Still Life with Cup II:
by Inge Schiöler
, who died on April 27, 1971. I'm offering this to join the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering
. There's another cup at the bottom of the post.
The Urban/Rural Divide
It's been pointed out to me that the divide in our country over the mis-handling of the current pandemic is mainly a rural/urban one. People located in more rural areas haven't (so far) been affected to the degree our cities have.
is an urban area. The 2018 city population was over 650,000, making Memphis the largest city on the Mississippi River, the second most populous city in Tennessee, as well as the 26th largest city in the United States. The Memphis Metro Area is the 42nd largest metropolitan area in the United States, with a population of well over 1,000,000 in the 2017 count. Some counties around us are rural and have no hospitals, or have hospitals without the capacity for intensive care for certain patients. Patients in need of that kind of care come to -you guessed it- Memphis, whose taxpayers prop up the rural areas in many ways.
Our response to this pandemic has been measured and reasonable, not driven by fear but by concern for the public health. You can see Memphis-related Coronavirus information at the city web site
. We are continuing to see increasing deaths, though the increase is at a slower rate, and we have more than 2,000 confirmed cases. This for a contagious disease with no treatment, no vaccine, and which perhaps confers no immunity after recovery. And shall we talk about the Covid-19 patients who were sent home from hospitals who are being re-admitted with complications like kidney failure or stroke? That's not like the seasonal flu at all.
Our governor (Republican Bill Lee) had a stay-in-place order effective through April 30 and won't extend it, even though our state does not meet Trump's own guidelines for re-opening. Our county, among several others, is not included in his effort, and our mayor has announced an extension through May 5. Our city has made every effort to be prepared, getting field hospitals ready and opening numerous testing sites which are now available for some asymptomatic people. Testing is key.
(with 95 Covid-19 cases when I checked the numbers, which continue to rise) is to our immediate north and has a population (as of the last census) of just over 61,000 and a population in its largest city of just over 9,000. There is a hospital in their county seat.
(with 52 cases) is immediately to our east and has a population of just over 38,000 and a population in its largest city of just over 30,000. There used to be a hospital in the county seat, but it has recently closed, another one of many rural hospital closures caused by the governor's refusal to expand Medicaid here in Tennessee
Desoto County, Mississippi
(with 266 cases) is the county directly to our south and has a population of just over 160,000, with much of that being in the area adjacent to the state line bordering Memphis. The county seat has a population of just over 6,800. There is a hospital just over the state line in MS.
Crittenden County, Arkansas
(with 164 cases) is the county directly to our west just across the Mississippi River and has a population of almost 51,000. West Memphis is their largest city with a population of just over 26,000. Their county's hospital closed in 2018.
Just look at the differences in case numbers across our state of Tennessee:
Our issues here in this large urban area are different from those of folks who live in small towns or out in the country. I've lived in all these sorts of places, so it's not like I don't know what it's like. If I can walk to the nearest 5 grocery stores and 3 drugstores and you have to drive 30 minutes to get to the closest shopping, our concerns are not the same.
When you drive into the city to enjoy your dinner and a movie or lunch at a favorite restaurant, because there aren't movie theaters and restaurants in your community, think about this
Air-conditioning spread the coronavirus to 9 people sitting near an infected person in a restaurant, researchers say. It has huge implications for the service industry.
So when you do get out, refusing to wear a mask because you know better than the medical professionals, and then you get sick but there's no hospital in your community: Thank the urban taxpayer for making your medical care possible. While you're at it, thank the urban taxpayer for most of your shopping, dining, and entertainment options, too.
If you made it this far, I'd just like to say this: If you don't watch the news and so don't know what's going on with the coronavirus anywhere else except maybe NYC and in your individual community, and all you see is Trump suggesting that disinfectants taken into the body or used on the hands might be curative... please don't tell me this pandemic is #FakeNews, that people die all the time anyway, and that our city should just get back to business as usual. I'm tired of being judged by people who aren't interested in looking for facts or seeing beyond their own personal situation, and I'm tired of the patronizing attitude of people who claim I've bought into some conspiracy intended to hurt the president they still believe in. If you want to open up your county, fine, although I've heard it said opening up some counties is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool. Our county isn't ready yet. And it's not because our Business-Friendly mayor doesn't want to see all the businesses hopping. Trust me on that.
There are real public health issues involved with this disease. We're dealing with those as best we can. I'm glad you're fine, really happy for you, but we are not there yet. Quit judging us.
P.S. Memphis had one of those "Liberate" protests downtown at the courthouse
. It was strangely led by a man from Fayette County. His county is reopening this week as part of the Governor's plan. Why was he here?! He had 6 fellow protesters with him.
End of rant.
I have equally spirited rants on crape murder
. Perhaps another time?
Caveat: I'm having this discussion on Facebook as well as other online communities like blogs. This isn't directed at any one of them. The divide is a general one, not related to what any one person on Facebook or the general internet has said.
Now, I need a soothing cup of hot, strong, black coffee. Please join me,
and I'll listen to your rant on your own subject of choice.