I return to your pages after an absence of several days, because what is the point of living in a crazy time like this and not recording at least some of the strange things that are happening around you while you wait for the future to arrive?
Isn't that how history is written? And don't these ‘small’ events and observations often contribute more to our understanding of an era than the so-called great events that make worldwide news?
Here we go, then:
First, facing this almost unprecedented economic crisis, the President and Congress have decided to strengthen small businesses (those that employ less than 500 employees!) that are perishing but are unable to borrow from banks, by offering loans with low interest rates of 1%, or that are even totally forgivable, provided that at least 75% of the money granted will be used for payroll purposes.
So last month, a $349 billion program was passed by Congress and was immediately signed by the President. The program – for those who are interested – is called the Paycheck Protection Program.
Within a few days, the money was exhausted and an additional $310 billion was approved and applications began to be accepted by the SBA on Monday.
But these funds are expected to run out very soon. The demand is so great.
The unfortunate thing is that very large companies and organizations (i.e., the LA Lakers, Shake Shack, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, etc.), having influence with the banks, were the first to get millions of dollars through the first set of funding of the program, depriving small businesses and causing a great outcry.
This is anti-American behavior that reveals the recent downward course of our society. A society that was once associated with truth and transparency.
Second, President Trump's forays into the medical field have not been so successful.
For about two weeks, from the podium of the White House Press room, he was promoting a drug that experts had warned from the outset was harmful to health.
He insisted on promoting it every night. The same goes for his supporters in the media (Fox News and elsewhere).
"What do you have to lose," the President said, adding, however, that he is not a doctor.
Sales of the drug – hydroxychloroquine – increased significantly.
But a few days ago, the Food and Drug Administration warned doctors not to prescribe the drug because it is dangerous when used to treat the coronavirus.
But what will go down in history, from a medical point of view, is the President's statement last Thursday, during his daily briefings when he suggested that disinfectants might help in the fight against the virus. Their use internally, within the human might help – he said, "And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?"
This was beyond outrageous. Even the manufacturers of the disinfectants issued announcements warning people not to use them for this purpose because they will "kill" people.
Finally, Dr. Ioannis Ioannidis, the much-discussed professor from Stanford, was attacked by his colleagues and others because his article on the scientific website STAT – as well as his interviews with The National Herald and elsewhere – supports the view the measures taken by governments are more damaging than the coronavirus itself.
I'm glad he was covered by the Wall Street Journal, which published an interview with him in its Saturday issue this past weekend.
“It’s basically an issue of whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist,” he said. “Even scientists can be optimists and pessimists. Probably usually I’m a pessimist, but in this case, I’m probably an optimist.”