As noted in yesterday’s Gibberish, I had some Actual Paying Work to knock out today. I had contemplated not doing a News today because of that, either swapping it with Thursday or just not doing it at all. However, today turned out to be worth talking about and since the APW is all over but the proofing, let’s see what’s up.
Let’s start with some possibly good news. A pharmaceutical company called Gilead Science Inc. has come up with a drug that might be of some possible use. Called remdesivir, the experimental drug shows a 32% improvement on helping patients heal faster than with a placebo, to the tune of 11 days as opposed to 14. It should be noted that this is not, repeat NOT a cure, just helps people heal up faster.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, nominally heading up the President’s COVID-19 task force, is pretty excited about this and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration is working with Gilead to see if this is all worth perusing. Again, not a cure. Don’t get it twisted. As a side note, it may just be because I’ve re-read The Handmaid’s Tale within the last year, but that company’s name creeps me right out. Nobody’s fault but mine, though. What I get for being a reader.
States across the nation are looking at “reopening”, basically making working class and poor people go back to work so some the bourgeoisie can get their haircuts and stop having to spend so much time with their families. Some states, like Iowa and Texas are saying that workers who are “allowed” to go back to work but refuse to because they’re worried about getting sick and dying can be considered a “voluntary quit“. That means their erstwhile employer can cut off their unemployment benefits.
It’s been suggested, quite convincingly, by some that this is an attempt by primarily Republican governors to help big business get out of having to pay the rather healthy unemployment benefits from the recent $2.1 trillion dollar stimulus package passed by Congress. Over 26 million Americans have filed for unemployment since this whole mess started. This also comes at a time when the plutocrat class is making out like a bandit to the absolute shock of nobody.
According to a report from the progressive think tank Institute for Economic Studies, American billionaires have added a collective $308 billion to their fortunes, mostly through the fluctuation in the Stock Market. Folks like Jeff Bezos and his ex-wife McKenzie, former Microsoft exec Steve Balmer, and petulant dickhead Elon Musk all got at least a billion dollars, all the while yowling about how we “must get back to work or the economy will collapse”. Again, they’ve done nothing particularly different nor, in Bezos’ case, have they done much to make going back to work worth dying for their employees.
Furthermore, a loophole in the aforementioned stimulus package allowed businesses with close ties to banks got a “first come, first serve” dip into that $349 billion meant for bailing out small businesses. Around 150 publicly-traded companies got a piece of that action, including the LA Lakers, worth $4.4 million and owned by a $600 million dollar trust.
Maybe the best tidbit from this comes from a little island off the coast of Florida, which is dealing with a 4.3% unemployment rate and having serious difficulties getting claims filed for out-of-work citizens. Fisher Island off the coast of Miami has an average income of $2.2 million dollars and imports Bahamian sand for whatever damn reason received $2 million dollars in aid. They’re still pondering whether or not they should return it, bless their hearts.
Here in Mississippi, we’ve hit 6,569 cases out of 66, 094 tested, with 250 dead. Like in Florida, the archaic unemployment system in Mississippi is far too overloaded to handle all the claimants. With an unemployment rate sitting at 5.3%, over 150,000 people have filed for unemployment, an unprecedented 14,000% increase. The state Congress passed the CARE Act rather swiftly when things started going south, loosening the restrictions for filing for unemployment. I can’t for the life of me find any information on how many claims have been approved or denied in Mississippi. If something shows up, I’ll let you know.
But, hey, there’s no risk of us running out of meat. That’s got to count for something, doesn’t it?