Posts Tagged ‘covid-19’

 

COVID Comedy. Really?

Posted on: April 27th, 2020 by Hayim Herring No Comments

COVID life sucks. There’s no polite way of naming the truth of this pandemic, so let’s say it plainly. My family members, friends, and my wife and I have been directly or indirectly sickened by the Coronavirus. But as with all heavy things in my life, I refuse only to feel sad because that makes me feel powerless. I also choose to find some irony and laughter in the ugliest of situations because that helps me feel lighter, optimistic, and creative. I’m sharing some humorous pandemic moments with the hope that it will make you momentarily smile, and with a favor that you share your lighter stories with me.

Item: I’m an avid listener of Audible books. When I recently searched for recommendations, Audible’s algorithm recommended The Plague, a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947. The Plague chronicles the responses of politicians, doctors, and ordinary citizens to a fatal epidemic. They move from denial to acceptance, from voluntary to mandatory isolation, and from heroism in battling the plague to resignation of its devastating toll until it eventually vanishes. When I told a friend what I was reading, he shouted, “Why in the world are you reading that?” I explained that unlike the fake science coming from President L.C. (Lysol, Clorox) Trump at his Make Me Great Again press rallies, Camus offered honest insights into how a plague transforms us individually and collectively. But my friend had a point – ironic that I read this novel.

Item: I have apnea and often have difficulty falling asleep. Of course, even if you don’t have apnea, you’re unlikely to experience a restful night’s sleep. I started listening to a podcast called Sleep With Me, whose host can make the dullest clergyperson sound electrifying. It’s an edgy name for a podcast, but a droning host is an excellent remedy for a better-quality sleep.

 Item: I also started playing trumpet again. My trumpet teacher sent me a link to Andrea Guifreddi, a trumpeter whose golden tone can charm anyone into believing that a horn has a soft, warm sound. He has a series of practice videos on YouTube called, Play With Me that makes practice enjoyable. But it’s embarrassing to respond to people who ask how I’ve been spending my time during the pandemic. Try explaining, “By relaxing with Sleep With Me and Play With Me.”

 Item: I read that many Millennials have discovered the art of baking bread and that sales of dry yeast had surged. When my wife decided to bake bread two weeks ago, she searched for yeast on our local supermarket’s online site. When she told me that other unexpected yeast-related products appeared, I offered to search on Amazon. Oops – same results! But there’s good news: there are again countless options for buying dry yeast. And there’s more good news: if you order toilet paper today, there are some options that don’t result in searches that read, “currently unavailable and we don’t know when this item will be in stock” or “estimated delivery January 19, 2021.”

One of my children accuses me of spoiling levity by turning it into preachy moments. I plead guilty as charged, so here we go. There’s a Talmudic story about two brothers who are destined for a place in the eternal time-share or Heaven. A rabbi, curious to learn why, asked them what they did for a living. They said, “We are jesters, and we cheer up the depressed” (TB Ta’anit 22a). My friends tell me that my funnies are feeble and that the only time that I exhibit good humor is when I eat a brand of ice cream with that name. But if I made you smile for a moment, please pay it forward by sharing your COVID-19 comedy. We can all use a Spirit lift!

 

The Art of the Pandemic or the War Against COVID-19

Posted on: March 23rd, 2020 by Hayim Herring No Comments

The American people need to know we’re facing a different enemy than we have ever faced.

This enemy hides in shadows and has no regard for human life. This is an enemy who preys on innocent and unsuspecting people…but it won’t be able to run for cover forever.

— President George W. Bush, September 12, 2001, televised address

 

“I look at it (COVID-19), I view it as, in a sense, a wartime president. I mean, that’s what we’re fighting” – that’s what President Trump said on March 18. The president’s analogy was solid. Every U.S. citizen is imperiled, and our soldiers – healthcare professionals and all those who support them – are on the front lines. But if this is a war, why has Commander-in-Chief only invoked but minimally exercised the Defense Production Act to mobilize industries to counterattack?

 

The Defense Production Act could, for example:

war on covid19

There’s an unsettling parallel between the last time we declared war in 2001 and President Trump’s declaration of war against COVID-19. The government sent troops that lacked protective gear to the front lines and then did not ramp up production of the equipment that soldiers needed. Our elected leaders did not heed those in the military who warned that this could be a long war. An early surge in forces could have prevented many injuries and loss of life.

We can’t fault a sitting president or Congress for accumulated gaps and failure of oversight in our military. There were cracks in the military that had been exposed earlier and ignored. But, once a decision is made to move to a wartime footing, we expect our leaders to act with urgency, match existing resources to an embattled reality, and incentivize new capabilities to meet rising demands. And we expect them to be able to focus on the present and think a few steps ahead.

Comparisons with the “War Against Terror” should alarm us. President Trump is correct in highlighted the deficiencies in emergency health care that he inherited. But he is responsible and should be held accountable for actions that he could have taken earlier to mitigate the damage, and for inaction once the severity of the danger became clear.

Implementing a coordinated national strategy for fighting this war – and not just signing a declaration permitting the creation of a policy at a future date – is the most critical action that we need now. Now is not a time for the president to start writing The Art of the Pandemic. It’s time for the Federal government to build a supply chain that can at least beat the enemy back. Musing hopefully about the “pent-up demand” that will dramatically reverse the fall of our economy instead of helping our healthcare workers is not a future-oriented strategy for picking up the pieces once this war has abated.

Our presidents express horror when other governments commit atrocities against their citizens. How is withholding help different from inflicting casualties on the public? I know this is harsh. But those who don’t pull the levers of support that can lead to fewer losses, you are now on notice. Please send a message to President Trump, and your elected officials in Congress and the Senate, to act like we’re at war and not just talk about being at war.