Ten congregants were lost at Brown Memorial church writes Marlon Rice in his column this week. And when you see how the demographics of death from COVID-19 so closely match the very pillars of the Black church, you know the impacts of this viral assault are going to be deep and long-lasting and that real-estate vultures will be circling.
And what does this portend for the November elections? Older Black people dying by the tens of thousands, or too frightened by good sense to not come out of their homes, can only help the reelection chances of Donald Trump.
And the United States Supreme Court decision agreeing that the Wisconsin primary be held as the Republicans insisted on its original Tuesday, April 7 date, despite the pandemic and stay-at-home recommendations, because it helps their candidate for the State Supreme Court – is a portent of what’s to come in November.
For African Americans, we have the Russians’ misinformation campaign, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Executive Branch – including the Justice Department – and the U.S. Senate, all aligned against us. And all the while dealing with a health crisis not seen in a hundred years.
We have often quoted the great historian Professor John Henrik Clarke when he told Our Time Press in a 1996 Interview, “They will have no compunction against making slaves of you again.” With “they” being the power structure – and with a financial system birthed in slavery, “they” can make all the chains they need.
What can we do?
We can try to protect ourselves against the virus for up to 18 months more. When an antibody test is made and widely disseminated, then those with the viral antibodies – indicating they’ve already had the virus – will be able to go out with no danger to themselves.
Those without the antibodies will know not to let anything into their environment that has not been disinfected, and that when they leave the house, they may be taking their lives in their hands. And this condition of fear and awareness will last until a vaccine is developed. Researchers say it could be ready in about 18 months. That would make it sometime before September, 2021.
In that time the deaths won’t come as fast, but they will be a constant drumbeat, slower for some, but rising to a staccato in the African American communities across the country.
In their Washington Post article, “To save lives, social distancing must continue longer than we expect” J. Alexander Navarro and Howard Markel demonstrate, with graphs and data, that the lessons of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed 100 million worldwide, are that social distancing works and must be enforced.
This will be hard, especially with spring in the air. Governor Andrew Cuomo is right to keep his PAUSE in place. The lesson Navarro and Markel shared about stopping too soon from social distancing, is that it can lead to a disaster worse than the first. The governor says the public’s health comes before economic concerns, and in that, he is on the money.
Respond to the Census, vote, support the new abolitionists like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, organize, educate and stay in the fight for future generations.
In those 18 months there will be therapeutic trials that could ease the suffering, but nothing that can stop COVID-19’s relentless migration from person to person, except to move those people apart.