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   A Season On The Brink
   our more games. That
is how many chances the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (and Tom Brady in particu- lar), have left to live up to the pre-season hype.
So far the results, from what was expected of them, have been mixed. Some weeks Brady and company look like they could beat any team in the league by 20 points or better. But in oth- ers, mainly against stiff com- petition, they appear to be a b-level squad not quite ready to compete with the best, es- pecially under the lights of prime time.
I imagine most people, myself included, bought into the Brady mystique and thought that by this point the Bucs would be chugging along like a well-oiled ma- chine. We forgot that, regard- less of how well manufactured, a bunch of used parts thrown together inside of one engine seldom makes for a smooth ride
without glitches.
Brady, Rob Gronkowski, LeSean McCoy, Leonard Four- nette and Antonio Brown were all great players in their prime. But, sadly, their times seem to be passing right be- fore our eyes.
Brady, in particular, looks like he's playing in the wrong era. His inability to move the pocket ala quarter- backs like Patrick Ma- homes, Russell Wilson, Deshawn Watson, etc..., makes defending against him easy in comparison to his younger contemporaries. And since the Buccaneer or- ganization didn't do much to upgrade the offensive line to make up for his lack of mobil- ity, it makes almost every passing play a struggle to convert.
Add to these glaring defi- ciencies a defensive second- ary that couldn't cover a kitchen table with a king- sized blanket and it's a mira-
cle that the team has won as many games as it has this year. This is what makes the last quarter of the schedule so crucial.
I would love to say that the bye week may have been the time the Bucs needed to rest and regroup so that they could come out swinging. But I'm not sure that the problems and weaknesses that plague this team can be fixed over a mini-vacation.
If I were grading the Bucs, I would be hard-pressed to give them anything more than a C-. And I'm only being that generous because, with all of their shortcomings, they still have managed to produce a winning season thus far.
Needless to say, I doubt very seriously that the dream Tampa Bay fans had of their team being the first to play a home stadium Super Bowl will come to pass. It was a fun probability to get excited about but, as it looks right now, it's a fantasy that be- comes more far-fetched each Sunday.
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     Who Will Take Care Of Us?
 First, we want to express our appreciation of all healthcare workers. When counting the casualties among healthcare workers, which may be underesti- mated, the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on doctors, nurses, technicians and other first responders has been set as at least 1,200 through October 19, 2020.
Whenever we hear or see evidence of birthday par- ties, weddings, crowded bars and other venues where large groups of people convene and ignore CDC guide- lines, we offer a prayer for all healthcare workers and first responders who will have to take care of the non- mask wearing, party-going people who contract COVID-19.
Certainly, historians will write of the 2020 U. S. pop- ulation as selfish, suicidal, homicidal and socially-illit- erate, based on our behaviors towards others.
Even more perplexing will be the behavior of Amer- icans who filed lawsuits for the right to not wear masks and to infect other people who follow CDC guidelines and who opposed quarantining, limits on social gath- erings and curfews... anything to keep people safe.
Certainly, they will mention the Thanksgiving holi- days when millions of Americans jumped on planes to travel all over the country infecting family and friends, stimulating another rise in COVID-19 cases. Besides mental and physical exhaustion and the trauma of con- sistent and continuous patient care, and patients dying alone, healthcare workers who provide assistance to people with COVID-19 in hospitals, nursing homes and other settings are placed at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 disease and infecting their family and loved ones.
Moreover, caring for COVID-19 patients raises their chances of contracting the virus and places them at risk of dying from COVID-19. Since a large number of Black people hold jobs in the healthcare industry they con- tract and die of COVID-19 in larger proportions.
“According to CDC’s latest count, more than 170,000
  U. S. healthcare workers have now contracted the virus and 742 have died from COVID-19. One physician trying to keep count says that her count of 1,200 is grossly under- estimated.
Prior to COVID-19 there was already data on a shortage of doctors and nurses that projected a shortage of at least 122,000 doctors by 2032, and a shortage of at least 100,000 nurses by 2022. Other countries will face an unfulfilled need for physicians and nurses as well. Already, new pa- tients are having to wait for months to get a first time appointment with a new physician.
So, the next time you get invited to a party, wedding or social gather- ing, tell the person issu- ing the invitation, NO! For once in your life, care about yourself and some- one other than yourself.

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