The United States has a pre-existing condition.
In fact, we might have several — but the one that’s really and truly inarguable is that we’re going into November with a Covid caseload that’s high and rising.
On the one hand, it’s notable that Europe is beginning to reimpose lockdowns after a relatively easier summer. Remember watching Italy and Spain in extremis before things got really bad here? Chances are sadly high that we’re squandering another epidemiological warning.
On the other hand, there’s the matter of the election. As of inauguration day, the facts on the ground are likely to be:
- About a quarter of a million Americans dead in under a year
- An epidemic still burning pretty much out of control, with about 8 million Covid cases and counting (at a rate of 50,000 or more per day)
- No prospect of a well-proven, widely-available, widely-accepted vaccine for another year-plus
- Perhaps another year or so (I’m guessing here) to roll out the vaccine, tiptoe into a new normal, and begin to truly reboot the economy (presidents don’t control the economy — that’s called Sovietism — but that’s another rant)
We know that Covid is a tough disease, even if we’re still figuring out all the long-term effects. The moral of the story, however, is clear:
- A lot of Americans are going to have pre-existing conditions thanks to Covid
- Many more will discover them as they seek delayed or deferred care
- And the economy will remain in some kind of holding pattern until people feel safe to interact again (even without “lockdown,” voluntary social distancing has negative economic effects)
Hence the question: if many Americans will have pre-existing conditions, and the next presidential term will have such stiff pre-existing conditions, which personality — and which policies — do you trust on this issue?
For most of us, for most of the next term, health and healthcare are going to be the issue.