If we leave Mother Earth alone maybe she can heal herself. courtesy Sheila Laffey

When COVID-19 finally caught the attention of Donald Trump, he assured us the cases would “Be down to zero.” Fourteen thousand lost lives later, we forget he also said, “I have a hunch it’ll be mild.” So now we’re essentially quarantined to the point I have to think to remember what day of the week it is.

Feeling like we’re living in a modern day plague of sorts, I confess it’s tough to be funny. I can almost hear some readers not fond of my viewpoints say, “When were you ever funny?” Ouch.

Years ago a reader said my columns “Are only good for lining my birdcage and in place of toilet paper.” I emailed back, “Your hygiene is your business, but instead of my column, have you considered Charmin?” (Given the current TP shortage, how ironic it would be if this person were actually using my column …well, you get the idea.)

I continue to be plagued (no pun intended) with questions about Donald Trump’s mental state. At Wednesday’s press conference he said, “We’re going to strongly withhold funding for the World Health Organization.” A reporter asked if that were wise during a pandemic.

“I didn’t say that,” Trump snapped. A second reporter said, “You just did.” Trump responded, “I said we’re going to look at withholding funds.” (Was Trump lying or did he actually forget what he said 30 seconds earlier?)

I’d still like to know why, in 2018, Trump disbanded the Pandemic Research Team whose sole job was to monitor these threats to the world. Trump’s lame reply was, “We can always get them back anytime we want.” Of course after the pandemic has hit, it’s a little late. (Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, Trump loyalist Bill O’Reilly said callously, “Many people who are dying were on their last legs anyway.”)

Of the virus, Trump still insists “no one saw it coming.” This, even though an intelligence report in November 2019 warned that “COVID-19 could severely disrupt daily life throughout the world” and described it as a potential “cataclysmic event.” Why did Trump essentially waste at least 70 crucial days before he took action? (If I’m asking too many questions, it’s Passover and it’s in my DNA.)

Or why, on January 18, when Alex Azar, Trump’s own Secretary of Health and Human Services, reportedly warned him about coronavirus did Trump dismiss his concern as “alarmist?” Instead he focused on when flavored vaping would be back on the market. Trump was for the ban but reportedly retreated because it might cost him votes. (Or, maybe he owns E-cigarette stock?)

Shifting gears, there are some definite benefits to the quarantine. (Other than wearing sweatpants all day.) Without bumper-to-bumper traffic and reduced industry pollution, the air is unbelievably cleaner. With puffy white clouds in the sky, I was reminded of my childhood in Los Angeles. Satellite photos confirm the stunning improvement and California seismologists say, knock wood, the earth hasn’t been “this calm” in decades. (Maybe if we just let Mother Nature alone, she might heal herself.)

Weather permitting, I take mask-wearing long bike rides, to appreciate the fresh air. I often end by sitting and watching the waves lap onto the shore. It’s so peaceful it’s surreal given what we are all going through. I also saw someone wearing a “Will work for hand sanitizer” t-shirt which gave this week’s column its title. (Given his dangerous promoting of HydroxyChloroquine to fight COVID-19, I was going to title this “Paging Dr. Trump.”)

Sadly, among those who passed from the virus was John Prine, 73, the beloved Grammy-winning singer-songwriter. A live performer from the 1970s almost until his death, Prine was known for his poignant lyrics and also for his humorous style that had elements of protest and social commentary.

Some say Prine was like “Mark Twain with a guitar.” Since his passing, I’ve gone on YouTube and for hours watched him perform with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris and Joan Baez, to name but a few.

Brought to tears, I’d forgotten how many of his songs like “Angel from Montgomery” and “Hello in There,” are so remarkably moving. (So is Bill Murray’s tribute to his late friend.)

Digressing, and not to give anyone ideas, but COVID-19 for bank robbers might be a unique time in history. When else could someone walk into a bank wearing a mask and blend in? (Recently, a friend’s homemade bandanna mask prompted me to say, “You look like you’re about to rob a stagecoach.”)

Back to Trump, though people are dying in historic numbers, he actually bragged about his press conference TV ratings and noted that he’s “#1 on Facebook. (In fact, Obama has 55 million on his page while Trump has 25 million.)

In February, Trump predicted that in April the virus could “magically disappear.” Frankly, I wish he’d do the same.

Jack is at: facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and jackdailypress@aol.com

Join the Conversation


  1. Even though I’m not familiar with John Prine, I’m getting tired of being bombarded constantly of news about the corona virus. It’s not just the written news, it’s a subject of conversation by everybody I talk to here in Sweden. Even political news and news about Trump’s awfulness are secondary. 

    But enough about me…your chalk message hits it right on the head. The only thing is that we don’t know how long we’ll spend in our room.

  2. Jack, it is Not yours to interpret your political Views here. You remind me of jointer Cuomo who attacked his brother, governor for communication with DT, our president for time being. I am now questioning your state of hate toward the President of USA instead being only reporter. Myself I am european correspondent from USA!!!

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