Sherman R. Frederick
Battle Born Media
How sad is 2020 politics? So sad that major political parties feel the need to shiv each other even when legit good news comes our way.
Consider convalescent plasma. On Sunday we learned that those suffering from COVID-19 will now have that treatment more readily available to them. COVID deaths, if all goes according to plan, could be reduced by as much as 35 percent with the more widespread use of this treatment.
Good news, right?
Well, not for partisan hacks who bicker like children over the news. If we behaved like that when the polio vaccine came out in the 1950s, half the country would have whined about ingesting the vaccine in sugar cubes instead of something more healthy. Truly a bizarre hallmark of the 2020 political season.
Convalescent plasma has been used on some 70,000 people. It’s not particularly radical. In normal times it would go through a bit more testing, but these are not normal times. The FDA issued an emergency use order on Aug. 23 to authorize its use. Essentially, it takes plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 and uses it to help current COVID-19 patients recover. It will reduce symptoms in those who are sick and reduce mortality rates by as much as 35 percent.
Why can’t this good news just stand on its own? Because we have a national election coming up in under 70 days and Republicans and Democrats have their long knives out.
Conservatives want to call it a “Blood Plasma Miracle,” which is a stretch. The president, who can’t take the microphone without humping it, had to take the time to ballyhoo himself and how he spurred his administration to work faster than any other administration to make this happen.
Great, Mr. President. That’s your freakin’ job in the Age of Coronavirus. Don’t expect any special back-patting from me. Get back to work!
The New York Times, meanwhile, downplayed the plasma treatment as untested, hard to expand in a widespread fashion and, well, no big deal. It said all that in an unbylined story without attribution. But how the Times lost its way journalistically (and, believe me, they have) is a column for another day. The point is that it is very much a big deal. Not a miracle, grant you, but a significant development.
Convalescent plasma will help the sick and save lives. It moves us closer to the day we can proclaim this pandemic over. For everyday Americans out in the hinterlands, our best hope isn’t in political one-upmanship. It’s in the best medical minds in the world working as fast as they can to end the COVID-19 nightmare.
Let’s take the good news for what it is. Screw the politicians. Hooray for the scientists.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
It took a while, but Gov. Steve Sisolak finally got around to doing what we said he should have done months ago — craft Nevada’s coronavirus policy by region, not by the state as a whole.
One size fits all made no sense. What’s needed in Las Vegas may be completely different than what’s needed in Ely or Hawthorne. The Associated Press reported last week that Carson City will evaluate coronavirus policy by risk, not by state boundaries. That’s the way to do it.
ONE MORE THING
— I need a good home for a dog. It’s a small terrier and tends to bark a lot. If you’re interested please let me know and I’ll jump over the neighbor’s fence and get it for you.
— I had venison pizza last night. It was nice and doey.
— Sean Connery turns 90 this month. As he might say, that’s “inshane.”
— My doctor told me I’m paranoid. Now I lay awake at night and wonder who else has he told.
Now, if you will excuse me, I gotta go to Ridley’s or Raine’s and try to find some of those blueberries. Until next week, stay safe, always drink upstream from the herd and mask-up.
(Sherman R. Frederick is the founder of Battle Born Media, publisher of intensely local community newspapers in Nevada and California. e may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)