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Updated: Aug 24, 2020

April 14, 2020

Have you seen this photo?

As job losses soar across the country, more people are seeking food assistance. A sea of cars lined up Friday for groceries from the San Antonio Food Bank in Texas.

Adrees Latif/Reuters

Inside every car are people waiting for food from a food bank in San Antonio, Texas. Throughout the day, tens of thousands of cars arrived and waited in the parking lot . Many of those cars were late-model Infinitis, Audis or Acuras. They were driven by people who had jobs just a week ago, people who had never visited a food bank in their lives — who may not even have known, in March, where the food bank in their community was located.

“It was a rough one today,” said Food Bank president and CEO Eric Cooper after the largest single-day distribution in the nonprofit’s 40-year history. “We have never executed on as large of a demand as we are now.”

Three days ago I wrote in here about the economy, how the President wants to re-open the country even though the scientists and health professionals, the WHO and the CDC, along with an estimated 80%+ of the American public, think we’re not ready yet.

But we’re starting to we see what this long lockdown is costing us. Suddenly we’re all living in a Dorothea Lange dustbowl photo. People are getting food from food banks, community pantries, soup kitchens, and churches. Today 30 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. Just this past weekend (April 11), the number was just about half (16.6 million).

Today in the U.S. we have lost 25,163 lives to the virus.

Also today, President Trump announced the U.S. would be withdrawing funding from the World Health Organization. Of course, it isn’t actually the U.S. making this jaw-dropping decision. It’s him, personally. His stated reason is that the organization was too “China-centric” in its approach to managing the pandemic.

Today is the first day I have felt, really and truly, that this is all too much. Apparently we can’t handle this. Apparently America, led by Donald Trump, is going to fall and keep falling: its most vulnerable people sick or dying, the survivors out of work and hungry, and its pride — I mean, what does a country like ours think about those tens of thousands of cars at the San Antonio food bank?

People wait Thursday, April 9, 2020, at Traders Village for the San Antonio Food Bank to begin food distribution. (William Luther | Express News)

And it’s not just in Texas. It’s in Pittsburg, in Omaha, in Jonesboro, Arkansas. In Washington State and in Ohio. In short ... it’s probably where you live, if not on your street, then in your town, your county, and your state.

“The coronavirus is everywhere in America, and so is the hunger,” wrote Nicholas Kulish of The New York Times on April 8.

How can anyone believe we’re going to recover from a catastrophe of this magnitude any time soon?

So many seem to be predicting just the opposite.

Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks, with more than 200 affiliates, has projected a $1.4 billion shortfall in the next six months alone, the Times article reported.

Even after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos made the largest single donation in Feeding America’s history, $100 million, it was still less than a tenth of what its leadership says is needed for the coming demand.

Because there is no reason to believe food banks tomorrow will be less overwhelmed than food banks today. If we stay shutdown, the economic agony continues.

But if we spring back up, we start dying again. And then we shut down and the economic agony resumes.

One day it will be over — we’ll get a vaccine, or we’ll achieve “herd immunity.” How long that will take and what condition we’ll be in by then is anyone’s guess. Today the International Monetary Fund announced that our national economy would bear scars till 2021.

I have to wonder, is that prediction based on what’s happening today, April 14? Or is it based on projections the White House is currently using to help us get from day to day without succumbing to panic and despair? Because those are apparently two totally different predictions.

It’s possible the White House is living inside the same happy bubble as Wall Street. Thanks to better-than-expected trade data from China, the Dow and the S&P 500 both closed high at the end of today, while the Nasdaq enjoyed its longest winning streak since February.

It’s such a brutally strange time. I don’t know what to think. Does anyone?

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