More Thoughts from the Self-Isolation Front

April 21, 2020

More Thoughts from the Self-Isolation Front


Mark Rubin

I’m here! Apologies – as always – for not blogging often enough.

Candidly, spare time involves more activities than “stuck” might suggest, and I’m spending writing time working on my personal memoir. I expect to be around for a long time, but I’d be a G.D. Fool if I didn’t note my age (62), my four pneumonias, and the absence of a solid, functioning health care system. Those who deliver health services deserve every bit of love we can offer them, but if we don’t take away from this crisis a recognition that we don’t have a functioning public health system, We. Are. Blind.

The memoir enlivens my time. I’m blessed, and the memories offer joy in sh*tty times.

I need to address His Highness POTUS, the C in C, etc. No words! Somebody hurt him, badly, for a long time, many years ago. He offered kind words for his friend, Stanley Chera, when he died from COVID-19; if he’s done so for any other individuals, or the 40,000+ dead people who weren’t rich or Friends of Donald, I missed the event. (Maybe, just maybe, knowing Mr. Chera imprinted the crisis on Mr. Trump’s brain, for one brief shining moment, and made him take it more seriously. For that, G-d Bless.)

People claim those in charge have manipulated date to overstate the number of COVID-19 deaths. Not so. First, let’s agree on these facts: (1) people who pass often suffer from multiple maladies; (2) we do not test everyone for COVID-19, and the tests we have offer too many false negatives and positives; and (3) we know from death records how many people usually die each day in any county. Yes, the numbers vary day by day, but with a large enough base, you get a pretty stable line.

25,000 Missing Deaths: Tracking the True Toll of the Coronavirus Crisis, by Jim Wu and Allison McCann for the New York Times, demonstrates clearly that death rates have increased, and by far more than the number of deaths directly attributed to COVID-19. (Josh Marshall at TPM deserves lots of credit, too, for focusing on this issue.)

For any given person and those who loved him, the cause of death might matter. In the aggregate, though, cause of death matters not at all. For sure, some death certificates which reference COVID-19 might be wrong. But, and this is what matters, the increased number of deaths relate to COVID-19, to a high degree of likelihood, for no other explanation makes any sense. Some deaths might involve treatment challenges, i.e., getting to the doctor gets harder, “I don’t want to chance an ER visit,” etc. Some might involve COVID-19, not identified with a test. And, frankly, some might involve economic challenges, whether stress kills people indirectly or through a suicide.

Sadly, the death rate got totally politicized. The number of dead people equals a bad mark for the Trump Administration; ergo, Trump supporters challenge the numbers. Bottom line? Lots more people than usual die every day, and have for the last few months. If not because of COVID-19, directly or indirectly, what explains this phenomenon?

Whether bad environmental policies brought on the Coronavirus we will never know with certainty. For sure, though, no one should blame President Trump for the virus. For the disjointed, away for the month of February, effing stupid response? Absolutely; he deserves every bit of venom we can deliver his way … but for the fact that we elected this man and his term ends in about 6600 hours. We must ignore his inconsistent word salad approach to dealing with what a competent leader would have handled much better, but the time for figuring out what happened comes later.

Enough! Leigh and I are well, isolating from mostly everyone but ourselves and our children four-leggers. Practicing law In the Time of Corona presents its challenges but we manage, thanks to a great staff and very understanding clients.

Rubin & Bernstein PLLC celebrates its second anniversary on May 1. Checkout our new website, designed by my nephew Jason Gleichman, and stay tuned for updates here and at the firm website.

Be well and stay safe and, as well, remember – with a bit of “taking care of” – those who look after us in good times and can offer no services now. Hair stylists. Estheticians. Fitness coaches. Etc.


P.S. Lots of news about corporations getting money they don’t deserve. Even Harvard University. POTUS, angry, demands that Harvard and others return the money.

Read the effing law, pretty please. The Paycheck Protection Act applies to entities with less than 500 employees but makes an exception for entities in the hospitality sector. It allows these entities to get forgivable loans if individual sites have less than 500 employees. As for colleges and universities, a separate set of provisions gives money to colleges and universities, with a mandate that at least 50% of the money go directly to individual students based on need.

For POTUS, signing a bill and attacking its outcomes represents business as usual. But, reporters, do your job!

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