The bad news is, once the rest of us are dead, these indestructible imbeciles will be left to lead the country.

The good news is, if this is the future of America, suddenly the prospect of near-term death doesn’t seem as bad.

The Chinese need to get back in the lab and re-engineer this thing so that it only takes out twentysomethings.

I need one of the data sites to build a model showing how many additional elderly people are expected to die from each of these idiots providing new vectors for the disease.

Can it really be that Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, doesn’t yet perceive the threat from people mingling on his state’s beaches in the middle of an epidemic? Or is it that he does but prefers to pretend otherwise because he doesn’t want to leave spring-break money on the table?

In Washington, it’s conventional wisdom that community spread has hit Florida. But in Tallahassee, DeSantis, a Republican, isn’t convinced…

“We’ve seen community spread in Massachusetts and also Florida,” Vice President Pence told reporters at the White House early that afternoon [on March 15].

Hours later, DeSantis took the podium in Tallahassee to say state epidemiologists hadn’t confirmed community spread.

“There are people out there, that because the symptoms are so mild for young people, of course you could never be sure who may transmit it,” DeSantis said. “We’re still moving along as if there are pockets in the community because I think that’s the appropriate thing to do.”

There are 21 million people in Florida. It has various international tourist attractions, starting with DisneyWorld. It also famously has lots of traffic from New York, the state with the most ominous outbreak right now. And of course it has a disproportionately large share of senior citizens, the most vulnerable age group in a coronavirus epidemic.

Might want to err at this point on the side of assuming aggressive community spread, no?

It’s depressing how many politicians continue to downplay the disease, even after Trump has come around. Which spring-breakin’ bro said this?

“I’m not denying what a nasty disease COVID-19 can be, and how it’s obviously devastating to somewhere between 1 and 3.4 percent of the population,” he said.

“But that means 97 to 99 percent will get through this and develop immunities and will be able to move beyond this. But we don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways. It’s a risk we accept so we can move about. We don’t shut down our economies because tens of thousands of people die from the common flu,” [he] said.

[He] acknowledged that coronavirus has a far higher fatality rate than the seasonal flu, but said, “getting coronavirus is not a death sentence except for maybe no more than 3.4 percent of our population (and) I think probably far less,” he said.

That’s Ron Johnson, U.S. senator from Wisconsin. He went on to say that people should take this seriously, that the current guidelines should be followed, and that he’s not accusing anyone of overreacting … but it sounds like he is making that accusation, implying that we shouldn’t be inflicting so much economic pain on ourselves to prevent infection of a disease that kills “only” one to three percent or so of those who have it.

Try to grasp the numbers here. There were 36,000 automobile deaths in 2018. The CDC projected anywhere between 22,000 and 55,000 flu deaths this year. Imagine we let business proceed as usual and 50 million people get infected with coronavirus. Assuming a two percent death rate, in line with Johnson’s estimate, a million people would die, more than 10 times the combined number of flu and auto deaths. And deaths are just the tip of the iceberg in measuring the devastation. What would the number of deaths be from non-corona illnesses and injuries that couldn’t be treated at overloaded hospitals? What would the economic impact be from tens of millions of people being pushed temporarily out of the labor force due to illness, many struggling to pay medical bills, and so on?

The potential crisis here is an order of magnitude beyond other social problems. I can understand why a stoned kid who’s wandering around Miami Beach might not grasp that. I don’t understand why Johnson doesn’t.

We can’t blame denialism entirely on kids and, uh, U.S. senators, though. There are lots of accounts on social media lately of people having the same problem as the author of this New Yorker piece, “Convincing Boomer parents to take the coronavirus seriously.”

Over the weekend, I tweeted my observations, asking if others were struggling to get their baby-boomer parents to take the threat seriously. More than a thousand panicked responses poured in, so fast that I couldn’t keep up with them all. “I couldn’t talk my mom out of going on her cruise,” someone lamented, adding, “I finally was able to convince my dad not to take a trip to Florida this weekend. He finally relented but my parents just don’t think of themselves as old, despite their being in their 70s.” One woman said, “When I called mine on Thursday they were leaving the DMV and driving to a bakery for challah.” Another fretted that her seventy-year-old father-in-law was about to have a dinner party for fourteen people. There was the mom who was determined to go on a tour of Civil War battlegrounds, the obstinate snowbird who had just had a kidney transplant. A journalist couldn’t convince her parents to ditch their theatre tickets, until the theatre closed and they had no choice. One woman’s mother told her, “Of course Dad and I are going out to lunch tomorrow. Do you want us to just sit at home?” Someone else wrote, “My Boomer parents left for 45 days of cruises on Tuesday morning. The cruises have all been cancelled and they are baffled to be ‘stranded’ in Hawaii.” Among the cute mom stories, there was genuine frustration and fear. “I reminded my mum that she is in the demographic for higher mortality,” one person wrote, “and she got all OFFENDED that I reminded her of her age. Fucking get a grip!”

Ron Johnson isn’t a Baby Boomer — he’s 64 — but he’s certainly old enough to remember the scariest days of the Cold War. The New Yorker piece speculates that that’s why older Americans are cavalier about COVID-19: They spent decades being warned that nuclear war with the Soviets was right around the corner, then it didn’t happen, and now they think all mega-threats are overhyped.

Hope they’re right. If they aren’t, they’ll pay the biggest price. Exit quotation from coronavirus czar Deborah Birx, talking to the wall by urging young bros to engage in social distancing: “We need [young people] to be healthy.”