There are no problems, only opportunities.

Old budget analyst adage

I spent my working years as an analyst in the New York State Division of the Budget. Making a solid case for a position was highly valued. When I spoke about our work with other State government managers, I’d say that if you could argue successfully that the ceiling was the floor and the floor was the ceiling, you were budgeting gold.

There is making an argument, and then there is spinning. The difference is facts.

In his recent column in The Washington Post, Greg Sargent highlighted Vice President Pence’s telephone conversation with governors, citing increased testing as the cause of more cases, and characterizing the explosion in the number of coronavirus cases as “embers.”

President Trump and his advisers have plainly decided they have no hope of truly defeating the novel coronavirus and getting the nation on track to meaningful, sustained economic recovery in time for his reelection. So they’re spending far more of their time on the next best thing: creating the illusion that we have already roared most of the way back to victory on both fronts.

Greg Sargent, The Washington Post

Coronavirus tests don’t create cases. Florida Governor DeSantis tried to explain away the overnight doubling in cases — from 5000 to almos 9000 this week — as a data dump. Yes, it’s data, but I smell a different kind of dump. Bullshit.

And embers? Where there is smoke, there is fire. And we are a nation on fire. We should be stopping, dropping, and rolling home.

The Wizards have spoken, but we must pay attention to the man behind the political curtain.

In his recent conversation with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, University of Minnesota epidemiologist Michael Osterholm said that Americans can handle the truth, but only if we have not been lied to in the meantime.

This virus will not follow public rhetoric. No amount of wishful thinking is going to change the fact that we have many more months of this. We’ve got to figure out how to live with this virus.

Michael Osterholm, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

The Coronavirus timeframe is untouched by Election Day. Its scope is much, much longer. There is no amount of spinning that will change this reality.

It feels overwhelming. So, how do we proceed?

With leadership that tells the truth and gives us a path forward. My old boss Andrew Cuomo has set the bar.

But the long-term view is challenging. We won’t have a vaccine for many months, and that means that the virus will continue to infect people. How do we stay the course?

My personal experience with resilience shows me that, while the moment to moment reality of our lives may be challenging, it is possible to forge ahead with confidence. Again, it’s about leadership.

When I came to myself after almost six weeks in the Amsterdam ICU, I was thrilled to see how slim — skinny, even — my legs had become, until I realized that I couldn’t move. Anything. How did I not fall into despair at that moment?

The constant encouragement of the amazing medical staff at OLVG Hospital kept me on track. The loving support of my husband, daughter, sister at my side there in Amsterdam kept me going. The small gains gave me traction and slowly led to larger gains and milestones. Being able to swallow real food. Being able to hold a fork. Being able to peel a tangerine, never mind that it took an hour.

The OLVG staff had high goals. When I first met with my physiotherapist, I just wanted to be able to lift my hips off the bed so that I could graduate into a more independent set of diapers. “Well, okay,” Gemma said, “But I’d like you to walk.”

I walked.

That’s what leadership does. But only if those people have the right tools.

I was in the hands of a different physiotherapist one day when I collapsed. I was shocked, but not just by the fall. It was the woman’s terrified reaction that really unnerved me. Needless to say, I stayed away from her for the rest of my recovery, and Gemma had me walking independently by the time I flew home. Yesterday, I ran two miles.

Be well, wear your mask, don’t touch your face. And hold Washington leadership accountable by electing someone who has the knowledge, skills and abilities to lead us during this terrible time.

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