Last light, Stone Steps © Robert Sommers 2023

Friday, June 12, 2020


I was reading today where some governmental hack in a red state whose name I no longer recall said we didn't really have to worry about the recent covid 19 spikes. He said that the casualties in said state were basically confined to meat packing plants, nursing homes and prisons so 'normal' people should be breathing easier about their chances of survival.

I guess I get it. Meatpacking plants are essential services in our country, largely manned by refugees and minority immigrants. Definitely dispensable. Ditto the old folks in the nursing homes, to paraphrase the Texas Attorney General Dan Patrick, you're way past your due date, get out of the way. I would like to talk about the third population, prisoners, for a moment.

There are a lot of people in prisons, for a lot of reasons. Some of them commit heinous crimes. Some of them are doing long stretches for stupid things like weed. None of them deserve an automatic covid 19 death sentence. Neither do the correctional officers that guard them.

I live about a quarter mile from Riverside County. Riverside County announced today that there are currently 991 Covid 19 cases at Chuckwalla State Prison, almost forty percent of the 2200 inmate population. An inmate died of the disease Thursday, the fifteenth prisoner in the state prison system to succumb to the deadly microbe.
The county now has 10,490 cases and 383 deaths blamed on COVID-19. The weekday numbers updates usually reflect new diagnoses and deaths that happened days ago as it takes time for that information to reach the public health department.The county crossed the 10,000-case mark Thursday.Official recoveries — those who are no longer in isolation, show no symptoms and have had their public health cases closed — grew 3% from Thursday to 5,896.
Across the county, 232 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19, up six from Thursday’s update. That number includes 71 patients in intensive care — no change from Thursday.The county is reporting 244 cases in county jails with 207 recoveries. Long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, have 1,317 cases, including 824 among patients and 493 among staff.
Arkansas, Texas, Arizona, South Carolina, all these places thought that they were in the clear. Now numbers are skyrocketing back up. Epidemiologists say it is not a second wave, we never got finished riding the first one. People like my Supervisor, Jim Desmond, like to pretend that everything is hunky dory, it is not. Encinitas is now seeing a spike.

We went to downtown San Clemente for dinner the other night to see some friends. We wore masks. Practically nobody else did. Huge throngs of people in the street, nobody wearing masks, nobody social distancing. Big hoax you know. Wouldn't dare infect a GOP stronghold of wealth like Orange County. It is really scary to me how nonchalant we are all getting about this virus. Nothing has changed, it is as deadly as ever.

But the thinking of the powers that be has changed. It has been decided that certain segments are expendable and that if minority meatpackers or the elderly in nursing homes, or confined prisoners or people with compromised immune systems like me croak, well it's the price you have to pay for our glorious economy. Can't make omelettes without breaking a few eggs, can we?


Jon Harwood said...

It sure is a good time to make sure one is taking the right precautions. I have a sense that the isolation was just too much for our social species and people have just decided to wish the disease away. Good luck to them. The rules of nature don't care about our needs as a species and those of us who can adapt to this new reality have a much better chance of surviving. Its is simple and in accordance with our ideals of freedom, responsibility for survival rests with the individual. That is the best I can do with this outside of running in circles yelling F***!

Liz said...

We figure that I will be isolated for at least another year,possibly two. I am coping but my relationship with my tv might be a bit much.