. . . invisible virus . . . invisible enablers . . . invisible island . . .
(Nina Bernstein, ‘Unearthing the secrets of New York’s mass graves’, New York Times, 15May2016)
Just over six long weeks ago, on Tu10Mar, New York State had 173 confirmed COVID-19 cases. 108 were in Westchester County, all in New Rochelle. It’s just beyond the Bronx, within sight of Hart Island. Hart Island. As was said of something else way back in 1848, ein Gespenst, a spectre. Home of a million people, corpses, neatly arranged in unmarked trenches, watched over until last year by the NYC Dept of Correction, a nice lil earner, an economic opportunity, Rikers prisoners used, at 50¢ the hour in 2016, to dispose of the city’s unwanted. Public service at its best.
(superbly written by Nina Bernstein; a chilling section is on the NYC corpse market;
has three embedded vids)
In the same cold vein, we have the quality of decision-making by Governor Cuomo. He thought he had to do something about the New Rochelle case cluster, so on Tu10Mar he imposed some restrictions on the humans roaming about. But fair being fair, Andrew the Cuomo gave Viro the Virus some leeway, letting the measures come into force two days later, on the Thursday. Fair’s fair. Even Viro has rights in the land of the free. After all, it wasn’t as though anything was at stake, something urgent, some sort of public emergency. As NYS Health Commissioner Dr Howard Zucker said, sitting alongside Cuomo at the daily media briefing, & spreading the sugar, “we believe that the risk generally to New Yorkers is low”. Note that his NYS Dept of Health participated in the major 2019 Crimson Contagion simulation that showed how seriously deficient the US system would be in responding to a virus pandemic. Oh.
https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-accepts-recommendation-state-health-commissioner-new-emergency-measures-contain & https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/6824-2019-10-key-findings-and-after/05bd797500ea55be0724/optimized/full.pdf#page=6
Thing is, Viro’s a virus. No cognitive capacity. No sense of reasonableness. Unable to recognise give & take. Viro simply lacked the capacity to wait 48 hours before carrying on doing what a virus does. So carry on it did. Whilst Cuomo waited to apply his measures. Viruses, eh. And the folly of humans. (Not least in accepting a positivist conception of scientific knowledge, especially of a new object.)
While Cuomo was waiting, the next day, W11Mar, the World Health Organization, those pesky globalists, declared that the disease was so wrapped around our mortal coil that it had to be recognised as a pandemic. Oh. Then two days later, F13Mar, the Very Stable Genius declared a national emergency. “Two very big words”, said he, in the Rose Garden, fresh from having kicked around in his playroom these additions to his lexicon.
New Rochelle was a healthcare disaster – for the town, the state, & beyond. The containment attempt failed miserably. This has not been adequately described & explained by any journalist. There were 108 known infected individuals. But what proportion of their ‘close contacts’ was identified, traced (found), & then tested for infection? What proportion of these was infected, subsequently placed in supported & monitored isolation? (If diagnostic tests were unavailable, were those close contacts all placed in supported & monitored quarantine, to use the CDC’s specific jargon?) In turn, what proportion of their identified ‘close contacts’ was tested, etc.? What did the rapid containment force consist in? Why did it fail? Indeed, for the ~20m of the NY Metro Area, was there a pre-existing, well-drilled, coordinated network of rapid response teams for identify-trace-test-isolate/quarantine, ITTIQ (or IFTIQ), the first line in avoiding containment? If not, why? One could go on. By comparison, with no-one to learn from, Wuhan City alone, from 23Jan, the start of the virus-suppression operation, used at least 9 000 field tracers, organised as 1 800 teams of five or more (28Feb WHO report, page 8). Who’s the ‘Third World’ country?
Cuomo’s star may be rising, contrasted with the darkening shadow of The Don, but his partial responsibility for the New Rochelle failure remains. And don’t forget, this is the man who decided in January to effectively chop future Medicaid funding for the state’s residents, shovelling responsibility, the cost, onto the cities & counties. Refusing to raise taxes, this was the thrust of his response to NYS’ fiscal crisis, announced 21Jan in his fiscal 2021 plan (year-end 31Mar2021 – the day by which Pacifica has to pay the $3.265m principal to the Foundation for the Jewish Community, FJC).
Meanwhile, WBAI carried on being WBAI. That was until M30Mar, 20 days after Cuomo’s New Rochelle announcement, when WBAI started a new programme, Going Viral. It broadcasts live each weekday, so now in its fourth week, at 8.45pm EDT (7.45pm CDT, 5.45pm PDT), for roughly 1½ or 2 hours. Helpfully, it’s linked from the homepage of the Pacifica meetings archive, with a ‘button’ to listen live. It also has an archive (there’s no programme for Tu14Apr).
Going Viral is presented by Jim Dingeman, Local Station Board listener-delegate, & it’s obvious from the PNB Programming Cttee he chairs that he’s a wannabe presenter, so this was his chance. Cometh the moment, cometh the man.
It started off a bit rough, made on the fly. And it’s still a bit rough. Not what Maxie Jackson, former ED, would call best practice. It’s a live conference call, with the usual four or five co-presenters all trying to speak over one another, with Otis Maclay, Pacifica’s technician-who-never-sleeps, also being asked what he thinks about the topic in hand. If Michelle were around, she’d be asked for her opinion too. But it’s more civil than the usual PNB meeting, & it is gratifying not to hear the continual grating of a ‘point of point, Madam Chair’, & suchlike.
Going Viral is admittedly a low tech production, but no other Pacifica station runs a COVID programme. So why not ask your local station manager to consider it?
https://kpftx.org/index.php; https://goingviral.news/ & https://goingviral.news/archive/index.php; also, you can drop Jim a line at the email he uses for Pacifica meetings noticing, email@example.com