ChrisWeigant.com

Friday Talking Points -- Testing... Testing...

[ Posted Friday, April 17th, 2020 – 17:48 UTC ]

Testing... testing... One... two... three... Is this thing on?... Hello??

We can think of no better metaphor today than a booming amplified voice addressing a dark and empty space. For reasons that should be obvious, really.

President Donald Trump is an absolute genius -- at wasting time, that is. He just essentially wasted another entire week, which can be added on to all the previous weeks he wasted, since the dawn of the coronavirus. Which definitely includes the entire month of February, by the way.

Donald Trump spent the week as a total drama queen. Monday, he was apparently in a snit because on all the Sunday morning political shows, it was becoming more and more obvious that the real fault for why things had gotten so bad was that Trump himself wasted over a month at the very beginning of the crisis. So Trump rolled out a full-on propaganda show, complete with a video that tried to put all the blame on China and the press, instead of at his own feet where it rightfully belonged. The video had a timeline that was supposed to show what bold, decisive actions Trump had taken, but it left out the entire month of February. When an intrepid reporter pointed this out, Trump had a full-on tantrum. Here is Paula Reid from CBS, trying to get Trump to answer for the gap:

The argument is that you bought yourself some time and you didn't use it to prepare hospitals and you didn't use it to ramp up testing. Right now, literally 20 million people are unemployed. Tens of thousands of Americans are dead. How does this reel or this rant supposed to make people feel confident in an unprecedented crisis? Your video has a complete gap. What did your administration do in February with the time that your travel ban bought you?

In response, Trump called her "disgraceful" and "a fake."

Later, the White House put out a list of things Trump was taking credit for in February, which (shall we say) didn't bear close examination.

But this was a minor story compared to the real whopper Trump let loose on Monday. He essentially tried to crown himself king. Here are a few choice outtakes:

I like to allow governors to make decisions without overruling them, because from a constitutional standpoint, that's the way it should be done. If I disagreed, I would overrule a governor, and I have that right to do it. But I'd rather have them -- you can call it "federalist," you can call it "the Constitution," but I call it "the Constitution" -- I would rather have them make their decisions.

The states can do things if they want. I can override it if I want.

The authority of the president of the United States having to do with the subject we're talking about is total.

The president of the United States calls the shots.

The president of the United States has the authority to do what the president has the authority to do, which is very powerful.

Pressed on why he thought this was so, Trump pointed to "numerous provisions" in the Constitution. You can imagine him later fervently looking for some clause that said: "The president can hereby do whatever he wants to do, and everyone else has to obey him," but then again even that's a stretch -- since we all know he'd never make it all the way through a reading of the Constitution without getting bored. Of course, no such clause actually exists, outside of Trump's brain.

He then took to Twitter to expand his claim of total authority:

For the purpose of creating conflict and confusion, some in the Fake News Media are saying that it is the Governors [sic] decision to open up the states, not that of the President of the United States & the Federal Government. Let it be fully understood that this is incorrect... It is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons.

Trump, of course, is the one who is incorrect. As Twitter was happy to point out.

The next day, Trump tried to have it both ways. He stated that he would be "authorizing" the governors to make their own decisions, rather than making the decisions for them. But this was just as ludicrous, since he has no authority to authorize what the governors are already fully empowered to do. Which was pointed out on Twitter, with glee. And by a few actual governors as well:

Trump did a "very graceful 180" when he went from saying he had total authority to reopen the nation's economy to instead saying states would form their own plans, [New York Governor Andrew] Cuomo said mockingly.

"By the way, it was always up to the states, what are you going to grant me what the Constitution gave me before you were born?" he said. "I don't need the president of the United States to tell me that I'm governor and I don't need the president of the United States to tell me the powers of a state."

Trump's really "doing nothing" in his acknowledgment of states' power, Cuomo continued.

"All he's doing is walking in front of the parade, but he has nothing to do with the timing of the parade," he said. "Governors are going to open when they need to open."

By Thursday, "the president of the United States calls the shots" had morphed into Trump telling the governors on the phone: "You're going to call your own shots," which was always true in the first place. The entire week was wasted on this pointless and inane drama.

Trump had initially seen himself being the savior, announcing to the country that everything would go back to normal on the first of May. Yesterday, Trump still tried to claim some credit by issuing pathetically vague "guidelines," which contained less detail that previous reports from the C.D.C. and FEMA already had publicly given. At the heart of the guidelines was the ability to test millions of people, which simply does not yet exist. So we spent a week teaching Trump that he's not a king and got for the effort a whole lot of drama and a weak set of guidelines that already existed in much greater detail. About par for Trump's course, really.

Somewhere in there, Trump decided to cut off all funding for the World Health Organization, too. In Trump's mind, every crisis has to have a villain, and he's been flailing about trying to pin all the blame on anyone but him. His beef with the W.H.O.? They said nice things about China, and praised their transparency. As usual with Trump, there's a tweet for that. From January:

China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!

In other words, Trump's mad at the W.H.O. for doing exactly what he did in January.

It was also announced this week that the paper $1,200 checks will be issued with Donald Trump's name on them -- a change that delayed sending them out. Again, par for the course for the egomaniac-in-chief.

Oh, and Trump once again had to say he wasn't going to fire Dr. Fauci, after tweeting with the hashtag "#FireFauci." Because of course he did.

But let's get away from the Trumpian drama, because the real crisis is still unfolding, and it needs to be spotlighted before it'll get better. So let's see where we are now on the question of adequate testing, shall we? Of course, this was addressed by Trump's new "reopen America" plan, right?

Governors have said one of the most important factors in making those determinations is testing data, but Trump's plan does not contain a national testing strategy. Senior administration officials said that although the federal government will try to facilitate access to tests, states and localities will be responsible for developing and administering their own testing programs.

Leaders across sectors, from elected officials to business executives to public-health experts, have amplified warnings this week that the nation is not ready to reopen in part because its testing system is woefully inadequate.

. . .

Federal officials are still getting requests from private laboratories for help obtaining the necessary reagents to conduct tests, a person involved in the task force said. Meanwhile, the American Hospital Association has raised concerns with the administration about a lack of testing supplies.

There also is no single administration official working on testing. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus coordinator, has been communicating with hospitals and states about testing protocols, while Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, has been running point with industry.

The government has been unable to compel test manufacturers to dramatically increase the number of tests produced, and Trump has been unwilling to invoke the Defense Production Act for that purpose. States are also still struggling with acute supply shortages for tests, including swabs and reagents, that Washington has not addressed.

. . .

On the conference call Thursday with governors, Trump played down the significance of testing.

"Testing is very interesting," Trump said, according to the audio recording obtained by The [Washington] Post. "There are some states where I think you can do with a lot less testing than other people are suggesting." He told the governors that they have "a lot of leeway" in determining how many tests they conduct.

Trump has heralded a new rapid-response test from Abbott Laboratories that can deliver results in as few as five minutes, and has taken pride in his administration's role helping distribute the machines nationwide. But when Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) said they got the "great Abbott machines" two weeks ago but still don't have testing kits required to use them, Trump replied that the states are "going to lead the testing."

So how's the idea of letting all the states fend for themselves been going so far? Well, let's take a look at one state's experience:

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis was pleading with the federal government to send ventilators.

The state was starting to see hundreds of new coronavirus cases pop up each day, and Polis, a Democrat, worried that hospitals wouldn't have enough life-saving ventilators to deal with the looming spike.

So he made an official request for ventilators through the Federal Emergency Management System, which is managing the effort. That went nowhere. He wrote to Vice President Mike Pence, leader of the White House's coronavirus task force. That didn't work. He tried to purchase supplies himself. The federal government swooped in and bought them.

Then, on Tuesday, five weeks after the state's first coronavirus case, the state's Republican Sen. Cory Gardner called President Donald Trump. The federal government sent 100 ventilators to Colorado the next day, but still only a fraction of what the state wanted.

The federal government's haphazard approach to distributing its limited supplies has left states trying everything -- filling out lengthy FEMA applications, calling Trump, contacting Pence, sending messages to Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, and trade adviser Peter Navarro, who are both leading different efforts to find supplies, according to local and states officials in more than a half-dozen states. They're even asking mutual friends to call Trump or sending him signals on TV and Twitter.

Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

. . .

Trump has faced withering criticism that he failed to adequately prepare the country for the coronavirus outbreak after receiving warnings as early as January. Since then, the administration has struggled to provide states with enough tests and provide the proper medical equipment for patients and first responders.

"It's not clear to us who is making decisions. It looks like continuing chaos at the highest levels," said Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democratic member of the House Oversight Committee whose state, Maryland, has had its own disputes with federal officials over the delivery of supplies. "Every state is in charge of its own destiny."

Trump initially indicated states should try to buy supplies themselves, but they found themselves competing with each other and the federal government as they scoured the globe for supplies. The president then said he would distribute some supplies, but a failure to start the process earlier and put a single agency in charge exacerbated manufacturing and distribution problems, according to local, state and federal officials.

Frustrated governors are now considering whether to create a multistate consortium to oversee the purchase and distribution of supplies.

"I'm bidding on a machine that Illinois is bidding on and California is bidding on and Florida is bidding on. We're all bidding up each other," Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday at a briefing. "I'm trying to figure out how to do business with China where I have no natural connection as a state. And every state has to scramble to find business connections with China. It was crazy, that can't happen again."

That's right -- Trump's vacuum of leadership is causing governors to consider creating a "multistate consortium." Remember when the United States of America was the only "multistate consortium" we ever thought we'd need?

Let's check in with an expert who knows exactly what he's talking about to hear his view of where we are now:

Ronald Klain, who headed the Obama administration's response to the Ebola epidemic, warned that President Donald Trump's White House risks making the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. even worse with its ongoing lack of testing.

Klain, dubbed the Ebola czar after former President Barack Obama tasked him with leading the U.S. response to the Ebola epidemic, told MSNBC's Nicole Wallace on Thursday that increased testing was crucial to slowing the spread of the contagion that has killed more than 34,000 people nationwide.

But "as a matter of math, our progress towards the goal is not going to ever get there because we're going backwards," Klain said. "We're going to test fewer people in America this week than we did last week."

"We're not on a path to solve this problem, we're on a path to make this problem worse," Klain added. "That's because the president doesn't want to take leadership of these tests, he said that the tests are up to the states."

Klain noted that governors did not have "the power, the ability to direct the manufacturers to make the different components" of the "complicated" testing kits, urging Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act to step up efforts or see a "continued miasma on testing that is not going to get better."

What's he talking about? Fewer tests? Politico had the story:

Politico earlier this week first reported commercial lab testing has dramatically slowed, dropping from 108,000 tests run on April 5 to 75,000 on April 12, despite rising cases of coronavirus in many parts of the country. A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services also told Politico on Tuesday that the department had seen a downtick in nationwide testing in recent days.

The American Clinical Laboratory Association, which represents commercial labs, praised efforts to increase testing capacity but slammed the Trump administration and Congress for not laying out clear testing goals. Commercial labs say they are sitting on excess capacity and are ready to do more testing.

"We need to look to the future -- the time is now to agree on what testing is needed and at what volumes, and put in place the resources to enable it to happen," ACLA President Julie Khani said. "That takes federal leadership."

Former FDA Commissioners Mark McClellan and Scott Gottlieb argued in a recent white paper that a robust sentinel surveillance system will be needed to stop new outbreaks of coronavirus in the future once the current epidemic is under control.

Gottlieb told Politico up to 3.8 million tests per week may be needed as part of that effort. In the past week, the United States conducted just over 1 million tests.

So we just need to instantly get four times more productive. Sure -- no problem!

Even Lindsey Graham has realized what a mess it all is, although he certainly isn't willing to lay any blame on the White House while cheerily predicting it'll all get better real soon now:

On what we need to do better, I think the key to me is testing. I can't really blame the president, but we are struggling with testing on a large scale. You can't really go back to work until we have more tests that shows who has it and who doesn't, and we're beginning to turn the corner on that.

We have no idea why Graham is so optimistic, since Trump is so obviously failing even on meeting its own goals. We also have no idea why Trump is trying to inject politics into the decision to reopen the states, as if states that reopen faster are somehow better than the ones harder hit. This has become a standard talking point among conservatives, although sometimes they go a wee bit too far. Here's noted television quack Dr. Oz, on Fox News recently:

"I just saw a nice piece in The Lancet arguing the opening of schools may only cost us 2-3%, in terms of total mortality," explained Oz, referencing a percentage that suggests thousands could potentially die. As of Thursday, there are more than 600,000 confirmed cases in the U.S., and more than 26,000 deaths. Worldwide, more than 140,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins university.

"Any, you know, any life is a life lost, but to get every child back into a school where they're safely being educated, being fed, and making the most out of their lives, with the theoretical risk on the back side. That might be a tradeoff some folks would consider."

Hey, only two or three dead kids in a hundred is pretty good, right? I'm sure American moms and dads will take that gamble!

The public, however, is not convinced. In fact, two-thirds of them want the government to go slower rather than faster in reopening things back up. Two-thirds also responded that the White House and Donald Trump had acted too slowly to take major steps to stop the spread of the virus. And that was in a poll taken more than five days ago, before things got even worse.

Trump knows his re-election is going to hinge on how he is seen during this crisis. Will it become known as "Trump's Katrina"? He seems to be wildly trying anything and everything, swinging madly from: "L'état c'est moi" to: "The buck stops anywhere but here," within a few short days.

But as time goes on, the shortage of testing is only going to become more acute and more obvious. If widespread testing is needed to reopen states and that testing is simply not available, then people will direct their frustration and anger at the lack of leadership which led to yet another preventable fiasco in the midst of a crisis. If Donald Trump had invoked the Defense Production Act two months ago and put someone in charge of testing supplies nationwide, we would be in a much better place now. But he still hasn't done so, and it doesn't look like he's ever going to.

Instead, we get propaganda and grandiose plans with few if any details, in an effort to shift all responsibility to the governors. This is not leadership. This is the absence of leadership. With 22 million people already on unemployment in the past month, we can only hope that come November, Donald Trump will be the one who finds himself out of a job.

 

Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

We'd first like to give an Honorable Mention to all the Democrats in Wisconsin who got so angry that their state's Republicans made them risk their lives to vote that they turned out in droves anyway. The Democrats handily won the election that the Republicans were trying to rig, for a state supreme court seat.

This backlash could prove to be important, which we wrote about earlier in the week. Since we wrote that article, we also read a similar take on it in the Washington Post. In short: because Republicans tried to suppress turnout to give themselves a partisan advantage and it didn't work because of voter backlash, maybe this will give other states' Republicans pause, if they're considering similar tactics in November.

But our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week is none other than President Barack Obama.

Obama leapt off the sidelines this week, after his self-imposed and entirely proper recusal from the Democratic primary race. Now that everyone has dropped out but Joe Biden, Obama gave his full endorsement, the key sentence of which was that choosing Biden for his own veep was the smartest decision he made. Biden had his own commendable week, rolling out endorsements from Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren as well, we should add.

But it wasn't Obama's endorsement of Biden or his condemnation of Trump (without naming him) that was so impressive. No, what won him the award was that he just looked so damn presidential, once again.

His 12-minute video has already been seen by millions. Most of them are probably having the same reaction we did, which was:

"Remember when our president could form a complete and correct English sentence, without turning adverbs and adjectives into nouns, willy-nilly? Remember when our president could rationally explain things, and you felt comfortable knowing that he knew what he was talking about better than you -- because he had obviously done his homework? Remember press briefings that weren't consumed with the president's vast and fragile ego? Remember when governors could disagree with the president without worrying that they'd be left high and dry in a crisis out of petty vengeance? Remember when our president didn't have public temper tantrums? Remember when our president was actually a role model for children? Remember when a president actually cared about the average Joe and Jane? Remember when our president didn't insult and attack female reporters from the podium? Remember? Man, those were the days!"

Many people had forgotten how a real president sounds, after three long years of relentless idiocy from the Oval Office's current occupant. Hearing Obama was like a breath of fresh air. And for that alone, Obama more than deserves the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week, hands down.

[Barack Obama is a private citizen, and it is our standing policy not to provide contact information for such people, so you'll have to search him out online if you'd like to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

Once again, we are left without much disappointment at any particular Democrat this week. Democrats usually react pretty well in times of crisis, and this seems to be holding true for now.

Nancy Pelosi is in danger of dropping the ball next week, if she doesn't make her case for why Democrats are fighting the Republicans for the next round of stimulus. She has her reasons, but she hasn't been making all that great a case for them. Of course, it's hard to break through all the Trump drama, so perhaps this will get better next week. But now that the paycheck fund at the Treasury is dry, the pressure is only going to increase.

But for now, we're once again putting the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week back on the shelf. As always in such situations, feel free to nominate someone in the comments below, if you think we've missed someone obvious.

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 570 (4/17/20)

Another rant this week, because it was once again that kind of week. Oh, before we get to it, two footnotes that didn't fit anywhere else:

The Republicans for the Rule of Law group of anti-Trumpers has a new ad slamming Trump for crowning himself emperor, which is certainly worth a view. They say they're going to run it on Fox And Friends, so maybe Trump will actually see it.

Also from Fox, a choice reminder from Bret Baier of something we've said too many times to count in these talking points over the past three years (he was also responding to the idea of King Donald): "If President Obama had said those words that you heard from President Trump -- that the authority is total with the presidency -- you know, conservatives' heads would've exploded across the board." At least he's honest, unlike both most of his colleagues at Fox and the president himself.

With that, we move on to our rant.

Testing... Testing...

 

Where are the tests?

I really can't do it everyday, but every so often I tune in to the daily presidential propaganda show... oh, excuse me, I must have meant: "the coronavirus task force briefing," sorry... just to hear some fresh lies from Our Dear Leader. Or his minions. But I do wish one of the reporters in the press briefing room would ask one simple question: "Where are the tests you promised over a month ago?"

Here is a direct quote from President Trump, given on March 6, as he toured the C.D.C. headquarters:

Anybody that wants a test can get a test. That's what the bottom line is.... Anybody right now and yesterday -- anybody that needs a test gets a test. We -- they're there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful. Anybody that needs a test gets a test.

That was not true then, and it is not true now, six weeks later. It was a lie. It will not be true at any point in the near future, either. We just don't have the tests. But we were promised them, almost as long ago. Here is Vice President Mike Pence, on March 9, making a very concrete promise to America:

Over a million tests have been distributed... before the end of this week, another 4 million tests will be distributed.

This was reported in the Washington Post in an article whose title ended with: "...As U.S. Cases Top 700," just to remind everyone how long ago that was (for the mathematically-minded: that is a whopping three orders of magnitude ago, since we're now at 700,000 cases).

"Before the end of the week" would have been some time before March 13. That's when we were promised five million tests. And here it is, a whopping five weeks later, and the Trump team of toadies is patting the Dear Leader on the back for having performed a total of just over three million tests. They now promise us they can do a million tests in a week, so it'll only be two more weeks before we hit the point that Mike Pence promised we would be at on March 13. Meaning that instead of "before the end of the week," it will take a whopping eight weeks to get where Pence promised we'd be in less than one.

These are nothing short of lies. But nobody seems to be paying much attention to them. Which is why I'd dearly love to see one of those White House reporters ask about this in point-blank fashion. Something along the lines of: "Why did you lie about the numbers back then and why should we trust any numbers you tell us now?"

Testing is the key to understanding the spread of the coronavirus. Testing is the key to knowing when it will be safe to relax social distancing and slowly begin to open things back up. But so far -- over two months into the crisis -- we still don't have our act together on providing enough tests. And now everyone wants to talk about a new antibodies test -- one that hasn't even begun to be rolled out yet -- as the one thing which will allow states to return to normal. But the sheer scale of testing necessary is staggering, and what we've seen so far is not encouraging in the least.

We're now told the country is doing over 100,000 tests a day, for a total of a million a week. Let's assume for the sake of argument that that's true, even though there are reports that labs are actually doing fewer tests. To test every single person in America at that rate would mean it would only take us a little over six years to do so. Six years! Some scientists are saying to safely reopen society we'll need to do something more on the order of a million tests per day -- not per week. If we increased sevenfold what we've got now, then it would only take roughly a year to test everyone. It would take something on the order of ten million tests per day to shrink that down to a little over a month's time. According to Nobel Laureate Paul Romer, "to screen the United State's entire population of 330 million, capacity would need to reach 22 million tests per day." And, more that two months into the crisis, does anyone really think we're about to magically ramp production up to even a tiny fraction of that?

Alarm bells are ringing. Red flags are being waved. The federal government's abdication of responsibility in the face of a crisis is nothing short of disgraceful. Terms like "woefully inadequate" and "chaos at the highest level" don't even begin to describe what is going on. Individual states are considering forming a multistate consortium to fix the problem. Funny, I thought we all formed the greatest multistate consortium of all back in 1776. But now, there is simply no one at the helm. Nobody is in charge of the store. There isn't even a single point person in the White House dedicated to providing tests to states that need them. A total abdication of duty, in other words, from Team Trump.

Here's how Barack Obama's "Ebola czar" recently put it: "We're not on a path to solve this problem, we're on a path to make this problem worse. That's because the president doesn't want to take leadership of these tests, he said that the tests are up to the states."

President Trump could have invoked the Defense Production Act back in January to assure plenty of tests would be available, and to streamline the distribution system. He didn't do so. He could have acted in February. He failed to do so. He could have acted in March. He refused to do so. He could have done so instead of bizarrely proclaiming himself king this week, but I guess he got distracted.

This still needs to happen. This need is going to get even more acute, until it becomes desperate. Otherwise we'll keep having situations where a governor gets the wonderful five-minute test machines but can't actually use them because he didn't get the supplies needed to run the tests. This is insane.

Donald Trump seems to only care about one thing, and that is not getting blamed for the growing heap of bad decisions and delays that have made the crisis much worse. He wants the states to reopen not because he cares about any of the people living there (or their safety), but because he cares about his chances of getting re-elected.

The only semi-believable person in the pack of liars surrounding the president is Dr. Anthony Fauci, who fully admits "we're not there yet" on testing. He is forced to always err on the side of optimism (otherwise Trump will send out another angry "#FireFauci" tweet), but when talking about the two types of tests needed, he had to be semi-realistic: "We're going to have both of those much, much better as we go in the next weeks and months. And by the time we get into the fall, I think we're going to be in pretty good shape." Got that? By the fall -- or six months from now.

The only thing that gives me a small degree of hope is what seems to be a growing interest in the media to expose how inadequate the testing has been up to this point, and still is going forward. And that's before we even start talking about the antibodies tests -- which, once again, hasn't even started to ramp up production. The more journalists begin bluntly asking: "Where are the tests?" the better, in my opinion, since Trump doesn't believe anything he doesn't see on television.

They can start with: "Where are the tests you and the vice president promised over a month ago?" That'd be a dandy place to begin. Then we could move along to more-pertinent questions for the future, like: "How many tests per week is enough to guarantee that anyone who wants to get tested can get tested?" After all, that is precisely what Trump promised six weeks ago. Then we can take a real look forward: "How many antibody tests per week will be required to let us know when it truly is safe to reopen the economy? One million? Ten million? Twenty million?" And finish with the question everyone really wants answered: "OK, so when will we get to that point, where we're actually making and shipping that many tests to every state that needs them?"

Those are the questions I'd like answered. Those are the questions to keep asking, over and over again, until we all get some answers. Preferably by someone other than Donald Trump or Mike Pence, since they're almost certainly only going to lie to us again.

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

 

133 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- Testing... Testing...”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Nancy Pelosi is in danger of dropping the ball next week, if she doesn't make her case for why Democrats are fighting the Republicans for the next round of stimulus. She has her reasons, but she hasn't been making all that great a case for them.

    Can someone please explain to me why that is such a persistent Democratic problem?

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Of course, it's hard to break through all the Trump drama

    That is not a valid excuse for it nor does it explain why it keeps happening and has been happening since long before Trump.

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The Governors call the state of testing a mess. They say that they can't fix it. They say the federal government must take the lead on this. Trump doesn't want to touch that particular mess with a ten-foot pole.

    The WH briefing today by the science experts was projecting the MEGO effect - mine eyes glazed over. I think I'll stick to the WHO regular press briefings where you can actually learn something of value.

    What can be done?

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Testing is the key to understanding the spread of the coronavirus. Testing is the key to knowing when it will be safe to relax social distancing and slowly begin to open things back up.

    I think we'll be social distancing or dying in large numbers for a long time.

    A short note about "social distancing" - something I learned from one of the WHO briefings when the doctors were discussing the mental health impacts of stay-at-home orders.

    WHO has stopped using the phrase social distancing. Instead they recommend using physical distancing because it is so important for all of us to be socially connected while we need to be physically apart. It makes a lot of sense!

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I didn't mean all of us … here but, all of us global citizens in our own ways. :)

    Speaking of global citizens … don't forget the big concert tomorrow brought to you by WHO/Global Citizen and Lady Gaga:

    One World: Together At Home

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Enjoy the show!

  7. [7] 
    Tzx42 wrote:

    You only got the last half of the Colorado ventilator story. Governor Polis had arranged a shipment of 500 ventilators, it was on its way. The federal government"diverted" that shipment. You might say confiscated it. After that, then they pulled the stunt you mentioned. The bastards are playing politics with an epidemic rather than do whats best for our citizens.

  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Who the heck are you! If I may be so bold as to ask?

  9. [9] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @tzx,

    standing in for our regular who usually posts this:

    welcome to the party, pal!
    ~bruce willis, die hard

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Yeah, welcome aboard!

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, watch your language.

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Remember, you are a visitor in Chris's house. Act accordingly. :)

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Just for the record, my bark is much worse than my bite.

  14. [14] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    I think it's a mistake to use phrases like 2-3% of American school children or even your slightly better "Hey, only two or three dead kids in a hundred is pretty good, right?"

    The truth is that the vast majority of Americans are quantitatively illiterate. Heck, even most people here.

    Let's call it what it is, because that gets at the question in a much more visceral way.

    In order to ensure that the investor class doesn't have to give up some of their revenue stream, they think it's OK to KILL 1 to 1.5 million school children. Yes, that's what that percentage means (there are about 50.8 million students in K-12 public and another 6 million in private).

    When stated like that, it compares to the worst atrocities of the 20th century (Small: Amin, Pinochet; Large: Pol Pot, Hitler, Hiroshima, Armenia, the Belgian Congo). We're actually talking about that level of EVIL!

  15. [15] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    Sorry, but the first time I heard that statement (2-3%), I had to swallow vomit.

  16. [16] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    You can try to bring it home with the big numbers, or you can try to be really local: how many deaths per local school, or even per grade per school would that be? For the elementary school my grandsons will probably go to, that's at least 7 or 8 children, more than 1 per grade. And that's not counting staff, who are probably more vulnerable.

    How many parents and grandparents would find those odds acceptable?

  17. [17] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    When your Trump-loving relatives start on their 'Chinese virus' rant: '15 times Trump praised China as coronavirus was spreading across the globe'
    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/15/trump-china-coronavirus-188736

  18. [18] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    I try to ignore Trump's ravings, but this week it was very difficult. This week's "very fine people on both sides":
    'At Friday’s White House coronavirus taskforce briefing, Trump played down fears that by crowding together, the protesters themselves could spread the Covid-19 illness. “These are people expressing their views,” he told reporters. “I see where they are and I see the way they’re working. They seem to be very responsible people to me, but they’ve been treated a little bit rough.”'
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/17/trump-liberate-tweets-coronavirus-stay-at-home-orders

  19. [19] 
    italyrusty wrote:

    And finally, Italy still has almost 4,000 new COVID-19 cases daily. Even though Germany has declared its outbreak 'under control', the country is reporting similar numbers.
    But one day, perhaps by the end of May, Europe may begin to see a decline in new infections. Meanwhile. the lack of coordination in the 50 states ensures that some states may also see improvement while other (probably Republican-controlled) states will continue to be hotspots of contagion.
    Will Europe - and the rest of the world - resume trade and travel with the United States under those conditions? Or will the United States become a COVID-19 colony?
    How useful is it for Trump to 'open up' the United States if the rest of the world quarantines it?

  20. [20] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    I could not help but notice the similarities between you talking about Trump and me talking about you and the Dems.

    Trump promised stuff he did not deliver on and the Dems keep promising how they will eventually get the big money out of politics with future legislation but haven't delivered for decades.

    Testing. Testing. Testing.

    Why aren't we testing all approaches to getting the big money out of politics or at least informing citizens about different approaches to test how citizens will respond?

    But the most entertaining (and distressing) was:

    "Those are questions I would like answered. Those are questions to keep asking, over and over again, until we get an answer."

    You can do it, CW. You can give a real answer to my questions. You are better than Trump and Pence that will only keep lying.

    Aren't you?

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Don,

    Don't forget to watch the big concert tonight!

    Science, solutions, solidarity

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I could not help but notice the similarities between you talking about Trump and me talking about you and the Dems.

    See, now that's your problem right there. :)

  23. [23] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW-

    Don't forget that other celebrity quack "Dr. Phil."

    I think he deserves a horrible mention

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2020/04/17/dr-phil-compares-coronavirus-deaths-car-accidents/5151534002/

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Is he a Democrat!?

  25. [25] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    People seem to have lost sight of the fact that on average, about 8000 people die every single day in the U.S., usually totaling about 2.8 million annually. I'm betting that when the totals for the current yr are calculated, there will not be any serious difference from recent previous yrs, meaning most if not all of the deaths attributed to the infamous new virus will turn out to be people who would have died anyway, corona or no carona.

  26. [26] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz-
    Yep. That's the problem.

    Fortunately CW has provided the blueprint for solving the problem- keep asking until I get an answer. :D

  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Good God.

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  29. [29] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Liz-
    I know the point is good, but you are mistaken in the understandable but common mis-perception that I am somehow a god. :D

  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Did you ever listen to YOUR song?

  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Or, was that Chris's song … :)

  32. [32] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Yeah, I think it was Chris's song.

    :-)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsP0pIVPObc

  33. [33] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Liz M

    You're missing the point. The question is NOT whether my stony heart is lacking in sympathy/empathy or whatever, the question is, Is it reasonable to throw millions of folks out of work, create massive poverty, etc. if it is really not saving any lives??? What's your opinion?r

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The situation as it is now is going to have to continue for some time. Which is a direct consequence of ineptitude in high places.

    So, get used to it.

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  36. [36] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Stucki,

    I'm trying to get your point but, I just don't understand your thinking on this.

    You say that the mitigation measures that we have had to put in place and endure are unnecessary because lives are not being saved??

  37. [37] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @liz,

    yes, that's what he's saying. it's also the current narrative coming out of fox news and the like. what they're saying is, "almost everyone dying of covid-19 probably would have died this year anyway."

    that is highly unlikely to be true, but it makes them feel better about encouraging folks to put their lives in danger so the folks at the top can get back to reaping huge profits.

    kaffee: grave danger?
    jessep: is there another kind?
    ~a few good men

  38. [38] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    33

    You're missing the point. The question is NOT whether my stony heart is lacking in sympathy/empathy or whatever, the question is, Is it reasonable to throw millions of folks out of work, create massive poverty, etc. if it is really not saving any lives???

    It's just that it's ridiculous on its face to claim it's "really not saving any lives" when the various models estimated that upwards of 2 million Americans would have lost their lives if mitigating steps weren't taken... so the mitigating steps were taken to avoid the catastrophic loss of life and to stave off the effects of the sheer numbers of ill people that would have overwhelmed the critical care capacity of US hospitals to the point of breaking... setting up a scenario where even more Americans die from curable diseases because our hospitals are overwhelmed if not for the mitigating steps we did take.

    Fast forward to now where the right-wing talking heads and so-called conservatives types are now looking at the fatality numbers that were a direct result of the mitigating steps taken in order to avoid overwhelming numbers and the crushing effect to America's hospitals and proclaiming: "See there, big whoop."

    It doesn't work that way, righties. The road taken was to affirmatively act to mitigate the loss of life and hospital overload, and the fatality numbers therefore achieved shouldn't be construed as your cue to go right back to downplaying the severity of the virus.

    There'd be no need to mitigate the crush of damages to life and our healthcare system if the virus wasn't severe. This ain't rocket science.

  39. [39] 
    nypoet22 wrote:
  40. [40] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    Stucki, perhaps you believed that the Millennium Bug was a lot of fuss over nothing, because planes didn't crash from the sky and the money didn't stop on January 1, 2000. But the reason the planes didn't crash and people could still get their money was that people like my brother-in-law spent a very long time working very hard to make sure there wasn't a disaster. (He will be happy to explain this to you at some length and with some force if ever you encounter him.) If your brakes stop you from going off the road, you say 'Thank goodness I have good brakes,' not 'I didn't go off the road, so I didn't need brakes after all.' Or perhaps you agree with anti-vaxxers that since some childhood diseases are less common and less lethal than they were when we were kids, vaccines are unnecessary--whoops, isn't that measles breaking out again with some fatalities because kids aren't vaccinated?

  41. [41] 
    Kick wrote:

    C. R. Stucki
    33

    Is it reasonable to throw millions of folks out of work, create massive poverty, etc. if it is really not saving any lives???

    The short answer: Your premise is flawed because it's really saving lives.

    That's precisely why the right-wing and their ilk have gone right back to their downplaying the severity of the virus in the same way they did the entire months of January and February and right up until Friday the 13th of March.

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Welcome to the new column, Kick! :)

  43. [43] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Joshua,

    This novel coronavirus is really something. What we don't yet understand about it leave us with some very interesting questions.

    I just hope we finally learn the lessons we need to learn before the next one shows up. Which could be much worse for us.

  44. [44] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    One World: Together At Home set to start soon!

  45. [45] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  46. [46] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Stucki-

    That's an interesting postulate, update us when you come up with something approaching a proof. You know, real numbers and logical argument.

    Things that should be taken in account:

    The increased death rate for not doing social distancing, including the vast increase from overwhelming the medical system.

    Reduced other infectious diseases.
    Reduced gun deaths.
    reduced vehicle related deaths,
    increased suicide rates.
    Reduced on the job deaths.
    Ect...

    I suspect if looked at through a non-partisan bias, equal numbers would not tell the story you want them to tell...

  47. [47] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, Bashi, I'm guessing that if everyone just continues to wash their hands often and properly those reduced other numbers of infection cases, including those due to influenza, could be significant.

  48. [48] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kick,

    My point was just to say that rather than expecting the Biden administration to focus on prosecutions of its predecessor, I'd like to see a thorough examination and after action report on how the Trump administration responded to the coronavirus, in granular detail.

    Besides, wouldn't it be even more difficult that it already is for Biden to begin the long effort that uniting the country will require?

  49. [49] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Bashi [46]

    Those will be the numbers that will ultimately verify (or disprove) my point, but unfortunately, there is a 2 - 3 yr lag in the compilation and publication of those stats. The most recent stats I could find in that area are for 2018, and by the time 2020 numbers become available I'll likely be included on those stats!

  50. [50] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, here's one Canadian classic rock band that won't be part of the show today, surprisingly. Though the third or fourth or fifth version of the band still performs these days, the classic PRiSM line-up of the Ron Tabak era is, tragically, no more …

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hgkFjisCqM

  51. [51] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  52. [52] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    48

    My point was just to say that rather than expecting the Biden administration to focus on prosecutions of its predecessor, I'd like to see a thorough examination and after action report on how the Trump administration responded to the coronavirus, in granular detail.

    My point was that we -- the career employees of the United States of America -- have an amazing ability to focus on a myriad of things and to multitask... so I'll take all of the above and an entire list of other things with a cherry on top.

    Besides, wouldn't it be even more difficult that it already is for Biden to begin the long effort that uniting the country will require?

    Not even a scintilla.

  53. [53] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    My point was that we -- the career employees of the United States of America -- have an amazing ability to focus on a myriad of things and to multitask... so I'll take all of the above and an entire list of other things with a cherry on top.

    That's very funny.

  54. [54] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Perhaps that will be the case when they get a damn sight more than a scintilla of leadership from the top, eh?

  55. [55] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What might our world look like after this pandemic is over?

    I think it can be much better in many ways if we want it bad enough.

  56. [56] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    In the wake of the destruction wrought by this pandemic, could a creative force be born?

    If COVID-19 doesn't spur us toward positive change through science, solutions and solidarity, then what hope is there for us?

  57. [57] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    53|54

    That's very funny.

    No, it isn't funny. Biden has already been in charge of enough at the top to prove what type of administration he'll have, and I would wager without hesitation he'll run it no differently than we've already witnessed. For an elected member of the United States government, he's more like a career member than the majority of them. Biden is already a known "known"... a multitasker.

    Perhaps that will be the case when they get a damn sight more than a scintilla of leadership from the top, eh?

    Not everything that the prior administration put in place has been dismantled. You keep Canadasplaining about the government of the United States as if it's one person when it has never been and will never be... no matter who occupies the space behind the desk carved from a ship sitting in the room with no corners.

  58. [58] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Try to get into the spirit, Kick.

  59. [59] 
    Kick wrote:

    My spirit's just fine, Elizabeth.

    Right now I'm drinking rum and Coke and twirling a little yellow umbrella I got from the bartender at my local pub, the Crown & Tanker. Good stuff.

  60. [60] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Cheers!

    Are you watching the show!?

  61. [61] 
    Kick wrote:

    There have been times that I thought I couldn't last for long
    But now I think I'm able to carry on
    It's been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

  62. [62] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Indeed.

    Rolling Stones … amazing!

  63. [63] 
    Kick wrote:

    Is anyone keeping track of the knights?

    Sir Paul
    Sir Elton
    Sir Michael aka Mick

  64. [64] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hey, Kick! How are you doing these days. I mean, really, how is it going?

  65. [65] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm glad I have my Paul and Elton CDs. I'd pay to see Mick tomorrow. :)

  66. [66] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, I mean I'd love to see the Stones live in concert, of course. :)

  67. [67] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    no matter who occupies the space behind the desk carved from a ship sitting in the room with no corners.

    couldn't just call it the resolute desk in the oval office? anyhow, bush senior used a different desk.

    JL

  68. [68] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    64

    Hey, Kick! How are you doing these days. I mean, really, how is it going?

    Other than my Trump worshiping otherwise awesome uncle passing away on April 15... great as ever.

    Hope y'all are well in Canada.

    Everyone keep yourselves well, dang it.

  69. [69] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    CRS

    People seem to have lost sight of the fact that on average, about 8000 people die every single day in the U.S., usually totaling about 2.8 million annually. I'm betting that when the totals for the current yr are calculated, there will not be any serious difference from recent previous yrs, meaning most if not all of the deaths attributed to the infamous new virus will turn out to be people who would have died anyway, corona or no carona.

    If you are betting, then you are losing! In NYC, one of the medical examiner’s offices said that over the last five years, they averaged around 25 deaths per day where the person died at home in the months of Feb/March. This year that number increased to over 200 - 250 deaths at home per day. Most of these were never tested for the coronavirus, so they aren’t being counted as COVID-19 related. Of course ignoring the fact that we are currently battling a pandemic doesn't help explain why the numbers jumped from 25 death/day to 250 deaths/day.

    And NYC isn’t alone in experiencing a massive increase in unexplained daily deaths — cities worldwide have reported similar occurrences. This is why it is ridiculous to think we are over-estimating the number of deaths this virus is causing...especially in this country where testing is still not readily available to the masses.

  70. [70] 
    Kick wrote:

    JL
    67

    couldn't just call it the resolute desk in the oval office? anyhow, bush senior used a different desk.

    I can get wordy when I drink rum.

    Bush 41 used the Resolute desk for a few months but preferred the walnut desk he used as Vice President from the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Co. I could have just called it the C&O desk, but I didn't because rum. I cannot fathom why anyone wouldn't want to use that historical desk gifted by Queen Victoria.

    Remember that time Trump informed Macron that the Resolute desk was "like 1814"?:

    https://tinyurl.com/yd2a9kx7

    Trump is such an inveterate moron/con. #pathetic

  71. [71] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Listen

    Somebody's lying, my guess is the "Medical Examiner's Office" you cited in 1st para.

    Do the math. NYC has 8.5 million inhabitants, representing 3.8% of the total U.S. pop. Unless NYC residents are substantially longer-lived than the rest of the country, that 3.8% should translate int

  72. [72] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    I can get wordy when I drink rum.

    i knew there was a reason i liked you. rum is often my spirit of choice as well. scotch or rye on occasion, but i'm pickier about which of those i'll try.

  73. [73] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Listen

    Oops, hit the wrong button in the middle. Anyway, I calculate that the normal daily deaths in NYC should be about 30 -31, but as I said to Bashi, I'm estimating that if the jump in daily deaths represents a lot of people who were teetering on the brink already, we wont really know the effect of the corona thing until we see the annual totals.

    Puts me in mind of the recent demise of singer-songwriter John Prine, who after suffering from cancer for many years, died last week "from complications of the Coronavirus" according to his Time Magazine obit.

  74. [74] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @CRS,

    although my data are admittedly anecdotal, there have been a LOT more deaths in my circles since the virus hit. in my opinion, it is far too big an increase to attribute to chance. while correlation doesn't necessarily equal causation, i consider it highly unlikely that this is all just happening by coincidence.

    JL

  75. [75] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    for the most likely reasons why so many people are dying (many of them previously young and healthy), i'm repeating the link i shared in post 39:

    https://www.livescience.com/genes-for-covid19-coronavirus-severity.html

  76. [76] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Poet

    Where I live , VERY few people of any age are dying from Corona, and virtually NO young people. There's fewer than a half-dozen in my county, and several of them claim to have never even known they were sick with anything.

  77. [77] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Joshua,

    i'm repeating the link i shared in post 39:

    Did you think we didn't read it the first time? :)

    Seriously, genetic diversity amongst the human hosts may go a long way toward explaining how and who this virus is infecting.

    It would also allay some fear about not being able to find an effective vaccine because of genetic changes in the virus.

  78. [78] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @CRS,

    covid-19 isn't spreading everywhere with equal speed, because most people don't travel to or from wyoming or south dakota, while MANY people come to and from new york. however, it will eventually spread everywhere because all the evidence available shows that it is very contagious and very deadly to a large subset of the population - NOT just those who are already "teetering on the brink."

    the fact that it is NOT deadly to about 80% of the population is actually terrible news, because people with no symptoms are less likely to stay home while contagious, and therefore much more likely to infect others.

    any suggestion that the virus is less deadly than advertised is most likely mistaken.

    JL

  79. [79] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @liz [77],

    you weren't the target audience. i was hoping CRS hadn't noticed and might read it now.

  80. [80] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i also should have been more precise in my wording. it is not POTENTIALLY deadly to 80% of the population. in italy something like 10% of the people who caught it died, and that's probably the ceiling on actual death rate. but a lot of people who do survive it don't come away unscathed or without a major battle.

  81. [81] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I know. And, I know what you meant about the 80%.

    While it is important to be precise and concise- just ask the social media people at WHO! - but I think most of here know what we're talking about most of the time. :)

  82. [82] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    Stucki: In England and Wales, there were 40% more deaths in one week, March 28 to April 3, than the 5-year average for that week. That's more than 6000 deaths above the average. There were no other exceptional causes of death that week, and traffic deaths are generally down because traffic levels have been down. The death rate has gone up since then, but I don't found a similar simple comparison to quote--this is annoying, because only a few days ago there were some good charts showing this for different cities and now I can't find them, probably because they are already outdated.

    Now, it's a lovely sunny spring day here and so far it's been unusually dry for April. Does that mean it's a lovely sunny spring day and a dry April everywhere in the world? Or even in the whole northern hemisphere? Of course not. My friend in Michigan had snow two days ago.

  83. [83] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The WHO said in a tweet something about no evidence of human to human transmission when they were actually talking about effective transmission at the community level as opposed to say, transmission in healthcare or occupational settings.

    I mean, this virus has always been known to be a respiratory pathogen. So, of course, there is human to human transmission! And, when the WHO put out there first guidance to countries on 10 January they said that all of the usual respiratory precautions be taken.

    I guess reading and understanding skills are not quite where they need to be ...

  84. [84] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    My friend in Michigan had snow two days ago.

    And that, I'm here to confirm, is a sad fact.

  85. [85] 
    John M wrote:

    [76] C. R. Stucki wrote:

    "Where I live , VERY few people of any age are dying from Corona, and virtually NO young people. There's fewer than a half-dozen in my county, and several of them claim to have never even known they were sick with anything."

    Then you are very lucky and fortunate so far. But you cannot and should not assume that that is always going to be the case, or that things will not get worse.

  86. [86] 
    John M wrote:

    [73] C. R. Stucki wrote:

    "Puts me in mind of the recent demise of singer-songwriter John Prine, who after suffering from cancer for many years, died last week "from complications of the Coronavirus" according to his Time Magazine obit."

    And your point is???

    You have no idea how much longer he could have lived without getting the virus. It could have been years.

    Does the fact that the virus simply pushed him over the brink, that he would have died eventually anyway, somehow excuse the fact that it was the virus that finally killed him??? Therefore in order to minimize the impact, he should not be counted as a virus death, to somehow skew the numbers one way or another? That's true only if you want to make the virus out to be less serious than it really is, for what reason?

  87. [87] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Very well said.

  88. [88] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  89. [89] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    John M [86]

    No, actually my reason would be closer to not causing the country to experience financial collapse/recession over people's sniffles.

  90. [90] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  91. [91] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What kind of person would have everyone with cancer and underlying existing conditions of any sort be at the mercy of this virus by just letting it rip?

  92. [92] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Guess who is leading the G20, these days?

    https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/g20-health-ministers-virtual-meeting-saudi-arabia

    Sincere thanks go out to Saudi Arabia for donating US500 million to the WHO Global Response.

  93. [93] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Joshua, I just knew the WHO would make up the shortfall!

  94. [94] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Is there anyone alive out there!?

  95. [95] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Close quote. :)

  96. [96] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What movie is that from?

  97. [97] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale, where are you? Get better and stay safe, ya here!?

    I miss ya, buddy.

  98. [98] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, I miss trying to convert ya. :)

  99. [99] 
    John M wrote:

    [89] C. R. Stucki wrote:

    "No, actually my reason would be closer to not causing the country to experience financial collapse/recession over people's sniffles."

    I believe a rampaging virulent pneumonia that left unchecked collapses both the economy and the healthcare system at the same time, is a lot more serious than just the "sniffles" right??? Because that is what we got.

    Which begs the question, what is your agenda in trying to downplay this so much, in the face of all the medical evidence to the contrary???

  100. [100] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    There is life!

  101. [101] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I think the agenda is pretty clear.

  102. [102] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    John M [99]

    No "agenda", more like skepticism of the "evidence". No healthy people (and damn few unhealthy people) seem to be dying of corona where I live, but I have the impression that every single person that dies in NYC these days is miraculously done in by the new virus, because it "makes better news". NYC has evidently abolished cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, and car crashes.

  103. [103] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Trump seems be handing the economic reopening over to the governors. I don't think many governors want this responsibility.

    What happens if a governor declares a re-opened state economy and hardly anybody shows up at the places of business? Maybe the folks in the red ass hats give it a go - but it's one thing to protest in the open air, or from your car idling in the open air, but quite another thing to actually start shopping within sneezing distance of your fellow man/woman/child. I think even Trump's Finest might give it a pass until they can see how things work out - infection wise.

    Same body of law applies to sporting events, restaurants and bars, office space, assembly lines, barbers, Drs. and Dentists.

    There are so many details getting glossed over:

    What about protective gear? Are we supposed to get by with bandanas for masks and sandwich bags for gloves? I still can't buy either. Does it matter?

    What about money? If you haven't got any you can't participate as a paying customer. A lot of Americans are recently out of work and therefore broke. The $1200 they got, if they got it, has already been spent on credit and the bank has taken some or all of that windfall. It just doesn't look like a good business climate right now.

    Opening beaches is easy for a governor. Resuscitating a sick national economy is much harder and governors can't just snap their fingers to make it happen. Governors are going to be looking carefully at how Trump is polling in their state before they charge up the hill in support of some half baked/over hyped Trump promise.

  104. [104] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    I have the impression that every single person that dies in NYC these days is miraculously done in by the new virus, because it "makes better news". NYC has evidently abolished cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, and car crashes.

    @CRS,
    that impression is mistaken. Although I know five people who have lost someone to covid-19, i also know two who have had family deaths due to other causes this spring. we still have cancer, diabetes and heart attacks, although there HAS been a precipitous drop in car crashes, gun violence, and pretty much every other form of death that requires one to go outside one's own home.

    JL

  105. [105] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    I think the agenda is pretty clear.

    are you certain of that? my sense coming from CRS is that it's more personal than political.

  106. [106] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    All politics is personal.

  107. [107] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    TS,

    This is why national unity is so important in fighting this virus and other similarly dangerous respiratory pathogens.

    When there is national unity regional cooperation and global solidarity can follow. That what we mean when we say we are all in this together and we will beat this virus only if we act together.

  108. [108] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    A very emotional WHO regular coronavirus press briefing jus concluded. Links will be available soon.

  109. [109] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @liz,

    well... yes, all politics have a personal component and a broader ideological component, just as all politics are both local and global. however, the degree to which each component has influence does vary.

    my impression of stucki's attitude toward covid is that it's a lot more heavily weighted toward the "how will this affect me personally" side than the "how will this change the world" side.

    JL

  110. [110] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    You're probably right.

  111. [111] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Joshua,

    Can you help me explain how it is that the Trump (mal)administration could dismantle a national security system for dealing with viral pandemics and shake off responsibility and avoid accountability for a glaring failure to respond in a timely manner to the outbreak?

  112. [112] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    basically, it's the attitude of, "why should i care what happens to folks in new york or seattle? since i'm likely to be dead of something else before the virus reaches me out here in east bumblef*ck, i'd like it a whole lot better if they quit worrying about catching pneumonia and delivered my damn meatloaf."

  113. [113] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    does that answer your question, liz?

  114. [114] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm afraid so.

  115. [115] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    But, the answer to the question of why Trump is being so successful at escaping responsibility and accountable for his failing response to the COVID-19 epidemic in the US, there are many possibilities, to be sure.

    Might a fear of reprisals and more general lack of courage have something to do with it?

    The Governors are too busy trying to keep people alive and procuring federal help to worry about presidential accountability.

    And, the WH press corps, more visible than ever, lately, is no match for Trump. NOT EVEN CLOSE. Day after day after day – ad particular nauseam – Trump eats them for dinner and then spits them out on national television.

    What about the responsibility of the electorate in holding the president accountable? We can dream.

  116. [116] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    there is definitely a certain fatigue that seems to have gripped journalists who have been covering outrage after outrage for the past five years since donald first announced his candidacy.

  117. [117] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    How can you be fatigued when you've rarely done your job?

  118. [118] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    How would you go about questioning the president?

  119. [119] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I mean, THIS president.

  120. [120] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Taking into account that you could be asking about Covid-19 immunity and goes off on immigration and his wall.

  121. [121] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I guess it's finally time to ditch my dumb flip phone that I don't even use to text and figure out which smart phone is right for me. Heh.

    https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/20-04-2020-itu-who-joint-statement-unleashing-information-technology-to-defeat-covid-19

  122. [122] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    the trouble with questioning this president isn't an individual reporter's strategy, nor is it the president's dislike of tough questions. it's corporate control of the fourth estate that permits the de facto blacklisting of any organization whose employee dares to ask donald a question he doesn't like. that builds a culture of fear among members of the press, and anyone who isn't afraid is sent packing.

  123. [123] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    bush and clinton both did this to a lesser degree, and obama didn't have to because the press were generally in love with him.

  124. [124] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So, oil futures markets have put the price of oil at about NEGATIVE $36.00 ie. (-$36.00) for the first time. Too much supply, not enough places to put it.

    Next, the producers will pay somebody to take it off their hands as we are through the looking glass.

  125. [125] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    it's corporate control of the fourth estate that permits the de facto blacklisting of any organization whose employee dares to ask donald a question he doesn't like.

    So, what is the remedy? I don't want to believe that PBS is a part of that so, don't tell me it is. :)

    that builds a culture of fear among members of the press, and anyone who isn't afraid is sent packing

    Well, they can't send ALL of them packing, can they?

  126. [126] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Besides, there have been a few flickers of hope coming from the WH reporters in the sense that they may have it in them to do better.

  127. [127] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Well, they can't send ALL of them packing, can they?

    when most are more concerned about their own jobs and families than they are about the integrity of their profession, it only takes a couple. which brings us back to the whole "why don't you get over your pneumonia and bring me my meatloaf" question.

    JL

  128. [128] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Great.

  129. [129] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    No, Joshua, I can't accept that answer.

  130. [130] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    nor should you, liz. nor should any of us. but here we are.

  131. [131] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What does that mean?

  132. [132] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    it means that it's easy to SAY a situation is unacceptable, but much more challenging to find a way to put that ethos into practice and make a change for the better.

  133. [133] 
    Kick wrote:

    JL
    72

    rum is often my spirit of choice as well.

    Best rum you've ever tasted? I'll go first:

    La Favorite Cuvée la Flibuste

    Oh... that rum.... it's good stuff. Pricey too but worth every dollar. :)

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