COVID-19 drives California to shut down, again

Trump ignored alarms

Carol Ozemhoya - OW Contributor | 12/30/2020, 11:03 a.m.
Congress and the president were briefed by early 2020...

Congress and the president were briefed by early 2020, with President Donald Trump reportedly given a dire prediction on the dangers of COVID-19 as far back as November 2019. But no one on record started a serious alarm until March, when people started dropping like flies, literally.

Although the country began an immediate shut down (almost all businesses and schools closed), Trump and his administration continued to deny the virus’ negative impact and highly volatile danger to people. He still held rallies and went to events unmasked.

By mid-summer, the virus was responsible for more than 200,000 deaths and millions of people infected, and those numbers continues to climb unabated. By Dec. 12, news agencies were announcing the U.S. was having its worst time ever.

The virus wasn’t picking on any one demographic; professional athletes (Kevin Durant, Cam Newton), Hollywood stars (Idris Elba, Vivica Fox, Tiffany Haddish) and white collar and blue collar workers were filling hospital beds, and… dying.

Ironically, one of Trump’s Black political supporters – Herman Cain – contracted the virus and died, allegedly after attending one of Trump’s outdoor rallies. Just a couple of weeks ago, Country music legend Charlie Pride also passed from COVID-19. And Trump was diagnosed with it at one point and was checked into the hospital, where he was treated with highly focused care and drugs still in the experimental stages. Yet, he was still defiant about the pandemic and at one point, asked the Secret Service to drive him through the streets of our nation’s capitol, while not wearing a mask.

For awhile the infection and death rates seemed to start to get under control and certain businesses and schools were allowed to re-open with new rules aimed at keeping the situation from spreading. But recently, COVID-19 has reared its ugly and deadly head at a rapid and alarming rate.

According to the New York Times on Dec. 11, that week was one of the most devastating in the U.S. since it all began nine months ago. A national single day record of new cases was reported with hospitalizations topping 100,000. Medical centers in major cities were reporting that they were at capacity, with some even turning some COVID-19 cases away.

In California, a severe uptick began in late November after it was reported that the virus was on a downturn in mid October. A lockdown was ordered (closing restaurants and other small businesses), especially in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. The “New York Times,” reported on Dec. 12 that California was reporting more than 21,000 new cases a day, twice as many as the worst point during the summer.

Recently, it was reported that there were only nine beds available in San Diego alone. According to the “New York Times,” More than 10,000 COVID-19 patients are now hospitalized in the state, more than 70 percent over what it was at the end of November. “That the virus soared back is a cautionary tale,” the paper said. “a sign that California let down its guard.”

Our Weekly’s year in review

Sankofa is an African word from the Akan tribe in Ghana. The literal translation of the word and the symbol is “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind.” It’s symbol is based on a mythical bird with its feet firmly planted forward with its head turned backwards. Thus, the Akan believe the past serves as a guide for planning the future. To the Akan, it is this wisdom in learning from the past which ensures a strong future.

The Year 2020 has included some unique stories. These issues impacted all of us in one shape or form and the last 12 months reminded us that nothing is certain or concrete. Our Weekly’s year-end edition features five selected stories, looking back to the year that was. Let us learn from the past and ensure a strong and happy New Year!