COVID-19 has Dixie on its mind.


Just because Charlie Daniels has become a filter-less spittoon of repellent MAGA dogma in his old age DOESN’T mean he didn’t make good music back in the day.

Meanwhile, as you enjoy Saddletramp (from which “Dixie on My Mind” is drawn, and for my money Daniels’ finest album), here are ill tidings from the fiddler’s favored milieu.

To live and die in Dixie: Covid-19 is spreading to America’s South with unnerving speed (The Economist)

Southern governors are beginning to reopen their states. For most, it is too early

“You could be looking at a perfect storm,” says Thomas LaVeist, the dean of public health at Tulane University in New Orleans. “When this is over, the South will be the region of the country that will be most severely impacted.”

At first glance, it makes no sense. Why are Republican governors down South targeting their own voters?

Dixie in the crosshairs (The Economist)

The South is likely to have America’s highest death rate from covid-19
It has unusually unhealthy residents and few ICU beds

If covid-19 does infect most Americans, the highest death rates will probably not be in coastal cities—whose density is offset by young, healthy, well-off populations and good hospitals—but rather in poor, rural parts of the South and Appalachia with high rates of heart disease and diabetes. Worryingly, the three states that announced plans this week to relax their lockdowns (Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina) are all in this region.

Ah, yes. There HAD to be a time-honored GOP angle to this.

We Can’t Wait Until Coronavirus Is Over to Address Racial Disparities, by Junia Howell (CityLab)

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Covid-19 exposed stark inequalities: Rates of mortality and severe illness are far higher among Americans of color. Politicians, journalists and scholars have been attempting to explain these racial differences by pulling from a wide range of past studies and assumptions. Many of these early suggestions emphasize how Covid-19 is illuminating pre-existing inequality.

Yet, early reporting and existing studies suggest Covid-19 is not simply exposing past inequality. It is also creating it. Like previous crises, such as natural disasters, war, and economic recessions, our response to Covid-19 is exacerbating racial disparities. However, this is not inevitable. Addressing unequal distributions of Covid-19 testing, racial biases in health care, and policy responses to racial segregation now could mitigate how unjust this crisis turns out to be.

Klansmen wear masks, kinda sorta.

Black leaders say reopening Georgia is an attack on people of color, by John Blake (CNN)

Magee believes Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to reopen some businesses across the state starting today is an “attack” on African Americans — one of the groups hit hardest by the virus. And he says it’s no coincidence that the businesses being reopened — including barbershops, nail salons and churches — are communal gathering places for black residents.

Returning to music, the song “Saddletramp” finds Daniels’ lyrical gaze stretching all the way to Arizona, home of the legendary lawman Joe Arpaio.

How many people watch you ride away
Wonder why you never promise
To come back some day
Maybe thinking you were holding
All the pieces in your hand
Or are they slippin’ through your fingers
Like the endless desert sand

Ignore the lyrics if you must, and give it up for the late, inimitable guitarist Tom Crain.