By Dan Peak
The Commoner Call (3/9/20)
Dear Fellow Readers,
Truthfulness and real coronavirus information saves lives. Lies and downplaying risk puts lives at risk.
Between talking to people and paying attention to social media (Twitter mostly, much more focus on coronavirus) I see a concerning amount of opinions that discount the risk. To greatly oversimplify, one part of downplaying risk is a view that the news is a hoax; I wonder where anyone might have heard that?
A second part of downplaying coronavirus risk is a view that Trump is right to downplay risk though you’ll have to supply your own rationale for why that might be true. It’s not like you can overwhelm the virtually non-existent US capacity to test for the virus – you can’t overwhelm what doesn’t exist. Smugness might be unhelpful but the remark underscores the advantage truthfulness.
Our healthcare system has a finite capacity to test, treat and with the worst cases, access to Intensive Care (ICU) and respiratory ventilators. If this system is confronted by a panic, it cannot stand up and all will be made worse.
Save lives, get the right information, be prepared. If we all do this, we’ll all be better off.
Maybe I missed something about Trump’s plan but it doesn’t appear so…
Note, this argument over a deliberate choice to misinform us raged for “weeks”, and the debate finally came to a head – almost two weeks ago. A full month delay — or more — instead of preparing to protect the popuation.
“After weeks of conflicting signals from the Trump administration about the coronavirus, the government’s top health officials decided late last month that when President Trump returned from a trip to India (Feb. 25), they would tell him they had to be more blunt about the dangers of the outbreak.
“If he approved, they would level with the public.”
But Trump is unwilling to level with us:
“It’s going to all work out,” Mr. Trump said as recently as Thursday night. “Everybody has to be calm. It’s going to work out.”
Let’s consider this past Friday as a snapshot of the Trump coronavirus management plan.
“It will end,” Mr. Trump said during a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the headquarters of the federal government’s efforts to combat the virus. “People have to remain calm.”
Maybe Trump’s plan is simply built on faulty assumptions, or maybe if we listen, he gives us his real motivation, consider his remarks while at the CDC concerning the 3,533 persons on a cruise ship off the coast of California:
“They would like to have the people come off,” he said. “I would like to have the people stay... I would rather — because I like the numbers being where they are. I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault…”
Trump doesn’t “need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault (his fault)…”? Are people — fellow citizens — to needlessly die to protect Trump’s numbers? Really?
Trump says the numbers matter more than the people. Hear him for yourself and do note the Trump loyalist to Trump’s left, that is Center for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield.
Of course Republicans tell us that those on the left are publicizing coronavirus and this shouldn’t be about politics. But here is Trump calling Washington state governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) a “snake” while Redfield laughs. But being no fool, you can also watch Redfield introduce Trump, thanking him “for your decisive leadership”, adding, “that’s the most important thing I want to say”. Anticipating your question, Redfield’s experience includes a stint at Americans for a Sound AIDS/HIV policy, and anticipating again, that is a Christian group that said AIDS was “God’s judgment against homosexuals”.
The cruise ship in question, the Grand Princess, docks today. ABC news host George Stephanopoulos questioned Trump cabinet member Ben Carson, who when asked about the plan, said “they’re coming up with one” and when pushed, “it hasn’t been fully formulated”.
Am I being too alarmist? Am I ‘mountainizing’ a mole-hill just to falsely decry Trump incompetence?
As of Sunday the number of known coronavirus cases in New York rose to 89, most of which are traced to a single initial case outside New York City in Westchester only a few days ago.
“Anyone living in Lombardy and 14 other central and northern provinces will need special permission to travel. Milan and Venice are both affected.
“Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also announced the closure of schools, gyms, museums, nightclubs and other public venues across the whole country.”
The quarantine affects a quarter of the population of Italy, roughly the equivalent population of Wuhan or Manhattan, and note this concern:
“The health system is under immense strain in Lombardy, a northern region of 10 million people, where people are being treated in hospital corridors.”
I am not unfairly maligning Trump. Blind positivity is not a plan and is more a distraction from the awkwardness of Trump having shut down the National Security Council’s Office of Global Health Security and Biodefense (then under Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton) as well as proposing a 9% cut to the 2021 CDC budget.
Even more convincing, consider this prediction of what is possible:
“… as high as 96 million Americans infected with coronavirus, with those cases leading to 4.8 million hospitalizations and 480,000 deaths.”
The original article from Business Insider notes “the coronavirus outbreak in the US could push the healthcare system to its limits.”
Some say it’s just positivity so we don’t panic – but sadly it’s a Trump feature, not an anomaly. Consider this one unrelated but related final point.
“U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, overseeing a lawsuit brought by EPIC, a watchdog group, and BuzzFeed News, said he saw serious discrepancies between Barr’s public statements about Mueller’s findings and the public, partially redacted version of that report detailing the special counsel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
It is NOT NORMAL for a federal judge to register concerns that Trump’s personal attorney and attorney general William Barr misled us when he stepped in to spin his own Trump-positive view countering the serious concerns registered by Mueller of Trump and his campaign ‘welcoming’ Russian election interference to benefit him.
Benefit him – Trump. It’s not a mistake, it’s a feature – it’s at the core of Trump – we’re here for his benefit, not the other way around. It’s as if we’re all in some lesser way on the Grand Princess cruise ship while we await how our fates best serve how Trump looks.
NONE OF THIS IS NORMAL, because Trump is not normal.
Trump risks panic. Trump risks a panicked response that could unnecessarily lead to more persons dying.
Vote. Vote Against Trump. Trump Needs To Go. Trump is Dangerous.
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2020. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )