“I’m in the woods right now, both metaphorically and literally,” said Samantha Bee on a socially distanced episode of Full Frontal. “As surreal as it seems, the coronavirus pandemic has changed how most of us live our lives.”
“With millions in isolation and hundreds of thousands infected now is the time to put aside our differences and come together,” she continued, showing a clip of spring breakers defying social distance measures in Florida, “Well, not come together like these idiots.”
Bee also addressed the pandemic’s devastating impact on the economy – restaurants alone could lose $225bn in the next three months (for scale, “that’s four and a half Michael Bloombergs,” said Bee).
“Unfortunately, if your job isn’t considered essential or if you’re one of the 70% of people who can’t work remotely, there’s a good chance you’re not working at all. And if you are working remotely, there’s a 50% chance you’ve accidentally shown your co-workers what you look like on the toilet. Even if you can go back to the office eventually … you really shouldn’t.”
The economic impact of coronavirus has created a catch-22, said Bee: if you do have a job, you could be forced to work in dangerous conditions. For example, last week Amazon discovered a coronavirus case in one of its New York warehouses, and “while they’re being generous enough to offer a whole extra $2 an hour for working during a plague”, Bee deadpanned, they offered paid time off only if workers tested positive.
“I don’t know if you’ve heard, but those tests are kind of hard to come by right now,” Bee said. “You have to be, like, 25% famous to get tested. It’s the new getting verified on Twitter.”
On the Daily Social Distancing Show, Trevor Noah breezed through a host of pandemic updates. First, Prince Charles tested positive for coronavirus – “so basically, Harry and Meghan left and coronavirus joined, which is a pretty bad trade, if you ask me,” said Noah. The Prince has mild symptoms and is in self-isolation in his Scottish palace, which “sounds like the beginning of a very strange Disney movie”, Noah said.
Meanwhile, as coronavirus tanks the economy, Amazon has asked the public to donate to a relief fund for its workers. “Yeah, the richest company in the world, owned by the richest man in the world, is asking us for money,” said Noah. “Which, let’s be honest, is some bullshit. Can someone please order Jeff Bezos a conscience? With Prime, it can arrive within two days.”
And finally, Trump has promised, despite all predictions and public health advice, to “pack churches” by Easter, even as coronavirus cases aren’t expected to peak in New York, now the nation’s worst outbreak zone, for several more weeks. In a press conference, New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, blasted the federal government’s handling of the state’s emergency. “I can see why Cuomo is pissed at Trump – if you need 30,000 ventilators, it’s insulting for someone to give you 400,” said Noah. “It’s like seeing someone drowning in the ocean, and instead of throwing them a life preserver you just toss them a rubber duck.
“And apparently, part of the reason New York isn’t getting enough federal help is because Trump feels that Governor Cuomo is just too mean to him,” Noah continued, citing a Daily Beast article which quoted a White House official: “If you’re good and respectful to [Trump], he will treat you the same – it’s that simple.”
“Yes, you treat Trump well and he’ll treat you well,” Noah said. “Or as he would call it: a quid pro corona. And so, as mind-boggling as it seems, while New York is in an actual crisis right now, with thousands of lives at stake and people actually dying, Donald Trump is asking people to be polite to him in exchange for his help.”
So Noah had one piece of advice for New Yorkers. “Give the president what he wants” and tell him, “Please, Mr President, do your motherfucking job!”
“From the very start of this crisis, Donald Trump has desperately tried to wish it away with magical thinking,” said Seth Meyers from his New York home. “Which makes sense, because for most of his life, magical thinking has worked for him. I mean, he’s failed at virtually everything he’s ever done, but magically, he always avoids consequences.”
Calling the president a “quintessential con man”, Meyers said Trump’s handling of the pandemic is “like those stories you hear about a small town that elects a dog as mayor every year – sure, it might seem fun at the time to have a dog mayor but what happens when there’s a thunderstorm, and you need the mayor to coordinate disaster relief, but he won’t come out from underneath the couch.”
As for calls from some pundits to send people back to work or sacrifice lives for the the economy – “maybe what happened here is a bunch of rich people realized that in order to both save lives and protect the economy, they’d have to redistribute some wealth to working people, and that was intolerable to them,” said Meyers. “Because there’s a third option here: we can keep people at home to save lives and give them money to get through the crisis.”
Other countries, such as Denmark and the Netherlands, have guaranteed to pay most of the salaries for companies shut down by the pandemic. “We could have that here,” said Meyers. “Instead, the president wants you to go back to work in three weeks even if it means wearing a hazmat suit during your shift at Olive Garden – ‘Would you like unlimited breadsticks? They’re seasoned with garlic AND Purell.’”