“I am no one of importance”

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Gadfly has described himself as Maddow’d in respect to coronavirus in nursing homes and other senior-care facilities.

Rachel Maddow was like an early warning sensor beeping the need to more carefully scrutinize conditions in such places accounting for almost 50% of deaths by virus.

Maddow has transitioned a bit as more attention has been focused on these senior sites where “death is waiting to happen.”

See, for instance, this article in today’s Morning Call: Peter Hall, “Auditor general calls for greater transparency, more testing for nursing home coronavirus cases.”

She’s transitioned to focus on jails and food-processing plants.

Death is also waiting to happen in food-processing plants.

See this brutal article in the Wednesday Philadelphia Inquirer provided to Gadfly by Councilwoman Olga Negron: DEADLY RIDE: Pa. poultry workers traveling to their plant in a crowded van were stricken by the virus.

Eight people crammed in a van riding 30 miles to and from work in a plant where people work close together — one passenger dead, the rest sick, all fearful of losing their jobs.


“I am no one of importance,” one says, in regard to what is being done for worker safety.


Councilwoman Negron is involved through her “day job” because these workers are Latino.

In fact, 35% of the workers in the food-processing industry nation-wide are Latino.

Essential workers.

Councilwoman Negron through her “day job” is in direct contact with the family that lost their dad (Arismendi Bera), and every day she fields phone calls from two or three Latino workers from that plant. Even though the plant is not in Bethlehem, COVID-19 positive workers are sharing her firm’s number, seeking a place to vent their fears to someone in their own language. They need someone to talk to.

It’s easy to say that except for the soul-wearying work performed by day-jobber Negron that this is not a story about Bethlehem.

But we know from her April 8 post that she has been busy fielding calls from local Hispanic/Latinos as well.

Bethlehem is 30% Hispanic/Latino, yet this community accounts for 44% of the cases tested positive for the virus.

Which leads Gadfly — who, of course, knows nothing of such Urban Administration matters — to wonder whether a city with such a substantial block should not have some formal liaison within city government.

The Mayor does have a Latino Advisory Committee.

Why is such liaison left to the Negrons and the non-profits like the Hispanic Center?

But maybe it is best so.

Gadfly just wonders.

“I am no one of importance,” haunts him.

One thought on ““I am no one of importance”

  1. US exceptionalism?

    The U.S. really is #1 — In coronavirus deaths, anyway.

    Out of about 228,000 deaths worldwide, the US — with less than 5% of world population — has about 27% of the deaths.*

     * It’s amazing how often those percentages seem to be repeated — (GHG emissions, energy use, and resource consumption, for example).

    That puts the US at 186 deaths per million people — not as high as many densely-populated European countries, but much higher than the 83 per million in Germany — and only 5.2/million in Cuba, 3.2 in China. Even allowing for reporting errors due to lack of testing, the difference is startling.

    What causes these wide disparities?

    Is it the rapid implementation of widespread testing and contact-tracing in those countries? This is a standard epidemiological approach, and there does seem to be a pattern of mass testing in the countries that have been most successful in minimizing the death toll (rather than testing only those who have symptoms).

    Is it the presence of a robust universal healthcare system in those countries, where people do not avoid healthcare for fear of high costs? (Medical expenses are a primary cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S.)

    Principal source for coronavirus deaths, updated today, was ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-data.

    April 30, 2020 posted by pkc

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