase will be a very important human element, we—those of us who are healthy and with some sort of income—have got to show caring, compassion and the old American spirit that it can be done.   Having a good paycheck will definitely help, too. 

    Do not pretend that what is happening in Italy can never happen here.

    The two largest states affected are, New York and California.

    Yes…the people of Illinois (with good old Chicago) are a footprint away.  But, Florida not yet.  Texas, thinking about it.  [Louisiana is at the doorstep I think, but it is claimed their casualty rate is climbing fast.  Even though their population is not as large as NY, they are now getting as many infected people daily as much as NY.   But remember, NY is a million times more crowded.]  And, although, its been about a measly week for many with some stay at home order, people are not yet going stir crazy.  It is rather a new thing, still.  As of March 24, more than 40% of Americans live in states with stay at home orders. 1 week is nothing but wait till it gets into the 3 and more weeks area.  Some experts are even talking about a month or more. 



    Airlines don’t die because no pilot is flying.  It’s the lack of people flying that hurts.  When no one flies, airlines will go bankrupt if there is no bail out help, period.  The industry is not incompetent.  It’s that dam invisible enemy that is the wrecking ball, and if much needed help does not arrive on time, my God, the ax will fall.   Furthermore, for how long will the people with finances last out?  For example, rich NBA players helping out arena workers with no pay checks.  And, countless others.   The lack of jobs is hitting more people on a blanket scale on various jobs all at the same time that boggles the mind.  It is monetary, psychological, wide-impacting and interconnecting in ways you may still not fully comprehend but the bottom line will be all connected to one question.  Will our nurses and doctors and hospitals hang on til various peaks are hit?   

    Number one, statistically, will be those in NY, from the rate of climb that is unmercilessly clobbering them now.  They are getting hit so hard by the hour, they will be saved only if the rate of equipment arrival will be greater and faster than the rate of demise.  It will be a great battle.  Will be a great battle?   

    It is a great battle.  

    An ongoing gigantic period in our history as we speak.  Only the speed of delivery with the proper amount will determine if this battle will turn out to be like those Battles of the Bulge or Midway, when things started out really bad and rotten but in the end, we saw a wonderful thing called victory.  

    Timing is now.  It’s beyond national Economic collapse theories, loan injections, monetary liquid frameworks, past comparisons this or that.   All American stabilizing factors will be determined on this one, mid-March focus; in fact, you cannot even call it a mid-March thing, we are past that, we are deep in a no-mans-land live battle where combat is going on by the live minute.  That is the focus.  And, those in New York are at the front-front lines.  


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