The ‘idiots’ trying to save lives

Pandemic

I’m having trouble tracking this down, so it might have been a passenger, likely a nurse, who told me of COVID-19 patients on their deathbeds, still angrily denying COVID-19 and furiously calling their doctors and nurses—people risking their own lives trying to save theirs—idiots, even as they breathe their last.

I wish I had a good answer for the vaccine resistance on the right. I really don’t:

Only now it’s demand [for now-plentiful COVID-19 vaccines] that’s perhaps in short supply. Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster who has conducted focus groups to better understand vaccine hesitancy, said [Joe] Biden “has a long way to go” to convince more [Donald] Trump voters to get a shot.

“Biden doesn’t want to thank Trump, just as Trump doesn’t want to thank Biden,” he said. “If they would just compliment each other, lives would be saved.”

A kumbaya moment with Trump isn’t on the Biden administration’s to-do list. Instead officials have been networking with religious leaders and local doctors, hoping that community voices will be the most persuasive.

Lee Riley, chair of the infectious disease and vaccinology division at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, said the administration needs to do more of that, and avoid a “top-down approach” to encouraging vaccines.

“I don’t think they’re doing enough,” he said. “Instead of just talking about it, they really need to start going into the communities.”[10]

I doubt that Frank Luntz is right. It’s awfully, awfully hard to conceive of “thank[ing] Trump” after all the damage the latter did, the huge death toll in the U.S.—569,771 as of last night[11]—he is largely responsible for, with his COVID-19 denial and delusion, even after coming down with COVID-19 himself.[12]

Donald Trump supporters continue to fly their campaign flags around southwestern Pennsylvania, nearly six months after the election and nearly four months after a coup attempting to keep Trump in power;[13] To the extent the rage I see around Pittsburgh is more widespread,[14] I doubt they will listen to anyone besides their own conspiracy theorists.[15]

Chris Megerian, “Biden’s coronavirus success threatened by political divisions he pledged to heal,” Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-04-27/bidens-coronavirus-success-threatened-by-political-divisions-he-pledged-to-heal


Pennsylvania

Daniel Greenstein’s plan to merge six (out of fourteen) Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Universities into two institutions,[16] which I commented on,[17] was tentatively approved by the system’s Board of Governors, meaning a sixty-day period for public comment may begin. Students fear the plan will mean more online classes.[18]

Deb Erdley, “Pa. State System moves ahead with mergers of 6 universities, including California, Clarion, Edinboro,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 28, 2021, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pa-moves-ahead-on-merger-of-6-universities-including-california-clarion-and-edinboro/


  1. [10]Chris Megerian, “Biden’s coronavirus success threatened by political divisions he pledged to heal,” Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-04-27/bidens-coronavirus-success-threatened-by-political-divisions-he-pledged-to-heal
  2. [11]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “COVID Data Tracker,” April 27, 2021, https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home
  3. [12]David Benfell, “On wishing the delusional raging narcissist-in-chief well,” Not Housebroken, October 16, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/10/03/on-wishing-the-delusional-raging-narcissist-in-chief-well/
  4. [13]David Benfell, “Riot or insurrection? Lies or madness?” Not Housebroken, January 22, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/01/12/riot-or-insurrection-lies-or-madness/
  5. [14]David Benfell, “Hate, Pittsburgh Style,” Not Housebroken, April 6, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/04/06/hate-pittsburgh-style/
  6. [15]This determination to believe seems stronger than I could have imagined when I suggested that the vociferousness of Donald Trump’s supporters betrays doubt rather than certainty: David Benfell, “Doubting the ‘Fox News bubble,’” Not Housebroken, March 29, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/07/doubting-the-fox-news-bubble/
  7. [16]Lee Gardner, “A System Leader Sells His Vision for Remaking Public Higher Ed,” Chronicle of Higher Education, April 21, 2021, https://www.chronicle.com/article/a-system-leader-sells-his-vision-for-remaking-public-higher-ed
  8. [17]David Benfell, “The ideology of ‘competition’ and higher education,” Not Housebroken, April 22, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/04/22/the-ideology-of-competition-and-higher-education/
  9. [18]Deb Erdley, “Pa. State System moves ahead with mergers of 6 universities, including California, Clarion, Edinboro,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 28, 2021, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pa-moves-ahead-on-merger-of-6-universities-including-california-clarion-and-edinboro/

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