Send Children To School

I want to stipulate up front that sending children to school in the midst of a pandemic is a very difficult decision for parents. Isn’t it the primary job of parents to keep their loved ones safe?

Nicholas Kristof, op-Ed columnist at the New York Times, makes a compelling case to send children back to their classrooms. Here are a list of facts and observations he makes in a piece published on Thursday (some are actual quotes):

  • Millions of students will soon have missed a year’s worth of in-person instruction. This is inflicting permanent damage to the group.
  • Republicans’ reluctance to wear face masks and distance is one reason so many Americans have died.
  • Democrats, disproportionately, are culpable for letting bars stay open while keeping schools closed. Democrats presided over one of the worst blows to the education of disadvantage Americans in history.
  • The aforementioned actions the political parties have resulted in more dropouts, less literacy, widening race gaps and long-term harm to some of the most marginalized youth in our country.
  • The San Francisco Federal Reserve estimates that educational disruptions may increase the number of dropouts over 10 years by three percent. This will decrease the number of educated workers in the labor force.
  • Rich kids have gone back to school and have been mostly on affected.
  • Low-income students often do not have Internet or Zoom services.
  • Children are disappearing. Some never login and some give up trying to learn online.
  • Financial aid applications for colleges have decreased by 10%.

According to McKinsey & Company school closures exacerbate racial inequality.

  • Remote learning does not work well for many students.
  • The Center for Disease Control found that in person learning has not increase community transmission of Covid.

Notwithstanding all of this evidence, no parents should be forced to send their child to school. But these same people must recognize that the perils of not doing so are not as great as they think, and the damage to their children could be long-lasting.

If I did have a child of school age, I would send them to school if it were available.

My Covid Tale

I passed another Covid milestone yesterday, after having received my initial vaccine inoculation. The Covid experience has not been smooth sailing for me during the past year as I already had the virus and have been told that at my age, I’m vulnerable.

Logistically, I’ve had some issues as well. A few weeks ago, I returned from Miami, and schlepped to an armory in northern Manhattan. My wife was able to get me an appointment to receive the vaccine by making scores of phone calls to the facilities that are dispersing the vaccine. I arrived at the armory in time and was greeted by some very nice people who guided me through the process.

While filling out one of many questionnaires, there was a query about being out of the state within the last 10 days. This was the day after I arrived from Florida. I told my interviewer about my return to New York, who said I might not be able to get a vaccine because Florida was on the blacklist, meaning that one had to quarantine for 10 days upon arriving from the Sunshine State. Apparently, the Floridians are not following the rules.

No way would I lie; it would have been criminal and immoral to do so. I didn’t follow the eligibility standards, and so I had to wait several more days before I would be qualified to receive the vaccine. It really is an honor system that I hope not too many Americans are gaming. I would not be able to live with myself if I made someone sick inadvertently.

Ten days later, my wife began a new search for a vaccine appointment. Bingo. this time I schlepped from Manhattan to Queens and into an elementary school converted into a virus vaccination facility.

My wife dispatched my younger daughter to accompany me. Sometimes I get lost or run into trouble on my own. It’s not easy being over 70. My daughter handled all the paperwork for me and even filled out my application. She also served as my interpreter because I cannot understand anyone who speaks with a mask on their face.

To reiterate I’m aged, frequently get into trouble when visiting medical facilities and doctors, and I don’t hear so well. I inadvertently left my “ears” (hearing aid) at home.

I was chatting with a male nurse who was preparing to give me the vaccine. I begged him not to hurt me. I’m a little bit of a cry baby. He said it wouldn’t until tomorrow. I said thanks. The second day is supposed to be a real kick in the pants.

Every single person I interfaced with was respectful and polite. It was a well-organized. The only problem was that the place was not crowded. It’s no wonder the inoculations are taking so long. You call up for an appointment at a bunch of places, and they all claim they’re full. In the meantime, when you do get a time, there are empty seats and staff looking for someone to take care of.

So here I am. I had Covid, I had a high level of antibodies, I’m still masked and distanced at all times, I’m, vaccinated and still wondering whether I can contract Covid again, see my family safely, travel, pass the disease to others and so on. I even listened to Dr. Fauci and have 50 questions that remain unanswered.

It’s going to be a long haul. But at least the vaccine didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would.

Defying Orders Means More Suffering And Death

Covid has literally turned our world upside down. The vicious disease has the entire world on edge. I find it hard to believe that everything is so out of control. And yet, there are so many Americans that are resisting authoritative demands to be more careful about how they live their lives during these times.

I spent time in Florida during the pandemic. While walking along the boardwalk in Miami, I witnessed a sinful attitude among so many fellow Americans. I estimate that over 80% of the of individuals walking, running, riding bicycles and parents strolling with young ones were not wearing masks. What a travesty. How could so many be so self-centered and uncaring for their neighbors?

One sick person in a small group can easily infect hundreds and even thousands of people. Relatives and friends of those infected on the boardwalk automatically become targets of this horrible disease.

So many of the clubs along the same route play loud music and several offer happy hour prices to lure in young people. Again, many were unmasked, and they were certainly not distancing. How can you live with yourself when you flagrantly defy orders to cover up and separate? How can you live with the fact that you carelessly made others ill and possibly killed a vulnerable innocent person?

The same holds true for medical experts and politicians who wantonly pass along guesses about the peril of the virus and encourage others to act normal in spite of the presence of the disease? Our leaders and medical experts should be working together, collaborating and giving us accurate and important data. How can we decide what to do with our families? Should the kids go to school or study remotely? Can you contract Covid a second time? Are young people not candidates to parish from the disease? How dangerous is it to fly on commercial airlines? To make good decisions for our families we need accurate assessments.

CEOs and boards of directors of major companies have been forced to make life and death decisions for their employees. It’s not that simple to allow employees to work from home when a business is dependent upon workers selling face to face or assembling products. And what about eateries and grocery stores? These people need to come to work and be exposed to more danger than most.

Our leaders and lawmakers must set priorities, not use the pandemic as a political football. They should be focused on the disease because it, or a stronger related virus, might be capable of wiping out the human race. Really, how can we not take the threat seriously? The disease has ruined our lives for a year to this point. Are we going to let it prevent us from having a normal existence for another year or two? Are we going to take the chance that Covid can kill every one of us?

It’s time all Americans and other countries around the world recognize that we are at war with an enemy that is more powerful than any weapon of mass destruction. Most of our focus should be on wiping out the disease.

You may ask what can we do short-term to protect ourselves? It’s the same old story over and over again. Wear masks, distance, wash your hands thoroughly every time you are near a bathroom and avoid crowds.  

Musings About Covid

It’s been an eventful year. Unfortunately, I contracted the Covid flu last March. It was a harrowing experience that continues to threaten so many people worldwide. It has changed the way we live each day of our lives.

My bout with the virus can be described as relatively moderate. I had a low-grade fever and suffered from aches and pains for several days. I was confined to my bedroom where I slept 15 to 18 hours each day and ate all of my meals alone. One good thing is that I didn’t realize how dangerous the disease could be for someone my age, 70 plus. If I knew how vulnerable I was, I probably would have had a nervous breakdown on top of all the other terrible feelings I had at the time.

At one point, I complained to my wife that I felt trapped in my room. I was losing my mind being cooped up for such a long period of time. I should point out that I was also recuperating from a minor medical procedure, which necessitated taking some strong medication. So, besides feeling like hell, I had to deal with anxiety and reactions to the drugs, which was disquieting to say the least.

I persevered and tried to get back into a strong physical fitness regimen. Every day, I walked in the oppressive heat. And, I resumed my yoga practice, which included meditation and physical fitness. I worked diligently trying to relax and fight off the negativity that overwhelmed me. It all ended successfully for me, but Covid still threatens the world every day.

The disease is sinister and sneaky. It attacks and kills individuals that suffer from respiratory problems, auto-immune issues and other maladies such as diabetes and asthma. I’ve commented before on this blog that I’m surprised the virus has overwhelmed us, and we have been so unprepared to deal with it. Billions of dollars are spent on medical research each year. Why hasn’t concern about a virus that could wipe out the human race gotten more attention and research dollars?

In 1919, millions of people died from a similar pandemic. In 2020, medical experts were surprised and ineffective dealing with Covid. Is it possible that not enough money has been dedicated to virus research? Is political correctness getting in the way of allocating our research dollars towards the most dangerous threats?

Information dispersed to the public has been misleading, incorrect and downright harmful. How many times have medical experts changed their minds about this malady? Have the experts done a good job cataloging the disease? Kudos are warranted for drug companies that created vaccines in record time. But the simple process of distribution has been abominable.

There is no consensus about who should be inoculated first or second or third. We don’t know whether we can be re-infected with Covid. We really are unsure about whether the antibodies protect us after we contract the disease. We don’t know a lot of things including whether Covid will impact our lives in future years. We learned nothing from the pandemic that took place 100 years ago.

Our federal and state governments have failed us miserably. They botched the distribution of vaccines. About 1.5 million people have received two doses of the vaccine out of a total of 340 million in America. The vaccine has been available for 30 days. You do the math. It’s going to be a long time before everyone who wants to be vaccinated will be fully vaccinated. Bitter disputes between federal and state officials have messed up the process. One would think that the federal government should lead the charge given the severity of the pandemic.

The Democrat government is once again wasting time trying to denigrate Donald Trump. Their efforts should be directed at supporting our economy and getting vaccine into every American.

Every day, my wife and I discuss the return to normalcy. What does it mean? Will we once again dine inside restaurants, and not have to eat on the street in 30-degree weather? Will we be able to go to a movie or are we destined to watch films at home on next Netflix forever? Will our children be able to go to classrooms to learn again without the threat of contracting the virus? Will all the people who were furloughed regain their jobs and be able to support their families? Seems to me the vaccine is the first step, and we need to produce more vaccines as quickly as possible.

Another major issue is travel. My family is uncomfortable traveling on commercial flights domestically. Will foreign travel bounce back and be safe in the near future? Will Americans once again be able to visit London, Paris and Tokyo?

And finally, my heart goes out to those that have delayed weddings, birthday parties, religious ceremonies, christenings, anniversary get togethers etc.

I wish everybody good health, and if you are sick, a speedy recovery.  

Who’s In Charge Of Covid War?

Who are the decision makers regarding the Covid epidemic?

From the birth of our nation, federal and states’ rights have been in conflict. In a war, it’s easy to understand the decision makers are the politicians in Washington. In a war with a virus, it’s not so simple.

Our country is structured to give responsibility for crises to federal, state and city officials. And then, local officials sometimes opt out, or opt into, contradictory orders. Is this system effective and functional?

For sure it is, unless the interested parties jockey for political points. Then it can become a sh**storm. In this day and age, nobody cooperates and negotiates in good faith. The president fights with governors, governors fight with mayors, mayors fight with unions, unions fight with parents, and so on.

There are even intra organizational battles taking place all the time. Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House is continually at odds with Republicans in the House, Republicans and Democrat senators and even members of her own party in the House. Consider AOC and her squad of radical liberals.

If our leaders would work together, compromise and take control and stand up against evil doers, criminals, terrorists, murders, bigots, misogynists, racists and the pandemic, we could do make some revolutionary progress.

The vaccine for Covid is going to be the subject of the next epic battle between our political leaders. Governors will compete with other governors for limited vaccine supplies. Everybody will have a different cascade of how the vaccine should be delivered.

Should first responders be the first on the list, then old people, and what about sick old people who will likely die? Are we going to triage sick Americans? And who comes next? Is it reckless young people because they are anxious to party, congregate and raise hell in high school and college? Or should 40 to 60-year-olds be next? What about people of all ages with dangerous medical conditions? How do we prove that these people are really at risk?

And finally, we have those who don’t want to take any vaccine at all because Donald Trump was involved in the production of these lifesaving medicines, in record time. There’s a lot to be concerned with in this regard.

Supposedly, the potions being produced are efficient. Will they stop individuals who had recovered from contracting the flu again, or will they have to be inoculated once more. When can an individual safely go to a crowded restaurant or bar, school or work after taking the vaccine? Can an inoculated person infect someone who has not taken the vaccine? Like a grandpa or grandma?

The timing of the whole vaccination process is really up in the air. Return to normalcy maybe more than a year away.

Pandemic Party Pooper

I’ve been sitting around thinking about “My Life in Covid.” This will be the title of my book, if I ever sit down and write about the misery, deaths, politics, depression, unhappiness and despair of the time.

I was a very early victim of Covid. I’m in the vulnerable age group, but clean living, exercise, no alcohol and good food helped me beat the disease. Actually, I slept for most of the time that I was in the grip of the virus. Thankfully, I had no idea, nor did any of the experts, that I was in great jeopardy. If I had known, I probably would have suffered a nervous breakdown. Kudos to my family for nursing me back to health.

When I think of all the things that I do and don’t do since this freaking virus ruined our world, I’m amazed. It’s a wonder I have been able to keep busy and be somewhat productive. I’ve read scores of books (mostly junk novels), read newspapers, did crossword puzzles, discovered a new word play game in the Times called “Two Not Touch,” exercised two or three times a day, ate five times a day and paid bills.

I’m blessed with adult children who have stayed with my wife and me for extended periods. The game competitions are heated as are the political conversations. Everyone except me has a real job, so most of the day, family members isolate in different rooms zooming with their colleagues. But what have I been doing since March of last year?

The most obvious thing is that when I go outside, I concentrate on keeping a mask properly situated on my face and staying away from all people I encounter. The good news is that Central Park is nearby, but there are many more people to avoid in that section of New York City. Walking is supplemented by frequent yoga instruction, via computer, and weightlifting. We purchased weights for our apartment because our gym has been closed indefinitely. For a time, there were no weights available online anywhere in the country. Many had the same idea we had, to workout at home.

The bigger issue is what I have not been doing. My wife and I are typical city dwellers, and so before the flu, we ate at local restaurants with family and business contacts several times a week. I would say that not being able to dine out has been one of the biggest issues for me. I never realized how important our restaurant regime was to our lifestyle and social life.

We have no young children so dealing with whether schools are teaching in person or via the Internet is not an issue for us, although it’s a huge problem for many people in the City.

But, what do we do for entertainment? We can’t see the Yankees, Mets, Knicks or Rangers. The New York City Ballet is closed, Broadway is shut down and SoulCycle has ceased operations.

Since restaurant dining is not in the cards as the temperature drops, where is global warming when you need it, I go grocery shopping to make dinner for my wife. Eli’s seems to be profiting in the time of Covid. They have not reduced their prices.

I have tons of family and in-laws in the City, along with a plethora of nieces and nephews. It’s been a full-time job to avoid and condemn family get togethers. The mayor and governor have effectively put a clamp on parties for the holidays. This has caused significant agita for most people. My father in law and his wife are insistent on having dinners and meals with the clan, but we must continue to dissuade them. In fact, they are the most vulnerable.

It would be terrific to drop everything and fly out to Vail or down to Miami for a few days, but the infectious disease gurus say flying is dangerous. I guess we know that to be a fact. Being confined in a long metal tube with re-circulated air with 200 potential carriers of the bug would appear to be a dangerous environment to be in for a couple of hours.

The world is on the cusp of benefiting from a vaccine. It was created in record time, in part, due to the efforts of President Trump. The man is universally despised, so let’s give him some love for getting the medical people to move rapidly. But there are a lot of unanswered questions. Like, who is going to receive the vaccine first? I assume first responders, for saving us, deserve to be at the top of the list. Old, vulnerable people should have a priority. Our government leaders and teachers are essential. But what happens next? The little ones get inoculated, do 15 to 30-year-olds come next or do 31 to 59-year-old individuals get the magical potion? Are City dwellers higher on the list and then ruralites? Should poor people have a position in the front of the line? And what about the rest of the world? Are we only going to be saving Americans and the other seven billion people be damned?

We need somewhere between seven and 14 billion doses of vaccine, depending upon whether you get a one-shot vaccine or a two-shot vaccine. Just imagine the politicians arguing over who should be immunized first, second and third. Maybe Democrats should come before Republicans because they control the greatest part of the government.

The return to normalcy is also an enigma. When will it be OK to fly in a plane, take a subway, ride in an elevator, eat in a restaurant, work at the office, go to school physically, not wear a mask, not distance from others, kiss a loved one on the face, go to a religious celebration, go to a funeral, have a beer with friends? Is it five minutes after you get the vaccine, or one year?

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Despite recent political insanity and regional problems relating to the influenza crisis, Americans have reasons to be optimistic.  As in all other crises, including world wars, 9/11 and other terrorist attacks, our country will rally once again and be the beacon of hope for all mankind. The light at the end of the tunnel is shining brighter every day.

Several things have happened or are happening that should give us a feeling that there are good times ahead. First and foremost, the Trump experiment is over. Even if you are a supporter of the president, it’s got to be a great relief that he will soon leave the White House. Americans from both political parties are tired of his antics.

Trump did some positive things. Unfortunately, his brash attitude and terrible persona offset his accomplishments. Our economy is ready to take off, we are enjoying better and fairer relations with enemies and allies and most of us now recognize that what we read and hear from the press must be taken with a grain of salt.

The president failed miserably as a leader, a diplomat, a peacemaker and a friend. The man has no confidantes except for his close family. All he has is a long line of groupies that ride his coattails by telling him what he wants to hear. Trump was bad for America, and hopefully he will fade away into oblivion.

Another positive event is the pace at which our scientists and doctors have reacted to COVID-19. Frankly, I was dismayed by the original response of the medical community to the pandemic last March and April. None seemed to be prepared for the deadly shroud that the flu cast on the entire world.

The US and all countries have experienced outbreaks of infectious diseases before, so there should have been action plans to fight deadly viruses. Why was the medical community not ready to combat a bug that could literally wipe out mankind? Existential threats should be at the top of researchers’ focus lists. We spent billions of dollars on cancer, heart disease and other maladies. Why weren’t we spending more to protect the world from this type of existential threat?

Anyway, that was yesterday. Pharmaceutical companies broke all sorts of records creating a new vaccine. The time needed to invent an effective serum to kill off Covid-19 was a fraction of the time it usually takes to bring a cure to market. Disregarding the aforementioned un-preparedness, our scientists have done a great job and deserve a lot of credit for working so diligently to save us.

It’s only a matter of time before the vaccine is distributed worldwide. Our worst fears are being allayed as I write this essay. There is a strong chance that we will get back to normalcy in the coming months.

In America, there is one trend that is frightening, however. Radical political and social groups are attacking fellow Americans needlessly. I totally appreciate the fact that all issues relating to our society, such as civil rights, gender rights, a woman’s right to choose, etc. are on the table. I’m delighted that the country seems prepared to address inequality of every type.

What I’m not happy about is the intensity and violence affiliated with those who are leading specific efforts. What saddens me is that needed discourse about political and social preferences always become vitriolic and confrontational in Washington, at colleges, at cocktail parties and even in kitchens at suppertime.

All Americans must appreciate that the evils and unfairness of 250 years cannot be rectified in one congressional session or by one president. And, appreciating both sides of disagreements is essential to finding lasting solutions.

Free speech is in jeopardy. If this continues, it will result in an unfortunate backlash, rather than correcting inequalities some experience every day.

Now sit back and watch the light at the end of the tunnel grow brighter every day.

Is Going To School Worth The Risk?

Education is one of the most important issues for parents these days. When you have to be concerned about a rogue virus, educational decisions are much more difficult for administrators to make, and for parents to accept.

It is worthwhile to look at the risks and rewards of sending children to school in the current toxic environment.

First, the downside of remote teaching. Just about everybody agrees that children learn exponentially more in person than with a computer at home. The children who stay home for an extended period of time are losing valuable instruction that will not be good for their future advancement. It’s difficult to estimate how far behind students will be in one month, three months or one year when the pandemic ends.

How important is the socialization aspect of school at a young age? Is interfacing with other young people important to the maturation process? Most parents believe it is critical.

Interrupting the process for an extended period of time is noteworthy from many perspectives. Most important is the way children learn how to relate to one another and to their teachers. It’s not the same as spending time with a parent (versus another child of the same age).

Younger children need to have a significant amount of exercise in their curricula and space. So, keeping children engaged and cooped up in a small apartment for six months as compared to school with roomy classrooms, a gymnasium and a cafeteria, could have a significant impact.

Many urban children are dependent upon the free meals they receive at school. There is little doubt that remote learning results in some malnutrition. Not benefiting from these meals will put even greater strain on families as they try to fill the gap.

If parents must stay home from work to care for their children, they will lose crucial wages for their absence. Small businesses are having a difficult time and will likely be unable to accommodate parents with care issues.

The damage related to shutting down the country is difficult to measure. In the case of parents losing their jobs, the issues are fairly clear. Parents will not earn needed funds to care for and feed their families. And, the companies that these parents work for will be deprived of essential employees if childcare interferes with attendance. Above all, parents must first care for their children before the needs of their employers.

The overriding issue for parents who are hesitant about sending their children to school is the potential of infection. The more individuals that children come into contact with, the greater the chances that they will be exposed to the virus. But the odds of children coming down with anything more than a fever and a cough are slim unless they suffer from a serious health issue. The only deadly risk is infecting parents and grandparents.

Most schools that teach face to face have complied with masking orders and distancing between the students. This has not moved Mayor DeBlasio who closed schools for nearly a million students in NYC. Moreover, teachers are similarly protected against exposure to the flu.

In total, the sensibility of sending children to school is greater than keeping them at home. However, parents should be given the option to have their children be educated remotely. This is not a time to be forcing parents or students to do things they are not comfortable with.  

Politicizing Covid-19

I’m sad to report that, along with so many other issues, the pandemic is being politicized to the maximum extent possible. By way of comparison, it’s the same as a president and his opponents using an extended military conflict for political gain. When the health of the entire world is dependent on our leaders, politics should be left at the door of the conference room. There is misbehavior on both sides of the aisle.

In the case of a national emergency, the president, the commander-in-chief, must lead the country. For the most part, he or she must develop a game plan to defeat the enemy. In this case, the enemy is an infectious disease that has killed thousands of people globally.

The criticism of Trump began when the flu virus started to rampage across the world. Given that medical science was not up to the challenge, and experts didn’t have a clue about how to respond to COVID-19, the president took action to protect the country. He prevented travel to and from China and the other places that posed a threat to the US, and he tried to calm Americans.

Democrats endlessly harped on the president’s decisions. What is curious, is that the experts were not in agreement about what to do, so Trump made decisions on his own. He tried to do the things that would minimize the spread of the pandemic. Frankly, when the history books are written about this sordid situation, they probably will say there was no one who had the right answers to defeat Covid. The disease was going to take its course no matter what actions world leaders took.

Masks were not going to guarantee our health. There were not enough of them, or ventilators, because medical experts did not predict the world would need them. China reacted in their political interests and let the rest of the world down by downplaying the strength of the virus. The history books will probably say Trump did the best with what was known at the time.

This is not to say that every tactic Trump employed was strictly in the best interest of the American people. The disease arose during an election year and the politicians were yearning for an opportunity to showcase their leadership. Trump exaggerated, and Democrats tried to downplay an ongoing economic surge. The latter got their wish in the form of the coronavirus.

Fast forwarding to the present, the president was on TV this week promising to deliver a safe vaccine before the election. No surprise there. Trump may need to keep this promise to get reelected. But the proof is in the pudding. If a safe vaccine is not available, for the general public, by Election Day, Trump will probably lose to Joe Biden.

So, why are Democrats berating him for predicting that a cure is around the corner? Simply put, Democrats will do anything and say anything that hurts the president’s chances to win reelection. This includes charging the president with lying about a deliverable vaccine for everyone, not just for the most vulnerable among us.

One would think that all Americans including Democrats would do anything to benefit the well-being of the country, even if it resulted in votes for Trump. We’re talking about a disease that has the potential to kill off the entire human race. Why would a patriot be anything but helpful? Why would Trump lie about something so important that will either take place by Election Day or not?

Every day, I feel more embarrassed and ashamed by my leaders. Even to save the world from a horrible pandemic, Republicans and Democrats cannot join hands to work together to defeat the disease. After the pandemic is over, and we have our next president, voters should spend time to consider whether the losers we have as leaders should be thrown out of office.

The Pandemic Could Be A Long-Term Affair

Everyone is asking themselves each day, what’s it going to be like after the pandemic, and when will it finally subside? In the meantime, the politicians are bickering with each other about every aspect of the virus crisis including members of the same party.

I still believe the public is not receiving the information it is entitled to, which will enable average Americans to make personal choices about taking risk. Is it because we can’t be trusted with sensitive data, such as how many people are actually dying? One would think that this is the most important metric. If the death rate decreases to a nominal number (not to minimize the importance of any deaths), the nation should begin to return to normalcy, the definition of which remains to be determined.

Given that older people and those with serious medical conditions are the most vulnerable (to die), the behavior of all Americans should be built around a plan to protect this group. The operative metric for vulnerable people is the number of new cases of coronavirus. The danger is not about new cases per se, rather, it’s preventing vulnerable people from exposure to the bug.

As an aside, large and small companies should advise vulnerable employees, the aged and those with other medical issues, to work from home and avoid unnecessary contact until new cases diminish. It is not necessary for the entire workforce to work remotely without end.

The really big issues facing political and business leaders are return to school, return to the office and attending crowed venues, including religious ceremonies, weddings, restaurants, bars, movies, and gyms. For most people, visitation with family members is also a critical issue. It’s going to be different to stop Americans from seeing their loved ones for much longer.

The estimated arrival of a vaccine is now front and center. Because of the impending election, the timing and approval of a prevention therapy has become greatly politicized. When this happens to any issue the information flow becomes unreliable and distorted.

Trump would love to have a vaccine before the election. I hope the president does not push the vaccine upon us before it is determined to be safe. Correspondingly, I hope the Trump’s opponents don’t do anything to unnecessarily slow down the process for political gain.

I keep returning to the issue of normalcy in this blog. Realistically, people will not go to work willingly until they are sure it’s safe, and transportation to and from the office is reliable and sanitary.

Similarly, children going back to school are another bugaboo. Even though healthy children don’t die from the virus, many parents will balk at knowingly sending their loved ones into a diseased environment.

Unfortunately for restaurants, diners are not going to take unnecessary risks for a meal. Many smaller bistros are going to be forced out of business because of reticence on the part of their customers, and a distance requirement that will negatively affect the number of meals that can be served.

And then there are transportation issues, beaches, parks, museums, etc. that will be problematic for a long time. We are all in for a tough ride in the short to medium term. Risk aversion will be paramount to most Americans.