Dear President Trump,
This morning on my allowed walk for exercise, it occurred to me to wonder why we’ve not been hearing anything about covid-19 in Russia, as in zip, nada, radio silence. There are a lot of people in Russia, healthcare isn’t so hot in Russia, and, very importantly, Russia has the same winter months as the rest of the Northern Hemisphere so it’s prime time there for flu and for covid-19.
I figured there were two plausible reasons that I’d not been seeing anything in the news about Russia: 1) I’ve been too focused on what’s going on here in King County, the US, and the massive death tolls in Italy and Spain to have emotional or cognitive capacity to notice reports about Russia, or 2) I didn’t miss anything because Russia is artificially keeping the counts low to stay out of the news cycles.
Well, checking the Worldometer covid-19 website, I found that Russia’s official numbers are indeed suspiciously low (as of this morning 2,337 cases and 17 deaths with the first case reported 1/30/20 while Spain also reported their first case that same day and is reporting 94,417 cases and 6,461 deaths). The tiniest bit of digging made clear that conclusion #2 above is correct. Radio Free Europe, The Daily Beast, and Unian all came out with major stories about Russia in the last few hours, from which I’ve gleaned the following: 1) Putin and pals initially attempted to pull the same sort of minimization bullshit that you and your buds did here – “nothing to see here, folks, move along, it’s nothing at all, really….”; 2) testing is all but absent across Russia so there are no good estimates about the case count; 3) the number of “pneumonia” deaths spiked in March, leading many to assume they were actually covid-19 deaths (I know that’s obvious, but you need things spelled out); 4) lower level officials are speaking out and saying the situation on the ground is much worse than Putin et al. is admitting; 5) Putin just postponed the 4/22 “elections” that would/will allow him another 16 years (holy f*ck!) of dictatorship, and 6) in the last 24 hours the State has reactively put most of the major cities on harsh lock-down with draconian punishments for those who break quarantine.
Russia’s come to Jesus progression does have some different twists from ours, but you don’t have to squint very hard to see that you all were using the same playbook; deny, deny, deny (all the while failing to do what was needed to mitigate the virus’s spread and to prepare for the inevitable onslaught of cases) and then when reality could no longer be denied, react, react, react – hugely. The other horrible thing that you and Putin have in common are your efforts to confuse, blame, distract, mislead, conspiracy-theorize, and utterly misinform your people, though Putin and his social media disinformation apparatus seem to have taken it even further by screwing with Europe and sowing confusion and chaos there (and here too?).
Do you two think you can hermetically seal yourselves off from the rest of the world and carry on your mutual admiration bromance party indefinitely? WTF? Are you engaging in some sick Darwinian (look it up) experiment, playing the odds that being white, powerful, and wealthy will insulate you both from the disease?
Whatever it is you two are trying to pull, the jig is up and you better brace yourselves because the house (as in Mother Nature) is about to take it all.
May we be safe from betrayal.
May we be willing to pull the curtain back on all of it.
May we dig deep and stay healthy and strong for one another.
May we not make peace with whatever it is that sadistic leaders are and are not doing.