“World’s most dangerous man.”
— Trump niece Mary L. Trump describing her uncle Donald J. Trump in her forthcoming book.
New coronavirus cases in the U.S. soar to highest single-day total (over 36,000)
— Washington Post news alert (6/24/20)
By Dan Peak
Commoner Call (6/25/20)
Dear Fellow Readers,
Is there a global pandemic? Your answer may depend on who you listen to, but there are now 9.5 million confirmed cases in the world and almost a half million deaths. With 4% of the world’s population the U.S. represents about 25% of the cases (2.5 million) and 25% of the global death toll (125,000). The rest of the world is concerned enough about the U.S. failure to control the spread of the Coronavirus that the European Union is considering banning entry to persons from three countries – Russia, Brazil and the United States.
At the high point of the Coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., during April there were many days where the number of new cases reported exceeded 30,000. As of June 23 the number of new cases in the U.S exceeded 30,000 per day for four out of five days. Twenty-seven states are now seeing the increases in the number of cases and many of these, like Arizona, Texas and Florida, are seeing record numbers of daily cases. On Wednesday, June 24 the number was over 36,000.
Many countries started out as challenged as the U.S. but managed to reduce their number of cases to virtually zero. Countries like South Korea and Germany are relentlessly testing and move quickly to isolate areas reporting new cases. Earlier this week Germany announced they would impose a new lockdown in the northwest part of the country after 1,500 cases were confirmed at a meat processing plant. Trump declared meat processing plants vital services and states like Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska and Wisconsin carried on … with growing numbers of new cases.
While Trump is back in full denial mode, some GOP leadership has stepped up, I say with intentional sarcasm. While some hospitals in Texas and Arizona have more Coronavirus patients needing critical care than available ICU beds, Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R-TX) Texas authorities “temporarily suspended the alcohol permits of 12 bars for violating protocols”. Florida has taken equally ‘extreme’ steps but apparently the states of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey jointly announced travel advisory requiring a 14-day quarantine for visitors from nine states deemed to represent significant community spread.
A short video put out by a group call Really American provides a good strong dose of coronavirus reality … and the Trump administration’s’s completely bungled, amoral and increasingly deadly non-response.
Trump’s terrible Tulsa tirade
Before I get to Trump’s trip to Arizona it is worth noting that four days after Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the number of new cases hit a record high. In fairness, Tulsa and Oklahoma were seeing steep increases in cases ahead of Trump’s rally but that did not deter Trump from holding the rally. But Tulsa Mayor G.T. Barnum (R) quickly said the numbers resulted from small gatherings “such as weddings and funerals and to people failing to wear masks and keep social distance — rather than political rallies and protests.”
It is worth noting that the increase included a “133 percent rise in the 18-to-35 age range.” Also worth noting, two more of Trump’s campaign advance staff have tested positive bringing the total to eight.
Growing toll on the nation’s beleaguered health care workers
In addition to the reports of cases and deaths we have health care workers offering their own warnings. This can have mixed results, as we have “A nursing home (Nashoba Valley, MA) owned by Life Care Centers of America Inc. has fired one nurse and banned another from the premises after the two were quoted in a Reuters investigation detailing horrific conditions, a staff exodus and a botched management response to the facility’s deadly COVID-19 outbreak.”
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has been including reports from front-line nurses during her A-block; here is Nurse Melody Nunbaray-Ortiz providing such an update from Arizona. Listen here to her fears and emotions experiencing the challenges of patients facing death isolated from their families. Her story is not unique, another nurse talked about PTSD; these are the people trying to save the lives of Coronavirus victims. Stay with the video as Maddow describes the rise in the number of cases and the challenges with accessing testing in Arizona. And finally Maddow gets to Trump’s then-upcoming trip to Phoenix by way of Yuma. She points out that Yuma and El Centro, California — both not far from Phoenix — are having to transfer critical care Coronavirus patients to other hospitals to find ICU beds.
On June 24 Arizona reported that ICU beds were 88 percent full while also reporting the lowest number of new cases since June 15 at 1800. If you watched the Maddow video you heard her concerns about accessing testing in Arizona and now Trump’s government is announcing ending — ending — federal aid to testing facilities.
This is the state of affairs prior to Trump’s visit to Phoenix.
PBS reporter Stephanie Sy estimated that of the 3,000 persons at the Dream City megachurch 20% were wearing masks. I think that’s a very high estimate. This in spite of a newly announced Phoenix requirement for wearing masks or risking a $250 fine.
Trump hardly mentioned the Coronavirus but it was a topic of conversation with the media and attendees. Here’s some representative comments:
Tony Smith walked through the line passing out flyers for a protest against face masks planned for Wednesday in Scottsdale. She called the COVID-19 pandemic a “scamdemic” and said people who are worried about it can stay home.
“I will not wear a mask and that will be for health reasons, religious reasons, ethical reasons,” she said.
Chalena Grisby was trying to sell masks to people waiting in line. She hadn’t made many sales, and said she didn’t understand the opposition.
“If you can do something to help yourself and help other people, then just do it,” she said.
If you launch the article you can play a video that starts with attendee Cassidy Eiler extolling the virtues of being healthy and living your life. I tried to listen to the next guy wax on about the risk of Ozzie Ozbourne but I gave up.
If you consider the reports of Coronavirus spread you might imagine this would translate into acceptance of the pandemic by U.S. citizens. If you listen to friends, family or use social media we are exposed to a lot of people who do not believe — ‘scamdemic’ — or extoll the importance of their personal freedom.
We blow right by many forms of push back that we knew were never true. Coronavirus is more deadly than the flu, and sadly we now have the numbers to prove it. The Coronavirus is more communicable and more deadly. And no, the varying success of a flu vaccine or the absence of any prior COVID vaccine have no relevance to the potential for a possible future COVID-19 vaccine. If you willfully expose yourself to Coronavirus good on you, but if you think you’re contributing to general wellbeing by developing herd immunity you really should pay more attention.
It’s no wonder we suffer from confusion, and we are suffering. Trump exudes confusion like sweat in Phoenix on a 110 degree day. Trump has morphed back to telling us the Coronavirus “will fade away”:
“We’re very close to a vaccine and we’re very close to therapeutics, really good therapeutics,” Trump said Wednesday night in a television interview with Fox News. “But even without that, I don’t even like to talk about that, because it’s fading away, it’s going to fade away, but having a vaccine would be really nice and that’s going to happen.”
This goes with his ‘slow down’ testing directive. And by the way, while the White House wants us to believe he was joking, when asked, Trump declared, “I don’t kid”.
Lying and lying about the lying
So who ya gonna believe – the pandemic, Trump or his advisors who say you didn’t hear what you heard. Okay, that’s a bad choice. Given that the Washington Post has provided a chronology of the 60 times Trump downplayed the Coronavirus, it’s best to believe neither Trump nor his advisors, one is lying and the others are lying about the lying.
But I do believe Trump when he says he does not kid. I believe him when he campaigned with “Russia if you’re listening…”. I believe his admission of quid pro quo with Ukraine and his asking China to help get him reelected. I believe he got what he wanted, his own legal fixer, his own Roy Cohn, with personal attorney and attorney general William Barr who is dismantling every legal case against Trump or any supporter of Trump.
But to bring this to a close, I believe the title of Trump’s niece’s upcoming book – he is the MOST DANGEROUS PERSON IN THE WORLD.