The South May See the Largest Share of Coronavirus Misery

The South May See the Largest Share of Coronavirus Misery

By: Christine Vestal April 13, 2020

https://www.pewtrusts.org/-/media/post-launch-images/2020/04/sln_apr13_1/16x9_m.jpg?mw=1290&hash=5627FCA37C0E63A654F967E4F5B058614B6344B1

The French Quarter of New Orleans was deserted last month, amid restrictions in place to help deal with the pandemic.
Gerald Herbert/The Associated Press

It looks increasingly likely the South will endure more death and economic loss from COVID-19 than any other region in the country — and not just because Southern governors were slow to shut down businesses and order people to stay at home.

Southern poverty rates are high, social welfare programs spotty and health care infrastructure threadbare. Last year, 120 rural U.S. hospitals closed their doors; 75 of them were in the South.

And emerging data from some cities and states shows that black peoplemore than half of whom live in the South — are contracting and dying from the virus at a disproportionately high rate.

Because of poverty and limited access to health care, African Americans more often have underlying health conditions — such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity and asthma — that increase the risk of death from COVID-19. In addition, African Americans more often work in essential frontline jobs that make social distancing impossible.

“The South is expected to be hit hard, because African Americans are expected to be hit hard,” said Dr. Harry Heiman, a professor at Georgia State University’s School of Public Health. “There’s no getting around that.”

Still, he and other advocates for low-income people say it’s not too late for elected leaders in the South to enact policies that could substantially improve the region’s chances for recovery.

Medicaid Politics

Expanding Medicaid is at the top of every advocate’s wish list. Of the 14 states that still refuse federal money to extend the low-income health plan to thousands of adults, nine are in the South.

Medicaid expansion, which would provide health insurance to hundreds of thousands of low-income people with the federal government paying 90% of the cost, is the best way for Southern states to boost their budgets, according to a study by researchers at Harvard University published last month in response to the coronavirus crisis.

“There is no moment in recent memory more critical than now to bolster Medicaid,” they wrote. “Covering more people in Medicaid is a rapid way to bring needed resources into the health care system and infuse federal dollars into state economies on the verge of a major downturn.”

https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2020/04/13/the-south-may-see-the-largest-share-of-coronavirus-misery

Virus hot spots in South poised for disproportionate suffering

With equipment shortages coast to coast, local officials are left begging residents to stay indoors.

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An street in New Orleans is empty due to the coronavirus pandemic. | Chris Graythen/Getty Images

By DAN GOLDBERG and ALICE MIRANDA OLLSTEIN

St. John the Baptist Parish, just southeast of Baton Rouge, La., has a population of just over 43,000 — and the highest per capita coronavirus mortality rate in the nation.

Frantic local officials instituted an overnight curfew just this week and are begging residents to stay home. But in largely rural Southern states like Louisiana — where social distancing has been spotty, widespread testing is unavailable and hospitals are poorer and farther apart — the response may be coming too late to avoid a public health crisis as bad as the one now engulfing New York.

Hot spots like St. John the Baptist are erupting across the South. The virus is also poised to consume the area around Norfolk, Va., a rural county in Tennessee just north of Nashville and parts of southwest Georgia near Albany, according to models assembled by Columbia University epidemiologists. And without the resources of major cities, these areas are poised to see disproportionate suffering, economic hardship and death when cases peak.

“There is no city anywhere in the world that can withstand the outbreak that would occur if there isn’t rigorous social distancing,” said Tom Frieden, a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director.

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/03/coronavirus-rural-south-164225

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Epidemic of Loneliness

George Will

is a columnist for the Washington Post and his latest effort is titled, We have an epidemic of loneliness. How can we fix it?

Excerpts follow, but I would like to begin with this, which is frightening: “America’s largest job category is “driver” and, with self-driving vehicles coming, two-thirds of such jobs could disappear in a decade.”

I drove professionally and I do not just mean when driving a taxi. There were various driving gigs in varied places when younger. I once drove a brand new Ford Probe across the country from Atlanta to Los Angeles in less than three days. I slept, or more properly napped, only in rest areas, stopping to take only one shower in a truck stop along the way because of tremendous time pressure, something with which all Chess players can identify. The person contracted to drive the car to the architect who had won it in a raffle at an architectural convention in Atlanta pulled out at the last moment. The owner of the company called me because, as he put it, “You are the only driver who can get it there on time.” The car was delivered to the owner on time. He gave me a twenty dollar bill as a tip. Enraged, I said, While driving a taxi for Buckhead Safety Cab Mickey Mantle once gave me a fifty dollar bill for a three fifty fare!” The cheapskate just glared at me…

Another driving gig was transporting Bell South vehicles to various cities in Southern states. Vehicles heading to the larger cities would usually go via hauler because those drivers could transport multiple vehicles. The single vehicles heading to smaller cities had to transported by individuals such as yours truly. Some of the drivers had worked for an airline, which at the time meant Delta Airlines in Atlanta, and they could return home using their free miles, while I would have to return on my own, which meant the Greyhound bus or Amtrak. The older drivers had no desire to go to, for example, Lake Charles Louisiana.

I, on the other hand, loved heading to Lake Charles because it meant a trip to New Orleans, a visit with the sui generis Jude Frazier Acers,

the Chess King of Decatur street (https://www.oxfordamerican.org/magazine/item/456-the-chess-king-of-decatur-street) and a night on Bourbon Street, before heading to the Amtrak station, and a train leaving the next morning at seven, giving me plenty of time for sleep on the return trip.

George begins his column, “If Sen. Ben Sasse is right — he has not recently been wrong about anything important — the nation’s most-discussed political problem is entangled with the least-understood public-health problem. The political problem is furious partisanship. The public-health problem is loneliness. Sasse’s new book argues that Americans are richer, more informed and “connected” than ever — and unhappier, more isolated and less fulfilled.”

“In “Them: Why We Hate Each Other — and How to Heal,” Sasse’s subject is “the evaporation of social capital” — the satisfactions of work and community. This reflects a perverse phenomenon: What has come to count as connectedness is displacing the real thing. And matters might quickly become dramatically worse.”

“Loneliness in “epidemic proportions” is producing a “loneliness literature” of sociological and medical findings about the effect of loneliness on individuals’ brains and bodies, and on communities. Sasse (R-Neb.) says “there is a growing consensus” that loneliness — not obesity, cancer or heart disease — is the nation’s “number one health crisis.” “Persistent loneliness” reduces average longevity more than twice as much as does heavy drinking and more than three times as much as obesity, which often is a consequence of loneliness. Research demonstrates that loneliness is as physically dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and contributes to cognitive decline, including more rapid advance of Alzheimer’s disease. Sasse says, “We’re literally dying of despair,” of the failure “to fill the hole millions of Americans feel in their lives.”

“Work, which Sasse calls “arguably the most fundamental anchor of human identity,” is at the beginning of “a staggering level of cultural disruption” swifter and more radical than even America’s transformation from a rural and agricultural to an urban and industrial nation. At that time, one response to social disruption was alcoholism, which begat Prohibition. Today, one reason the average American life span has declined for three consecutive years is that many more are dying of drug overdoses — one of the “diseases of despair” — annually than died during the entire Vietnam War. People “need to be needed,” but McKinsey & Co. analysts calculate that, globally, 50 percent of paid activities — jobs — could be automated by currently demonstrated technologies. America’s largest job category is “driver” and, with self-driving vehicles coming, two-thirds of such jobs could disappear in a decade.”

I hope you will read the entire column.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/we-have-an-epidemic-of-loneliness-how-can-we-fix-it/2018/10/12/e8378a38-cd92-11e8-920f-dd52e1ae4570_story.html?utm_term=.e87c12c89089

Flying High With The Trumpster

In a few hours the Trumpster will be flying into Atlanta for the big mainball game being played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

To him it must seem like he is headed to where the action is, just like in his Playboy daze

except now he is a Senior citizen worried about how large are his hands,

and if it still works. It has been written the Trumpster is in bed by six thirty at night, curled up with FOX news. Long gone are the late nights spent with a foxy lady…Wonder why the old man is flying South when he could just flip over to the game if the fairly unbalanced FOX (what) NEWS becomes too wearying for him.

I was born and raised in the Atlanta metro area and the Chess Champion of Atlanta from 1974-1976. Like most natives of Atlanta it bothered me when, about a year ago, the Trumpster pulled this out of his ass:

Trump tweeted : “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results.”

http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/falling-trumps-insults-forgotten-atlanta-52191165

Excuse me, I meant to write the Twit in Chief tweeted out of his ass! Like many others I have taken umbrage at what has come spewing forth from the deranged mind of our POTUS.

This is taken from the new book by Donna Brazile, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House,

a fellow Southerner from the Great state of Louisiana:

“On July 27, the day before Hillary accepted the nomination, Trump addressed a press conference in Miami where he suggested that the hackers also had emails Hillary had deleted from her private server. “By the way, if they hacked, they probably have her thirty-three thousand emails. I hope they do,” he said. “They probably have her thirty-three thousand email that she lost and deleted because you’d see some beauties there…Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the thirty thousand emails that are missing. I think you will be rewarded mightily by our press.” He was encouraging a hostile foreign power to commit a crime against his opponent.”

Almost sixty-four million Americans voted for this obvious con man and the question of why so many people voted for a mentally ill person needs to be answered before there is another election and someone even worse than this pathetic loser is chosen to be POTUS. Let US be honest, the only reason the deranged TrumPet

is still holding onto office is because the RepublicaNazi’s control both houses of Congress. The Repubs know Trump is bonkers, but they cling to power like a drowning man clings to anything that floats.

Trump and The Losers are mired in the past because they are old as the hills. They are not forward looking but people living in the past, attempting to turn back the clock. We The People have changed, with the legalization of marijuana being a prime example. California is big enough to take a page out of Nancy Reagan’s book and “Just Say No.”

Yet the TrumPet’s, like Jeff Sessions, insist on stopping the will of the people.

http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/07/opinions/jeff-sessions-marijuana-move-bad-for-him-chernis-opinion/

That is simply not possible, unless Putin’s puppet decides to unleash enough nuclear weapons to return the survivors to the stone age.