Biblical and Constitutional Politics

Coronavirus General Commentaries

May 2020

By Gary F. Zeolla


These Commentaries are continued from Coronavirus General Commentaries: April 2020.


    These commentaries are only about the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. For my commentaries on other news events, see Commentaries on Biblical and Constitutional Politics. Opposite of that page, the comments are posted here in chronological order. Oldest on top, newest at the bottom. For additional Coronavirus Commentaries, see  Coronavirus Articles and Commentaries on Biblical and Constitutional Politics.

Be Nice to Checkout Clerks


      This weekend, I made my third trip to Pittsburgh’s East End Food Co-op since this crisis began. I had an experience at it that bothered me, so I sent the following email to the Co-op.


      Please apologize to the checkout person for me. She wasn’t wearing a mask, so I asked, “Did you get fed up with wearing a mask?” She replied, “I have a medical exception.” The tone of her response told me she probably had been asked that a hundred times before. I was in no complaining, as I think the mandatory mask order is quite silly. But I am afraid that is how I came across. I was just trying to chitchat. She was the only checkout person not wearing a mask, so I am sure you can figure out who she is. Again, please apologize for me.


      Someone at the Co-op emailed me back and thanked me for the apology. She explained that they have several people at the Co-op who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, and yes, they’re getting fed up with having to explain their private medical situation to customers.

      Please remember that when you are out and about. There are some whom for whatever reason simply cannot wear a mask. Do not berate them for not doing so. And be especially nice to checkout clerks at grocery stores. They are stressed out as it is with the increased demand and their own health concerns. They don’t need customer’s complaints on top of it.

      Finally, if you live in the Pittsburgh area, check out the Co-op. They sell all organic and natural foods, including locally grown produce when in season. Just the type of foods you need to eat to keep your immune system strong in the midst of this crisis. East End Food Co-op


Wolf’s vs. Trump’s Reopening Plans 


      When people were complaining on social media that PA Gov. Tom Wolf was not reopening PA fast enough, someone responded they should blame Trump not Wolf. The reason was, he said, that Wolf was just following Trump’s guidelines for reopening.

      But there are three problems with that line of thinking. First, the federal guidelines are not “Trump’s guidelines.” They come from the Coronavirus task force, and most specifically Drs. Fauci and Birx. Therefore, they are their guidelines, not Trump’s guidelines.

      Second, the task force’s guidelines had three phases in its reopening plan, numbered simply as phases one, two, and three. It was with phase one that things began to reopen. But Wolf came out with a color-coded plan, with three phases, red, yellow, green. However, the red phase is not part of the reopening plan, as it still has everything shut down. Thus, he really only has two phases in his opening plan, yellow and green.

      Third, in the fed’s plan, gyms were to reopen in phase one, but with restrictions on capacity and a requirement for disinfecting the equipment. Wolf’s plan does not allow gyms to reopen at all until the green phase. Thus, gyms are among the first places to reopen in the fed’s plan, while they are among the last to reopen in Wolf’s plan. The fed’s plan has it right, as I have explained repeatedly.

      Now, to be clear, given the Tenth Amendment, it is true state governors do not need to follow the federal guidelines. But that means you cannot blame the federal government let alone Trump if you do not like what your governor is doing.


Obama and Ebola versus Trump and the Coronavirus


      Someone commenting on a news article on Trib Live tried to compare Obama’s response to Ebola to Trump’s response to the Coronavirus (CV). He claimed Obama acted quicker and more efficiently early on than Trump did. Below is my response:


      This long tirade misses three essential points.

      First, Obama had early and accurate information about what was happening in Africa. Trump did not have early and accurate info coming out of China.

      Second, Obama was not dealing with an impeachment when it was all beginning like Trump was. You’re forgetting that all of Washington and the press were focused on that fiasco from November 2019 to February of this year.

      Third, note your timetable. The first Ebola case was in December 2013. It did not spread out of its point of origin and Obama did not respond until July 2014. That’s seven months! The CV originated less than seven months ago, and it has already spread all over the globe. The CV is a much faster spreading organism than Ebola. If Trump had waited seven months to do anything like Obama did, we would be in much worse shape.

      You should be thankful Trump was able to ignore the incredible distraction of the impeachment and institute his China travel ban on 1/31, just weeks after it originated, not months later like Obama.


      The same Trib Live commentator also tried quoting Dr. Fauci from 4-12-2020 as saying, “Earlier Action On Coronavirus Would Have Saved Lives.” I responded:


      This quote came from I believe a MSNBC interview. The next day, Fauci clarified this point at the daily CV task force briefing. He said it was a response to a hypothetical question. Of course, if we had more data, we could have reacted earlier. But that was not the case, so it was a meaningless hypothetical. In no way was he criticizing Trump. He then said Trump had followed his and Dr. Birx’s advice at every turn and as soon as they gave it. And he made sure the press knew that Trump did not force him to say that. But I guess the news you follow did not report this clarification. Typical.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Cyril H. Wecht: Time to end the COVID-19 hysteria

    Great article by a world-renowned pathologist from Pittsburgh. His comments echo what I have been saying since the start of this crisis. Simply put, the “cure” is worse than the disease. Worth the read.

Suggestions for Small Business Owners

       If you are a small business owner, I would highly suggest you require your employees and customers to wear masks and to practice social distancing. Even if you think doing so is silly, if you do not, you open yourself up to a lawsuit. All it will take is one person to contract the Coronavirus, claim it came from your establishment, and you could be sued out of business, at least while your area is in a “caution” phase, in whatever manner that phase is labeled in your area.

      For the same reason, do not try to reopen your business before your local or state authorities have given the green light to do so. I understand how incredibly difficult it can be financially and even emotionally to remain closed. But again, you could be opening yourself to serious liability issues if you try to reopen early. Some governors are even threatening to pull the license of any business which reopens early. I would also suggest you employ a lawyer and have him or her look over your plans before reopening.

      I’ve had comments on this commentary that a way to avoid a lawsuit would be to post a disclaimer at the establishment’s entrance or have entrants sign a disclaimer. Something to the effect of, “Enter at your own risk.”

      Either of these ideas might work. But it might be best if the disclaimer mentions what steps are being taken to reduce the risk of contagion within the facility, but then a disclaimer that no steps are foolproof, so the customer enters at his or her own risk. And I would again recommend running it by a lawyer to be sure the disclaimer is worded in the most appropriate manner.

      Note also, all of these suggestions would apply to churches and other places of worship. I would like to see both places of worship and businesses reopen as soon as possible, but you must be careful in our litigious society.


These commentaries are continued at: Coronavirus General Commentaries: June 2020.

Coronavirus General Commentaries: May 2020 . Copyright 2020 by Gary F. Zeolla.

The above commentaries were posted in May 2020.

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