I just completed a trip from Rochester, NY to an undisclosed location in the Dakotas to take care of my parents, who are in their 80s. What a difference 3 days makes, 1500 little miles.
In case you were all concerned, let me reassure you that everybody’s freedom here is intact. Very few are wearing masks. Almost none of the clerks in the retail outlets that I’ve visited are wearing masks, and the hardware store doesn’t even have a plexiglas shield between the clerks and the customers. My hometown borders a reservation. The only consistent mask wearers I’ve seen are Native Americans — without exception, young and old, they’re all wearing masks. I guess the smallpox blankets made a deep impression on that culture.
My brother, the main caretaker for my parents, has scoped out the situation here, and he’s figured out the times when the stores are mainly empty. That explains my 7 AM shopping trip today, and he was right — I was almost the only person in the grocery store, and certainly the only mask wearer.
Today, I talked with my aunt (dad’s sister) who lives in Eastern Montana. That’s the very red part of what’s becoming a somewhat purple state. The situation there is similar to the situation here — many covidiots. She’s a retired teacher who’s smarter and tougher than the rest. When she met with her accountant this year to go over her taxes, they were lamenting the local situation, and he said that “people just aren’t very bright around here.” All the Cletus safaris for the past four years have danced around the obvious fact that, if you have some gumption and some smarts, you’re likely to move from a red county to a blue state or at least a blue dot, because the opportunities there are better.
Anyway, I’ve looked at the COVID stats for the Dakotas versus my home county (Monroe, NY) which is approximately the same population. The overall number of positive cases for North and South Dakota are about double Monroe County, but the deaths are about half. This is probably due to deaths being a lagging indicator, and that the medical profession is getting better at treating COVID. Another factor is that the health departments here have capacity to trace 100% of positive cases, so we’re still able to quarantine all those who are positive.
My dad (retired physician) is still on the local hospital board, and he tells me that they have prepared for COVID the same way a hospital in New York would have. They have enough tests to make sure symptomatic patients don’t infect others, they do temperature and symptom checks and require masks for anyone entering the facility, and they have enough PPE for the staff. So while the average dumbshit here is walking around without a mask and engaging in unsafe activities, the hospitals are far more prepared than New York hospitals were in, say, March. So we might get through this despite the worst efforts of Dollar Store Sarah Palin, Kristi Noem, whoever runs North Dakota, and the rest of the morons in charge. Or it might be a bloodbath. Either way, we all know that both states will vote for Trump even though he doesn’t give a shit if we live or die.
Finally, my aunt in Montana said that Steve Bullock is the real deal and that he has a really good chance to win the Senate race there, so give him some money if you have it.