A Look at Richmond and COVID-19

By Peter Galuszka

Here is a roundup story I wrote for Style Weekly that was published today that explains the effects of COVID-19 on the Richmond area. Hopefully, BR readers will find it of interest.

It was a tough piece to report. The impacts of the deadly virus are very complicated and multi-faceted. An especially hard part was trying to keep with the fast-changing news, notably the number of new cases and deaths. We were updating right up until the story closed Monday afternoon. It was hard to talk to people with social-distancing and closings.

The experience shows the delicate balancing act between taking tough measures to stem the contagion and keeping the economy going. My view is that tough measures are needed because without them, it will all be much worse, particularly more illness and death as the experience in Italy has shown.

Incredibly, our utterly incompetent president, Donald Trump, now wants to focus on the economy more than taking necessary containment steps. It’s far too soon for that. Regrettably, a number of Bacon’s Rebellion commenters are sounding the same irresponsible tune in keeping with their big business and anti-regulation laud of free market capitalism.

Relaxing restrictions so soon will only bring the the expansion of the virus to its worst-case scenario. How do I know this? I don’t but then neither do the pro-business types.

Ironically, as the Style Weekly story reports, the worst hit are lower income people such as restaurant wait staff, home care providers and “gig” economy workers who do not have the sick pay and other cushions to keep them going. Some, such as Starbucks, Uber and Lyft, are doing what they can to help their contract employees. Hopefully, the new stimulus plan will help them although at this writing, a final version has not been decided.

Hopefully BR contributors will consider these folk. They aren’t exactly people who subscribe to the grand-sounding Thomas Jefferson  Institute for Public Policy, a right-wing think tank that supports the welfare of the rich.

COVID-19 is making many weaknesses in American society plain for all to see, such as economic and social inequality and the failures of the for-profit health care system. It’s time to make changes.

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13 responses to “A Look at Richmond and COVID-19

  1. And I was going to compliment your round up in Style, only to then see the slap at Chris Braunlich and me as supporters of welfare for the rich. Yep. That’s why I’ve spent two years pushing to double the income tax standard deduction, and trying to end the fleecing of Dominion’s ratepayers – because I’m a pal of the rich! (I did learn the electric regulatory issues initially to benefit a large manufacturer…)

    Asked last week by a reporter what people should do, I said keep spending, with exactly the low-income workforce Peter talks about in mind. We’ve been to most of our favorite restaurants for take out.

    I don’t want to think that the Left is intentionally trying to destroy our economy through fear in order to rebuild it as Bernie and Elizabeth Warren would advise. But it is starting to be clear they are going to take full advantage. The push for Medicare for All, for example, will accelerate. The Congressional Dems are pushing a major minimum wage hike. And with the economy putting out less CO2, the calls to keep it that way are going to increase. Yep, never let a crisis go to waste.

    • “I don’t want to think that the Left is intentionally trying to destroy our economy through fear in order to rebuild it as Bernie and Elizabeth Warren would advise. But it is starting to be clear they are going to take full advantage.”

      Indeed it is.

  2. Steve, ok. Fair point. But i disagree with just about everything TJIPP puts out

    • And you believe the editorial board of the Post, led by Herr Goebbels? Their levels of journalistic integrity are quite comparable. The need for truth never crossed their minds.

      The Ds’ stimulus bills contain crap like setting greenhouse gas limits for commercial airlines. What does that have to do with coronavirus or stimulating the economy? And, if Hillary had won, we see her administration opening the borders during the pandemic.

  3. Wayne,
    I think you miss the point. Tough measures to stem COVID-19 are intended to shore up the economy and let it prosper. I do not see where Warren and Sanders are trying to not do this. Can you please explain?

    • There is no scenario in which forcing businesses to close their doors will “shore up the economy” and “let it prosper” and anyone who tries to tell you it will is trying to steal something from you.

      I understand that our country must be willing to take a certain level of damage to our financial health as we fight this pandemic, but completely shutting down the economy is a bridge too far.

  4. Failures of the for-profit health system …

    How is socialized medicine working for the Italians? Doctors in Italy are now telling people over 60 with COVID-19 to go home and die like good little socialists.

    Keep your eyes on the UK too.

  5. My fear related to this concern is not as much the COVID-19, but rather the reaction our politicians to take to save us all. My wife is immunocompromised, but I don’t expect the government to keep her safe. I don’t think the government can keep her safe. We’re taking our own measures.

    It seems that in many instances when danger presents itself, we are far to ready to trade our freedoms for safety. Given that folks in our government are exceptionally hungry for more power, and they don’t have the capacity to keep us safe, I think that’s a bad trade. Please keep in mind the Patriot Act.

  6. Hey, Peter! Nothing like that old “we’re all in this together” attitude!

    As the son of a union carpenter, I’m really getting a bit tired of your claims that we’re the friends of millionaires — or millionaires ourselves. You’ve said a lot of things (nearly all untrue) about the organization I lead (and, by implication, me), so here’s my offer: How about after all this is finished, we sit down for coffee (I’ll bring my tax form, you bring yours and the richer person buys), and you can decide which of your claims (if any) are true?

    In the meantime, can we just take a deep breath, sit back and enjoy this?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eXT60rbBVk&t=8s

    Right now, we need to get our joy where we can find it.

  7. Ripper: COVID 19 seems to be on the decline in China, South Korea,,l Taiwan and Japan that all have some variant of the single payer system (or the strong arm).

    Chris, love to have coffee with you. Will the Koch group pay for it? Just kidding.

  8. Aw … and here I was hoping it would be Arabella Advisors footing the bill!

    (just kidding)

    You’re on, Peter. Let’s all just get past this.

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