“What has happened in June, and what will happen in July, is entirely Trump’s fault. The president’s approach to the virus has been guided by his lifelong belief: It’s just as real to say you have done a good job as to do a good job.”
— David Frum, This Is Trump’s Plague Now.
By Dan Peak
Commoner Call (7/2/20)
Dear Fellow Readers,
Atlantic writer David Frum is right, we are suffering and it is Trump’s fault. It did not have to be this way. I will date myself here, but Uri Geller used to do spoon bending on late night television, Trump tries to willfully bend his lies into public approval. Maybe we shouldn’t blame him, it’s what got him here and it’s not like he elected himself.
So let’s start with a curve and you decide if this looks right to you.
— realNanmaJ (@j_nanma) July 1, 2020
Trump’s opinion-bending routine is an old act, overexposed, no longer holding the same level of attention, too many pointing out how the ‘trick’ works. His ‘abracadabra’ is ‘fake news’, it’s a ‘hoax’. But Trump suffers not only from over exposure, he’s got too many spinning plates in the air.
The US is setting a record for new confirmed coronavirus cases daily, June 30 was 48,365. Thirty-eight states and Puerto Rico report increasing number of cases. At the beginning of June the seven-day average for new cases was around 20,000, efforts to reopen too fast have resulted in a US coronavirus experience far worse than the heights of April.
Trump tried to mind-bend the curve warning us, “we can’t let the cure be worse than the problem”. It was a false choice supported by many Red state governors: Florida-DeSantis; Georgia-Kemp; Arizona-Ducey; Texas-Abbott. Those and more are now scrambling to put the genie back in the Covid-19 bottle. Except Florida, which could qualify as the state most out of control. Gov. Ron DeSanits – R, is already saying Florida is “not going back” on reopening. This while Dade County, Florida might be the worst county in the US for new daily confirmed cases.
The nation’s top infectious-diseases expert, Anthony Fauci, testified before Congress on Tuesday and offered, “We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around. And so I am very concerned.”
This earned Fauci an admonishment from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), “We just need more optimism.” This from the guy who while waiting for his COVID-19 test results (positive) lunched with fellow Senators and swam in the Senate pool.
Trump’s ‘Abracadabra’ about the cure being worse than the problem was meant to have us accept reopening so we didn’t suffer an even worse economic crash – after all, how is Trump to be reelected if he can’t run on the economy? But how do you reopen if you’re just feeding the beast of the pandemic. Investment bank Goldman Sachs said this week, you do a few intelligent things:
“A face mask mandate could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP,” the team, led by the company’s chief economist Jan Hatzius, wrote.”
But the same day that statement was made, the next daily update from the same Washington Post summary noted that in Milton, Florida the city council voted to rescind an emergency order to require face masks in public. Mayor Heather Lindsay told a mostly unmasked crowd that the decision was a disappointment:
“It is a sad state of affairs today that there is so much passion around personal liberties; if that same passion were applied to preventing the spread of this disease, imagine where we could be.”
Another voice of reason pointing out how ludicrous Trump’s false economic choice is, the Federal Reserve issued this outlook:
“Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell has repeatedly said that the path out of this recession will depend on containing the virus and giving Americans the confidence to resume normal work and spending habits. But the notes from the two-day meeting reveal how interconnected Fed officials view a prolonged economic recession with the pandemic’s continued spread.”
Yep, contain the spread, then focus on the economy. I am not ignoring the challenge this represents to the average American, the design of proper government financial support and economic stimulus is beyond my scope but I’ll just say that it could be done properly and it has not. Right now I can’t tell if a line of cars are waiting at a food line or waiting for drive-through coronavirus testing, they look the same.
We deserve better. We need better.
There are many large and small, related and somewhat related news items.
Once again the pandemic is competing for news time and national attention against yet another Trump failure. As news broke about intelligence reports known for months that Russia was paying the Taliban bounties for the deaths of US soldiers in Afghanistan Trump spent the weekend golfing and retweeting white supremacist chants, he said nothing. Back in the office he gathered some Republicans for briefing but with no Democrats present; in other words, to get the story right.
The message Trump and the Trumpsters settled on was the standard go-to: ‘Hoax’.
Trump not only ignores the warning about Russian hostilities, he invites Putin to the next G7 meeting.
You might wonder, when are the Trumpsters going to say ‘enough’. Don’t count on it. The Republican Senate stripped language from the annual approval of the National Defense Authorization Act that would have required political campaigns to report foreign election help.
Something we WISH we had for Wisconsin, Oklahoma passes Medicaid by ballot initiative expanding coverage to 200,000 people.
Politico offers a snapshot of the status of Operation Warp Speed and the rush to a COVID-19 vaccine. Let’s just say, it’s ‘cautionary’ while also laying out the trade-offs for what we are working on (a vaccine) at the expense of what we’re not working on as hard (therapeutics).
“The perception of the vaccine politics is damaging,” said a former Trump HHS administration official. “If they approve one quickly, people are going to be skeptical.”
“The White House has consistently looked for magic solutions — hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, now vaccines — but that’s not how it works,” added virologist Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. “Our first Operation Warp Speed vaccines may only be partially protective and reduce severity of illness, which is important, but may not prevent disease or interrupt transmission.”
Health and Human Services issued a statement saying, “The president has made it abundantly clear that this is the team that can get it done.”
There is a Senate subcommittee hearing on today for those wanting to know more.
One final piece. It’s not possible to summarize, but there is a body of analysis now building describing how the coronavirus attacks the human body.
Coronavirus autopsies: A story of 38 brains, 87 lungs and 42 hearts
The subhead is: What we’ve learned from the dead that could help the living.
Imagine his White House spokesperson defending Trump by offering an assurance that he “can read”. The bar for Trump is now set that low. I’ve said this too many times, but it’s only going to get worse between now and the election.
Finally there are a few Republican voices endorsing wearing masks. But after so many months of politicizing and mocking masks, will they be able to bend that curve?