Strange defeat.
April 21, 2020 7:36 AM   Subscribe

"Every morning in the endless month of March, Americans woke up to find themselves citizens of a failed state." George Packer analyzes the Trump administration's many COVID-19 failures. (SLAtlantic)

"The leader he brings to mind is Marshal Philippe Pétain"

Packer previously.
posted by doctornemo (833 comments total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
 
If anything the comparison is unfair to Pétain. He was handed a shit sandwich by Lebrun: forced to deal with an impossible situation and with the memory of World War I firmly in mind, he decided collaboration was the best option. History has not been kind to him, perhaps fairly so, but it's unclear exactly what he should have done differently at that particular point in time.

In contrast, anyone with a functioning brain can see what Trump did wrong. There were no panzer divisions staring down at him and forcing him to surrender or sacrifice needless lives; Trump chose to sacrifice needless lives for no reason at all.

Pétain was a better leader on his worst day than Trump will ever be on his best.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:05 AM on April 21, 2020 [38 favorites]


that was a well-written and sad article
posted by growabrain at 9:19 AM on April 21, 2020 [9 favorites]


This situation really has highlighted just how pervasive the corruption is. I actually hadn't even realized Loffler was an appointment earlier in the year! She scammed her constituents and threw us all under the bus in under a month after not even being elected!! (Just imagine the !'s go on for like 4 pages. Let's not lose our capacity for shock.) It's unreal and I don't really think our political system as it is currently conceived can handle this. Boy this is some shit. I feel more optimistic about Trump losing than I did last time around but I'm not sure if it will be fast enough. So much damage has been done. It's fractal, anything you examine is broken. Maybe he ordered someone to make the last kick that finally busted the glass, he didn't start all of this destruction, but it really is pervasive. It's easy to laugh about the staffing official who hasn't graduated college yet but those are the people who have been reorganizing every aspect of the government they can get their hands on for almost a full term now.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:43 AM on April 21, 2020 [20 favorites]


Trump acquired a federal government crippled by years of right-wing ideological assault, politicization by both parties, and steady defunding.

Really not in the mood for your shit, The Atlantic. I find it galling how eager this piece is to throw in little "both-sides" jabs like this, when it never once stops to criticize the national news media that propelled Trump to the presidency in the first place. Even Fox News gets away unmentioned.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 10:01 AM on April 21, 2020 [59 favorites]


Civilians took out their sewing machines to try to keep ill-equipped hospital workers healthy and their patients alive.

Not just civilians: Soldiers Use Parachute-Mending Skills to Sew Coronavirus Surgical Masks, Military.com, 4/9/2020.
posted by cenoxo at 10:01 AM on April 21, 2020 [6 favorites]


We can pick out bits to quibble, but man does the central thesis land like a sledgehammer to the gut.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 10:14 AM on April 21, 2020 [15 favorites]


In my fantasy of today's briefing:

Q: President Trump, last month you boldly took the initiative as President to advise Americans to use hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment. Recently, physicians and researchers at Veteran Administration hospitals reported that their use of the drug on several hundred coronavirus patients resulted in an [PDF] increase in fatalities. Do you have any comment on your personal responsibility for people dying because of your bad advice?

This didn't and won't happen...I just wish it would.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:00 AM on April 21, 2020 [32 favorites]


I don't dispute the central thesis -- I've been calling the US a failed state since I knew what that was -- but it's funny the way the country's central mythologies shape the ideas of even its harshest critics*. Like, the most central myth of all, that anyone can "make it" in America, has exploitation -- of resources and fellow citizens -- baked right into it. "Making it" in America -- in capitalism in general, of which America is the avatar -- means finding a way to take more than your share. Division and exploitation are at the heart of the American Dream.

(This reminds me a bit of the discussion on masculinity, and in particular the phrase, "be a man." You have to ask, "which positive characteristics of manhood, would not also be positive characteristics of womanhood?" There are none, really. In the same way, the positive things about America exist elsewhere, often in greater abundance, while the negative things about America are often uniquely American.)

The author places the turning points at the election of Reagan or 9/11 or the financial collapse of 2008. Those are turning points, but the critical point is right at the formulation of the idea of America. These later events are symptoms and consequences.

There's a bit of "both sides do it" in this, but I gotta keep perspective. The Democrats are engaged in an identical project to the Republicans, which is to uphold those mythologies. Yeah, their methods are somewhat more rational. They at least give lip service to mitigating some of the side-effects of that project or, if I'm generous, interpret the mythologies slightly differently. And Sanders, who might be a "radical" in that limited context, is challenging some of those mythologies, but more to bend them than to break them. (I think he knows that: maybe evolution is preferable to revolution.)

Against the full span of place and history, Americans are more similar than they are different. There were many different ways to evolve as a nation but only one place to begin, and whatever forms America has taken it always carries the marks of its origin.

* And yes, I'm aware that my ideas are shaped by a set of mythologies also.
posted by klanawa at 11:32 AM on April 21, 2020 [22 favorites]


I find it galling how eager this piece is to throw in little "both-sides" jabs like this

I had to go back and look at the byline, because this sounds awfully Chait-y.
posted by witchen at 11:45 AM on April 21, 2020 [4 favorites]


I feel a small sense of relief just hearing someone giving voice to what I feel, so succinctly. I'm going to save this article. I want to be able to leave it, along with my Corona Virus Journal, as a record of what we were going through.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 2:37 PM on April 21, 2020 [4 favorites]


Democrats caved on Phase 3.5 relief. Utterly unconscionable.

Just abdicating any power to draft legislation and set baseline priorities on popular issues like rent relief, hazard pay, or remote voting and dare the Republicans to look obstructive by opposing.

We were told over and over again by Democratic leadership that passing messaging bills was more of a priority than thorough oversight on the administration's corruption and criminality, up to and including rushing a narrowly-focused impeachment through a short time window so they could get back to passing bills that were DOA in the Senate.

And now, when messaging bills could actually do some good, they're not even doing that.

It is shocking.
posted by Gadarene at 2:59 PM on April 21, 2020 [7 favorites]


Yeah, those Democrat party people are the worst...

You seem to have a serious axe to grind.

Because everything you've posted lately has been about how terrible the Democrats are. Which feels a bit off, given who is in charge.
posted by Windopaene at 3:16 PM on April 21, 2020 [24 favorites]


I take it as given that the sociopaths in charge of the Republicans will actively work to worsen the lives of everyone who is not white, male, and wealthy. You will find no one who hates them all more than I do. Kavanaugh broke me.

And so I want MY party--the opposition party, the only one we have--to fight for those who don't have the resources to effectively fight for themselves in this, a time of unparalleled and urgent national crisis. I want my party to give people who can't afford lobbyists some kind of voice as they lose their livelihoods, their homes, and their lives. I want my party to demonstrate some sense of leadership as the ship of state is demonstrably being run aground by cruel, corrupt criminals.

I want them to try. It is so important that they need to at least try.
posted by Gadarene at 4:06 PM on April 21, 2020 [24 favorites]


i am not affiliated with either party.
have been disappointed by democrats if only because i hope they'll do more/better.
am not disappointed by republicans in that way because i already think the worst of them; as a class they rarely fail to live up (down?) to my expectations.
that said, i have been very satisfied, if not downright impressed, during this ordeal, by my governor, a republican.
posted by 20 year lurk at 4:19 PM on April 21, 2020 [4 favorites]


It occurs to me that if Trump wins in November, the only plan within which I'm willing to be a Democrat is to work to put AOC up for President in 2028, and win. However, I feel that if Biden loses, Republicans are going to start hammering on every non-center politician within striking distance of any authority that isn't bestowed by seniority, precisely to hamstring anybody effective from being in the mix in both '24 and '28.

You seem to have a serious axe to grind.

I know what your point is here, but, per the fallacy of relative privation, Trump being bad isn't going to be enough for him to lose, and we are seeing that the Dems do not appear to be inclined to use legislative muscle. I'm getting a little worn out from keeping the faith that, this time, they're going to play a co-equal branch. Oh, they didn't? Well, maybe that means they have a REALLY big hammer to swing...later...[time passes] Dammit@!

I can't think they're cowed from the impeachment experience and criticism, but the despair is starting to reek. It doesn't feel like Dems as Dems have much to feel hopeful about right now.
posted by rhizome at 4:20 PM on April 21, 2020 [5 favorites]


The Democratic party is not a true opposition party. It is not a party that rejects lobbyists, or one that opposes big business. There may be serious disagreements with the Republican party on a wide variety of issues, but at the end of the day don't we have to admit that the Democratic Party leaders are not Charlie Brown attempting to kick the football? These are intelligent, powerful people who know exactly what they're doing and who they work for. The real Charlie Browns are the Democratic party voters who keep thinking the Democrats will finally stand up for the little guy and oppose corporate domination.
posted by chaz at 4:22 PM on April 21, 2020 [30 favorites]




Agreed. And I want to see the Democrats doing better. But post after post of how terrible the Democratic Party is started wearing on my nerves, and making me question the poster's intent. Because "unconcienable" and "disappointing" have very different contexts in my mind.
posted by Windopaene at 4:26 PM on April 21, 2020 [11 favorites]


It could also be partially an effect of every job looks easier than it is, and possibly these people in some cases know some things that you don't and can't always do what you imagine you would do from your if-I-was-in-charge daydream?

I'm as disappointed as anyone else, but come on now. If you've got the secret, run for congress.
posted by ctmf at 5:28 PM on April 21, 2020 [9 favorites]


I'm tired of the corporatist non-Nazi's telling me that if I don't vote for them the Nazi's will win. Come on, non-Nazi's, give me a reason to vote for you.
posted by benzenedream at 5:46 PM on April 21, 2020 [5 favorites]


Because they aren't Nazis seems like a good reason.

But, everyone in a circle, ready, aim, fire!
posted by Windopaene at 6:05 PM on April 21, 2020 [34 favorites]


Most rate Trump’s coronavirus response negatively and expect crowds will be unsafe until summer, Post-U. Md. poll finds (WaPo)
A majority say it could be June or later before it will be safe for larger gatherings to take place again, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.
Senate Approves Aid for Small-Business Loan Program, Hospitals and Testing (Emily Cochrane and Jim Tankersley, NYT)
At the insistence of Democrats, the measure would provide $25 billion for testing and a mandate that the Trump administration establish a national strategy to help states and localities, which are required to outline their own plans for testing. It is a step that public health experts and governors have said will be crucial to allowing states and sectors of the economy to safely reopen in the weeks and months to come, although economists and health researchers say the funding is a fraction of what will ultimately be necessary to deploy the kind of testing and tracing that will be needed to restart large amounts of activity by the summer.

That provision — which the White House and Republican leaders had initially resisted — was one of a host of concessions that Democrats won during more than a week of intense negotiations in which they demanded that the money for the small-business loan program be coupled with funds for other urgent needs. [...] Even as he hailed the agreement, Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, said it should have contained far more for states and localities that are struggling under the burdens of the pandemic.

“The efforts of individual states or individual citizens — heroic as they are — will not be enough, and we dare not abandon them in these dark times,” he said. “The American people need their government. They need their government to act strongly, boldly and wisely.”
posted by katra at 7:01 PM on April 21, 2020 [3 favorites]


AOC can, if she wants, run for President in 2024, as she'll be 35 years old by Inauguration Day on January 20, 2025.
posted by fragmede at 7:03 PM on April 21, 2020 [3 favorites]


US Senate passes $500bn small-business aid package (Guardian)
Congressman Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, [...] said the House will also vote on a proposal to allow proxy voting during the pandemic, a first for Congress, which has required in-person business essentially since its founding. But as the Trump administration pushes to reopen the economy, the landmark rules change met with objections from Republicans. “I don’t support it at all,” said Clay Higgins, a Louisiana congressman and one of a handful of Republicans who showed up for Tuesday’s pro forma session to protest against proxy votes.
House should conduct proxy voting during pandemic, key Democrat recommends (WaPo, Apr. 16, 2020)
The proposal from House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) represents a break with 230 years of tradition but responds to widespread calls among lawmakers for a safer option as public health officials continue to recommend Americans shelter at home — and after several in their ranks contracted the novel coronavirus, which causes covid-19.
posted by katra at 7:25 PM on April 21, 2020 [3 favorites]


The New Coronavirus Relief Bill Is a Disappointment (Jordan Weissmann, Slate; April 21, 2020) • "For no good reason, it falls far short of what we need to prevent a depression."
[...] The Senate passed a new, $484 billion “interim” relief bill on Tuesday night, which will provide more money for struggling small businesses and hospitals while setting aside funding for a national testing effort—all good things. But the bill fails to address other immediate and crucial problems, such as collapsing state budgets that are threatening to further cripple the economy, as well some more distant but key issues, like ensuring people can actually vote in November.

[The most obvious explanation for this] is that national Republicans mean what they say and simply oppose many of the things that seem obviously necessary to fight this virus and prevent a depression, and that our president is a nihilist mostly interested in deflecting political blame while he tries to prematurely open the economy. ... And so Democrats have been forced to bargain for the bare bones of a pandemic response. ... We only have one responsible political party in the United States. And deals like this are the disappointing, maddening results.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:40 PM on April 21, 2020 [5 favorites]


The New York Times Can’t Stop Pretending Trump Is a Normal President (Tom Scocca, Slate; April 21, 2020)

In reference to an anti-immigrant tweet on 4/20/2020:
There was, as usual, no actual executive order. Migration into the country has already been largely shut down through the concerted action and inaction of a bureaucracy and police apparatus that shares the president’s hostility and contempt toward immigration and naturalization. The tweet was simply to repeat the message that immigrants are not welcome here, though it was dressed up in the idea of executive action.
So, fake news, NYTimes style.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:47 PM on April 21, 2020 [9 favorites]


Here We Go: Trump Has Started Accusing the Dems of Stealing the 2020 Election (David Corn, Mother Jones; 4/21/2020) • "And his campaign is shamelessly fundraising off this lie."
[Last week], Trump’s campaign sent out an email from him soliciting contributions for his reelection effort and made a dangerous accusation: the 2020 election cannot be trusted. The first line of the email [reads], “It’s no secret that the Democrats are trying to steal the Election out from under me.” The letter asserts that Democrats have “been plotting against me from the very beginning” and are deploying “fraud” to “rig the game” because “they know they can’t beat me at the ballot box.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:52 PM on April 21, 2020 [5 favorites]


Ok, then let's invite an international election watchdog to rate our election on legitimacy! Didn't think so.
posted by ctmf at 8:55 PM on April 21, 2020 [6 favorites]


abbott labs' id-now test machine may produce false negative result if "viral transport medium" is used with samples. the company began informing health care providers and fda last week. cnn article notes company paperwork filed with fda to support the emergency use authorization claimed it works with several specified viral transport media. normal approval channels likely would have detected such an issue.
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:57 PM on April 21, 2020 [7 favorites]


Republicans Are Desperate for Another Tea Party Movement (Nancy LeTourneau; Washington Monthly; April 21, 2020) • "Have they found one in the recent lockdown protests?"
A lot of people think that this new protest movement is bigger than it actually is because the news media has become obsessed with it, as Eric Boehlert documented.
So, literally speaking, no.
None of this is to suggest that Trump’s supporters lack angst or enthusiasm. That is a given. But even 72 percent of Republicans say that Americans should continue “social distancing” measures. That doesn’t sound like a Tea Party revolt to me.
Sounds like artificial dramatic tension by news media.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:11 PM on April 21, 2020 [11 favorites]


That Tom Scocca article is truly excellent.
posted by Gadarene at 9:19 PM on April 21, 2020


Also not helping - media outlets closing due to epic drops in advertising revenue.

Coronavirus continues to take its toll on the media industryColumbia Journalism Review, Mathew Ingram, 4/20/2020
The media industry wasn’t exactly known for having excess cash flow even before the virus arrived, which means many outlets were already living on borrowed time. COVID-19 has only sped up their inevitable demise. What comes next remains unknown.
The Coronavirus Is A Media Extinction EventBuzzfeed News, Craig Silverman, 3/23/2020
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:21 PM on April 21, 2020 [2 favorites]


And I think folks aren't going to buy it, for the most part. Just got off my soccer team's weekly virtual happy hour, and no one thought we would be playing again anytime soon, regardless of what orders are in place or not. Until people feel safe being around other people, they just aren't going back to normal.

Except for those who are already willing to go protest because the hair salon is closed...
posted by Windopaene at 9:29 PM on April 21, 2020 [2 favorites]


Re: The media.

I'd care a lot more if even reputable sites like CNN didn't have garbage "sponsored links" at the bottom of every coronavirus news story, every one of which looks like click-baity "you wouldn't believe the best way to fight coronavirus" nonsense. Or the Seattle Times daily COVID-19 update pages crashing every time I try to read it, (my iPad is really old, but I'm pretty sure it's the garbage ads needing to load).
posted by Windopaene at 9:35 PM on April 21, 2020 [9 favorites]


When you see maps of the governors' partnerships like this being displayed on mainstream news in the morning...it's thought-provoking. These are structures that are being built because the federal government can't or won't do its job. Other structures are being built to take its place.

It isn't a rebellion in and of itself, more of an initial pre-warning sign that the current structures could break, and if it does, this is a potential way it could start.

I wouldn't predict that the formalities of the United States would fall apart for a long time. I'd expect that public figures will make a show of saluting a 50-star flag long past the point when it has any meaning. But the power that's wielded by those individuals could be wielded in very different ways, and the real centers of power could shift.

When Attorney General Barr sends out a volley of threats against the governors related to "reopenings" -- he doesn't care about the rule of law generally, and he certainly doesn't care about rural nail salons. He cares about whether his bosses will call the shots or not. He's siding with Trump's corporate handlers against Newsom and Pritzker and Cuomo.
posted by gimonca at 3:57 AM on April 22, 2020 [13 favorites]


Anti-malarial drug Trump touted is linked to higher rates of death in VA coronavirus patients, study says — Patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic combination received no benefit in rates of death or in use of a ventilator; Washington Post, Christopher Rowland, 4/21/2020:
An anti-malarial drug President Trump has aggressively promoted to treat covid-19 had no benefit and was linked to higher rates of death for Veterans Affairs patients hospitalized with the novel coronavirus, according to a study, raising further questions about the safety and efficacy of a treatment that has seen widespread use in the pandemic.

The study [medrxiv.org PDF] by VA and academic researchers analyzed outcomes of 368 male patients nationwide, with 97 receiving hydroxychloroquine, 113 receiving hydroxychloroquine in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin, and 158 not receiving any hydroxychloroquine.

Rates of death in the groups treated with the drugs were worse than those who did not receive the drugs, the study found. Rates of patients on ventilators were roughly equal, with no benefit demonstrated by the drugs....
Sudden death from cardiac arrest remains a side effect, and clinical trials are necessary before the drug is prescribed.
posted by cenoxo at 4:58 AM on April 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson, 4/21/2020

On Georgia allowing specific categories of businesses to open Friday:
[Governor] Kemp told reporters that his concern was to protect small businesses, hurt by the economic shutdown, but [George] Chidi had a different interpretation. “It’s about making sure people can’t file unemployment,” he wrote.

The state’s unemployment fund has about $2.6 billion. The shutdown has made claims skyrocket—Chidi says the fund will empty in about 28 weeks. There is no easy way to replenish the account because Georgia has recently set a limit on income taxes that cannot be overridden without a constitutional amendment. It cannot borrow enough to cover the fund either, because by law Georgia can’t borrow more than 5% of its previous year’s revenue in any year, and any borrowing must be repaid in full before the state can borrow any more.

By ending the business closures, Kemp guarantees that workers can no longer claim they are involuntarily unemployed, and so cannot claim unemployment benefits. Chidi notes that the order did not include banks, software firms, factories, or schools. It covered businesses usually staffed by poorer people that Kemp wants to keep off the unemployment rolls.
See: Dear Decaturish – Governor’s decision to reopen businesses is political murder (George Chidi, Decaturish.com)
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:10 AM on April 22, 2020 [33 favorites]


Las Vegas hit hardest of major tourism markets during COVID-19 shutdown (Greg Haas, KLAS, 4/21/2020)

Las Vegas mayor: Reopen casinos, let the ones with the most infections then close (Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 4/22/2020)
“Assume everybody is a carrier," [Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman] said to MSNBC on Tuesday. "And then you start from an even slate. And tell the people what to do. And let the businesses open and competition will destroy that business if, in fact, they become evident that they have disease, they’re closed down. It’s that simple.”

The perspective left MSNBC host Katy Tur visibly dumbfounded. While Goodman said she took direction from Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, the mayor’s plan, described by Tur as “a modern-day survival of the fittest,” was in fact the exact opposite of what he advises.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:01 AM on April 22, 2020 [9 favorites]




Well, OPM director is a political patronage job, appointed by Trump, so at least he is not being hypocritical. He's just advocating for the same low standards by which he acquired his own job.
posted by JackFlash at 8:11 AM on April 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


abbott labs' id-now test machine may produce false negative result if "viral transport medium" is used with samples. In Study Raises Questions About False Negatives From Quick COVID-19 Test (NPR, April 21, 2020), Abbott's not the only rapid-result test with issues:

ID NOW only detected the virus in 85.2% of the samples, meaning it had a false-negative rate of 14.8 percent, according to Dr. Gary Procop, who heads COVID-19 testing at the Cleveland Clinic and led the study. [...] The hospital also stopped using another test, called the DiaSorin Simplexa, because it only detected 89.3% of infections in his study, Procop said.

The Cleveland Clinic plans to rely on other tests that performed better in the study, Procop said. That includes the test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which detected 100% of positive samples. Another test, made by Roche, detected 96.5% of positive samples. The fifth test in the study, made by Cepheid, detected 98.2% of infected samples, Procop said. The Cepheid test produces results in less than an hour.
--

If you'll recall, "As communities across the country desperately seek access to emerging rapid-turnaround covid-19 tests, one place already using them is the White House, where guests visiting President Trump and Vice President Pence have been required to undergo the exams since last week. [...] White House visitors said they have been administered the test developed by Abbott Laboratories at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the complex across the street from the West Wing where Pence has an office and the staff of the National Security Council is based." (To protect Trump, White House among first to use rapid coronavirus tests sought by communities, WaPo, April 3, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:20 AM on April 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


You may remember that Trump highlighted the Abbott test machine in one of his press conferences. He theatrically opened the colorful retail box and then held up the little machine and displayed it to the audience extolling its features like he was on the Home Shopping Network. It's all reality TV for Trump.

Then it turns out that the Abbott test is the least reliable. Just like the chloroquine. Or the masks. Or the handshakes. Or the re-opening. It's like Trump is the ultimate anti-physician. Whatever he recommends is the precise opposite of what you need to do to stay alive.
posted by JackFlash at 8:35 AM on April 22, 2020 [21 favorites]


Holy crap, OPM director opposes the very concept of a professional civil service, wants to go back to the "spoils system" where your mailman, park ranger, and weather forecaster get their jobs as political patronage

One of the problems with Democratic messaging is that with this as so many other conservative ideas, they aren't pushing back with We tried that already, and it didn't work then either.
posted by Gelatin at 8:39 AM on April 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


By ending the business closures, Kemp guarantees that workers can no longer claim they are involuntarily unemployed, and so cannot claim unemployment benefits.

No, but it is similar to Georgia's attempt to ban abortion - it can only accomplish a GOP political objective by trying to scare people away from the rights they still have. Abortion was never banned in Georgia, and Kemp has not guaranteed anything about what workers can claim. In the other thread, I linked to resources for Unemployment Insurance, and links about the risk of personal injury litigation for businesses that put workers at risk.
posted by katra at 8:41 AM on April 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


it is similar to Georgia's attempt to ban abortion - it can only accomplish a GOP political objective by trying to scare people away from the rights they still have.

I agree with Chidi's analysis, but it's worth noting that conservatives derive a double benefit from maneuvers like these -- they're bound to get sued, which means they either get to fundraise over the lawsuit (and create perceptions they're the victims), or they might draw a friendly judge -- up to and including SCOTUS now, thank you very much -- and actually win.
posted by Gelatin at 8:45 AM on April 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


At the close of the March 17th Corona Task Force WH briefing, several people address "Joe Biden said, “The World Health Organization offered testing kits that they had available to the United States and to give it to us now. We refused it. We didn’t want to buy them.” PolitiFact says the WHO never made that offer. Can you tell us what actually happened?"

DR. BIRX: Yeah, so I tried to cover this in the answer when I talked about quality of kits. And our quality analysis runs through the FDA. So all of these platforms, we have asked people to submit. And we’ve asked states to quality control. So, I mean, the — anybody could submit their test to us. We don’t buy tests that haven’t been quality controlled and they show us the data. Either show us the data upfront or show us the data after they’ve been running them. [...]

THE PRESIDENT: Good answer. That’s a good answer. Would you have something on that?

ADMIRAL GIROIR: I’m just going to emphasize a little bit more on that. When I became involved in the testing world, I called as senior officials at the WHO as I could find to understand what the situation was. And as far as I can tell from sources that should know, no one ever offered a test that we refused.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s what I heard too.

ADMIRAL GIROIR: This was a — this is a research-grade test, right? Research-grade test that was never submit- —

SECRETARY AZAR: It was not approved.

ADMIRAL GIROIR: Not approved, not submitted to the FDA, that was supplied in tens of thousands of quantities to 100 countries in the world, okay? So I think there’s a lot that people are saying about this that’s just based on rumor and myth. Nothing was offered that we refused. It was a research test that was not approved. And again, there was a small number that we have greatly surpassed in a very short period of time.

THE PRESIDENT: So, number one, nothing was offered. Number two, it was a bad test. Otherwise, it was wonderful.
--
[Abbott's ID NOW was FDA approved 10 days later.]
--
April 13, 2020 update on ID NOW, Abbott's corporate newsroom: Through Saturday, April 11, we have shipped 566,000 of our rapid ID NOW tests to all 50 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico and the Pacific Islands. The majority of these tests have been sent to outbreak hotspots and we've asked that customers prioritize frontline health care workers and first responders. We're currently manufacturing 50,000 tests per day, plan to increase ID NOW manufacturing capacity to 2 million tests a month by June and are working to expand beyond that.

We have shipped more than 1 million tests to customers across the U.S. We're also shipping these tests to customers throughout the world.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:04 AM on April 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


Anti-malarial drug Trump touted is linked to higher rates of death in VA coronavirus patients, study says

The attack ad for this is very simple: Trump's drug killed veterans.
posted by jedicus at 9:08 AM on April 22, 2020 [14 favorites]


> Chidi also appears to simplify how Unemployment Insurance actually works, and my concern is that the people he talks about being most at risk from Kemp's action, and particularly people who lack access to health insurance and health care, will also assume that the reopening of business means that they have no rights, when it otherwise appears that they need to seek free legal assistance to help navigate a system that is not that simple.

I think it is more protective to characterize Kemp's action as an attempt to make workers think that they can no longer claim UI, and I think it is important to avoid making broad generalizations about legal rights without consulting with local attorneys with experience in how these actions actually impact eligibility for UI. The initial legal responses to attempts to deny UI will come at an administrative level, and it will take awhile for the cases to percolate into the courts, but people need to first know that they have rights and to contact free legal assistance for that to happen.
posted by katra at 9:15 AM on April 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


emergency use authorization is not approval.

data may support the former (although the authorization letter typically acknowledges insufficient data for approval and requires that data be collected from the field during the period of authorized emergency use); broad data, submitted and scrutinized by clinical and statistical experts, is generally required for the latter. (for diagnostic devices, see section 501(k) of the food drug and cosmetic act)

this something members of the task force should be informed about and as to which the media could do a lot better.

i do not have a strong impression about giroir's veracity (but by the company he keeps). i do have a strong impression of birx routinely misrepresenting numbers to reach or imply misleading conclusions, and of azar, without the qualifications or the reputation to squander, that, evidently, birx enjoyed.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:27 AM on April 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


the proper rejoinder to azar's "it was not approved" is that neither was abbott's or cehpeid's or anybody else's test "approved."
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:31 AM on April 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


Adam Jentleson:

Democrats who are somehow still hesitant to go big for political reasons should watch this.

Truly incredible video (lots of swearing, but if one-tenth of this sense of urgency and rage could be conveyed by our politicians right now on behalf of the working class, we would be so much better off -- people are hurting, and it would actually be politically popular to propose bold policy to acknowledge that!)
posted by Gadarene at 9:40 AM on April 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


that citation, of course, should have read, section 510(k), not 501(k) (see); mea culpa.

and such devices are "cleared" not "approved," when fda review has been satisfactorily navigated, although not in the case of emergency use authorization, when they are merely authorized, not cleared or approved, and fda has not reviewed such data as clearance would require.

/pedant (not meaning to pick on you Iris Gambol, but on those task force members you're quoting, in case not clear; have alienated more than one friend harping on this topic over recent weeks).
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:40 AM on April 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


Dozens of coronavirus antibody tests on the market were never vetted by the FDA, leading to accuracy concerns (WaPo, Apr. 19, 2020)
On Thursday, during an interview with Washington Post Live, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said “people should be very cautious” about tests that have not undergone the rigorous process of getting emergency use authorization from the agency. [...] In mid-March, the FDA, wanting to ensure quick access to serological tests, said manufacturers could sell them after validating results themselves and simply notifying the agency. The labels on the products must state they aren’t FDA-approved or meant to be used as the sole basis for diagnosing active infections. The agency lists on its website the companies and laboratories that have submitted those notifications. In response to concerns the list might be seen as an endorsement, the agency updated its website to make clear which tests are authorized by the FDA and which aren’t, Hahn said.
posted by katra at 10:25 AM on April 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


Here's the second half of that video. Extraordinary.

And I think there's a significant truth behind Jamelle Bouie's hyperbole here:

no joke, this guy — a middle-aged white man with blue collar affect demand more support for ordinary families — would win 500 electoral college votes and a 10 point landslide

I absolutely believe that a Biden campaign predicated on the need for urgent financial relief and structural reform, in this time of crisis, in favor of working families and against the wealthy would gain tremendous popular support. People both want and need these things. And they need leaders willing to fight to get them.
posted by Gadarene at 11:01 AM on April 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


U.S. Adversaries Are Accelerating, Coordinating Coronavirus Disinformation, Report Says (WSJ)
The State Department has assessed that Russia, China and Iran are mounting increasingly intense and coordinated disinformation campaigns against the U.S. relating to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, according to an internal report. All three countries are using state-controlled media, social media and government agencies and officials to disseminate information to domestic audiences and global audiences alike that denigrates the U.S. and spreads false accounts, the State Department report says. [...] One of the aims behind the accelerating effort has been to distract domestic audiences from poor public-health responses at home, according to the report, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
posted by katra at 11:22 AM on April 22, 2020 [3 favorites]




‘I’m not essential’: Boeing employees return to work despite pandemic (Guardian) (emphasis added)
In a letter sent to members of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) District 751, which represents about 32,000 Boeing machinists in the Puget Sound region, the union clarified that employees do have the option to stay home. If an employee is high-risk, needs to care for children, has a sick family member, or is simply worried about working at the facilities during the pandemic, they can use vacation, sick leave or excused leave without pay (LWOP), the letter explained. Some of these employees may also qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. But for those who will be returning, the letter stressed that they “have a right to a safe work environment and should be provided with all the proper personal protective equipment”.
posted by katra at 11:39 AM on April 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


A long Rolling Stone story by Jeff Goodell about how trump fucked it up

"How Donald Trump failed at the single most important task of the Oval Office: keeping the American people safe from harm"

This is sort of a post-9/11 received idea. It's kind of a 24-ish conception of the President. There is nothing about "keeping the American people safe from harm", as such, in the Oath of Office:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

So Trump failed at the single most important task of the Oval Office, according to the Oath, long before the current crisis.

I don't recall there being any language about it in the Constitution either. I suppose you could argue that the President's role as commander of the Armed Forces implies an obligation to keep the American people "safe from harm", but Article II does not seem, to me, to elevate this above the responsibility to execute the laws of the country, and to make it the most important obligation of the President. Whatever Madison and Hamilton et al. thought they were doing, surely they did not see themselves as designing a military dictatorship. This is why the lazy journalistic acquiescence in using "The Commander-In-Chief" as a sort of alternate name for "The President" alarms me so much.

Now maybe there is a generalized political expectation that the President should devote themself to keeping us safe, foremost, and maybe this is even entirely reasonable. Maybe the RS writer is just expressing their opinion that this is the most important task about the Presidency. But I am a little alarmed by any kind of rhetoric that construes the President as a super-Daddy who can, by force of will and personality, protect the country; it tends to promote dictatorship and to kind of just give up on the importance of the entire rest of the government. Congress and the Courts have, historically, surely done as much or more than Presidents to keep the country's people safe from harm; their submissiveness to Trump's corrupt and incompetent administration is, of course, a huge story.
posted by thelonius at 12:05 PM on April 22, 2020 [15 favorites]


AP-NORC poll: Few Americans support easing virus protections (AP)
Despite pockets of attention-grabbing protests, a new survey finds Americans remain overwhelmingly in favor of stay-at-home orders and other efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. [...] Only 12% of Americans say the measures where they live go too far. About twice as many people, 26%, believe the limits don’t go far enough. The majority of Americans — 61% — feel the steps taken by government officials to prevent infections of COVID-19 in their area are about right. About 8 in 10 Americans say they support measures that include requiring Americans to stay in their homes and limiting gatherings to 10 people or fewer — numbers that have largely held steady over the past few weeks.
Preamble to the US Constitution (Cornell LII)
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
posted by katra at 12:12 PM on April 22, 2020 [11 favorites]


A doctor says he was removed from his federal post after pressing for rigorous vetting of treatments embraced by Trump. (NYT)
The doctor who led the federal agency involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine said on Wednesday that he was removed from his post after he pressed for a rigorous vetting of a coronavirus treatment embraced by President Trump. [...] Dr. Rick Bright was abruptly dismissed this week as the director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, and as the deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response. Instead, he was given a narrower job at the National Institutes of Health. “I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the Covid-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit,” he said in a statement to The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman.

[...] In the statement, he said: “My professional background has prepared me for a moment like this — to confront and defeat a deadly virus that threatens Americans and people around the globe. To this point, I have led the government’s efforts to invest in the best science available to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. “Unfortunately, this resulted in clashes with H.H.S. political leadership, including criticism for my proactive efforts to invest early into vaccines and supplies critical to saving American lives,” he said. “I also resisted efforts to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections.” Dr. Bright, who is a career official, pointed specifically to the initial efforts to make chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine widely available before it was scientifically tested for efficacy with the coronavirus. “Specifically, and contrary to misguided directives, I limited the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which clearly lack scientific merit,” he said. [...]

“I will request that the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services investigate the manner in which this administration has politicized the work of BARDA and has pressured me and other conscientious scientists to fund companies with political connections and efforts that lack scientific merit,” he said. [...] Dr. Bright has hired the lawyers Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, who have a whistle-blower practice and are known in part for representing Christine Blasey Ford [...] In a statement, the lawyers called Dr. Bright’s change in position “retaliation plain and simple,” and said that they planned to ask the Office of Special Counsel to seek a stay of his termination from the position and that he eventually be restored to it after investigations.
posted by katra at 3:39 PM on April 22, 2020 [23 favorites]


Previously: Trump’s Aggressive Advocacy of Malaria Drug for Treating Coronavirus Divides Medical Community (Peter Baker, Katie Rogers, David Enrich and Maggie Haberman, NYT, Apr. 6, 2020)
Several generic drugmakers are gearing up to produce hydroxychloroquine pills, including Amneal Pharmaceuticals, whose co-founder Chirag Patel is a member of Trump National Golf Course Bedminster in New Jersey and has golfed with Mr. Trump at least twice since he became president, according to a person who saw them. Mr. Patel, whose company is based in Bridgewater, N.J., did not respond to a request for comment. Amneal announced last month that it would increase production of the drug and donate millions of pills to New York and other states. Other generic drugmakers are ramping up production, including Mylan and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

Roberto Mignone, a Teva board member, reached out to the team of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, through Nitin Saigal, who used to work for Mr. Mignone and is a friend of Mr. Kushner’s, according to people informed about the discussions. Mr. Kushner’s team referred him to the White House task force and Mr. Mignone asked for help getting India to ease export restrictions, which have since been relaxed, allowing Teva to bring more pills into the United States. Mr. Mignone, who is also a vice chairman of NYU Langone Health, which is running a clinical study of hydroxychloroquine, confirmed on Monday that he has spoken with the administration about getting more medicine into the country.
posted by katra at 3:58 PM on April 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


US coronavirus presence timeline reset: California’s quest to retrace the early steps of the coronavirus entered a new phase Wednesday after officials linked the death of a 57-year-old woman in early February to the virus. (NYT, April 22, 2020) The case suggests that the virus was in California as early as January, even though officials, hampered by limited testing capacity, did not identify cases of community spread until late February.

The woman’s case, weeks before any other known death, had piqued the interest of a local coroner in Santa Clara County. After further examination, local officials sent tissue samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing in mid-March, but the results, confirming a coronavirus diagnosis, did not come back until Tuesday. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said Wednesday that there could be “subsequent announcements” as investigations across California further examine the early origins of the virus. He said investigators were looking at coroner and autopsy reports going back to December in some counties.
--
The first US Covid-19-related death was thought to have happened in Seattle, on February 26. This woman was an employee of a Silicon Valley manufacturing company; she developed symptoms on Sunday, February 2 and died at home on Thursday, February 6. "Another previously unconnected death in Santa Clara County, on Feb. 17, has also now been linked to the coronavirus."
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:04 PM on April 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


Trump’s Aggressive Advocacy of Malaria Drug for Treating Coronavirus Divides Medical Community

"Divides"? What, between those who stand to profit, and those who care about safety and effectiveness?

Like, what "medical community" is for this?
posted by ctmf at 4:35 PM on April 22, 2020 [10 favorites]


"Divides"? What, between those who stand to profit, and those who care about safety and effectiveness?

Like, what "medical community" is for this?


This reminds me of a recent Twitter exchange where someone was taking the Times to task for a typically bad headline, and Nate Silver responded to the effect of, "Don't worry about the headline. It's the substance of the article that matters."

Yeah...an enormous percentage of people read only headlines on most articles. Headlines shape what people think and believe about the world. Nate Silver knows nothing about behavioral and cognitive science.

Headlines matter a HELL of a lot, and the Times consistently fails at presenting an accurate factual picture with them.

Your example there is a case in point.
posted by Gadarene at 4:50 PM on April 22, 2020 [12 favorites]


Trump Can’t Play Politics With Aid to States (Christine Kwon, Erica Newland, Kristy Parker, Lawfare)
The national fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus demands a leader who can take charge of and defeat a grave threat, and who can put partisan politics aside to create a shared sense of national purpose. Instead, President Trump appears to be making—and is certainly threatening to make—decisions about how vital medical equipment should be distributed to states based at least in part on political considerations. But, as we will explain in more detail below, the Constitution forbids the Trump administration from allocating federal resources needed in the fight against the coronavirus to states based on politics or patronage. The Take Care Clause requires the president to act for the benefit of all Americans, not just political allies. The Tenth Amendment prevents the president from conditioning states’ receipt of federal aid on their governors’ fealty to his administration. The Fifth Amendment prohibits the president from depriving states’ constituents of lifesaving medical resources in ways that shock the conscience and violate the decencies of civilized conduct. And the First Amendment prohibits the president from withholding assistance to states to punish either their governors for criticizing the president or residents of politically disfavored states for associating with an opposing political party.

[...] The clause of the Constitution that is perhaps most directly responsive to the president’s conduct is the Take Care Clause, which imposes on the president a fiduciary duty to “take Care” that the laws are “faithfully executed.” This duty is, of course, echoed in the president’s constitutionally inscribed oath of office, in which the president swears to “faithfully execute the Office of President.” As a fiduciary of the American people, the president has two principal duties: a duty of care, which means a duty “to act with the care, competence, and diligence normally exercised” by someone in their position; and a duty of loyalty, which means a duty to act for the benefit of the American people rather than for the president’s own personal benefit. The Founders spoke of the duty of loyalty in terms of trusteeship; the president is a trustee of the office, the Constitution, and the laws, on behalf of all of the American people.
posted by katra at 4:54 PM on April 22, 2020 [10 favorites]


if the take care clause was going to constrain the president it would have done so by now. likewise the rest of the constitution. constraining the president by force of constitution would require, at least, a congress and judiciary committed to doing so and consistently wielding their powers and precedent to that purpose. we've seen how that goes. what is different now? lawfare. feh.
posted by 20 year lurk at 5:13 PM on April 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


what is different now?
> How Trump treats individual governors affects the nation as a whole. The coronavirus won’t stop at state lines. This virus will soon affect—if it hasn’t already—the lives of most people in every state, and, ultimately, it may harm those in rural areas with few hospitals and doctors most of all. It is the president who is supposed to be the leader in uniting these United States of America, but just as the states have had to step forward to lead the public health response to the pandemic, they may now need to step forward to ensure that federal aid is distributed in the national interest. For now, two key steps in that direction lie ahead: to demand transparency about how states receive aid, and to fully engage the judicial and legislative branches in checking the president’s penchant for abusing his power.
posted by katra at 5:22 PM on April 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


The Guardian reports on today's White House task force briefing: Trump said he's signed an executive order to restrict immigration. “I just signed it before walking into the room,” Trump said. The move has been expected. The president said yesterday that he would sign an order temporarily blocking green card applicants.

The president said that he is establishing a new council to help black and Latino communities and other underserved communities access testing and care. The council will be headed by housing secretary Ben Carson.

The president says he told Georgia governor Brian Kemp that he disagreed “very strongly” with the decision to reopen businesses in the state. “I think it’s too soon,” he says. Georgia has not yet met the requirements to enter “Phase 1” of the White House plan to reopen the country, Trump noted.

NYT, with more on that last bit: But Mr. Trump added that in most cases he would defer to governors: “At the same time, he must do what he thinks is right,” he said, referring to Mr. Kemp. The Georgia Department of Public Health reported on Wednesday that the state had 20,740 known cases and 836 deaths. Mr. Trump has swerved from one message to another in the weeks since the coronavirus crisis consumed the United States: He first claimed he had total authority over the states, then said governors should “call your own shots” to determine when to reopen even as he openly encouraged right-wing protests of social distancing restrictions.

Oklahoma is also planning to let barbershops, nail salons, spas and pet groomers open for business by appointment only starting Friday, Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, said at a news conference on Wednesday.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:32 PM on April 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


Like, what "medical community" is for this?

You might be surprised how many physicians are hard core Republicans. Like the entire American Medical Association.
posted by JackFlash at 5:33 PM on April 22, 2020 [9 favorites]


AMA President Has A Stark Warning About Trump’s Coronavirus Treatment Advice (Huff Post, Apr. 6, 2020)
Against the advice of medical experts, President Donald Trump again promoted the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as treatment for coronavirus on Sunday [...] The American Medical Association’s top doctor says lives could be lost. “There could be negative side effects,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, president of the AMA, during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “There could be deaths. This is a new virus, and so we should not be promoting any medication or drug for any disease that has not been proven and approved by the FDA.”

[...] The AMA has issued a joint statement with the American Pharmacists Association last month advising against the “inappropriate ordering, prescribing or dispensing of medications to treat COVID-19,” warning of “grave consequences” for those who already relied on those drugs.
posted by katra at 5:40 PM on April 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


It sounds insane but I am somewhat confident that a major reason Trump is continuing to push hydroxychloroquine is because he is proud that he is mostly able to pronounce a big science-y word. Seriously.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:51 PM on April 22, 2020 [11 favorites]


Senate committee unanimously endorses spy agencies’ finding that Russia interfered in 2016 presidential race in bid to help Trump (WaPo, Apr. 21, 2020)
The heavily-redacted report, based on a three-year investigation, builds on a committee finding nearly two years ago that the January 2017 intelligence community assessment (ICA) on Russia was sound. The spy agencies also found that Russia sought to shake faith in American democracy, denigrate then-candidate Hillary Clinton and boost her rival Donald Trump. [...] “The committee found no reason to dispute the intelligence community’s conclusions,” Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said in a statement.

[...] One of the ICA’s most important conclusions “was that Russia’s aggressive interference efforts should be considered ‘the new normal,’ ” Burr said. “That warning has been borne out by the events of the last three years, as Russia and its imitators increasingly use information warfare to sow societal chaos and discord. With the 2020 presidential election approaching, it’s more important than ever that we remain vigilant against the threat of interference from hostile foreign actors.”
Brennan: Intelligence community vindicated by Senate committee's report (Politico)
“I’m just very glad that the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday came out with a report that totally validated the intelligence community’s assessment about Russian interference in the election in 2016 to help Donald Trump,” Brennan said in an interview Wednesday. “Donald Trump continues to call all these things hoaxes. They’re not. The only hoax is his representation of the facts. That’s the hoax. It’s because, I think, he has this quite understandable insecurity about what he’s done — well, this is what others have done.”
posted by katra at 6:17 PM on April 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


Under Trump, coronavirus scientists can speak — as long as they mostly toe the line (WaPo / MSN reprint)
An internal White House “Covid Mail” email address, for instance, exists to receive queries and suggestions from “friends and family” as well as random individuals — including doctors and business owners — from around the country who have reached out to White House officials. Those emails then get farmed out to the appropriate agencies — from the Food and Drug Administration to the Department of Health and Human Services — but some officials have privately worried that these missives receive priority and distract from more crucial scientific pursuits.

In another instance, Nancy Messonnier, the CDC’s director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, was removed from her post as her agency’s coronavirus response head after sounding early alarms that Americans should begin preparing for “significant disruption” to their lives from a “severe illness.” The CDC held its last daily briefing on March 9 — a forum through which the nation would normally receive critical public health information — in part out of a desire not to provoke the president.

[...] Guidelines that were drafted by the CDC and Federal Emergency Management Agency for safely reopening the country were watered down by White House officials before they were published, officials say. A person involved in the White House revision of the guidelines, however, said the goal was simply to make them understandable to the public. [...] An adviser familiar with the virus response said the doctors were attempting to communicate with the country and follow crisis management guidelines. The president, on the other hand, this person said, “is trying to win a political battle.”
posted by katra at 10:29 PM on April 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Circuses:
Pentagon plans to dispatch Blue Angels and Thunderbirds in coronavirus tribute
The Pentagon is planning a multicity tour of the U.S. military’s top flight demonstration teams to “champion national unity” amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to senior U.S. officials and a memo obtained by The Washington Post.

The Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds, the demonstration squadrons for the Navy and Air Force, will fly over some cities together and others separately, according to the memo. The flyovers will take place in the next several weeks “to thank first responders, essential personnel, and military service members as we collectively battle the spread of COVID-19.”

President Trump announced the mission, named Operation America Strong, after it was reported by The Post on Wednesday afternoon. He said that the mission was “the idea of our great military men and women,” and will recognize health-care workers.

“This is a tribute to them, to our warriors because they’re equal warriors to those incredible pilots and all of the fighters that we have for the more traditional flights that we win,” Trump said.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:30 PM on April 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


By executive order, will the planes be towing "VOTE TRUMP 2020" campaign banners?
posted by cenoxo at 10:47 PM on April 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


They're big, they're loud, they waste resources and make a lot of pointless noise; VOTE TRUMP 2020 is implicit.
posted by flabdablet at 11:23 PM on April 22, 2020 [12 favorites]


"The mission was conceived by senior military officers in the Pentagon and is meant to be a nonpartisan show of resolve" to relocate the planes & I'm sure they have their reasons
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:34 PM on April 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


Maryland obtains 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea (Guardian)

Called “Operation Enduring Friendship”, the effort was launched on 28 March. Yumi Hogan, who is originally from South Korea, apparently played an integral role in negotiations.

Hogan specifically thanked his wife for helping to ensure the acquisition. “She truly is a champion of this operation,” Hogan said. “It’s why we have, and we’re so proud to have, such a special bond with South Korea.”

Hogan noted his wife is not only Maryland’s first Asian American first lady but also the first Korean American first lady of any state.

Hogan said: “When I asked my wife, Yumi, to join me on a call with Korea’s ambassador to the United States, we spoke of the special relationship between Maryland and the Republic of Korea, and we made a personal plea, in Korean, asking for their assistance.”

...

The operation was done in secret, a stark go-around of Trump, who has contradicted his own remarks on states’ dependency on the federal government to improve national testing deficits.

“The administration is trying to ramp up testing,” the governor said in an earlier CNN interview. “But to try to push this off, to say the governors have plenty of testing and they should just get to work on testing, somehow we aren’t doing our jobs, is just absolutely false.”


Trump blasts Republican governor for buying 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea after federal government stalled (Independent)

“Some of the governors like, as an example, the governor from Maryland, didn't really understand the list, he didn't understand too much about what was going on”, Mr Trump said, citing a list of nearly 5,000 federally-operated labs accepting coronavirus tests nationwide. The White House reportedly distributed the list to state governments in recent days.

...

The governor told CNN on Monday night that he was “not sure what the president is referring to”, while directly responding to Mr Trump’s statement about the labs accepting testing kits: “hey were either federal health facilities that we have been desperately trying to get help from or military operations — none of which were state-owned labs or facilities where we could actually do any testing.”

“I have a pretty good understanding of what’s going on,” he continued, “and I appreciated the information that was provided by [the president’s] team, but he wasn't there for it. I'm not sure what he was trying to say."


Who knows what he's trying to say? Maybe he's upset they sidestepped whatever grift Kushner is running. Maybe because he wants everyone to be grateful, and say so, for every fucking swab he deigns to bestow. The cynic in me sees that he saw a KOREAN! WOMAN! saving the day for MD, by speaking directly to the KOREANS! in KOREAN! I bet those optics really got under his skin. No, he did not like the look of that, Koreans helping Americans, taking all the credit and getting all the praise. That's his job, everyone has to go through him. The last thing he wants is Koreans stealing his show.
posted by adept256 at 12:14 AM on April 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


My take on it is the president told the governor, and us, that we would have tests available at all sorts of local businesses, and that was a lie. He told us we would have 27 million tests completed by now, and that was a lie. Any governor taking Trump's word for it when he says tests are now available is rolling the dice with the lives of their constituents.

And I watch these press briefings occasionally. They are peppered with lies. They are not subtle. His speeches are littered with obvious gross distortions or contradictions of basic facts you or I or most people would easily recognize as lies.
posted by xammerboy at 2:05 AM on April 23, 2020 [9 favorites]




Why would you want to negotiate independently for tests and PPE when you could deal with a pathological liar and proven extortion artist? Oh, and for bonus points have his idiot minion son-in-law as the go-between.
posted by benzenedream at 9:15 AM on April 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


> Las Vegas mayor: Reopen casinos, let the ones with the most infections then close (Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 4/22/2020)

Las Vegas Mayor’s Interview With Anderson Cooper Was A Spectacular Train Wreck
The first eyebrow-raising moment came when Cooper asked Goodman how she expects jam-packed casinos that are ripe for infection to maintain social distancing measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

“That’s up to them to figure out,” the mayor replied. “I don’t own a casino.” [...]

The mayor then asserted that if businesses reopen and then collapse when they become a source of COVID-19 and infect their customers, well, that’s just the free market at work.

“That’s the competition in this country,” she said. “The free enterprise, and to be able to make sure that what you offer the public meets the needs of the public.” [...]

Goodman also implied that testing for the virus was some sort of conspiracy.

“No, that can’t work,” she told Cooper. “We’re not getting the truth, and I know over the years, going back to the 1950s with the atomic bomb, ‘Don’t worry about more testing in Nevada. You’ll all be fine. Take a shower.'” [...]

A few minutes later, Cooper pulled up a chart that showed how one person with COVID-19 in a restaurant in China infected multiple people nearby, to which Goodman responded, “This isn’t China, this is Las Vegas, Nevada.”

“Wow, okay, that’s really ignorant,” the CNN anchor retorted.
Cooper speaks for all of us in that screenshot.

Longer clip of interview.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:24 AM on April 23, 2020 [12 favorites]


draft unfavorable results of chinese trial for remdesivir treatment of covid patients "published accidentally by the World Health Organization," reuters reports financial times (paywall) reporting.
...[A]ntiviral remdesivir did not improve patients' condition or reduce the pathogen's presence in the bloodstream, the report https://on.ft.com/2VumJIA said.

Researchers studied 237 patients, giving the drug to 158 and comparing their progress with the remaining 79. The drug also showed significant side effects in some, which meant 18 patients were taken off it, according to the Financial Times.
gilead science's remdesivir is another one medically, scientifically and otherwise unqualified president horrorshow has touted without evidence as "promising" during his sessions of two-hours hate. the, uh, market reacted & trading in the company's issue was suspended.
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:56 AM on April 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


Former Governor of South Carolina (2011-2017) (tenth most federally dependent state) whose government received 200+ million in federal disaster relief money after 2015 flooding, Trump stroker, and Presidential hopeful @Nikki Haley:
States should always plan for a rainy day just like any business. I disagree that states should take Fed money or be bailed out. This will lead to taxpayers paying for mismanagement of poorly run states. States need to tighten up, make some cuts, and manage.
in case anyone was under the illusion blame it on the states is a uniquely Cheeto tactic.
posted by Mitheral at 11:18 AM on April 23, 2020 [7 favorites]


Remember that Gilead is the company that did not develop, but bought the patent for Solvaldi, a treatment for hepatitis C. Gilead priced the drug at $84,000 in the U.S. but manufactured in India for only $300. The drug is dirt cheap. The monopolistic patents raise the price by almost 30,000%.
posted by JackFlash at 11:23 AM on April 23, 2020 [14 favorites]


If we're bringing up old stuff about how bad pharma is, the ID NOW test, heavily promoted by the White House and currently having reliability problems, was bought by Abbott from a company called Alere. Alere paid a $33 million fine to the DOJ to settle charges over a rapid point-of-care testing product that "produced erroneous results that had the potential to create false positives and false negatives that adversely affected clinical decision-making", a $13 million fine for bribing foreign officials in violation of the FCPA to meet their sales goals, and was the subject of a criminal probe over fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid billing.
posted by peeedro at 11:42 AM on April 23, 2020 [7 favorites]


Nikki Haley: States should always plan for a rainy day just like any business...

Why Donald Trump's Companies Went Bankrupt — Details About the 6 Trump Corporate Bankruptcies; ThoughtCo, Tom Murse, October 16, 2019.
posted by cenoxo at 11:48 AM on April 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


States that helped Trump win see biggest job losses (Politico)
Battleground states that handed Donald Trump the presidency four years ago are seeing higher-than-average layoffs amid an economic downturn wreaking havoc across the country — a dynamic that could hold major implications for November’s election. Job losses are piling up in places like Michigan, where more than one in four workers applied for unemployment benefits in the past five weeks, according to a POLITICO analysis of Labor Department data. In Pennsylvania, another key Rust Belt state that voted for Trump in 2016, nearly one-fourth of the workforce has filed an unemployment claim since mid-March. Ohio is seeing more than 17 percent of workers filing jobless claims, outpacing the national average of 16.1 percent, as is Minnesota, a state Trump narrowly lost.

One of the only major battlegrounds seeing a lower claims rate than the national average is Wisconsin, according to the analysis, which compared claims filed to the number of employees on states’ non-farm payrolls in February. But with more than one in eight workers filing for benefits there, it’s still a dramatic rise for a state that for years boasted an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent or lower, trending below the national average. [...] Democrats across the country are already working to make the remainder of the 2020 campaign a referendum in part on the economic fallout from the coronavirus, and whether more could have been done to avoid shutdowns that threw more than 26 million Americans out of work in just over a month. [...] Economic downturns historically have been harmful if not fatal for incumbent presidents, because voters tend to blame them for their change in circumstances. [...] “At every opportunity, we will work to remind voters that the president failed to prepare for this,” said Andres Anzola, deputy communications director for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.
posted by katra at 11:54 AM on April 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


Hidden Outbreaks Spread Through U.S. Cities Far Earlier Than Americans Knew, Estimates Say (NYT)
Dr. Heguy’s team and another at the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have found through genetic analysis that the seeds of most infections in New York came from multiple locations in Europe, rather than directly from China. “We weren’t testing, and if you’re not testing you don’t know,” Dr. Heguy said. The new estimates suggesting that thousands of infections were spreading silently in the first months of the year “don’t seem surprising at all,” she said. [...] “Even while we learn new things about this virus almost daily, one thing remains consistent: New Yorkers were put at risk by the federal government’s total failure to provide us with adequate testing capability,” said the mayor’s press secretary, Freddi Goldstein.
posted by katra at 12:36 PM on April 23, 2020


Special Report: Former Labradoodle breeder was tapped to lead U.S. pandemic task force (Reuters)
Shortly after his televised comments [on January 21, the day the first U.S. case of coronavirus was reported], [secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Alex] Azar tapped a trusted aide with minimal public health experience to lead the agency’s day-to-day response to COVID-19. The aide, Brian Harrison, had joined the department after running a dog-breeding business for six years. Five sources say some officials in the White House derisively called him “the dog breeder.”

[...] Azar is a Republican lawyer who once clerked for the late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and counts current Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a friend. Under George W. Bush, Azar worked for HHS as general counsel and deputy secretary. During the Obama years, he cycled through the private sector as a pharmaceutical company lobbyist and executive for Eli Lilly. [...] Harrison, 37, was an unusual choice, with no formal education in public health, management, or medicine and with only limited experience in the fields. In 2006, he joined HHS in a one-year stint as a “Confidential Assistant” to Azar, who was then deputy secretary. He also had posts working for Vice President Dick Cheney, the Department of Defense and a Washington public relations company.

[...] Meanwhile, Azar continued to say “the immediate risk” to Americans was low and that travel restrictions had worked. “So I think so far, our measures have been quite effective,” he told NPR on February 14. Others were raising alarms. “It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen any more, but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said at a February 25 news briefing. [...] [Azar] again provided words of calm, appearing on Fox News. “But thanks to President Trump’s historically aggressive containment efforts, we’ve actually contained the spread of this virus here in the United States at this point,” he said February 25. “I think part of the message to the American people is we all need to take a bit of deep breath here.”
posted by katra at 1:33 PM on April 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


The Daily 202: Ousted vaccine expert, alleging retaliation, is not the first scientist sidelined in Trump era (WaPo)
Nancy Messonnier, the CDC’s director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, was removed from her post as her agency’s coronavirus response chief after saying publicly on Feb. 25 that Americans should begin preparing for “significant disruption” to their daily lives from this “severe illness.” Today, these comments seem unremarkable because this is what’s happened. If anything, it sounds like an understatement. But Trump was angry that she was causing what he felt was undue alarm.
posted by katra at 1:36 PM on April 23, 2020 [10 favorites]


gilead science's remdesivir is another one medically, scientifically and otherwise unqualified president horrorshow has touted without evidence as "promising" during his sessions of two-hours hate

I occasionally peek in on Hannity and he was talking big big game on remdesivir a week or two ago. My sense is that Trump and his administration throw this shit out precisely because there's nothing else for Fox to do while avoiding Trump's failures. Every other story leads to Trump the dipshit, and manipulating those stories into positive ones for Trump would require even greater contortions than reporting on how some poison or another is a miracle cure. The show hosts aren't doctors, they can't be sued, so why should they give a shit about the implications and results of their words?

So now it's out of the bag that both chloroquine and redesivir are non-starters. Prepare for a new angle, a new lie, and a new bout of repetition. I suppose the reopening trash is a backstop for this process, but maybe Cuomo put that to bed this morning.

All in all, we see over and over, Republicans throwing out random ideas that are then abandoned when their badness is revealed on the grand stage. That's all they got. Mitch wants states to declare bankruptcy, but not companies who don't have an emergency cushion. That will also fall by the wayside, maybe by Monday, maybe by May.
posted by rhizome at 1:43 PM on April 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


Former Labradoodle breeder was tapped to lead U.S. pandemic task force

Why is this not surprising? Remember that Bush put a horse show manager in charge of FEMA and the hurricane Katrina task force.

It's almost like there is a pattern of reckless disregard for disaster preparedness by Republicans.
posted by JackFlash at 2:23 PM on April 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


Sycophant — Wikipedia.
posted by cenoxo at 2:25 PM on April 23, 2020


Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has come to the United States. Failed state you say?
posted by paper chromatographologist at 3:21 PM on April 23, 2020 [11 favorites]


House passes $484 billion relief package after weeks of partisan battles (Politico)
“This is really a very, very, very sad day. We come to the floor with nearly 50,000 deaths, a huge number of people impacted and the uncertainty of it all,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in floor remarks early Thursday. Pelosi wore a cream-colored scarf around her face until she spoke and wiped down the podium before and after her remarks. [...] Lawmakers, who returned to Washington to reach a quorum in case any members demand a roll call vote, shuffled in and out of the House in groups of roughly 60, with floor officials disinfecting the chamber in between the two votes. [...] House staffers had placed signs on chairs in the chamber so members would know to sit far enough apart from each other to maintain proper social distancing.

And the House’s attending physician, Brian Monahan, recommended that members and staff wear masks at all times — a warning that many, though not all, have followed. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) openly criticized Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) for not wearing a mask during a Wednesday evening meeting of the House Rules Committee. Jordan and a handful of other Republicans were on the House floor Thursday morning without masks.
Previously: Pelosi postpones plans for historic change in House voting after Republicans object (WaPo, Apr. 22, 2020)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi abruptly postponed plans Wednesday to change the House rules this week to allow a form of remote voting for the first time in the chamber’s 230-year history after Republicans raised objections to a plan meant to reconcile the need for legislative action with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. [...] Pelosi’s decision, described by two Democratic aides familiar with the call Wednesday, comes as GOP lawmakers in both the House and Senate have increasingly called for Congress to return to Washington and begin plotting a return to business as usual — echoing calls from conservative activists and some Republican governors who have advocated loosening the stay-at-home guidelines supported by public health officials. The Republican lawmakers include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who said in several interviews Tuesday that he would not push another coronavirus-related emergency relief bill until Congress was back in session.
posted by katra at 4:25 PM on April 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


So now it's out of the bag that both chloroquine and redesivir are non-starters. Prepare for a new angle, a new lie, and a new bout of repetition.

Trump has his people checking whether application of UV light externally and internally and/or application of disinfectant internally would kill COVID.
"Disinfectant knocks it out in a minute [...] by injection inside"
Nobody screen Fantastic Voyage at the Whitehouse.
posted by Mitheral at 4:48 PM on April 23, 2020 [12 favorites]


Guardian: The DHS’s Bryan is asked about the president’s suggestions that disinfectants be injected into a person.
“We don’t do that within our lab,” Bryan said. “Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work,” Trump interjected — but disinfectants like isopropyl alcohol definitely has an effect on “stationary objects.”

Note: If you are not a stationary object and are, in fact, a person, please follow medical advice and do not inject disinfectant into your body.
posted by katra at 4:52 PM on April 23, 2020 [8 favorites]


So Trump (Miller) is reduced to stealing ideas from the bleach-drinking contingent of QAnon.
posted by rhizome at 4:56 PM on April 23, 2020 [6 favorites]


Wouldn't injecting isopropyl alcohol basically just kill you? Or is that what "maybe it doesn't work" is supposed to cover.
posted by mrgoat at 5:05 PM on April 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


Friend of mine works for Gilead...

Bummer for his stock options. Bummer it doesn't help.
posted by Windopaene at 5:06 PM on April 23, 2020


House committee asks inspector general to probe Bright ousting (CNN)
In his letter, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, asked the inspector general to "investigate the circumstances surrounding Dr. Bright's reassignment" and to examine "who made the decision to reassign Dr. Bright and when the decision was made." "I have been particularly concerned by the Trump Administration's politicization of public health agencies," Pallone wrote in the letter. "This most recent action, if true, further raises serious questions about the commitment of President Trump and his Administration to science and the public good as the government and the nation work to combat an unprecedented global health pandemic."

[...] A spokesperson for the office of the inspector general at Health and Human Services confirmed the department had received the letter from Pallone but said they would not comment on Bright. "In addition to HHS OIG, the Office of Special Counsel has jurisdiction to investigate allegations of whistleblower retaliation against federal civilian employees and applicants for federal employment," the spokesperson said in a statement. "The whistleblower determines with which agency to file. In matters in which a federal employee has filed a retaliation complaint simultaneously with the OIG and OSC, the OIG generally defers to OSC to investigate the complaint."
Trump team wanted 'nationwide' access to malaria drugs, ousted vaccine chief claims (Politico)
Bright’s lawyers on Thursday said that they would soon file a whistleblower complaint with the HHS inspector general and decried what they said were Trump administration efforts to undercut Bright’s credibility. “In our filing we will make clear that Dr. Bright was sidelined for one reason only — because he resisted efforts to provide unfettered access to potentially dangerous drugs, including chloroquine, a drug promoted by the Administration as a panacea, but which is untested and possibly deadly when used improperly,” Debra S. Katz and Lisa J. Banks said in a statement. “The facts and concerns raised by Dr. Bright are compelling and well-documented and soon they will be public.”
posted by katra at 5:45 PM on April 23, 2020 [7 favorites]


UV light might actually work for disinfecting surfaces. We're checking it out where I work to see if it's effective and then if it's more convenient than what we're doing now.

We are not checking out applying it to humans, either externally or internally.
posted by ctmf at 5:57 PM on April 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


Doesn't the OSC prosecute cases they think have merit with the MSPB? And the MSPB doesn't have a quorum, last I checked.
posted by ctmf at 5:59 PM on April 23, 2020


Key House chairwoman wants Bright to testify before Congress about removal from key post (CNN)
Rep. Anna Eshoo, the chairwoman of the House's Health subcommittee, told CNN she plans to call in Dr. Rick Bright to testify before her panel as she reviews the circumstances of his removal from a key position after he raised concerns about the safety of a drug that President Donald Trump touted as a potential treatment to the coronavirus. [...] Eshoo said she also wants to call Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Bob Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response, to testify before her panel. [...] Eshoo appears to have backing from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Asked by CNN about the Bright situation, Pelosi directed an inquiry to Eshoo. Asked if Eshoo should have a hearing on the matter, the fellow California Democrat said, "You should talk to her."
posted by katra at 6:09 PM on April 23, 2020 [8 favorites]


There are reports that smoking reduces the chance of getting COVID-19.

Nice try, Phillip Morris Research Agency.
posted by ctmf at 6:31 PM on April 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Twitter, January 28, 2020: To effectively beat infectious diseases like coronavirus, we need all hands on deck. But like so much else, Trump’s approach to keeping us safe from disease outbreaks is a mess. When he's gone, we must fix the damage he's done—and I've got a plan for that.

Sen. Warren, Twitter, April 23, 2020: My oldest brother, Don Reed, died from coronavirus on Tuesday evening. He joined the Air Force at 19 and spent his career in the military, including five and a half years off and on in combat in Vietnam. He was charming and funny, a natural leader. What made him extra special was his smile—quick and crooked, it always seemed to generate its own light, one that lit up everyone around him. I’m grateful to the nurses and frontline staff who took care of him, but it’s hard to know that there was no family to hold his hand or to say “I love you” one more time—and no funeral for those of us who loved him to hold each other close. I'll miss you dearly my brother.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:33 PM on April 23, 2020 [28 favorites]


Where is Biden in all this? Shouldn't we be seeing daily briefings, or weekly, or something, from the presumptive opposition candidate? Sigh...
posted by Windopaene at 6:45 PM on April 23, 2020 [21 favorites]


'It's irresponsible and it's dangerous': Experts rip Trump's idea of injecting disinfectant to treat COVID-19 (NBC News)
Trump’s own Food and Drug Administration specifically warned against people drinking the chemicals in disinfectants ­— a fake science that has been peddled as a cure to autism and HIV for decades —noting that consumption of such “products can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration."

“Any amount of bleach or isopropyl alcohol or any kind of common household cleaner is inappropriate for ingestion even in small amounts. Small amounts are deadly,” [Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist, global health policy expert and an NBC News and MSNBC contributor] said. [...] Gupta added that it was “demoralizing” as a doctor to hear the White House “peddle improper health messaging," and said the president had a pattern of pushing unproven medical treatments.

[...] Joe Biden, the apparent Democratic nominee, criticized Trump for the suggestions on Twitter.
UV light? Injecting disinfectant? Here’s an idea, Mr. President: more tests. Now. And protective equipment for actual medical professionals. https://t.co/Zv4Mfs2Z4a — Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 24, 2020
posted by katra at 6:54 PM on April 23, 2020 [9 favorites]


There are reports that smoking reduces the chance of getting COVID-19.
ctmf > Nice try, Phillip Morris Research Agency.

MAGA — Smoking in the United States military (WP). If it worked for the Greatest Generation, why not for any generation? Gotta think inside the box.
posted by cenoxo at 7:37 PM on April 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


Mod note: A few deleted; sorry, please don't make a bunch of "here's another way a gullible/ignorant person could poison/injure themselves" joke suggestions. Let's not be those guys.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:42 PM on April 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


Just two days ago, in the Guardian: US orders group to stop selling bleach 'miracle cure' for coronavirus.
posted by adamg at 7:57 PM on April 23, 2020 [3 favorites]


Biden isn't Trump, and that's fine with me. Even if he's out of sight because he's old and feeble, I doubt even then he could do any less work than Trump. I think the bigger problem is going to be whatever plans Republicans have to saddle him with anything Trump did, or touched, or spoke about -- because they will -- and if Mitch is still SML there's going to have to be a rhetoric revolution to short circuit all of it. I've been saying for a long time that humiliation is all that Trump understands, so I'm hoping that there's a (one or more) "pantsed in front of the class" moment in the next six months.
posted by rhizome at 8:00 PM on April 23, 2020


Pelosi says Trump gets an 'F' on coronavirus: 'Delay, denial, death' (NBC News, Apr. 22, 2020)
Pelosi said in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that "if you do not test, you cannot possibly know the size of the challenge,” which she said is why testing is the key to reopening the U.S. economy. "For our seniors in nursing homes and the rest, as you say, there's a big toll being taken there. But if we can test and contact and isolate people, we're on a very much better path," Pelosi said. "There's a Boy Scout saying, 'Proper preparation prevents poor performance.' Well, that is exactly where the president gets an F.”

“He was not properly prepared, not with the truth, with the facts, or the admission of what was happening in our country — delay, whatever, delay, denial, death,” she added. “And instead we'd like to see him insist on the truth and we must insist on the truth with him.”
House creates new select coronavirus oversight committee over GOP objections (Politico)
"It will be laser-focused on ensuring that taxpayer money goes to workers' paychecks and benefits and it will ensure that the federal response is based on the best possible science and guided by health experts — and that the money invested is not being exploited by profiteers and price gougers," said Speaker Nancy Pelosi in remarks on the House floor.
Fed, facing pressure, commits to disclose monthly who's getting bailouts (Politico)
The central bank said it will disclose “substantial amounts of information” for its emergency facilities that are backed by billions of dollars in funds in the economic relief package passed last month by Congress. That includes the names of participants, how much they borrowed and at what rate, and the overall costs, revenue and fees for each emergency facility, it said. [...] Bharat Ramamurti, a former aide to Sen. Elizabeth Warren who was tapped to join the congressional oversight commission created by the coronavirus relief package, is among those who have called on the Fed to be transparent about who is receiving funds.

He welcomed today's announcement. "This is a significant victory for the public," Ramamurti said in a tweet. "You will now know on a monthly basis which companies are getting support and how much support they're getting. We will need to look carefully at the first report to see if other information is needed but this is a very good step."
posted by katra at 8:15 PM on April 23, 2020 [5 favorites]


I think Trump fell asleep during a briefing and he's describing the cures he saw in a dream
posted by Pronoiac at 8:19 PM on April 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


Mod note: One deleted, general reminder: Please keep excerpts/pullquotes shortish -- aim for 2 paragraphs or less. It's fine to summarize instead. Thanks.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:45 PM on April 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


"deborah, have you ever heard of that, the heat and the light relative to ... this virus?"

"not as a treatment. i mean, certainly fever is a good thing. when you have a fever it helps your body response. but not as-- i've not seen-- heat or light..." dr. birx trails off, waving a hand plaintively at acting undersecretary of the department of homeland security in charge of the science and technology directorate, william bryan, who has recently presented two slides about how long the VIRUS STAYS ALIVE under various conditions and things that KILL it, prompting the president to request medical studies of internal application of UV light and injection/ingestion of disinfectants. she has the ... grace to look the slightest bit uncomfortable. (see c-span at 51:20)

NB. do not use bleach/isopropyl alcohol for bronchoalveolar lavage!

related, "i need more light!"
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:02 PM on April 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


Schiff and Nadler seek probe of Barr for comments on Trump move to fire intel watchdog (Politico, Apr. 20, 2020)
Two top House Democrats are asking internal Justice Department watchdogs to investigate Attorney General William Barr for recent comments they say misrepresented the facts about President Donald Trump's decision to fire Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community. Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of California and Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York say Barr's comments, in an April 9 interview with Fox News' Laura Ingraham, may have violated DOJ's code of professional conduct, which requires officials to operate with "candor."
How to Legally—and Illegally—Fire Inspectors General (Charlotte Butash, Lawfare, Apr. 22, 2020)
posted by katra at 10:11 PM on April 23, 2020 [7 favorites]


The military's Blue Angels and Thunderbirds flyovers aren't what America needs right now. The DoD is going to fly fighter jets in honor of healthcare workers. What they actually need are masks., Task & Purpose, Jared Keller, 4/23/2020:
...a high-flying version of "thank you for service" for healthcare workers isn't what Americans need right now, considering the nation's collective anxiety over the 850,000 and counting who have been infected with COVID-19 and nearly 50,000 who have died from it, not to mention the Great Depression-level increases in unemployment claims over the past few weeks. And this is to say nothing of those healthcare workers who, at places like the Veterans Affairs hospital system, simply want more equipment — lots more.

What Americans need right now is tangible help, from personal protective equipment and ventilators to economic relief ... the flyovers, announced under the uber-patriotic moniker of 'Operation America Strong'... are, fundamentally, bullshit...
posted by cenoxo at 10:28 PM on April 23, 2020 [14 favorites]


Trump has his people checking whether application of UV light externally and internally and/or application of disinfectant internally would kill COVID.

He wants the sun to literally shine out of ass.
posted by adept256 at 2:02 AM on April 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


A little voice in my head said, as I was reading about Donnie’s latest ejaculations, “He’s not so much a politician as a co-morbidity”.
posted by Grangousier at 2:25 AM on April 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


Republicans rail against 'Blue State Bailouts' while Red America bleeds the country dry ('kos', Daily Kos)
It is clear that conservatives only see blue America as a foil for their bigotries and a source of revenue for states run so poorly that they can’t compete economically with the Californias, Massachusetts, New Jerseys, and New Yorks of America. They lag in education. They lack in health and fitness and diet. They lag in clean air and water.

And through it all blue states have gamely carried that burden, because it’s what liberals do—we help people. But is there gratitude, respect, empathy for the extra weight blue Americans have to shoulder? Of course not. There’s nothing but contempt and the use of undemocratic institutions (like the Senate and the Electoral College) and techniques (like voter suppression) to maintain their lock on power.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:53 AM on April 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


Wow, the New York Times:

At a White House briefing, President Trump theorized — dangerously, in the view of some experts — about the powers of sunlight, ultraviolet light and household disinfectants to kill the coronavirus

Lordy Lou. It's beyond parody at this point.
posted by Gadarene at 6:23 AM on April 24, 2020 [9 favorites]


Some comic relief in the form of lip-syncing Trump.
posted by Jpfed at 6:35 AM on April 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


Why aren't these people barred from everything and in jail?
Televangelist who sold fake COVID-19 cure asks viewers for cash to avoid bankruptcy
Yes you guessed right it's Jim Bakker.
posted by adamvasco at 7:06 AM on April 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


Lordy Lou. It's beyond parody at this point.

More of a cynical strategy to anger the opposition and keep them off balance; plus flooding the media so that other news is crowded out.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:32 AM on April 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


More of a cynical strategy to anger the opposition and keep them off balance; plus flooding the media so that other news is crowded out.

I was talking about the "some experts" framing, but if you want to say that it's part of a cynical strategy on the part of the Times to do all the things you mentioned, I won't disagree.
posted by Gadarene at 7:46 AM on April 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


At this point, it may be too generous to describe what The Poor Donald and his Adminions are doing and saying as strategy: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

One can at least hope.
posted by cenoxo at 7:52 AM on April 24, 2020


Trump owes tens of millions to the Bank of China — and the loan is due soon
Warning “China will own the United States” if Joe Biden is elected president.
posted by adamvasco at 8:44 AM on April 24, 2020 [8 favorites]


Alas, the bleach-versus-Covid fiasco has long legs, extending far beyond the puerile mind of the president. One proponent: Cristina Cuomo, wife of Trump arch-enemy Chris Cuomo and sister-in-law of New York governor Andrew Cuomo.

In her blog, Cristina writes that "I add a small amount—½ cup ONLY—of Clorox to a full bath of warm water. Why? To combat the radiation and metals in my system and oxygenate it."

Investigating further, we find that the source of this treatment is energy medicine physician Linda Lancaster, who runs an institute called Light Harmonics. The institute promotes homegrown cures based on Anthroposophy, Naturopathy and Homeopathy.

During his convalescence, husband Chris--though not subjected to bleach in his tub, as far as we know--was made to ingest a "course" of "oxygenated herbs." Perhaps the foul taste of these herbs convinced Chris to steal away from his basement hideout, traveling in secrecy to his Hamptons property--and getting involved in the steamy argument with the "loser, fat tire biker" that we've all read about.
posted by Gordion Knott at 8:45 AM on April 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


Although the Clorox in bathwater is stupid it is nowhere near the stupidity of ingesting bleach or injecting it.
Oxygenating the system is completely the opposite of those who choose antioxidants.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:01 AM on April 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


A Brazilian study of chloroquine was cut short after finding an increase in deaths among patients receiving the drug.

More than 18 clinical trials enrolling more than 75,000 patients have been registered in North America for testing various hydroxychloroquine regimens for COVID-19. How many more people will be sacrificed on the altar of Trump's ego?
posted by jedicus at 9:17 AM on April 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


(Let's not throw out the baby-bleach with the bathwater--a small amount of bleach added to the bath is a handy treatment for atopic dermatitis!)
posted by mittens at 9:39 AM on April 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


It's not that Trump is telling people to drink bleach. It's that he's saying this is what his team is working on day and night as as cure to save us from this pandemic plague.
posted by xammerboy at 9:50 AM on April 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


(And bleach can be used — as instructed by the American Red Cross to ensure that questionable drinking water is safe.)
posted by cenoxo at 10:18 AM on April 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


Oh, well, the injecting disinfectants comment was sarcasm. That explains everything.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:32 AM on April 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


It's not that Trump is telling people to drink bleach. It's that he's saying this is what his team is working on day and night as as cure to save us from this pandemic plague.

Nah, I wouldn't even give him that much credit.

I suppose, technically, yes, the actual words "Drink Bleach!" didn't come out of his mouth. But having watched those segments, I'd say it's more like he's sort of vaguely (very vaguely) aware that bleach and UV light are commonly used to disinfect surfaces and that he's maaaaaybe also vaguely aware that there's such a thing as ultraviolet blood irradiation and (as usual) his slimy-used-car-salesman-huckster-spew-a-torrent-of-whatever-bullshit-comes-to-the-top-of-your-head-to-close-the-deal instincts kick in so he tries to come up with specific science-y things to make it sound like they're really working hard and latches onto bleach and UV as treatments but of course his utter lack of command of the English language means he can't actually make it clear that he's referring to disinfecting things and not people.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:36 AM on April 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


Trump says he will block coronavirus aid for U.S. Postal Service if it doesn’t hike prices immediately

Disaster capitalism has given way to Sopranos-style bust outs.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:42 AM on April 24, 2020 [10 favorites]


Funny how the Constitution is sacrosanct right up until it would impede the fascist's agenda and then who the fuck cares what the founders thought. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by wierdo at 11:08 AM on April 24, 2020 [17 favorites]


it's more like he's sort of vaguely (very vaguely) aware that bleach and UV light are commonly used to disinfect surfaces

from the transcript:
And I want to thank the head of DHS Science and Technology, Bill Bryan, for what he’s going to be doing and what he’s going to be saying and the report that he’s about to give. I think it’s going to be something that nobody has ever heard. It’ll be brand-new information and very important information.
...
So I asked Bill a question that probably some of you are thinking of, if you’re totally into that world, which I find to be very interesting.... And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. (emphasis mine)
so, notwithstanding his famous phobia of germs and reported copious use of hand sanitizer, he is here saying that the information that UV light and disinfectant sterilize and disinfect is totally new, and then expresses his childish wonder at this new information, sure we're amazed and curious about this novel information too.

but, hey: we mustn't let the cure be worse than the sickness, right?

anyway, we're on track to exceed the vietnam war in loss of u.s. lives in a couple of days.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:14 AM on April 24, 2020 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile, Vietnam has reported zero deaths from COVID-19.
posted by sukeban at 11:28 AM on April 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


a tide pod in every pot
posted by adept256 at 12:16 PM on April 24, 2020 [5 favorites]


tonycpsu > Trump says he will block coronavirus aid for U.S. Postal Service if it doesn’t hike prices immediately

Other than sheer bluster, why would The Imperial Donald want to threaten one of the most visible government agencies (and its ~500,000 employees) that work directly for his base in thousands of small towns? It's not going to look good to them when they can't get their mail shortly before (or during) an election.

Now is not the time. Take care of the immediate national emergency first, then get back to haggling later. Besides, those ~500,000 employees have collective bargaining agreements with seven different unions. Can Trump just close things down via executive fiat?
posted by cenoxo at 12:22 PM on April 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


Other than sheer bluster, why would The Imperial Donald want to threaten one of the most visible government agencies

*taps forehead to signify genius insight* can't vote by mail if there's no mail
posted by Jpfed at 12:45 PM on April 24, 2020 [11 favorites]


> cenoxo: "Other than sheer bluster, why would The Imperial Donald want to threaten one of the most visible government agencies"

It's probably also related to his ongoing vendetta against Jeff Bezos (via USPS's contracts with Amazon).
posted by mhum at 12:57 PM on April 24, 2020


It's probably also related to his ongoing vendetta against Jeff Bezos (via USPS's contracts with Amazon).

There no "probably" about it. Trump has literally said this exact thing many times. Trump hates the WaPo, which means he hates Bezos, which means he hates Amazon, which means he hates the USPS. That's how Trump thinks.
posted by JackFlash at 1:04 PM on April 24, 2020 [15 favorites]


Leader of group peddling bleach as coronavirus 'cure' wrote to Trump this week.
Grenon styles himself as “archbishop” of Genesis II – a Florida-based outfit that claims to be a church but which in fact is the largest producer and distributor of chlorine dioxide bleach as a “miracle cure” in the US. He brands the chemical as MMS, “miracle mineral solution”, and claims fraudulently that it can cure 99% of all illnesses including cancer, malaria, HIV/Aids as well as autism.
posted by adamvasco at 1:33 PM on April 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


Miracle Mineral Supplement (wikipedia)

MMS is falsely promoted as a cure for HIV, malaria, hepatitis viruses, the H1N1 flu virus, common colds, autism, acne, cancer, and much more. The name was coined by former Scientologist[9] Jim Humble in his 2006 self-published book, The Miracle Mineral Solution of the 21st Century.[10] There have been no clinical trials to test these claims, which come only from anecdotal reports and Humble's book

If you've got the time and a certain sense of humor, you can learn all about the international church of drink bleach in Robert Evans Behind the Bastards podcast.
posted by adept256 at 1:47 PM on April 24, 2020 [8 favorites]


warning letter issued to genesis ii by fda april 8:
Based on our review, MMS is an unapproved new drug sold in violation of section 505(a) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), 21 U.S.C. § 355(a). Furthermore, this product is a misbranded drug under section 502(f)(1).... The introduction or delivery for introduction of this product into interstate commerce is prohibited under sections 301(a) and (d) of the FD&C Act.... It is also a prohibited act under section 301(k) of the FD&C Act ... to misbrand a product while it is held for sale after shipment of a component or finished product in interstate commerce. (citations elided)
speaking of fda, today's drug safety letter on 'chloroquines,
warning the public that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, either alone or combined with azithromycin, when used for COVID-19 should be limited to clinical trial settings or for treating certain hospitalized patients under the EUA,
and featuring fantastically responsible section headed "what are hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine and how can they help me?" noting that, for covid-19, "we authorized their use only in hospitalized patients under careful heart monitoring."
posted by 20 year lurk at 1:57 PM on April 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


oh. missed this report of april 21 district court injunction against genesis ii's sale of mms. (from adamvasco's linked guardian story).
posted by 20 year lurk at 2:08 PM on April 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


A comprehensive guide to Fox’s promotion of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, Media Matters; written by Kayla Gogarty & Alex Walker; research contributions from Courtney Hagle, Zachary Pleat, Pam Vogel, Cydney Hargis, Rob Savillo & Media Matters Staff; 4/16/2020.

What it says on the tin with names, dates, quotes, and comments.
posted by cenoxo at 3:57 PM on April 24, 2020 [11 favorites]


Trump's poor poll numbers trigger GOP alarms over November (Politico)
The former vice president’s campaign, meanwhile, recently released a web video charging that Trump left the country “unprepared and unprotected” — a spot that even some Republicans acknowledged was effective.
‘This guy hasn’t changed one iota’: Coronavirus or not, it’s the same old Trump (Politico)
Republicans close to the White House are worried that Democrats will use Trump’s dismissive early comments against him; some of them are already appearing in early ads by Democratic groups.
Guardian: Apparently Trump’s surprisingly short coronavirus briefing was part of a new policy.
Trump may stop appearing daily at press conferences, according to a new Axios report. Advisers in the White House have told Trump he may be “overexposed,” causing him to sink behind Joe Biden in the polls. From the report:
Another source close to the deliberations said there simply isn’t enough new material to justify Trump appearing before the press every day. “I mean, you wonder how we got to the point where you’re talking about injecting disinfectant?” the source wondered aloud.
posted by katra at 4:26 PM on April 24, 2020 [9 favorites]


Oh, well, the injecting disinfectants comment was sarcasm. That explains everything.

At least the MSM is using the L-word now: CNN.com: Trump lies that he was being 'sarcastic' when he talked about injecting disinfectant
posted by soundguy99 at 4:31 PM on April 24, 2020 [14 favorites]


Actually being sarcastic about pumping disinfectants into your veins when so many people are dying: that would be worse than just stupidity. (Of course, he wasn't being sarcastic.)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:37 PM on April 24, 2020 [5 favorites]


If that was sarcasm, he's lived his entire public life sarcastically.
posted by rhizome at 6:08 PM on April 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


Ah yes, the "I was just joking!" refuge of the gaslighting/negging asshole.
posted by Flannery Culp at 6:26 PM on April 24, 2020 [20 favorites]


> On the one hand, President Donald Trump has said the cure for COVID-19 can't be worse than the virus itself.

Yes well it's hard to be worse than something that will kill you.
posted by rhizome at 6:29 PM on April 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


Ah yes, the "I was just joking!" refuge of the gaslighting/negging asshole.

I call it The White Man's Intent, the all-purpose get out of criticism card. He's sorry if you were offended.
posted by rhizome at 6:30 PM on April 24, 2020 [5 favorites]


Trump floats another bogus coronavirus cure — and his administration scrambles to stop people from injecting disinfectants (WaPo)
Trump’s latest fantasy cure mushroomed into a potential crisis for public health officials. In Maryland alone, the state government’s emergency hotline received more than 100 calls from residents inquiring whether injecting a disinfectant really was a cure.

[...] On Friday afternoon, the [CDC] tweeted a warning that “household cleaners and disinfectants can cause problems when not used properly.” The CDC is considering what additional health information it may need to release to ensure that people are “not inadvertently harmed by doing something that appears to be endorsed by the president,” said a federal health official.
posted by katra at 7:14 PM on April 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


The funniest part of the joke was when Trump ordered the head of his medical team to tell everyone they were seriously looking into it as a cure.
posted by xammerboy at 7:29 PM on April 24, 2020 [9 favorites]


Trump and Congress spar over next coronavirus economic package as CBO paints grim picture of what’s to come (WaPo)
House Democrats said Friday that they plan to strike quickly with their next big coronavirus relief package, but Senate Republicans are starkly divided over how to proceed. [...] While divisions emerged, the Congressional Budget Office on Friday painted a stark picture of economic trauma that will last through next year. It said the budget deficit will widen from $1 trillion to $3.7 trillion this year and the unemployment rate will jump from 3.5 percent in February to 16 percent at the end of September. It also projected that the economy would go through an extreme contraction between April and June.

An emerging flash point is aid for hard-hit city and state budgets. Many Democrats support federal help, while many Republicans have competing views. Trump, meanwhile, has both spoken favorably about state aid and expressed reservations, leaving the White House’s position less clear. [...] Trump said, “Some of the states, as you know very well, had a lot of problems before we got hit by the invisible enemy. “And certainly now, they definitely have very exaggerated problems.”
South Carolina’s Republicans gutted public healthcare. Then the pandemic hit (Guardian)
Governor McMaster is widely known for curbing taxes and public benefits like pensions for government workers. But cuts to the state health department and infrastructure have left people in poor and rural areas with little access to care because of physician shortages and hospital closures. [...] The state’s most recent three leaders, including Governor Nikki Haley, who later joined the Trump administration, chose not to expand the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, which would have extended public health insurance to thousands of working-class families.
posted by katra at 8:52 PM on April 24, 2020 [8 favorites]


#TrumpBleach is one of the lows, or a new low, in demonstrating Trump's underlying stupidity and child-like mental status. Democrats should use it. Most people learn as children that household chemicals are dangerous. Let us find a way to allow peelable Trump voters to peel off Trump, cutting the narcissistic cord that connects his "being wronged" to their "being wronged". Let them feel smarter than Trump because Trump wants humans to consume bleach as medicine. Let this be the thing that lets them admit to themselves that the man they support is a harmful fucking idiot because even they know not to consume household chemicals.

On the other hand, don't force them to double down on their weird psychological identification with Trump with shit like #TrumpIsALaughingStock, which I happened to notice an hour after having this thought. HRC learned this the hard way. Reality-based interventions only work with these voters if they are allowed "out" without ego injury.

Somebody make a campaign ad: "You know that drinking bleach is bad. But Trump doesn't. [role clip] How did we Americans let this man become president? It was all a big mistake because we were angry. But we can do better. [...solutions to anger...]" Paid for by the Awkward Alliance of Progressives and Neoliberals to Elect Biden 2020 All Rights Reserved. (The preceding does assume that swing states and marginal votes matter, else I wouldn't dare talk about changing a Trump voter's mind.)
posted by sylvanshine at 11:00 PM on April 24, 2020 [13 favorites]


Malicious forces creating 'perfect storm' of coronavirus disinformation (Guardian)
While Russia and China have been the focus of scrutiny for some of the attacks, others have originated in the US and mirror misinformation and untruths propagated by Donald Trump and some of his most prominent supporters in the US media.

[...] Paul Barrett, a New York University expert in disinformation and fake news, has identified similar trends and said that some malicious actors are feeding off each other’s disinformation for their own ends. “It’s a three-ring circus of disinformation,” he said. “It is almost impossible to pick out one strain and isolate it, because simultaneously Russian and China and Trump are getting in on the act and imitating each other more and more. It is incredibly difficult for an ordinary citizen to navigate what’s true.”
posted by katra at 11:23 PM on April 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


#TrumpBleach is one of the lows, or a new low, in demonstrating Trump's underlying stupidity and child-like mental status.

I'm over it. It's plain unseriousness in the face of something grim. Who does that? What did he mean to accomplish with, I guess, humor? "Ha ha, just making fun of the concept of treatment for disease and the wacky world of saving lives! You get it, right? Because nobody would inject Lysol? Ahhh, I thought you might not get it. My delivery is too sophisticated for you rubes."
posted by rhizome at 12:07 AM on April 25, 2020


But he obviously wasn't actually joking?
posted by kyrademon at 3:09 AM on April 25, 2020 [18 favorites]


He doesn't make jokes. He either uses 'humor' as an excuse to abuse and humiliate people, or he uses it as an excuse for a trial balloon or for something that he made up on the spot because he thought it would make him look good.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:35 AM on April 25, 2020 [11 favorites]


Say it loud, say it clear: Donald Trump needs to resign over his handling of the coronavirus, Boston Globe, Michael A. Cohen, April 25, 2020:
The United States has just over 4 percent of the world’s population, but had about one-third of all global coronavirus cases and one-quarter of the fatalities, as of Friday.

This is a catastrophic failure that can be laid largely at the feet of President Trump. Editorial boards and politicians — both Democratic and Republican — should be calling on him to resign immediately.

It’s not just the catalog of screw-ups that led us to this point — the playing down of the threat, the lack of testing, the spread of misinformation and lies, and the government-wide inattention to the issue. It’s that Trump represents an ongoing danger to the health and well-being of the American people....
Don’t drink the Kool Aid inject the bleach.
posted by cenoxo at 3:49 AM on April 25, 2020 [19 favorites]


I'm not on Twitter so the laughingstock tag is new to me. But yesterday, I checked some foreign sources, and they've definitely got fewer fucks to give than the American press. *

Germany (Frankfurter Allgemeine): That definitely raises doubts about the American President's mind.
France (Le Monde): The "doctor" Trump's rantings: UV rays and disinfectant injected into the lungs to fight against the coronavirus. In the same way, immolation by fire could be a useful alternative.
Japan (Japan Times): It’s becoming a kind of daily ritual: U.S. President Donald Trump and a phalanx of doctors file into the briefing room, producing a display of rhetorical contortions as the medical officials try to stay true to the science without crossing the president.
Britain (Daily Telegraph): Donald Trump's scientific illiteracy rapidly moving from risible to lethal
Sweden (Dagens Nyheter): Donald Trump uses the press conferences on the coronavirus to spring disinformations that overshadows the real news.
Italy (La Repubblica): The absurdity of the President's words was underlined by the appalled expression of Dr. Birx, immortalized by all the media and gone viral on the Net.

*All translations via Google
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:44 AM on April 25, 2020 [16 favorites]


Has the NY Times seen the (UV) light?
We've deleted an earlier tweet and updated a sentence in our article that implied that only "some experts" view the ingestion of household disinfectants as dangerous. To be clear, there is no debate on the danger.
posted by adamg at 7:23 AM on April 25, 2020 [7 favorites]


Implied? You outright said that there was debate on the issue, you ignorant gits.

The New York Times is a dumpster fire.
posted by JackFlash at 7:27 AM on April 25, 2020 [13 favorites]


The NYT both sidesing is satire.
posted by benzenedream at 9:15 AM on April 25, 2020 [1 favorite]




When will we ever know for sure?
posted by xammerboy at 9:51 AM on April 25, 2020 [4 favorites]


How many of those international headlines are under an "opinion" header? Because it's easy to find firey stuff in American newspapers too; the problem is the cordoning off so that calling him a "liar" or "racist" is treated as non-objective. That Japanese headline in particular sounds more or less like what you'd find in an American paper.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:30 AM on April 25, 2020


To be fair, injecting disinfectants does cure cancer caused by windmills.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:31 AM on April 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


How many of those international headlines are under an "opinion" header? Because it's easy to find firey stuff in American newspapers too; the problem is the cordoning off so that calling him a "liar" or "racist" is treated as non-objective.

For my sins, I read the comments on the articles from news sites. I would estimate that 40% of the comments on any opinion piece about the actions of president* are along the lines of "so much for objectivity" and "I thought newspapers were supposed to be neutral" and "this is just a hit piece on Trump."

Occasionally, god help me, I respond, "Yes, they really should indicate the opinion pieces in some way -- say, by putting the word OPINION in all caps right before the headline and byline" (which, of course, the newspaper has done).
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:36 AM on April 25, 2020 [1 favorite]


What the hell is that?

Injecting disinfectant is a dumb idea.

Well, that's just your opinion. You're biased.
posted by adept256 at 10:50 AM on April 25, 2020


Like the man said, reality has a well-known liberal bias.
posted by Flannery Culp at 11:46 AM on April 25, 2020 [1 favorite]


When will we ever know for sure?

Doctors have actually studied disinfectant injections during an epidemic. Nazi doctors. At Auschwitz (both CW, especially the latter).
posted by adamg at 12:34 PM on April 25, 2020 [13 favorites]


Dire Warnings and Aggressive Pushback as Trump Promotes Sham Cures / Trump’s Suggestion That Disinfectants Could Be Used to Treat Coronavirus Prompts Aggressive Pushback (NYT, Apr. 24, 2020, Updated Apr. 25, 2020) (front page / article headline)
Responding to the criticism from public health officials around the country, the president said he was playing a trick on reporters.
In Maryland, so many callers flooded a health hotline with questions that the state’s Emergency Management Agency had to issue a warning that “under no circumstances” should any disinfectant be taken to treat the coronavirus. In Washington State, officials urged people not to consume laundry detergent capsules. Across the country on Friday, health professionals sounded the alarm.

Injecting bleach or highly concentrated rubbing alcohol “causes massive organ damage and the blood cells in the body to basically burst,” Dr. Diane P. Calello, the medical director of the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System, said in an interview. “It can definitely be a fatal event.” [...] The president said he had posed his theory on cleaning the body with disinfectant “in the form of a sarcastic question to a reporter,” which also was not true — he had said it unprompted to Mr. Bryan. [...] As he listened to Mr. Bryan, the president became increasingly excited, and also felt the need to demonstrate his own understanding of science, according to three of the advisers. So Mr. Trump went ahead with his theories about the chemicals.
Debacle of Trump's coronavirus disinfectant comments could be tipping point (Guardian)
The scandal exploded just a day after a New York Times report that detailed how Trump is coping with the pressures and isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In a lengthy piece it portrayed a US president who has become cut off from many of his former friends and associates as he lives and works in the White House, unable to leave and travel and hold the campaign rallies that he appears to crave. It described Trump bingeing on cable news for many hours each morning and often late into the night, surveying the wreckage of a once-booming economy that he had planned on being the main plank of his reelection strategy.
posted by katra at 2:03 PM on April 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


Of course a lot of people's first instinct is to say "They told us X would be a tipping point, then Y, then Z, but face it, Trump's base never abandons him and never will."

But I think it's a bit more complicated than that. The support is made of multiple layers, and the bottommost one (that would truly never leave him even if he pointed a gun directly at them) is definitely well under 30% of the population. He manages 45%-ish support because of the people on top of them, who are all over the map -- low-info folks, "He sucks but he drives the libs up the wall" people, those who support any old Republican, those who support any president by default, etc. (Remember, he's been down to about 35% before.) If all those were lost and only the true hard-core remained, it would be devastating, and the party's only hope for the fall would be to suppress and cancel votes on a massive, unmissable scale, not at the margins like they normally do.

There's reason to think that abandonment can happen because this really is different. It doesn't seem as abstract as other instances of awfulness -- the combination of the pandemic and the economy are hurting us all, and forcing a lot of people to stay at home whrre they consume more of the news. I think the only reason Republicans' numbers haven't gotten much worse is that everyone (even my own progressive parents) is still telling themselves that things will go back to normal soon, they just have to, right?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:48 PM on April 25, 2020 [5 favorites]


Nervous Republicans See Trump Sinking, and Taking Senate With Him (Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman, NYT / MSN reprint)
Perhaps most significantly, Mr. Trump’s single best advantage as an incumbent — his access to the bully pulpit — has effectively become a platform for self-sabotage. His daily news briefings on the coronavirus outbreak are inflicting grave damage on his political standing, Republicans believe, and his recent remarks about combating the virus with sunlight and disinfectant were a breaking point for a number of senior party officials.

[...] if Republicans are comforted by the uncertainties that remain, they are alarmed by one element of this election that is already abundantly clear: The small-dollar fund-raising energy Democrats enjoyed in the midterms has not abated. Most of the incumbent House Democrats facing competitive races enjoy a vast financial advantage over Republican challengers, who are struggling to garner attention as the virus overwhelms news coverage. [...] Privately, other party leaders are less restrained about the political damage they believe Mr. Trump is doing to himself and Republican candidates. One prominent G.O.P. senator said the nightly sessions were so painful he could not bear watching any longer.
Fauci calls for at least doubling virus testing before reopening country (Politico)
Fauci warned public health groups not to get fixated on the number of tests needed. What's more important is whether "you have enough tests to respond to the outbreaks that will inevitably occur as you try and ease your way back into the different phases," he said. Rapidly scaling up testing could be complicated by supply chain challenges, and will require careful national coordination, as POLITICO has reported.
posted by katra at 2:55 PM on April 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


Say it loud, say it clear: Donald Trump needs to resign over his handling of the coronavirus, Boston Globe, Michael A. Cohen, April 25, 2020

Trump says briefings 'not worth the effort' amid fallout from disinfectant comments (Guardian)
Trump himself referenced his absence when he wrote on Twitter that the briefings are “not worth the time & effort”. The president wrote the tweet on Saturday evening, when he would usually be taking the podium to address journalists. [...] “What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately,” he wrote. “They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!”
TTTCS
posted by katra at 3:41 PM on April 25, 2020 [6 favorites]


In that other world, a headline over at Fox this morning was "Donald Trump Jr. slams media's revisionist history of White House response to COVID-19."

Not linking to it, but you can imagine...alternative reality, alternative history, here we come.
posted by Snowishberlin at 3:58 PM on April 25, 2020 [2 favorites]


As an addendum to my previous thought: Many times over the past 3+ years that have felt like 30+ years, someone has joked "Imagine trying to explain all this to someone waking up from a coma". Well, quite a few Americans are, in effect, waking up from it now -- they weren't paying attention and Trump 's awfulness didn't affect them.

Even many of his fairly-enthused, somewhat-attentive supporters would say "Well, I wish he'd tweet less, and he's not great with words which lets the media twist them out of context, but my 401k is great, the libs are unhappy, and everything else is the same or better". Now... not so much.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:12 PM on April 25, 2020 [9 favorites]


“...the past 3+ years that have felt like 30+ years...”—having just watched the free, pandemic-fundraising version of Jesus Christ Superstar, I can’t help but hear song lyrics in that one. The last time around it becomes “feels like 90” and that’s getting damn close.
posted by bcd at 4:39 PM on April 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


“What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media points a camera at me,” he wrote. “They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!”

(quote edited for truth)
posted by valkane at 6:51 PM on April 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


“Coronavirus in the US: an Unmitigated Disaster,” mgiardinello, The Last Stand for Truth blog, 25 April 2020
posted by ob1quixote at 7:12 PM on April 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


GOP in Disarray Tensions emerge between Republicans over coronavirus spending and how to rescue the economy (WaPo / MSN reprint)
After years of pillorying the Obama administration over spending and blocking efforts to pump more money into the economy following the 2008 financial crisis, GOP leaders now find themselves struggling with how to balance the need to prop up the struggling economy ahead of the fall’s elections with concerns that too much spending could hurt them with their base of voters. [...] Yet economists from the right and left — as well as a not-insignificant number of GOP senators — are warning of the dangers of pulling back on federal spending too quickly, alarmed that doing so will create long-lasting problems for the economy and the American worker.
posted by katra at 7:32 PM on April 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


The terrible truth is that the ability to social distance is itself a privilege in many ways while the economic costs of social distancing are most born by those least able to social distance. I am terrified of the economic pain that will linger long after this epidemic once wealthy and privileged people no longer feel threatened. The same thing happened after the 2008 financial crisis.

Both parties apparently agree we should bail out businesses hurt by the pandemic, but only the Democrats appear to believe we should bail out states so they don't need to make draconian cuts to education and social services such as Medicare. The asymmetry practically guarantees sufficient relief won't come from the federal government.

Right now now the debate for any aid certainly has strange bedfellows. You have Trump and certain Republicans, both worried about reelection, along with the Democrats who want another stimulus with aide to states on one side, and you have the same old Tea Party Republicans including Mitch McConnell who want to basically choke state governments and the rest of the economy into a deep depression. At this point, I care more about that debate than I do about whether or not Trump told people to drink mercury or light themselves on fire to cure themselves of the virus or something.

I also hope Democrats aren't stupid enough to start buying into the deficit dance anytime soon, but I know that's always a "moderate" calling card.
posted by eagles123 at 8:12 PM on April 25, 2020 [14 favorites]


White House officials are discussing plans to replace HHS Secretary Alex Azar (CNN)

Probably will be replaced with some kind of UV ray or maybe a bleach wipe.
posted by valkane at 9:19 PM on April 25, 2020 [12 favorites]


The last time around it becomes “feels like 90” and that’s getting damn close.

That is the song that ends, “Kill me, take me now, before I change my mind,” right?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:23 PM on April 25, 2020 [1 favorite]


“Really Want to Flood NY and NJ”: Internal Documents Reveal Team Trump’s Chloroquine Master Plan — Forget testing, ventilators, and PPE. Donald Trump’s big plan to beat COVID-19 involved distributing millions of doses of an unproven drug. Behind the scenes, senior administration officials pushed hard to bend the rules and back up his boasts., Vanity Fair, Katherine Eban, 4/24/2020:
On the afternoon of Saturday, April 4, President Trump stood at the White House podium and escalated his marketing blitz on behalf of hydroxychloroquine, hyping the old malaria drug’s alleged promise in treating COVID-19, as well as his administration’s success in acquiring huge amounts of it.

“We have millions and millions of doses of it—29 million to be exact,” he said, as the official tally of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. topped 260,000 and governors across the country pleaded for federal support to acquire tests, ventilators, and protective gear for health care workers. “We’re just hearing really positive stories, and we’re continuing to collect the data.” That evening, according to emails obtained by Vanity Fair, Trump’s political appointees would ramp up the pressure on career health officials to make good on the president’s extravagant promises, despite clear warnings from federal clinicians about the risks and unproven benefits of chloroquine-based treatments for COVID-19.

Vanity Fair has assembled this account based on documents and interviews provided by multiple federal officials with knowledge of internal Trump administration proceedings....
Damn the torpedoes truth, full speed ahead!
posted by cenoxo at 11:53 AM on April 26, 2020 [15 favorites]


Federal coronavirus strategy lurches as plans to help states change, then change again (USA Today)
The strategy whiplash, documented in meeting notes and internal slides obtained by USA TODAY, comes after weeks of states and public health experts sounding alarms about the need for federal guidance on testing and how to ramp up public health staffing to trace coronavirus exposures. The course corrections are a sign of the chaos around federal plans to help states return to some semblance of normalcy as a national shutdown required to slow the spread of a virus stretches into its second month. [...] Critics say the government’s reopening plans often lack key details, extending the series of federal failures hobbling the nation since the start of the outbreak. “This is a signal of a bigger problem: the absence of informed strategic thinking,” said Dr. Tara O’Toole, who helped develop pandemic response plans in the Department of Homeland Security under former President Barack Obama. “There is no clear direction, and CDC is in a subsidiary position.”
Guardian: "Dr Deborah Birx, who appeared on CNN this morning [...] declined to criticize the president for dangerous comments he made earlier in the week floating the idea of using sunlight and the injection of disinfectant to the human body to treat Covid-19." [...] And here’s the CDC’s full guidance on the consequences of consumption of disinfectant.
CDC (@CDCgov) Household cleaners and disinfectants can cause health problems when not used properly. Follow the instructions on the product label to ensure safe and effective use. Learn more about cleaning and disinfecting your home: https://t.co/PW0UbW8KeE. pic.twitter.com/rdcR9QJNIR April 24, 2020
Guardian: "Dr Birx also appeared on NBC’s Meet The Press this morning and continued her stance of declining to criticize the president for his dangerous remarks on the use of disinfectant to combat Covid-19 inside the human body."

Guardian: Donald Trump attacks 'Noble [sic] Prizes'
Donald Trump is on his customary Sunday Twitter tear. [...] the president said that the “Noble” [sic] Committee should demand its prizes back from journalists who worked on “Russia, Russia, Russia”. [...] As is often the case, it’s unclear who the president is talking about. The Nobel Prizes were awarded for Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, Peace and Economics in 2019. [...] Trump may well have meant to criticize the Pulitzer Prizes for journalism. Several winners in 2019 have investigated Trump’s regime.
posted by katra at 12:43 PM on April 26, 2020 [6 favorites]


"Although the Clorox in bathwater is stupid it is nowhere near the stupidity of ingesting bleach or injecting it."

Why should it be a stupid idea? It is actually an excellent idea, depending on the circumstances.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29762205
posted by yoyo_nyc at 2:23 PM on April 26, 2020 [2 favorites]


#NotAllClorox
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:34 PM on April 26, 2020 [2 favorites]


The U.S. will need social distancing through the summer. (NYT live blog)
Dr. Birx was asked on “Meet the Press” about a claim by Vice President Mike Pence, who said on Thursday, “Honestly, if you look at the trends today, I think by Memorial Day weekend we will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us.” Mr. Pence made the statement on Geraldo Rivera’s radio show. Dr. Birx responded that she thought Mr. Pence was being hopeful, based on trends in places like Detroit and Louisiana where case counts appear to have peaked. But she also said, “social distancing will be with us through the summer.”

[...] Despite pleas from state and local leaders to stay home, tens of thousands of people flocked to beaches that were open in Orange County on Saturday. Photographs of Newport Beach and Huntington Beach showed large crowds staking out patches of sand with beach towels and umbrellas. The Orange County Register reported that as many as 40,000 people went to the beach in Newport Beach on Friday.
Reopening of America accelerates as states prepare to relax coronavirus restrictions (WaPo, Apr. 25, 2020)
“We don’t have the resources in place to do the level of testing and contact tracing we need to make sure we’re monitoring this effectively,” said Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University. “We’re flying blind.” [...] Many of the states that have eased their rules say they believe they are past the peak as new case numbers decline. But Shaman noted that those declines have come only because of sweeping social distancing rules, and that as the rules are relaxed, controlling transmission will become more difficult. How much more difficult remains to be seen. But Shaman warned that “a trial-and-error approach is less than ideal.”
posted by katra at 2:44 PM on April 26, 2020 [3 favorites]


I feel like this is an episode in the on-going series:

Things We Figured You'd Learned By the Time You Were 7, But Apparently Not

Today's lesson: Things that are useful in one context may not be so useful in another!

Previous episodes include: Cover your cough!; Experts: Probably Worth Listening to; and Caring What Happens to Other People is How Society Functions.
posted by DebetEsse at 2:51 PM on April 26, 2020 [22 favorites]


USPS currently unable to deliver mail to 111 countries and DPO military addresses (APO and FPO currently unaffected). This seems to be related to a lack of air service and ability for the postal systems in those countries to receive mail rater than intentional directed action. However it means service members in these areas are currently unable to vote.
posted by Mitheral at 3:37 PM on April 26, 2020 [4 favorites]


White House aiming for Trump pivot from virus to economy (AP)
What had been his greatest asset in the reelection campaign, his ability to blanket news headlines with freewheeling performances, has become a daily liability. At the same time, new Republican Party polling shows Trump’s path to a second term depends on the public’s perception of how quickly the economy rebounds from the state-by-state shutdowns meant to slow the spread of the virus. [...] Trump last left the White House grounds a month ago, and plans are being drawn up for a limited schedule of travel within the next few weeks, aide said. It would be a symbolic show that the nation is beginning to reopen.

[...] The White House is deliberating whether to continue to hold news briefings in a modified form without Trump, potentially at a different location. Before Trump said in a tweet Saturday that they were “Not worth the time & effort,” aides had been eager to use the briefings to highlight positive trends and to overwhelm Americans with statistics. It was an effort to restore confidence in the response so that the public would be comfortable resuming more normal activities.
‘For black folks, it’s like a set up: Are you trying to kill us?’ (WaPo)
Fear and mistrust in rural Georgia as Gov. Kemp urges the state to reopen.
Through Friday, African Americans accounted for more than 50 percent of Georgia’s deaths, despite making up about 30 percent of the state’s 10.6 million population. The toll is far greater in less-populous counties where the largest share of residents is black. The number of cases per capita in plurality-black counties is 1.75 times that of plurality-white counties. The number of deaths per capita in plurality-black counties is twice that of white counties. [...] States from Wisconsin to Louisiana are seeing disproportionate numbers as well, but the disparity in Georgia is also geographic. Across the United States, urban counties have higher rates of coronavirus cases and deaths than rural counties. In Georgia, it’s the opposite. The state’s rural areas have a death rate 1.5 times that of its large cities.

“Is this an indicator of what we’re going to see throughout the country? Absolutely,” Andrew T. Pavia, head of the pediatric infectious diseases division at the University of Utah School of Medicine, said of rural Georgia at an Infectious Diseases Society of America briefing this week. “It’s a perfect storm for risk of death when the virus lands in these poor, more rural communities.”
posted by katra at 6:25 PM on April 26, 2020 [7 favorites]


‘For black folks, it’s like a set up: Are you trying to kill us?’

I don't know how to answer this question honestly without saying yes.
posted by xammerboy at 11:32 PM on April 26, 2020 [4 favorites]


@rudyguiliani*

Why did the US (NIH) in 2017 give $3.7m to the Wuhan Lab in China?
Such grants were prohibited in 2014.
Did Pres. Obama grant an exception?


Okay, he wasn't pres in 2017. From what I can tell, this was funding for the Ecohealth alliance.

That money would have spread thin among the organisations involved. Of which I guess the Wuhan Institute of Virology got a slice. What was their relationship with EA?

EcoHealth Alliance Announces Discovery of SARS-Like Viruses Spilling Over into People in China

NEW YORK – March 2, 2018 – The result of its continued surveillance of people and animals in emerging disease hotspot regions, EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of animal, environmental, and human health on a global scale, has found evidence of viruses closely related to SARS in people in Yunnan Province, China.

...

EcoHealth Alliance scientists, in partnership with Wuhan Institute of Virology and Duke-NUS, found SARSr-CoVs in bat caves near Jinning in Yunnan Province. Human testing revealed antibodies against SARSr Co-V in six people living nearby, though none recalled any symptoms related to SARS infection.


So the Wuhan Institute of Virology, in March 2018, were researching this. One would hope Obama would make an exception for such research. I don't know about that though, didn't the republican congress have control of spending in 2014?

Rather, it seems like the Trump administration cut funding to the international alliance we had with the one Institution that was studying the protovirus two full years ago. I can see how that would have happened, they would have looked at the name 'ecohealth' and 3.7 million, and just cut without asking any questions.

They cut 3.7$ million on international cooperation on health research. Money saved! Look how well the economy is doing!

Of course Rudy is an asshole, and his contention is that this is the lab where the virus escaped from. Fuck off Rudy. Thanks for pointing out Trump's mismanagement, but I don't need your fucking theories. Just fuck off.

*screenshot because tweet was deleted
posted by adept256 at 6:17 AM on April 27, 2020 [4 favorites]


Want a mask contract or some ventilators? A White House connection helps (NBC News, Apr. 24, 2020)
Using the unilateral authority of the White House, Trump and his aides have consolidated power in a period of national crisis, picking winners and losers based in part on personal relationships, ideological affinity and partisan loyalty. Ultimately, that favoritism has created a two-track system of haves and have-nots in what Trump calls the "war" against the coronavirus, a model revealed in dozens of interviews that NBC News conducted with federal, state and local officials, health industry professionals, emergency response veterans working on the crisis and current and former White House officials. Put simply, the fight for survival among businesses related to the COVID-19 fight — and for a slice of the billions of dollars going out the door — is about political influence.

[...] Much of the flexibility in who gets supplies comes from a secretive "adjudication" process in which senior political appointees have the power to circumvent formulas designed to apportion test kits, ventilators, masks, gloves, gowns and other personal protective equipment based on evolving needs. [...] Most of the sources experienced in various aspects of emergency management who spoke to NBC News say the politicization of the disaster response is unprecedented in modern history. [...] "I've never seen anything directed by the White House like this before," said the source, who insisted on anonymity out of fear of retribution.
posted by katra at 10:21 AM on April 27, 2020 [6 favorites]


Lashing out at 'Lamestream Media', Trump threatens to end White House press conferences ('hunter', Daily Kos, 4/26/2020)
... [He] may end up ending them for a more Trumpian reason: In the immediate wake of suggesting doctors maybe try injecting COVID-19 patients with bleach or, you know, whatever, he's having a tantrum over the press being mean to him. [...]

Eh. It's not about CNN; not really. This is more about the reality of the world getting away from Donald, or rather his growing realization that no matter how much he lies, his brainless virus opponent is not going to cower into submission for the sake of his own ego. Donald's entire narcissistic life has consisted of bullying, of cheating, and of lying. Those do not turn out to be the tools needed to solve a worldwide crisis.
The White House tried to move a reporter to the back of the press room, but she refused. Then Trump walked out. (Paul Farhi, WaPo | alt MSN, 4/25/2020)
Network reporters, including those from CNN, have assigned seats at the front of the briefing room, under a plan managed by the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) and agreed to by White House officials last month.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:09 AM on April 27, 2020 [8 favorites]


his brainless virus opponent is not going to cower into submission for the sake of his own ego

His opponents with brains aren't cowering as much as they used to either.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:11 AM on April 27, 2020 [3 favorites]


Backlash grows as pandemic relief stumbles (Politico)
Every snag in the CARES Act and its multibillion-dollar brethren is fodder for potential audit or investigation by a slew of entities tasked with ensuring taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted or bilked from the coronavirus relief effort. But a month into the implementation of the massive new law, most oversight efforts are either nonexistent or just getting started. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have still yet to agree on a bipartisan choice to lead a five-member congressional panel charged with monitoring the most sprawling aspect of the CARES Act. That’s the $500 billion fund entrusted to the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve meant to shore up distressed industries, companies and local governments.

A special inspector general nominated by Trump to oversee the same fund has yet to get a confirmation hearing in the Republican-run Senate, as lawmakers weigh whether to return to Capitol Hill for their currently scheduled May 4 session. And a panel of inspectors general tasked with sweeping oversight responsibility in the CARES Act was thrown into turmoil after Trump demoted the watchdog picked to be its chairman. So far, only the Government Accountability Office has begun pursuing audits of coronavirus relief efforts, promising to launch dozens of reviews before the end of the month. The House also formally approved the establishment of a new select committee to oversee the Trump administration’s implementation of the CARES Act. But it’s not clear when it will begin work. And Republicans have already rejected it as a political weapon intended to damage Trump in the run-up to the election, potentially undermining oversight efforts.
posted by katra at 11:23 AM on April 27, 2020 [6 favorites]


The Official White House Flickr Page is Like a Trump Presidency From an Alternate Universe (Matt Novak, Paleofuture.Gizmodo, 04.27.2020)
The official White House Flickr page publishes new photos of President Donald Trump and his devious band of halfwits almost every day. And if you scroll through the photos, all taken by the official White House photographer, it starts to feel like an alternate universe. Why? When you strip away the context of what’s being said or the actions being taken, Trump almost looks like a normal president. [...]

Official White House photographers are almost always acting like a propaganda arm of the federal government, but it’s jarring to see the difference between the “official” version of the Trump presidency and the unfiltered one.

But make no mistake, there will be plenty of people who try to rewrite history and tell the story of Trump as one of a competent underdog just fighting against an unjust system. Don’t let them. And don’t let them use “normal” photos when you know the truth behind a given moment.

As we saw with LBJ, lies and distortions can last for generations. And proper context is the only tool we have to fight against misinformation, both today and well into the future.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:35 AM on April 27, 2020 [3 favorites]


on the bright side, at this rate the textbooks of the future will be full audio/video streams accessed from home.

(on the less bright side, if you place the camera close enough to the "action," you can make a couple dozen halfwits posturing in tactical drag on state capital steps -- or milling about the dismantling of a statue -- look like a movement -- or an oppressed population welcoming its liberators).
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:42 AM on April 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


The White House tried to move a reporter to the back of the press room, but she refused. Then Trump walked out.

Well evidently it didn't happen quite that way, but no matter what, this doesn't sound like Trump acting with "absolute power."
posted by rhizome at 12:39 PM on April 27, 2020




I think someone mentioned this, but in an emergency you can add a very small amount of chlorine bleach to water that otherwise might not be safe to drink [EPA]. It's drops per gallon.

I knew this from long ago with regard to hiking and a need for emergency water—but these days the survival water filter straws are a much better solution (pun not intended).
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:48 PM on April 27, 2020 [3 favorites]


(Previously — American Red Cross instructions. They also recommend boiling the water.)
posted by cenoxo at 2:37 PM on April 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


WaPo: President’s intelligence briefing book repeatedly cited virus threat
U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat, according to current and former U.S. officials.
posted by jedicus at 7:45 PM on April 27, 2020 [10 favorites]


There's this video clip of Trump answering a question about whether he deserves to be re-elected after more Americans have died during his presidency than were killed in combat during the Vietnam war. Someone has obviously told him to tamp down his vitriol and you can tell he's trying to. He didn't call the reporter fake news, impugn her intelligence, or act like the spoiled child he is, by Trump standards. I wonder how the same question coming from a reporter who is a woman of color or maybe a middle aged woman would have played out.
posted by rdr at 7:51 PM on April 27, 2020 [6 favorites]


Wow, he was remarkably able to stay on the (clearly written by someone else) script there and even get the (insincere) punch line in again at the end without ruining it by rambling on. That must have taken intense training and rehearsals. I wonder who was able to convince Trump not to be Trump, and what's got him scared enough to listen, hmm?
posted by ctmf at 8:00 PM on April 27, 2020 [3 favorites]


Eric Trump promotes "quarantine wine" on the same day that his dad spares visas for vineyard workers - Salon, Roger Sollenberger, 04.27.2020 - 'Eric wants you to stock up on "quarantine wine" from Trump Winery, which his dad's immigration ban didn't impact'
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:03 PM on April 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


I wonder who was able to convince Trump not to be Trump, and what's got him scared enough to listen, hmm?

> Resolution of Regulatory and Legal Liability Issues (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Apr. 13, 2020)
A reopening plan that is medically based and relies on social distancing and other best practices for public health may raise significant regulatory and legal liability risks. These are in addition to numerous lawsuits already filed as a result of COVID-19 and litigation risk that will become exacerbated during a reopening.
Trump’s ‘Opening Our Country Council’ Runs Into Its Own Opening Problems (NYT, Apr. 15, 2020)
Another issue of great concern to the executives on the call, one participant said, was the need to address the liability companies could face if employees got sick after returning to work, given the possibility that workers who felt that they were brought back too soon — or were not placed in a safe environment — could sue en masse.
McConnell dangles aid to states — with a catch (Politico, Apr. 27, 2020)
In an interview on Monday, the Senate majority leader said it’s “highly likely” the next coronavirus response bill will aid local governments whose budgets have been decimated by lockdowns and now face spiraling deficits. But to unlock that money, McConnell said he will "insist" Congress limit the liabilities of health care workers, business owners and employees from lawsuits as they reopen in the coming weeks and months.

[...] And McConnell said he hasn’t talked to Pelosi about it yet.
posted by katra at 8:04 PM on April 27, 2020 [3 favorites]


Where Has Jared Kushner Gone in the Fight Against Coronavirus? - Daily Beast, Erin Banco & Asawin Suebsaeng, 04.27.2020 • "The president’s son-in-law promised a shadow task force for the virus. But a month later, some officials are not overly impressed."
Over the past two weeks, Kushner has been notably removed from coronavirus-related operations, according to four officials working in coordination with his team. One official working in the White House said it was “unclear” exactly what he and his team had actually done over the last two weeks. [...]
It's easier to point at situations where he made things worse, like FEMA operations, than at anything that his efforts actually made better.
[...] Still, the failures underscore the larger shortcomings of the administration’s handling of the pandemic: the pursuit of a resolution to the crisis has often been defined by the search for a silver bullet or overwhelmed by the whims and interests of the president.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:13 PM on April 27, 2020 [5 favorites]


The liability thing isn't wholly manufactured, or even an entirely terrible idea in principle. Something like the vaccine side effect compensation scheme could, for some businesses, conditional on their supplying employees with sufficient PPE and otherwise following best practices for cleaning, capacity limits, etc, be a reasonable thing.

However, I don't believe there is any chance McConnell would accept any reasonable liability limitation law that would be fair to everyone (or as fair as it could be, anyway). I have little doubt he would hold out for a blanket waiver of liability or at best limit damages to some arbitrary dollar figure that wouldn't cover the first day of medical care.
posted by wierdo at 8:34 PM on April 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


it is remarkable that he didn't flip his lid.
but he did not answer the question.
only in the most permissive light could he even be said to have responded to it: he filled the space after a question with canned claims entirely irrelevant to the question like the liquid leaking from a rotten tomato fills the lowest contour of its container.
it is unlikely that he knows how many americans died in combat in vietnam or over what period, so it is just by chance that 60,000 is close to that number. and there are no indications that that number, which we are likely to surpass by official counts this week, will be the total. and it is unlikely he knows how long that conflict lasted.
he did not say he should be be re-elected.
it is only in contrast to his pattern of bat-shit crazy claims and gibbering hostility to fact, science, press and a majority of people that this performance -- again praising his porous border closure, claiming gross numbers free of meaningful context, and appealing to mostly-unsubstantiated comparison to other nations -- appears moderate. moderate for him.
he did voice words that, by their form, suggest empathy: one death is too many. i guess he deserves some credit for squeezing those words out of his narcissistic maw. but there is no empathy. the pretense of empathy is necessary to wield jingoistic blame against others.

asked about states reporting a spike in people ingesting disinfectant (c-span, circa 38.22), or asking state authorities about same, he said he takes no responsibility and "can't imagine why" [states would report that? people would do that? unclear]. there, too, mighty dignified and presidential that he didn't lose his wig.
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:40 PM on April 27, 2020 [8 favorites]


House and Senate on collision course over coronavirus response as leaders map out conflicting agendas (WaPo)
McConnell’s statement [...] endorsed some type of a “liability shield” that would prevent businesses from being sued by customers who contract the coronavirus, an idea that has been under consideration at the White House.

[...] Pelosi’s spokesman, Drew Hammill, dismissed McConnell’s call for liability protection, saying: “The House has no interest in diminishing protections for employees and customers.”
posted by katra at 8:42 PM on April 27, 2020 [7 favorites]


Democrats to plow ahead with proxy voting over GOP resistance (Politico)
The House could vote as soon as next week on a major — though temporary — change in the chamber's rules to allow lawmakers to cast votes remotely for colleagues who can’t travel to Washington amid the outbreak. [...] Health experts, including the House's attending physician, however, have warned that there will need to be major operational changes to protect members and staff from further spreading the virus.

[...] Meanwhile, even as Democratic leaders took steps to allow more remote participation, they also announced Monday that the House would return in regular session on Monday, May 4. That timeline drew complaints from several members on the [caucuswide call on Monday], who worried that bringing hundreds of lawmakers back to Washington — defying the city’s own health guidance — could risk further spreading the virus.
posted by katra at 9:08 PM on April 27, 2020 [4 favorites]


Retail Covid-19 testing is a massive failure for black communities
A Health and Human Services spokesperson said the department is working with pharmacy and retail companies to “expand rapidly to areas that are under-tested and socially vulnerable” and that the department is “using data to locate sites in counties that are under-tested and socially vulnerable, especially those with high populations of black, Hispanic and rural Americans.” They noted that “as of April 24, 63 sites are testing Americans in 24 states.”

However, of the 63 testing sites operating, or announced to open as of April 24, only eight — about 13 percent — are in predominantly black neighborhoods. Black Americans make up 30 percent of Covid-19 patients, according to preliminary nationwide data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [...]

Assessing the White House retail testing plan from its inception, Rutgers professor Naa Oyo A. Kwate argues that centering stores as testing points compounds issues of access because of retailers’ segregated location patterns, generally away from black neighborhoods.

Kwate said a more equitable option could have been chosen, such as post office parking lots or schools, which are more equally distributed throughout communities. “Trying to respond to the pandemic by partnering with private retail sites, that doesn’t really make sense,” said Kwate, adding that the few testing centers in the Chicago area aren’t strategically located relative to the population density and the city’s hardest-hit communities.

With half of the Chicago region’s retail testing centers at a Walgreens and Walmart in far-flung suburbs, Kwate said, “if you’re on either on the South Side or in a predominantly black suburb, you have to go a really long way — you’re driving on the expressway for at least half an hour, paying tolls to get there. It’s nowhere close to where you are.”
posted by tonycpsu at 6:55 AM on April 28, 2020 [12 favorites]


I wonder who was able to convince Trump not to be Trump, and what's got him scared enough to listen, hmm?

Perhaps, finally, the faces, reactions and opinions of everyone else surrounding Trump who also attend these briefing sessions. For months now, they've heard, seen, and discussed the worldwide magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic (and its lasting aftereffects).

These aren't staged base rallies where The Imperial Donald can hug the flag, tell lies, and bask in applause and cheers. The Poor Donald wanted to be in the big leagues: maybe he's realized that the flag is wrapping itself tighter and tighter around him.
posted by cenoxo at 7:45 AM on April 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


Mod note: Friendly reminder, please keep pull quotes on the shorter side - aim for no more than 2 paragraphs. It's fine to summarize points too. Thanks.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:46 AM on April 28, 2020 [5 favorites]


Companies seek to limit legal liability for virus infections (AP)
“If the administration is not willing to hold giant corporations like Amazon and Walmart accountable to protect workers during this pandemic, they will be putting millions of American workers and families at risk,” UFCW president Marc Perrone said in a statement.

[...] There’s no question Congress is empowered to regulate interstate commerce and has the authority to shield certain classes of businesses and people from liability — something it has done before, said Sachin Pandya, a University of Connecticut law professor with expertise in workplace law. In fact, lawmakers in the recently enacted $2 trillion coronavirus rescue bill prevented, with some exceptions, volunteer health care workers from being held liable for harm caused by acts or omissions during the pandemic response. [...] And when it comes to companies, Pandya noted, “It is also important to give businesses a reason to invest the time and effort to put into place all reasonable precautions to reduce the risk of contagion.”
Teachers union: 'Scream bloody murder' if schools reopen against medical advice (Politico)
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, previewing a reopening plan first with POLITICO, said funding is needed for a host of public health measures for schools, including personal protective equipment. Collective bargaining, strong enforcement of safety standards and protections from retaliation will be important for teachers and staff so they feel safe to speak up as schools try new approaches, she said. If schools are reopened without proper safety measures, “you scream bloody murder,” Weingarten said. “And you do everything you can to ... use your public megaphones.”
House drops plan to return after lawmaker backlash (Politico)
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Tuesday announced that lawmakers won’t return to Washington next week, abruptly reversing course after widespread backlash from members in both parties who warned the move would be unsafe. [...] Hoyer said he and Pelosi made the decision to halt plans to return after consulting Monday evening with the Capitol’s attending physician, who warned that lawmakers could be at risk given the still-rising number of coronavirus cases in the Washington, D.C. area.
posted by katra at 10:08 AM on April 28, 2020 [5 favorites]


In contrast to Republicans positively SCREAMING about "tort reform" for decades, if not my entire life, they are going to use the pandemic as a quiet lever to get every single goddamn thing they ever wanted out of this. You want grandma to live? Then give up her right to sue. They won't even have to be that specific.
posted by rhizome at 11:58 AM on April 28, 2020 [7 favorites]


Guardian: As House leadership delays members’ planned return to Washington, it’s worth noting a bipartisan pair of senators are pushing to allow remote voting.
Republican senator Rob Portman and Democratic senator Dick Durbin penned a New York Times op-ed voicing support for remote voting, which Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has ruled out. The two senators wrote: "An essential part of the Senate’s constitutional function, no matter the circumstances, is for senators to cast votes on legislation. We propose allowing remote voting during emergencies on a temporary basis. In times like these, that means updating Senate tradition so senators can follow the guidance of medical experts and adhere to strict social distancing measures. We are at the point where remote voting may be critical for the Senate to be able to govern on behalf of the American people and help lead our country through this crisis."
Trump faces the risk of a coronavirus cliff (Politico)
And risks remain high that quick reopenings could lead to fresh virus breakouts, shutting down the economy again. If that happens and the rescue programs aren’t expanded for individuals, businesses and state and local governments, the political toll could be enormous.

“Trump in 2016 won quite a few voters who traditionally back Democrats, the so-called ‘forgotten voters’ in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan,” said Michael Weber, a University of Chicago economist. “So it’s very risky to think about austerity right now because it would hit many Trump voters the hardest. Trump realizes his reelection depends on the economy and that’s why he is pushing to reopen states, even though that creates a very big risk of a second wave of the virus.”
African Americans bear the brunt of Covid-19's economic impact (Guardian)
“National emergencies, pandemics, epidemics, what they do is they spotlight inequality,” [Danyelle Solomon, vice-president of the race and ethnicity program at the Center for American Progress] said. “What we see in Covid-19 is no different. It’s highlighting racial disparities at every single level that have been with our society for a very long time.”
posted by katra at 12:16 PM on April 28, 2020 [4 favorites]


House drops plan to return after lawmaker backlash

Well, that certainly makes all those plans to help poor folks through the pandemic "in the next bill" look really thoughtful.
posted by mediareport at 12:25 PM on April 28, 2020 [2 favorites]


Why hasn't the U.S. Congress implemented plans for remote conferencing yet? This is not difficult. We have the technology.
posted by mediareport at 12:27 PM on April 28, 2020 [6 favorites]


"The Internet is a series of tubes" is why...
posted by Windopaene at 12:37 PM on April 28, 2020 [2 favorites]


Trump admin threatens to sue states that don’t lift pandemic ordersArs Technica, Jon Brodkin, 4/28/2020 • "AG Barr says state orders for containing COVID-19 may violate Constitution."

See - Attorney General William P. Barr's memo: Balancing Public Safety with the Preservation of Civil Rights (Washington Post, US DOJ), dated 04/27/2020
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:56 PM on April 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


Why hasn't the U.S. Congress implemented plans for remote conferencing yet? This is not difficult. We have the technology.

Guardian: "House Democrats have proposed allowing members to vote by proxy for the duration of the current crisis, but House Republicans have voiced strong opposition to the idea."

Politico: "On a private call with Senate Republicans Tuesday, McConnell told his conference that he even wanted to bring back the GOP's weekly party lunches."
posted by katra at 1:04 PM on April 28, 2020 [3 favorites]


Trump admin threatens to sue states that don’t lift pandemic orders

Yeah, right. More bullying amounting to nothing. Remember when he said he had absolute power? Trump always backs down. Nobody qualified will work with Trump. He is a paper tiger.

However, I saw a lot more cars on the freeway yesterday. What Trump is doing, I feel, is stochastic. He's creating the permissiveness required for people to want restrictions to be lifted. He's creating the desire in people to act against their own interests, mostly based on image: sports, haircuts...all things that aren't under his control, like testing and PPE.

I feel there is a huge desire among the powerful (and probably the rich) not to let people get used to the current state of affairs. Don't get used to there not being pollution. Don't get used to exercising on sunny days. Don't get used to spending more time with your family (for better or worse ;). Don't get used to having a life of leisure. The government and economy have spent generations beating these things out of people, teaching us that these things are luxuries.
posted by rhizome at 1:06 PM on April 28, 2020 [40 favorites]


little late with this context, but, pursuant to the president suggesting ingestion of cleaning products, remember when, on march 13 of this year, president horrorshow issued a "proclamation on national poison prevention week," lamenting the "more than 300 children" treated every day for incidents frequently involving "ordinary household items like cleaning products" and calling "upon all Americans to observe this week by taking actions to safeguard their families from poisonous products, chemicals, medicines, and drugs found in their homes, and to raise awareness about these dangers in order to prevent accidental injuries and deaths?"

me too. guess it was just for that week. in fairness to the president, the proclamation is limited to "unintentional poisonings" and "accidental ingestion," and his more recent comments have indeed raised awareness.
posted by 20 year lurk at 1:07 PM on April 28, 2020 [2 favorites]


Mike Pence met with doctors and coronavirus patients at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota today, and was the only person not wearing a mask in multiple situations, including in a room with a patient. In response to the outcry, the Mayo Clinic tweeted, "Mayo Clinic had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today." That tweet has now been deleted, and the VP's office has not yet replied to questions about why he violated the Mayo Clinic's policy on mask-wearing, which has been in place for everyone since April 13th.
posted by mediareport at 1:11 PM on April 28, 2020 [26 favorites]


Trump to order meat plants to stay open in pandemic, person familiar with action says (WaPo)
[Debbie Berkowitz, a former senior OSHA official who is an expert on meat processing plants] said Trump’s decision will undercut local health officials’ power to make meat plants comply with newly issued federal guidance that would have limited workers’ exposure to covid-19. “The president has just undermined all efforts to stop the spread of the disease in plants,” Berkowitz said. “He is essentially saying they must be allowed to operate and that there should be no specific requirements plants must follow to stop the spread of this disease.” [...] “Without putting in specific safety requirements — beyond masks — the disease will continue to spread through the plants and into the community,” said Berkowitz.

A Smithfield worker in Missouri is suing the company in federal court for failing to take action to protect employees, including altering operations to permit social distancing and providing PPE, and discouraging employees from staying home while ill. A preliminary hearing has been set for later this week in the lawsuit, which does not name the worker who filed it. A judge has ordered Smithfield to comply with CDC and OSHA guidelines in the interim.
posted by katra at 1:36 PM on April 28, 2020 [4 favorites]


Trump admin threatens to sue states that don’t lift pandemic orders • Ars Technica, Jon Brodkin, 4/28/2020 • "AG Barr says state orders for containing COVID-19 may violate Constitution."

I'm sure the judges who hear cases by video hookup are bound to be sympathetic.
posted by Gelatin at 1:41 PM on April 28, 2020 [3 favorites]


Re: Pence not wearing a mask - Do Not Touch
posted by achrise at 1:56 PM on April 28, 2020 [7 favorites]


archives.gov notes 58,220 u.s. deaths in vietnam over about 20 years per the defense casualty analysis system.

ncov2019.live/data shows 58,281 (at 4:52 pm april 28) deaths from coronavirus in the 60 days since the first u.s. death was reported feb. 29. johns hopkins tracker hasn't quite caught up, listing 58,126.
posted by 20 year lurk at 1:57 PM on April 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


Gabriel Sherman, Vanity Fair: Inside Donald Trump and Jared Kushner’s Two Months of Magical Thinking

Hard to find the most WTF-inducing pull-quotes to share here, but if you can read this sentence:
“Jared is running everything. He’s the de facto president of the United States,” a former White House official told me.
and not jump out the nearest window, then you might be able to get through the entire thing.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:10 PM on April 28, 2020 [15 favorites]


An average of about 970 per day.
posted by njohnson23 at 2:13 PM on April 28, 2020


Mod note: Comment removed; if you want to mirror an entire column or article somewhere, you can do that and link to it, but pasting it into a comment's not really workable.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:39 PM on April 28, 2020 [2 favorites]


Pence responds to why he didn't wear a mask:
  • I get tested all the time and everyone I work with gets tested all the time
  • Everyone who was sick was wearing a mask which means they can't spread it
  • This was a good opportunity to [and I swear I'm not making this up] look the staff in the eye
which really makes me wonder how Pence thinks masks work.
posted by Mitheral at 6:08 PM on April 28, 2020 [10 favorites]




Re: Pence - the CDC itself notes "In the early stages of infection, it is possible the virus will not be detected" (check under "Can a person test negative and later test positive.") Pence's excuses are ridiculous.
posted by mediareport at 6:12 PM on April 28, 2020 [5 favorites]


I get tested all the time and everyone I work with gets tested all the time

at what rate are pence and everyone he works with getting tested?
are these tests counted among those totals regularly touted by pence and company as evidence of the sufficiency, nay, excellence of their response, of their protection of the american people?
just how many of those 5.7 mil. tests to date (jhu tracker) have been administered to mike pence? to mike pence's staff? to mike pence's family and friends?
also, how do those many tests pence has enjoyed protect him from contracting the virus while visiting the covid ward?
posted by 20 year lurk at 6:24 PM on April 28, 2020 [5 favorites]


The Hill: States tell workers they'll lose unemployment benefits if they refuse to return to jobs

Workers can also seek free legal advice about the rights they may still have, including to claim unemployment insurance.

e.g. Viewers ask "if I was fired or quit during COVID-19, can I get unemployment?" (ABC 13, Apr. 9, 2020)
News 13 reached out to Pisgah Legal Services on the matter. Representatives said these questions are difficult to answer without a full investigation of the situation, but they offered general guidance. Representatives said a claimant must have “good cause” to leave work and qualify for unemployment, and in many cases the employee should ask for accommodations before leaving. They said new regulations are providing for state and federal payment of unemployment claims, so there is less incentive for employers to contest unemployment.
posted by katra at 6:42 PM on April 28, 2020


I get tested all the time and everyone I work with gets tested all the time

but has the White House moved away from the crappy Abbott rapid-response tests, and if so, which crappy rapid-response test is currently in use?
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:48 PM on April 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


Not sure if FB links work here.
Irish Times is paywalled and I find no mirrors.

What does the world see when they look at the USA now? Here’s what Fintan O'Toole, Ireland’s most respected mainstream political writer says.

The world has loved, hated and envied the U.S. Now, for the first time, we pity it.
Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.
posted by adamvasco at 7:06 PM on April 28, 2020 [18 favorites]


there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity

Fintan is a bit behind the pace. Anybody who has spent more than a few hours pondering the reach, the depth and the tangled interlocking nature of the cultural factors underlying the US's complete failure to provide anything even vaguely resembling a workable public health care system has been feeling that for decades.

Fear of the US is largely driven by the horror of watching those same factors continue their inexorable creep into the culture of everywhere else.
posted by flabdablet at 8:14 PM on April 28, 2020 [14 favorites]


Judges worry Trump position on McGahn testimony could force Congress into extreme measures (Politico)
Barring Congress from enforcing its subpoenas in court could push lawmakers toward arresting senior Trump administration officials or pursuing even more extreme measures, several appeals court judges suggested Tuesday. It was the second time in recent months that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has openly mulled the bizarre and unnerving prospect of armed conflict between the House sergeant-at-arms and FBI agents if other, more peaceful options for the House to obtain information from the executive branch are closed off.

[...] Most of the nine judges who joined in the rare en banc session Tuesday seemed receptive to the House’s concerns, with one judge musing the Trump administration was so intent on sidelining the courts that the public would be left only with "revolution" as an alternative.
posted by katra at 8:21 PM on April 28, 2020 [6 favorites]


Anybody who has spent more than a few hours pondering the reach, the depth and the tangled interlocking nature of the cultural factors underlying the US's complete failure to provide anything even vaguely resembling a workable public health care system has been feeling that for decades.

Speaking as a non-american especially, back in 2015-16, do you know how odd it felt having online and offline conversations with Americans who insisted it'd be fine? They're not even all white either. And of course amongst non-Americans, that pop cultural view is very strong. It wasn't until 2010 that my mum for example was utterly blown away by the fact that there's no public healthcare as she understood it. And we have family in the US.
posted by cendawanita at 9:07 PM on April 28, 2020 [6 favorites]


do you know how odd it felt having online and offline conversations with Americans who insisted it'd be fine?

That always has been and continues to be a big part of what makes me so, so glad I don't have to live there.

Metafilter is one of the very few online spaces I know about where Americans who actually know how this shit works choose to hang out. There is so much complacent misinformation damn near everywhere else, it makes my head spin and heart sink.
posted by flabdablet at 9:34 PM on April 28, 2020 [10 favorites]


Appeals court takes up Trump border wall and Donald McGahn subpoena cases (WaPo)
Several judges suggested there were no limits to the Trump administration’s argument. If a president abused his powers, Judge Judith W. Rogers asked, does the Justice Department’s position mean “there’s nothing that can be done until the next presidential election other than revolution?”

[...] In a court filing this month, House lawyers said McGahn’s testimony is still relevant to ongoing oversight. His testimony will help the Judiciary Committee decide whether Trump “committed impeachable offenses” in former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation and “whether to recommend new articles of impeachment.”
posted by katra at 9:35 PM on April 28, 2020 [7 favorites]


Workers turn to courts and states for safety protection as Trump declines to act (Politico)
Now, workers in a range of industries are looking to states, Congress and the courts to step in. [...] “We only wish that this administration cared as much about the lives of working people as it does about meat, pork and poultry products," said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. "If the administration had developed meaningful safety requirements early on — as they should have and still must do — this would not even have become an issue." [...] According to the National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy group, more than 16,000 workers have already fallen ill, and hundreds have died from Covid-19.

[...] In a letter Tuesday to local and federal leaders, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged lawmakers "to refrain from converting public health and safety guidance into regulations that may add further challenges for businesses to reopen." [...] Democrats and labor advocates have been clamoring for a provision mandating such worker safety requirements to be included in the next round of coronavirus relief. Last week, House Education and Labor Chairman Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) introduced legislation that would require OSHA to issue an emergency standard within seven days that would lay out mandatory protections companies must provide to their workers to prevent exposure to Covid-19. “Over the past few months, we have seen the tragic consequences of the Department of Labor’s failure to take urgent action to protect frontline health care workers and other essential employees,” Scott said when introducing the bill. “Without an enforceable workplace safety standard to protect workers against Covid-19 infection," he added, "nurses, doctors, first responders, grocery store workers, food processors, delivery workers, and many others will continue to suffer alarming rates of infection that have already led to thousands of preventable illnesses and deaths."
posted by katra at 10:52 PM on April 28, 2020 [6 favorites]


Trump invokes Defense Production Act to keep meat processing plants open amid coronavirus crisis

The food supply is essential of course, more so than bowling alleys and tattoo parlors. The DPA is a wartime power, and there is a precedent for the one time meat was rationed in the United States in 1942. Research has shown that during times of meat rationing, there is a corresponding fall in cardiovascular disease.

Diet Linked to Heart Disease Reduction During War

Rationing is a political impossibility. It's unnecessary and demoralizing and just a bad idea. Is it unecessary? I think the risks can be mitigated and balanced with the reward. It's just interesting to note that when it was thought necessary during a bullets-and-bombs war, it had positive consequences on public health.
posted by adept256 at 4:57 AM on April 29, 2020


It doesn't matter if it came from the moon. Once it's in your country it's your responsibility, there's no point blaming moonmen for what you did next.
posted by adept256 at 6:43 AM on April 29, 2020 [4 favorites]


Democratic House leaders plan vote next week on allowing proxy voting during pandemic, "regardless of whether Republicans get on board."

Maryland Lawmakers Take First Steps Toward Remote Meeting, Voting

Massachusetts House plans remote formal session on Thursday

Senate President Karen Spilka said Friday she was still looking into remote voting

The National Conference of State Legislatures has a page devoted to coronavirus news, click on "Present to Vote or Remote Participation" to get links to articles about virtual lawmaking moves in various states.
posted by mediareport at 7:09 AM on April 29, 2020 [3 favorites]


Maybe the household that went from four to one in less than a month thanks to Coronavirus can help convince people that this isn't just a normal flu season.
As Miami-Dade County officials roll out the opening of parks, marinas, and golf courses in the state’s epicenter for the novel coronavirus, the devastation of a Nicaraguan-American family is a reminder that sickness and death are still very real.

“People need to hear this,” Marcela Lastre says of the tragedy her family is mourning.

They’re preparing not one, but three funerals.
...
Lastre wants the deaths of her relatives to be a cautionary tale for people who, tired of quarantine, will flock to newly opened public spaces.

“Let this remind people that we are not ready,” she said. “I understand everyone wants to get back to work and make money, but those numbers will come right back up if you do it too soon. I don’t think many people are taking it [coronavirus disease] as seriously because they think they are invincible and that their families are OK.”
posted by wierdo at 8:31 AM on April 29, 2020 [9 favorites]


Trump had every advantage possible to prepare for and respond to this plague, and he has done nothing. Now, he'll force the country to reopen.

Trump had every warning. He ignored them. When the virus did come here he denied it. When it came time to follow any one of the excellent plans other countries put into place he abdicated. When states started coming up with plans he stymied them. When states got their own equipment he stole them. While the country sheltered he sat on his hands and refused to prepare. Throughout it all he claims he is doing the best job, an incredible job, a job like no one has ever seen. Any one of us may die because of his neglect. We probably know someone who will.
posted by xammerboy at 8:39 AM on April 29, 2020 [20 favorites]


CNBC: Coronavirus testing chief says ‘no way on Earth’ US can test 5 million a day, despite what Trump says

Timeline: Harvard publishes a study suggesting that 5 million tests per day would be an essential step toward reopening the economy. Administration testing chief says in an interview that 5 million per day isn't possible, but also isn't actually necessary*. Later that day, Trump says that we'll be doing 5 million tests per day "very soon". Still later that day, the interview with the testing chief is published, contradicting Trump's claims.

I expect to see the testing chief fired soon or some ludicrous, self-debasing "clarifications" from him.

For context, the US has conducted 5.7 million tests in total so far and isn't predicted to reach 1 million tests per day until June.

* I strongly suspect that is based entirely on motivated reasoning and magical thinking, not sound analysis. "My boss says we must reopen. Harvard says reopening requires 5M tests/day. We can't do 5M/day, so therefore it must not be necessary."
posted by jedicus at 9:19 AM on April 29, 2020 [6 favorites]


5M people a day is 1 in 66 Americans. It's absurd to think that could be happening for any sane definition of very soon.

Trump of course can't help pumping the numbers of anything he is talking about (see for example the floor count inflation of his buildings for one easily falsifiable lie he regularly. repeats). He needs to not only have bigger numbers than other people he has to beat his own numbers from last week. Watch for Trump's number of daily test performed to creep steadily upward. I wouldn't be surprised to see it increase by an order of magnitude in the next four weeks.
posted by Mitheral at 9:56 AM on April 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


Truth doesn't matter, lies don't matter. The only thing that matters is whatever The Imperial Donald just said, before he moves on to his next statement: he's a walking, wind-up political A/B test.
posted by cenoxo at 10:14 AM on April 29, 2020


Just to put the 5M tests per day into perspective, Starbucks (pre covid) sold around 4M cups of coffee per day in the USA. So technically possible but you would need an actual functioning Federal government to coordinate the supply chain on a massive scale, and also drop the cost down to a few bucks per test (possible). Also, they would need to have started in January to be ready by the fall. So you'd be talking about a huge military coordinated campaign with thousands of sites.

The worst part is that this was all completely do-able given a functional administration who heeded warnings.
posted by benzenedream at 11:14 AM on April 29, 2020 [6 favorites]


Jared Kushner’s “princely arrogance” set back the coronavirus response by weeks: report (Igor Derysh, Salon, 4/29/2020)
The government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) ... called for an ethics investigation Monday into Kushner's team. The organization submitted a complaint to the Office of Government Ethics alleging that Kushner's team appears to have "violated federal conflicts of interest and transparency laws."

"Jared Kushner's task force appears to be playing a critical role in our government's response to a catastrophic pandemic with literally life or death consequences, and yet Americans have no way to know whether task force members are acting in our interest or their own," CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. "We need task force members to be disclosing their interests and avoiding conflicts of interest rather than acting in secret with no oversight."
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:57 PM on April 29, 2020 [10 favorites]


Pelosi taps 7 lawmakers to select coronavirus committee "We must make sure that the historic investment of taxpayer dollars made in the CARES Act is being used wisely and efficiently," she says. (Politico, April 29, 2020) Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday appointed seven Democratic members to a newly created House panel meant to police the Trump administration’s coronavirus response efforts [...] a mix of trusted lieutenants, veteran policy-writers and a vulnerable freshman to fill the high-profile positions.
--
As previously announced, the panel will be led by the House's third-ranking Democrat, Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.). The other members:

Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.)
Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)
Small Business Committee member Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.).
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.)
Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.)
Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:06 PM on April 29, 2020 [6 favorites]


Meanwhile, there's another, bipartisan, oversight committee. It currently has two people on it--former Elizabeth Warren staffer Bharat Ramamurti and Arkansas congressman French Hill.

Hill was briefly a deputy assistant Treasury secretary in 1989-91, so he's not completely unqualified for this role. It looks like he has a tougher race this year than he did last time around, so he could use a bump. But I can't help but wonder if he received this appointment because of his anti-China editorials (link to Hill's house.gov site, but originally posted in the Washington Times).
posted by box at 3:34 PM on April 29, 2020




Dr. Fauci's talking up remdesivir, which is reassuring. (Though only with a little over 1K patients involved, yeesh, how is that deemed a 'sweeping' trial): 'A drug can block this virus': Fauci hails Covid-19 treatment breakthrough (Politico, April 29, 2020). "The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant positive effect in diminishing the time to recover," Fauci told reporters hours after Gilead said promising data was incoming from NIAID's sweeping trial, which involved 1,063 patients. [...] The Lancet medical journal responded to Gilead's news this morning by rushing to publish the inconclusive results from a Chinese trial [of 237 patients] accidentally leaked last week by the World Health Organization.

Who owns remdesivir, how much can they make, and how much does it cost? (ArsTechnica, April 29, 2020) Gilead Sciences, a US biotech, patented the drug in 2017 (so it is the only manufacturer until at least 2037). In April, Gilead announced that it had:
[...] ramped up production of remdesivir at its factory in La Verne, California, in January, and by the beginning of April, it had already stockpiled enough to treat 140,000 patients, each over the course of 10 days. The company also said that it plans to produce enough remdesivir to treat 500,000 patients by October and a million patients by the end of 2020. (This explains why there was some outcry in March when it was revealed that Gilead had applied for something called "orphan drug status" for remdesivir, which is supposed to be reserved for rare diseases. Gilead withdrew that application.) [...] As of today, we don't know how much Gilead intends to charge for remdesivir in the US or elsewhere.

A recent study published in the Journal of Virus Eradication attempts to analyze the cost of manufacturing remdesivir. The authors looked at the chemical synthesis of the drug and concluded that a 10-day course for one person would cost $9, allowing for 20 percent losses during formulation, plus the cost of the vials, a profit margin, and tax. However, whether it costs Gilead that to actually produce the drug is unknown, and one needn't be a scholar of the US healthcare system to be skeptical that a novel treatment would end up being quite so cheap.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:20 PM on April 29, 2020 [3 favorites]


and one needn't be a scholar of the US healthcare system to be skeptical that a novel treatment would end up being quite so cheap. Also please recall:

Cronyism and Conflicts of Interest in Trump's Coronavirus Task Force (The Intercept, February 29, 2020) Joseph ["California is occupied territory"] Grogan was a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences before he joined the Trump administration as director of the Domestic Policy Council and led the Drug Pricing and Innovation Work Group. On Wednesday, after Gilead announced that it would be starting two clinical trials of an antiviral drug that could be used to treat Covid-19, the company’s stock price surged.
&
How Joe Grogan, a former pharma lobbyist, upended Trump’s drug pricing agenda (StatNews, October 22, 2019) President Trump was set to take the stage in barely an hour to unveil a “blueprint” to lower prescription drug prices. But on that afternoon in May 2018, Joe Grogan refused to sign off on either the remarks or the policy rollout. [...] Trump delivered his address, laying out a sweeping agenda to lower drug costs. Still, the episode was the beginning of a larger effort from Grogan, undeterred by his scolding, to roll back the core of the administration’s drug pricing agenda. The Trump administration has only rewarded Grogan’s unruliness: In a remarkable two-year span, he has vaulted from lobbyist for the pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences to White House budget adviser to director of the president’s Domestic Policy Council.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:40 PM on April 29, 2020 [5 favorites]


I'm kind of doubtful about remdesivir. Two things.

From the tech review report: Besides the shorter recovery times, there were also signs remdesivir reduced the chance of dying from covid-19, but that data was not as definitive. The death rate for patients who got the drug was 8%, versus 11.6% for those who didn’t.

Not as definitive means not statistically significant. There were said to be a thousand people in the study and not statistically significant is surprising. Secondly, if the number of deaths are 11.6% on placebo, that means these were serious cases.

The other bit of information is that it reduced hospital stay from 15 days to 11. Okay, to do this, it would seem that you are giving it about at the time of admission, a very different thing from what I would think is lowering the death rate to 8%. If you are giving it at day 7 when the patient is serious, then I think it would be reported as four additional days versus 8 additional days.

Contrary to suggested unicorn treatments, this drug does have a reasonable mechanism of action. It is being compared to oseltamivir, a flu treatment. Oseltamivir is only effective with early intervention. It acts more like ribavirin, which is a drug of limited efficacy. Remdesivir is seemingly effective early and late, which is surprising.

I'm not totally dissing the drug. It could work, but until we get a peer-reviewed report, the jury is still out in my mind.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:51 PM on April 29, 2020 [6 favorites]


The company also said that it plans to produce enough remdesivir to treat 500,000 patients by October and a million patients by the end of 2020.

So likely not enough to even treat cases in the US. Is there any precedent for say India to de-facto nationalize the drug, produce it in country, distribute it for near cost (either only in India or also for any national government who is willing to pay) and pay Gilead a token or no licence fee?
posted by Mitheral at 5:09 PM on April 29, 2020 [1 favorite]


Not as definitive means not statistically significant. There were said to be a thousand people in the study and not statistically significant is surprising. Secondly, if the number of deaths are 11.6% on placebo, that means these were serious cases.

There are still questions, as there always are in any statistical endeavor. However, it has been explicitly noted that the mortality results were inconclusive because the trial was unblinded before completion due to the finding of clinically significant benefit. Future trials comparing other drugs to remdesivir will likely shed more light on the situation, assuming any of those drugs actually work.
posted by wierdo at 5:21 PM on April 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


His wording feels significant:

"significant positive effect in diminishing the time to recover,"

That is, nothing having to do with actually getting you to recovery, but once you're in the ice cream and daytime TV phase of the sickness, it helps...with something. "Insurance reimbursements," perhaps, in my more cynical moments.
posted by rhizome at 5:29 PM on April 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


Is there any precedent for say India to de-facto nationalize the drug, produce it in country, distribute it for near cost...

Why, I believe there is.
posted by rhizome at 5:32 PM on April 29, 2020 [5 favorites]


Trump says he won't extend distancing guidelines as death toll passes 60,000 (Guardian)
Despite the positive messaging from the White House, a new poll indicated most Americans are still not ready to reopen the country. The PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll showed large majorities are uncomfortable with reopening schools or restaurants unless coronavirus testing is significantly expanded.

[...] Meanwhile Kushner, who has been helping with the effort to get medical supplies to states that need them, suggested in an interview with Fox & Friends that the federal government has accomplished its mission. [...] The administration, he added, is preparing the country to “get as close back to normal as possible as quickly as possible”, and said that by July the country would be “really rocking again”.
President Trump’s Meatpacking Plant Executive Order Puts Thousands of Workers’ Lives at Risk (National Employment Law Project, Apr. 28, 2020)
[Note: An earlier version of this release misstated the extent of the President’s authority to order plants to stay open. He does not have such legal authority under the Defense Production Act.]
Food-Plant Workers Clash With Employers Over Coronavirus Safety (WSJ)
Food-processing facilities and meatpacking plants are now some of the country’s biggest coronavirus hot spots, with large numbers of employees traditionally working in close quarters for hours at a time. [...] The union said that it had informed workers of their right not to work if they believe the workplace is unsafe. “They may be essential employees, but they’re not sacrificial employees,” said Wendell Young, who heads Local 1776.
posted by katra at 5:36 PM on April 29, 2020 [4 favorites]


"significant positive effect in diminishing the time to recover" I believe he went on to explain that "recovery" meant being discharged from the hospital. AKA getting you to ice cream and daytime tv. Seems like less insurance payout but maybe I'm not understanding your point?
posted by achrise at 5:54 PM on April 29, 2020


Yeah, I’m sorry but “time to recover” sounds like a secondary research question or possibly a post hoc one. All-cause mortality would/should be the primary outcome of a study like this, followed by a morbidity score and/or rates of ICU admission. Duration of hospital stay (which is what I’m assuming they mean by time to recovery) is a reasonable question but not the most important one.

Don’t get me wrong — anything that does anything at all against the virus is a good thing. But this seems like too much hype for an outcome of secondary importance. Plus, you know, the fact that the *drug company* and not any particular scientists have been the ones hyping it.
posted by saturday_morning at 6:08 PM on April 29, 2020 [3 favorites]


OK, but like it or not, Fauci has a lot of credibility in the minds of the public, even if much of his perceived intelligence results from having the dumbest motherfucker on the planet standing next to him. The hype is not because journalists decided these findings were important, it's because Dr. Fauci said they were important. And he can pretty much make that reality himself now until contrary evidence forces him to walk it back.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:15 PM on April 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


5M people a day is 1 in 66 Americans. It's absurd to think that could be happening for any sane definition of very soon.

Maybe he plans to hire Hillary Clinton, the master logician who could get millions of immigrants per week into the country in 2016.
posted by ctmf at 6:30 PM on April 29, 2020 [1 favorite]


David Frum Says Trump Will 'Take The Punch' Because Those Who Die Will Mostly Be DemocratsCrooksAndLiars, 'Red Painter', 4/25/2020 • "Donald Trump and the Republican Party are not scared to reopen the economy against all medical advice."
David Frum joined Ari Melber on a busy Friday night panel to discuss the current COVID situation and the reasoning behind why some states are so eager to reopen, even though they are still seeing cases go up. [...]
David Frum:
"Propublica published a list of seven things that the experts recommended before America can open safely and up in have been done and none of those things will be done any time soon. There's no contact tracing. And the United States cannot stay locked down indefinitely. That's the one thing that the resident said is true. I don't think the President and people like Governor Kemp are consciously planning this, but they're removing all the alternatives to the only policy that is going to remain this time six weeks from now or eight weeks from now. Which is they're moving toward the policy of what's -- "let's take the punch."

He'll reopen and see what happens. Let's accept that there may be hundreds of thousands, or some double hundreds of thousands, of Americans killed. They're going to be mostly poor and minorities, mostly not going to be Trump voters. Let's take that punch and push through and try to get to herd immunity as fast as possible.

I don't think the President quite processes it quite that rationally, but maybe Governor Kemp does. I suspect Governor Desantis probably does. But that's where with they're going. When you don't prepare any alternatives the only plan left available to you is the plan that you have and the plan that they're working to is take the punch, let people take the casualties casualties. They're mostly minorities and non-Trump voters."
Emphasis by CrooksAndLiars.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:28 PM on April 29, 2020 [8 favorites]


As Trump talks rebound, Fed’s Powell warns economy's pain will last (Politico)
The Fed chief’s comments suggest the U.S. economy could face a rocky path for at least the next year as it attempts to rebuild.
End of Trump’s social distancing policy spurs fears of virus rebound (Politico)
Trump has said he doesn’t expect a second wave of the coronavirus in the fall — or that it would be mere “embers” of infection that can be easily snuffed out.
As ‘quarantine fatigue’ spreads, Fauci says second wave of coronavirus is ‘inevitable’ (WaPo/MSN)
Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said a second wave of infections is “inevitable” in the United States, which has recorded more than 1 million confirmed cases — nearly one-third of the global total. Fauci also warned that “we could be in for a bad fall and a bad winter” if the right countermeasures aren’t put in place.
Trump presented with grim internal polling showing him losing to Biden (WaPo)
President Trump’s advisers presented him with the results of internal polling last week that showed him falling behind former vice president Joe Biden in key swing states in the presidential race, part of an effort by aides to curtail Trump’s freewheeling daily briefings on the coronavirus pandemic, according to three people with knowledge of the conversations.
Trump v Fox News: why the president is furious at the conservative network (Guardian)
Trump did not give a specific reason for his upset, but it could be linked to a critical advert a group of anti-Trump Republicans are running on Fox News this week. Republicans for the Rule of Law, a group opposed to the president, paid for an ad spot during Fox & Friends – one of Trump’s favorite shows – which highlights his response to the coronavirus.

“50,000 people have died,” reads capitalized text at the start of the advert. “This is our president.” The advert then cuts to Trump musing about the potential ability of “very powerful light” in curing coronavirus. The advert ends with the words “Unfit, unwell, unacceptable” appearing on screen.
posted by katra at 7:31 PM on April 29, 2020 [19 favorites]


The campaign slogan is obvious: Are You Better Off Than You Were Four Months Ago?
posted by medusa at 8:48 PM on April 29, 2020 [4 favorites]


Circuses:
Pentagon plans to dispatch Blue Angels and Thunderbirds in coronavirus tribute


Ugh. Canada is not immune to this sort of idiocy:

Snowbirds aerobatics team to go on cross-country tour aimed at boosting morale amid COVID-19 pandemic
posted by fimbulvetr at 9:04 PM on April 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


Are You Better Off Than You Were Four Months Ago?

What have you lost?
posted by porpoise at 9:28 PM on April 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


Who have you lost?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:33 PM on April 29, 2020 [10 favorites]


Experts say rushing a vaccine is risky despite Trump’s desires. (NYT)
President Trump wants a crash program to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, an undertaking viewed with some skepticism even inside the administration. The idea would be to accelerate the process to create, test and mass-produce a vaccine — which doctors have repeatedly said would take a minimum of a year to 18 months — so that hundreds of millions of doses could be ready by the end of the year. Public health experts have warned that rushing the process could undermine the treatment’s effectiveness, and even lead to sickness or death. [...] According to one administration official, the idea would be to indemnify the major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies from liability if the vaccines incite sickness or death, and to involve the Pentagon in the testing program. But most of the military’s efforts have focused on defenses against biological weapons, not viruses that arise naturally or are transmitted by community spread.
Meatpacking plants are now ‘critical infrastructure,’ but that means little. (NYT)
While the order does not explicitly mandate that plants stay open, it could allow the Agriculture Department to potentially force meat companies to fulfill orders from retailers, effectively keeping them open in some capacity. Lobbyists for the meat industry said the executive order, which allowed for the Defense Production Act to be invoked and could shield companies from lawsuits, was significant because it created federal guidelines for the steps plants needed to take to prevent the virus from spreading.
Unemployed workers face choice between safety and money as states reopen (Politico)
There are some exceptions that allow employees to turn down offers to return to work and continue receiving aid. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance under the CARES Act [alt link - NELP], for example, extended benefits to Americans unable to work for a host of pandemic-related reasons, including because they or someone they are taking care of is sick with the coronavirus.

Workers could also try to argue that conditions are no longer safe “and try to refuse work in the first place instead of going in,” said Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst with the National Employment Law Project. “That might be a hard case to make in some states, though.”
posted by katra at 10:12 PM on April 29, 2020 [4 favorites]


I'm a bit bummed by developments here in Kentucky, which has generally been surprisingly well-managed. Our daily afternoon report by the governor yesterday had big news: a timetable for reopening and approving small gatherings by late May. I get why he felt he had to do that; people are getting antsy and it's hard to keep a rather fractious population under control, but I'm distressed by the specificity of the timetable and it's straight-up too early to say that this can really move forwards as planned. These scheduled dates lodge in people's heads and it's going to be very, very hard to dislodge them. I'm dreading the spike which will make it clear this plan won't work, and the utterly fruitless attempt to tell the public, "hey, y'know that timetable we told you before? We're not doing that any more, go back to staying at home indefinitely." Maybe I'm a pessimist, but I foresee a real possibility that giving people this hope will do more harm than good.
posted by jackbishop at 5:38 AM on April 30, 2020 [3 favorites]


Jared Kushner cheers his coronavirus work on Trump's favorite morning show: "A great success story"Salon, Roger Sollenberger, 04/30/2020
Jared Kushner cheered his own work as part of the White House response to the coronavirus pandemic as "a great success story" during an appearance on President Donald Trump's favorite morning show as confirmed cases passed 1 million in the U.S.

"We're on the other side of the medical aspect of this," Kushner, who has no previous medical experience, told the co-hosts of "Fox & Friends" on Wednesday.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:28 AM on April 30, 2020 [5 favorites]


BuzzFeed News: After One Tweet To President Trump, This Man Got $69 Million From New York For Ventilators

$69 million at way above market price per ventilator, and he didn't deliver anything. New York is trying to get the money back. The full article is worth a read.
posted by jedicus at 7:42 AM on April 30, 2020 [8 favorites]


Jared Kushner cheered his own work...

Like father (in law), like son (in law). Who says nepotism isn't a good idea?
posted by cenoxo at 9:33 AM on April 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


Trump announces trip to Arizona, ending White House confinement, New York Post, Ebony Bowden, 4/29/2020:
President Trump will end his months-long confinement at the White House with a visit next week to the presidential battleground state of Arizona, he announced Wednesday. During a roundtable with business executives at the White House, Trump confirmed he’d “start to move around” the country and said he hoped that, eventually, he could hold more of his trademark rallies.

“I think I’m going to Arizona next week and we look forward to that, and I’m going, I hope, to Ohio very soon,” Trump told reporters.
Put your masks on and earplugs in: here comes The Donald's Second Wave.
posted by cenoxo at 10:04 AM on April 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


Trump Gets in Spat With His Lockdown-Hating Base Over Sweden: ‘Have You Looked at the Numbers?Mediaite, Ken Meyer, Apr 30th, 2020:
President Donald Trump rebuked his base of political support on Thursday, defending how the United States has responded to the coronavirus pandemic with strict lockdowns and social distancing guidelines for the country.

[Many] of his prominent supporters ... have pointed to Sweden — where, unlike the rest of the world, much of society remains open — as evidence that strict measures are unnecessary.

Trump responded to those arguments in one of his many tweets Thursday morning:

“Despite reports to the contrary, Sweden is paying heavily for its decision not to lockdown. As of today, 2462 people have died there, a much higher number than the neighboring countries of Norway (207), Finland (206) or Denmark (443). The United States made the correct decision!”
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:03 AM on April 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


Republican-led states signal they could strip workers’ unemployment benefits if they don’t return to work, sparking fresh safety fears (WaPo)
For some states, the concern is that residents who are offered their old jobs back simply may not accept them, choosing instead to continue tapping historically generous unemployment aid. The $2 trillion congressional coronavirus relief package signed by President Trump in March greatly added to weekly benefit checks for out-of-work Americans, and some people may be earning more than they did previously. [...] Generally, states have the legal right to revoke benefits if unemployed Americans are offered jobs comparable to their past positions yet decline to take them. In response to the novel coronavirus, regulators also have put in place special exemptions to protect people out of work because they’re sick or caring for family members diagnosed with covid-19.

[...] The potential that people may have their benefits revoked drew sharp rebukes among lawmakers on Capitol Hill, which bolstered unemployment-insurance programs precisely in response to the pandemic. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said the problem began with the fact Republican governors are “casting public health aside and forcing their states to ‘reopen.' ”
NELP: Could I qualify for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance? "There are many ways you might qualify: [...] You are unable to reach your place of employment because you have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19."
posted by katra at 11:16 AM on April 30, 2020 [6 favorites]


Need something to love about Trump? Watch him humiliate his most loyal hacks. (WaPo, April 30, 2020) [...] there’s one reliable source of joy, and President Trump himself delivers it: He consistently humiliates Republicans who are foolish or unprincipled enough to throw in their lot with him. The shameless lackeys who cast aside integrity and principled conservatism to curry favor with the president are constantly rewarded with his derision. It’s a perfect confection of schadenfreude and karma, and Trump’s skill at serving it is probably his best quality.

(Short piece lists Georgia's Gov. Kemp as the latest in the series of presidential punching bags, after name-checking notorious bags Jeff Sessions, Chris Christie, and Rex Tillerson.) (I can't appreciate this alleged skill, and remain hunkered down in Mudville.)

After outcry over maskless visit to Mayo Clinic, Pence wears mask during tour of ventilator facility (WaPo, April 30, 2020, 11:30 a.m.)
(Are we treating patients in ventilator facilities now? How industrious of us.)

On Tuesday, Pence visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he was filmed speaking with patients and staff while not wearing a face mask. The Mayo Clinic later said that Pence had been informed of its masking policy before his arrival; Second Lady Karen Pence disputed that statement Thursday morning, although a reporter who had traveled with Pence on the trip said that the vice president’s office informed journalists of the clinic’s masking policy ahead of time.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:18 PM on April 30, 2020 [7 favorites]


Are we treating patients in ventilator facilities now? How industrious of us.

Dude just wondered around an infectious disease ward without proper PPE. If I was working at the manufacturing plant I'd like him to be wearing a mask.
posted by Mitheral at 12:44 PM on April 30, 2020 [9 favorites]


“No one” in Puerto Rico has received stimulus checks, says San Juan mayor(salon)

Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, alleged that the federal government has yet to provide a single resident on the island with a coronavirus stimulus check, weeks after payments began to go out.

The president of Puerto Rico is terrible at their job.
posted by adept256 at 12:57 PM on April 30, 2020 [16 favorites]


I'm in Puerto Rico and I haven't received a stimulus check. The online form rejected my information on my first several attempts, telling me that my income figure was wrong. I tried inserting zero in my income and it was accepted. (Whether I made zero or my actual salary would not change the size of the check.)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:29 PM on April 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


Politics drive Georgia's reopening gamble as coronavirus cases rise (Guardian)
Georgia’s governor might not have felt the pressure to rush his state’s residents back to work if he had more financial support to fill in gaps where the Cares Act did not reach, an April report from American Progress said. “I think that if the federal government stepped in and actually provided significantly more state and local aid to help them deal with the pandemic and to help them deal with this relief period and the recovery, that would be good for the economy,” [Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Initiative] agreed.

[...] According to a new analysis of data released by the Daily Beast in collaboration with MIT and Harvard Universities, that could most likely be the case. If the state had continued its current stay-at-home mandate and kept non-essential businesses closed, coronavirus fatalities by mid-June would have been somewhere between 1,004 and 2,922. Instead, the team’s simulation suggests that number could now be as high as 9,748.
Pelosi points to $1 trillion need for state and local governments in next coronavirus bill (WaPo)
Pelosi said at a news conference Thursday that states have $500 billion in needs, a figure cited by the National Governors Association, while municipalities and local governments have sought a similar amount. She said the money could be made available to spend over several years. [...] House Democrats are also considering a wide variety of other provisions as they assemble the next coronavirus package, including additional direct payments to individuals, more money for food stamps and health care providers, housing assistance and potentially money for the Postal Service and voting by mail. Pelosi and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) also discussed Thursday the need to include an investment in broadband.
posted by katra at 1:30 PM on April 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


So, at the time that the stimulus payments started coming out, I shook my head when I heard about the people whose paper checks would be delivered because Trump insisted on having his signature on them somewhere. I got my tax refund via direct deposit, so I assumed - correctly - that it would show up there too, and it did. I threw most of it at debt and went about my day.

I heard something in passing about people who would be getting paper checks finally start getting them, along with a self-congratulatory letter from Trump. Didn't pay much attention to that either, beyond an eyeroll and an "it figures."

Then yesterday, I got one such letter. No check - just the letter. Even though it had been over two weeks since I'd gotten the payment in question and there was utterly no need for it. News reports talk about this letter being on "official White House stationery" - but it actually looks more like one copy of the letter had been drawn up on official White House Stationery, and then they made a half a million Xerox copies of it and were sending those out. On super-cheap flimsy paper, at that.

My roommate pointed out that it had been sent out first-class bulk mail, which would probably come as an unexpected boost to the US Postal System. I still reached out to my representative asking him to look into exactly how much this utterly pointless mailing cost, and what department funded it. (….Incidentally, my representative was on the team that formally presented the impeachment charges, so...)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:47 PM on April 30, 2020 [12 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos...I too just got the letter. It does indeed look like a bad laser print job on office copier paper. What I didn't realize that the letter was duplicated on the back in Spanish. I bet that is going to irritate some en la base del presidente.
posted by mmascolino at 2:18 PM on April 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


Dude just wondered around an infectious disease ward without proper PPE. If I was working at the manufacturing plant I'd like him to be wearing a mask. posted by Mitheral

Sorry, Mitheral -- I muddied my point. I'm glad for the facility workers. I'm just so angry that some public shaming (meaning, lasting longer than a 24-hour news cycle) was necessary to get VP Pence, the leader of the White House Coronavirus Task Force since February, to wear a cloth mask per the CDC rec made nearly a month ago.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:07 PM on April 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


30 million Americans are getting a harsh lesson in weaponized bureaucracy (Paul Waldman, WaPo Opinion)
But there’s something special about that unemployment system. Because so many people are seeking its help for the first time, they’re learning that in many places it’s a battlefield of the class war, designed by Republicans to be as difficult, infuriating and humiliating as possible to navigate. [...] “I think they do this for people to give up,” one woman in Michigan who was furloughed told the Times, and she’s absolutely right.

[...] Many Republican-run states are rushing to “reopen” their economies — and telling workers that if they don’t get back on the job right away, they’ll lose their unemployment benefits. Indeed, in some states there are suspicions that the very reason governors are removing stay-at-home orders is so they can save money by not having to pay unemployment. Right now, millions of Americans who thought they’d never have to use unemployment insurance are learning just how cumbersome and frustrating those systems can be. But they should understand that it’s not because government inherently doesn’t work. [...] In this case, those systems are doing exactly what they were designed to do: Make life difficult for people who are already suffering. Maybe now that more of us are realizing it, we could consider designing them a different way.
As death toll passes 60,000, Trump’s team searches for an exit strategy (Politico, Apr. 29, 2020)
“As the economy starts to open, I expect that we’re going to see spikes in the number of people who get sick — and a continued over-representation of black Americans and Latinos among those who are getting infected and dying,” said Richard Besser, CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Atlanta Isn’t Ready to Reopen—And Neither Is Georgia (Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlantic)
I may not have the legal authority to override the state. I do have the right to use my voice to encourage people to exercise common sense, listen to the science, follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and stay home, if at all possible. We will transition to opening Atlanta when the health experts tell us that it is safe, and we will be a stronger city because of our prudence and deliberation.

In a normal world, we could look to the president of the United States and receive sound, practical advice. Instead, we have to caution people not to ingest and inject their bodies with household cleaners.
posted by katra at 3:20 PM on April 30, 2020 [9 favorites]


So Karen Pence, the VP's spouse, says VP Pence didn't know he had to wear a mask until after he had left the clinic. Mayo Clinic says they informed Pence's staff.

Which leaves a series of options each one more concerning than the last.
  1. Karen Pence is just straight up lying.
  2. Mayo Clinic is lying.
  3. VP Pence lied to his spouse.
  4. Pence's staff received the policy, informed the VP, and Pence elected to not only not wear PPE but also abuse his position to bully the Mayo Clinic to allow his visit unprotected. Then lied about it and is now roping his spouse into covering for him.
  5. Pence was informed; bullied the Mayo Clinic; has forgotten he did this; and was able to, truthfully as he saw it, tell his spouse he didn't know.
  6. The Mayo Clinic told Pence's staff and Pence's staff elected to not tell the VP he needed PPE in a dangerous environment.
The last possibility is especially disturbing in a "Pence's staff is trying to incapacitate him in a deniable way" way.
posted by Mitheral at 3:31 PM on April 30, 2020 [15 favorites]


So the corporations are getting deluxe socialism while the working class is being denied unemployment.

FEED THE POOR!

... to the rich!
posted by adept256 at 3:44 PM on April 30, 2020


Would it be too on-the-nose if Brian Kemp used this as the theme song for his next campaign?
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 4:12 PM on April 30, 2020


"When Pence and the team, including reporters, arrived at the clinic, personnel from the facility had masks available for the group, including Pence. During the tour, the rest of the entourage wore masks except Pence." (CNN, April 30, 2020) Pence was offered a mask and refused it, he took the tour and saw that every other person was masked, and he knew he was being filmed and photographed. Even if he believes the weekly testing is ironclad proof (and he shouldn't), guy can't wear a mask to put the people around him at ease? Right, other people, why bother. Okay, guy can't put on a mask to improve the optics?
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:50 PM on April 30, 2020 [20 favorites]


The Republicans opening their states has everything to do with not paying unemployment. Also, all of those states have had balance budget amendments passed, so the states can’t run a deficit. Those amendments were spearheaded by Koch brothers and their ilk. The federal government hasn’t stepped up to help states, because Trump is GOP, and the sycophants that surround him are even more right wing than the Cruelty Is The Point GOP.

They’ve weighed our lives, and we are worth less than the airlines and oil companies, and meatpacking plants, and the ceos and major shareholders therein. Hence the President using executive orders to force meatpacking plants that are corona hotspots to stay open, and the Republicans of those states telling those workers they have to risk their life by going back to those plants, or starve to death because unemployment will be cut off.

There should be a national strike or boycott of meat. We, as workers, should stand up and say that no version of capitalism is worth dying for. That we will not return to Upton Sinclair’s world. That we will be willing to quit eating meat until the workers there are protected. I don’t know what is going to take to get Americans to believe in “tools down, rise up”, but now sure seems like a good time.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 5:52 PM on April 30, 2020 [18 favorites]


Republicans of those states telling those workers they have to risk their life by going back to those plants,

After the danger itself was probably increased by Republicans spreading the attitude that everyone was being way too concerned about this whole pandemic thing.

The last possibility is especially disturbing

And yet, it sounds the most likely in my experience. Lots of staffers like to play the MY boss is way too important for that stuff the plebs do and refuse on their behalf. When the actual boss would probably shrug and say "ok sure", or even want to do what's expected to fit in/seem relatable/not cause a scene that distracts from their purpose for being there.
posted by ctmf at 6:22 PM on April 30, 2020


Pence is purportedly in charge of the coronavirus response. Even if he hasn't read anything and is only half paying attention, he's been at enough of the briefings to know to wear a mask, especially in a hospital.

Isn't the most likely possibility for Pence's descision is that Trump won't wear a mask because he thinks it looks weak, so Pence is playing to an audience of one?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:32 PM on April 30, 2020 [17 favorites]


Just another day in America
This is not normal.
Multiple armed gunmen storm Michigan’s State House.
Imagine if they were not white.
posted by adamvasco at 6:34 PM on April 30, 2020 [18 favorites]


Not defending what the Michigan protestors did by any means (nor trying to derail into another hot topic), but open carry firearms are permitted by state law around and inside Michigan's Capitol Building:
Capitol protesters urge an end to Michigan's state of emergency, Detroit Free Press, 4/30/2020:
...
Open carry of firearms is allowed both on Capitol grounds and inside the Capitol, said Lt. Brian Oleksyk of the Michigan State Police.

“There’s always a risk, but we were prepared for it," he said. "People are allowed to exercise their right to freedom of speech and their right to open carry. We always kept an eye on it.”

He said "people were just venting their frustrations in a loud manner" outside the House chamber, but "once they were able to do that ... people were pleasant and polite."
...
Such are parts of America today.
posted by cenoxo at 7:12 PM on April 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


That's obscene. They should all be arrested and put away. I am sure it would be far different if they weren't white.
posted by NotLost at 7:13 PM on April 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


OK, I guess I spoke too soon. But ...
posted by NotLost at 7:14 PM on April 30, 2020


Speaking of Michigan, there was some serious WTF-ery going on in Lansing. [Twitter, embedded video]
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:14 PM on April 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


Airlines and oil giants are on the brink. No government should offer them a lifeline:
Do Not Resuscitate. This tag should be attached to the oil, airline and car industries. Governments should provide financial support to company workers while refashioning the economy to provide new jobs in different sectors. They should prop up only those sectors that will help secure the survival of humanity and the rest of the living world.

They should either buy up the dirty industries and turn them towards clean technologies, or do what they often call for but never really want: let the market decide. In other words, allow these companies to fail.

This is our second great chance to do things differently. It could be our last. The first, in 2008, was spectacularly squandered. Vast amounts of public money were spent reassembling the filthy old economy, while ensuring that wealth remained in the hands of the rich. Today, many governments appear determined to repeat that catastrophic mistake.

[...]

In other words, let’s have what many people were calling for long before this disaster hit: a green new deal. But please let’s stop describing it as a stimulus package. We have stimulated consumption too much over the past century, which is why we face environmental disaster. Let us call it a survival package, whose purpose is to provide incomes, distribute wealth and avoid catastrophe, without stoking perpetual economic growth. Bail out the people, not the corporations. Bail out the living world, not its destroyers. Let’s not waste our second chance.
It's socialized losses, privatized profits all the way down.
posted by Ouverture at 8:43 PM on April 30, 2020 [18 favorites]


Why is the Michigan armed "takeover" not mentioned on any "mainstream" news sources?

Weird.

Only mother jones and a bunch of sites I don't recognize...

I get it, but it's weird. Been a few more hours since I searched, but no NYT, WaPo, CNN results on that search. Wtf?
posted by Windopaene at 9:19 PM on April 30, 2020


Forbes & BBC have it?
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:34 PM on April 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


"'I think they do this for people to give up,' one woman in Michigan who was furloughed told the Times, and she’s absolutely right".

This is true about every part of the safety net in the US. I think many of us here can speak from experience.

I'm disabled and poor, and there are numerous programs available to me that I'm not utilizing but which would, collectively, greatly improve my quality of life. Those are just the ones I know about. Just discovering the existence of various resources is difficult if not esoteric; navigating a hurdle-laden application process is worse. I think this would be true for the most able-bodied, functional person with average social privilege—but of course those who need the resources are disadvantaged in various respects such that these obstacles are cumulatively insurmountable for most.

And yes, that's by design.

What I think is most tragic is that the people who work in these government bureaucracies and non-profits who truly would like to help everyone in need are forced to perversely collude in making things difficult because they are always, always badly underfunded and thus forced to invisibly triage in this fashion.

A further result of this systemic callousness is that many in need are aware that help is available, if only they were to jump through all the hoops, and therefore the culturally endemic "just world" fallacy that each person is responsible for their own immiseration is reinforced.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:35 PM on April 30, 2020 [21 favorites]


(First two hits after putting "Michigan Statehouse" into Google search -- and auto-fill suggestion was Michigan State House gunmen)
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:35 PM on April 30, 2020




As I said, when I searched a few hours ago, nothing "mainstream". Will search again. Interesting with the time lag.

BBC yes. But no NYT, no CNN, no MSNBC... Weird
posted by Windopaene at 9:49 PM on April 30, 2020




Bob Costa at the Washington Post talked with Gov. Hogan today (audio; transcript) and asked about that stellar South Korea-to-Maryland 500,000 tests deal a little over a week ago (bypassing Trump Admin shenanigans and incurring presidential wrath). The shipment was met at BWI ("the first time a Korean Air passenger plane has ever landed at Baltimore-Washington International Airport") by the Maryland National Guard, because Hogan was concerned about Federal seizure:

MR. COSTA: Is the National Guard in Maryland still protecting those tests?

GOV. HOGAN: They are. The National Guard and the state police are both guarding these tests at an undisclosed location [...] they're helping us distribute the tests.

Cool cool cool. Hogan's frank that in Maryland, "46 percent of all of our deaths are nursing home patients." There's a major virus outbreak in the poultry industry on the Eastern Shore, and a portion of the new tests are being sent in Perdue's direction. He talks about managing the new unemployment-benefits applications: "Folks that are not W-2 employees but gig workers and 1099, none of the websites could handle these types of--these new types of benefits, number one, and the volume was so unprecedented. We had, in a five-day period, something like 250,000 people try to file, which is more than the entire year of 2019. We created a brand-new website for this brand-new program to try to handle that, and we were one of the first in the country to do so." Then he had to bring in contractors to fix overlong waits on the new site. The state has paused evictions: "It was one of the first things I did on evictions and foreclosures so that nobody can have their utilities cut off, nobody can be evicted, nobody can be foreclosed on. And we're going to try to work with the lenders and with landlords to try to work through this as we come out of this crisis, because certainly everybody's been hurt, economically."

Costa closes with: This week, it was just announced that Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan is considering a third-party run. Would you be willing to support him, are you leaning toward Vice President Biden, or President Trump? Hogan, sensibly, takes a pass on the question.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:35 PM on April 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


Also, Gov. Hogan mentions that the Maryland special election (to fill the seat left vacant by Congressman Elijah Cummings's passing last fall), which was done by mail, went smoothly; Kweisi Mfume was elected: Serving in Congress will not be a new experience for Mfume. He represented Maryland's 7th Congressional District for five terms beginning in 1987. In a stunning bit of political symmetry, Mfume left office before his term ended in 1996 to head the Baltimore-based NAACP. It was Cummings, a close friend, who won a special election that year to succeed Mfume. (NPR, April 30, 2020)
--
The 7th district attracted national attention last year when President Donald Trump referred to it on Twitter as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess”where “no human being would want to live.” At the time, Cummings was the powerful House Oversight Committee chairman, leading multiple investigations of the president. (NBC, April 29, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:40 PM on April 30, 2020 [5 favorites]


It's insane that States have to do this, back channel shit to get PPE. Remember America?
posted by Windopaene at 10:48 PM on April 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


Remember America?

I was going to reminisce about our cold-war Civil Defense capabilities, then I remembered that the drill for a nuclear attack was hiding under your desk and realized that what we're seeing is pretty consistent with that level of preparedness.
posted by mikelieman at 2:55 AM on May 1, 2020 [8 favorites]


After a day of armed protesters and a GOP lawsuit threat, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extends state of emergency, Washington Post, Meagan Flynn, 5/1/2020:
PHOTO: Protesters try to enter the Michigan House of Representative chamber and are being kept out by the Michigan State Police after the American Patriot Rally organized by Michigan United for Liberty protest for the reopening of businesses on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on Thursday. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images)

Confronted with armed protesters at the state capitol and a lawsuit threat from GOP lawmakers over her executive orders, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) was unmoved, deciding to extend Michigan’s state-of-emergency declaration against the legislature’s wishes and without its approval.

Whitmer’s Thursday executive actions, which extend various business closures and the emergency declaration to May 28, capped a remarkable day at the Michigan Capitol building, complete with gun-toting protesters and impassioned speeches on the House floor by Republican lawmakers trying to curtail Whitmer’s power....
posted by cenoxo at 5:21 AM on May 1, 2020 [6 favorites]


Also quoting from same WaPo article: “A limited number of demonstrators, including some armed protesters — which is permitted in the Michigan Capitol — were allowed into to go into the chambers.”
posted by cenoxo at 5:28 AM on May 1, 2020


After a day of armed protesters and a GOP lawsuit threat, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extends state of emergency

The Speaker of the Michigan House said on a radio interview this morning, "We did not extend, therefore the state of Michigan is not in what I would call a lawful state of emergency…
Any order from here on out is legally questionable."

He's straight-up calling for anarchy.
posted by Etrigan at 6:53 AM on May 1, 2020 [12 favorites]


He's straight up saying that the Constitution (whether Michigan or federal) is a suicide pact and that he and his fellow Republicans are part of a suicide cult.
posted by wierdo at 7:39 AM on May 1, 2020 [3 favorites]


As of this morning Trump is tweeting that Whitmer should "make a deal" with the protestors.

Guardian live-blog link

It is becoming increasingly apparent that in addition to all the other stuff the next administration (turn, turn, curse, and spit) will have to do, there will have to be a serious (one hates to use the term, but . . ) purge of white supremacists and sympathizers from law enforcement (especially Federal law enforcement) and a massive effort put towards treating groups like the Michigan Militia as the terrorists they really are.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:30 AM on May 1, 2020 [15 favorites]




There was some pretty fascist shit done in World War II as well. Emergency powers are designed to be authoritarian. And temporary, to deal with an emergency that threatens large populations.

The curfews and checkpoints around disaster areas are also that way, and regularly used when necessary.

It is both true and meaningless, since the laws have been written that way for over a century, and the earliest versions dating back much further. It's a trade we made a long, long time ago, and understood to be consistent with the Constitution from the very beginning.
posted by wierdo at 9:50 AM on May 1, 2020 [2 favorites]


Yes, it's almost like all laws in themselves can be described as tyrannical edicts from untouchable elites.
posted by rhizome at 10:13 AM on May 1, 2020


You think CEOs are mad about government interference now, imagine if powers-that-be start seizing companies and perp-walking (or perp-sitting in this case) reluctant executives:
Remembering the Montgomery Ward Seizure: FDR and War Production Powers, Lawfare, Matthew Waxman & Samuel Weitzman, 4/25/2020

... the U.S. government seized companies during labor disputes more than four dozen times during World War II—usually firms producing war materials. No seizure generated as much controversy as those involving Montgomery Ward & Company.

On this date in 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered his secretary of commerce to seize Montgomery Ward’s Chicago-based corporate headquarters. Two days later, soldiers carried the company’s scowling CEO from the building [PHOTO], sparking political outcry.

The affair is little remembered today, probably because it resulted in no judicial precedent. But its story illuminates the enormous breadth of Roosevelt’s asserted wartime emergency powers and the recent executive branch practice that the Truman administration unsuccessfully invoked....
Help Mr. Executive find his corporate keys, boys.
posted by cenoxo at 10:32 AM on May 1, 2020 [2 favorites]


Trump urges Michigan Gov. Whitmer to talk to protesters, who he called 'very good people' (USAToday, May 1, 2020) because of course he did.

Armed Protesters Storm Michigan State House Over COVID-19 Lockdown (Forbes, April 30, 2020) has some details absent elsewhere: The crowd outside consisted of “a couple hundred” people carrying signs reading “Lock her up” and “Heil Whitmer,” according to the Michigan Advance.

A video tweeted by Local 4 Detroit’s Rod Meloni showed protesters, some armed with guns and donning bulletproof vests, gathered within the halls of the State House brushing up against capitol police and chanting “let us in” and “tyranny.”

Several protestors were forcibly removed from the State House by uniformed security guards, reported Newsweek, with one being taken away on a stretcher.

posted by Iris Gambol at 10:45 AM on May 1, 2020 [2 favorites]


And you know what the news should be doing? Asking the protestors what the guns are for. Are they planning on shooting anybody? Do they have ammunition and are the guns loaded? Who would be first?

They ALWAYS back down, "err, uhh...." when painted into the self-built corner that their philosophy is 110% about shooting police officers.
posted by rhizome at 12:09 PM on May 1, 2020 [16 favorites]




Elon Musk rants about fascist stay at home orders

Elon Musk stands to receive a $750 million bonus if he can just manage to keep the Tesla stock price up for a few more weeks. Having his factory shut down could cost him a lot of money if it prevents him getting his bonus. He might not care who has to die as long as the cars get built that he needs to show a profit.
posted by JackFlash at 12:58 PM on May 1, 2020 [9 favorites]


“Blue lives matter? What about our lives!” one yelled.

God, the irony.
posted by rebent at 1:03 PM on May 1, 2020 [7 favorites]


Amazon, Instacart workers launch May Day strike to protest treatment during the coronavirus pandemic (WaPo)
U.S. workers at a handful of major companies started walking off the job Friday, protesting treatment during the outbreak of coronavirus. Warehouse workers and grocery employees at Amazon and its subsidiary Whole Foods and gig workers for Instacart and Target-owned Shipt are banding together for the protest on May Day, or International Workers Day. The workers — whose jobs have become ever more critical during the age of coronavirus quarantines and stay-at-home orders — are calling for more personal protective equipment, professional cleaning services and hazard pay from their employers.

[...] Workers at about 25 Amazon warehouses are expected to walk out at midday and petition in front of the facilities, [Christian Smalls, a former Amazon worker who was fired from a Staten Island warehouse in March and who is helping to organize the effort,] said, and they will often be joined by Instacart, Shipt and other workers. Other Amazon workers are planning to call off their shifts Friday to protest what they see as the company’s lax responses to safety precautions. Smalls said he expects thousands of workers in the United States to take part.
posted by katra at 1:15 PM on May 1, 2020 [5 favorites]


Anyone interested in viral vaccines not familiar with the history of the Polio vaccine should read up on it (the Wiki page is a pretty good introduction). While the diseases aren't all that similar as far as transmission and death ratios go and the level of medical understanding is higher it's not hard to imagine Covid vaccines encountering the same sort of missteps. And we have the additional possibility of multiple competing vaccines from multiple companies creating confusion. Especially if viable vaccines require annual boosters.

Mu father was born in 1943 and the stories he told of the fear/reaction to polio were truly frightening.
posted by Mitheral at 2:26 PM on May 1, 2020 [6 favorites]


65 Years After Massive Polio Vaccine Trials, We’ve Come A Long Way (Forbes, Apr. 12, 2020)
Even after identifying the virus that caused polio, it took another 40 years to get vaccine trials up and running. But in 2020, the first human clinical trials for vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are already underway just 3 to 4 months after the first people were infected.
posted by katra at 3:34 PM on May 1, 2020 [3 favorites]


Anti-vaxxers are latching onto the coronavirus pandemic to bolster their movement (Salon, Apr. 25, 2020)
The anti-vaccine movement has never been limited to one political party. Left-leaning vaccine critics — such as Children's Health Defense, led by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — include environmentalists who are suspicious of chemical pollutants, corporations and "Big Pharma." The Kennedy group's website attacks Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for rushing "risky and uncertain coronavirus vaccines" into development as part of a "sweetheart deal" for drug companies.
US was warned of threat from anti-vaxxers in event of pandemic (Guardian, Apr. 27, 2020)
Ben Harris-Roxas at the University of New South Wales, an expert on public health, endorsed the epidemiological reasoning in the paper. “Vaccine hesitancy represents a significant threat – not just for any Covid-19 vaccine that might be developed, but also to measures that might assist people and health services now, such as people getting flu vaccinations,” he said.
Anti-Vaxers Aren't Stupid (Emma Green, Atlantic, Feb. 16, 2016)
Empathizing with vaccine-skeptical parents is not the same as equivocation. From a public-health standpoint, parents should get their kids immunized against diseases. But Largent’s argument is that public-health efforts are more humane, and likely more effective, when they’re undertaken with an eye toward the feelings of powerlessness that can come along with these kinds of medical decisions.
posted by katra at 3:55 PM on May 1, 2020 [2 favorites]


Elon Musk rants about fascist stay at home orders

Elon Musk stands to receive a $750 million bonus if he can just manage to keep the Tesla stock price up for a few more weeks.


I know this isn't a Tesla/Musk thread, but: Tesla stock plummets more than 10% after Musk tweets valuation is "too high"

Also, it's interesting that there have been articles recently about Tesla dropping their D&O coverage and going self-insured. Some of them are describing it as "Tesla to forego D&O insurance", but also say "for the 2019-2020 policy year". That seems to imply that they're currently on self-insured status (I'm pretty sure that regardless of when your renewal is, the 2019-20 policy year begins in 2019 and ends in 2020).
posted by Lexica at 4:17 PM on May 1, 2020 [1 favorite]


As Trump repeatedly blames China they reply: Once Upon a Virus
posted by adamvasco at 4:27 PM on May 1, 2020 [10 favorites]


Threadreader link. For a one minute, 38 second cartoon, it's... really quite something.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:56 PM on May 1, 2020 [8 favorites]


It did not take 40 years to get polio vaccination studies going. Some started in the 30s: and killed a lot of people.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:23 PM on May 1, 2020 [1 favorite]


The tainted polio vaccine that sickened and fatally paralyzed children in 1955 (WaPo)
As scientists and politicians desperately search for medicines to slow the deadly coronavirus, and as President Trump touts a malaria drug as a remedy, a look back to the 1955 polio vaccine tragedy shows how hazardous such a search can be, especially under intense public pressure.

Despite [Bernice E. Eddy, a veteran scientist at the National Institutes of Health]’s warnings, an estimated 120,000 children that year were injected with the Cutter vaccine, according to Paul A. Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
posted by katra at 10:07 PM on May 1, 2020 [1 favorite]


Anti-Vaxers Aren't Stupid

They are, though.

We're all stupid about something. Anti-vaxers are stupid about vaccination and stupid about comparative risk analysis.

They don't believe they're stupid about these things, but that's just the Dunning-Kruger effect. When all's said and done, choosing an option that demonstrably carries at least tens of times as much risk of death or serious disability as some other option, on the basis that the avoided option is too risky, is stupid. End of.
posted by flabdablet at 3:59 AM on May 2, 2020 [28 favorites]


Donald Trump team blocks Anthony Fauci from testifying before congressional committee, USA Today, David Jackson & Michael Collins, 5/1/2020:
The White House is blocking epidemic expert Anthony Fauci from testifying before a congressional committee next week, less than two months after Fauci critiqued the nation's coronavirus testing system during a public hearing. The House Appropriations Committee had sought Fauci’s testimony at a Wednesday subcommittee hearing to look into the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 65,000 Americans.

“We have been informed by an administration official that the White House has blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying,” committee spokesman Evan Hollander said Friday.

A White House spokesman said the administration is busy fighting the spread of the coronavirus, re-opening the economy, and seeking a vaccine, so "it is counter-productive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at congressional hearings."...
True — Congressional hearings have a bad habit of being counter-productive to The Imperial Donald.
posted by cenoxo at 6:26 AM on May 2, 2020 [3 favorites]


I was referring to the Kolmer and Brodie vaccine trials of 1935, briefly mentioned here.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:15 AM on May 2, 2020 [1 favorite]


Trump expresses support for angry anti-shutdown protesters as more states lift coronavirus lockdowns (WaPo, May 1, 2020)
Trump’s “very good people” language recalled his wording nearly three years ago, when he said there were “very fine people on both sides” at a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

[...] Also Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said coronavirus cases were confirmed among thousands of workers in meat and poultry processing facilities across the country in April, affecting more than 100 plants in upward of a dozen states. The CDC said it examined data from 115 meat or poultry facilities in 19 states. These plants employed more than 130,000 workers, more than 4,900 of whom had confirmed cases. At least 20 coronavirus deaths were reported. These numbers are likely an undercount, because the CDC report says not all states with coronavirus cases in such facilities contributed data. The prevalence of testing also likely played a role, the CDC found, with more infections reported in places with more testing.
'We're modern slaves': How meat plant workers became the new frontline in Covid-19 war (Guardian)
The infectious disease epidemiologist Michael Osterholm warned deep cleans and surgical masks in these plants would not be sufficient to stop the spread of Covid-19. “It’s in the air. And until we really get an airborne control program in place in these settings, I think we’re going to continue to see transmission”, Osterholm said on his podcast.

[...] For more than a century, the meatpacking industry has been a symbol of how corporations are able to exploit workers in the name of efficiency. The Covid-19 outbreak has opened another chapter.
posted by katra at 8:20 AM on May 2, 2020 [9 favorites]


If a Meteor Were About to Destroy Earth, Some Right-Wingers Would Side with the Meteor, to Own the Libs
Politico's Tina Nguyen reports that some on the right oppose the use of remdesivir to treat COVID-19 because, to them, there are red drugs and blue drugs, and remdesivir is a blue drug.
Coronavirus gets a promising drug. MAGA world isn’t buying it.
The unexpected reaction appears to stem from the differences in how the two drugs came into the public spotlight. Hydroxychloroquine bubbled up through the MAGA grassroots — little-known investors promoted it online, got on Fox News and suddenly the president was talking about it from the White House. Remdesivir’s progress came through a government-funded trial that had the blessing of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the bête noire of Trump hardliners who blame the government’s top infectious disease expert for undermining the president and causing unnecessary economic damage with his social-distancing guidelines.

Remdesivir’s connection to a pharmaceutical company also taps into suspicions on the right that corporate executives are trying to rake in huge profits from the coronavirus. Hydroxychloroquine, on the other hand, is already widely available in generic form.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:12 AM on May 2, 2020 [11 favorites]


Perhaps these idiots should ask their parents why quinine pills stopped being available over the counter in most states 30 years ago or more.
posted by wierdo at 1:03 PM on May 2, 2020 [4 favorites]


Trump replaces HHS watchdog who found ‘severe shortages’ at hospitals combating coronavirus (WaPo, May 2, 2020) White House nominated a permanent inspector general to take the reins from Christi A. Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general who has run the office since January. The White House nominated Jason Weida, an assistant United States attorney in Boston, as permanent inspector general. The announcement said Weida was chosen because he has overseen “numerous complex investigations in healthcare and other sectors.” He must be confirmed by the Senate. [...]

Among other nominations the White House announced on Friday was a replacement for Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine. Yovanovitch was forced out a year ago, viewed as an obstacle to White House aides as they tried to pressure the Ukraine government to investigate Trump’s Democratic political rivals. Keith Dayton, Trump’s nominee to replace Yovanovitch, serves as director of the George Marshall Center in Germany and as a senior U.S. defense adviser to Ukraine. After serving 40 years in the U.S. Army, Dayton retired in 2010 with the rank of Lt. General before accepting his latest assignments.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:37 PM on May 2, 2020 [4 favorites]


- The HHS report Trump disliked was released on Friday, April 3; Trump, asked about the report's findings at the task force briefing on Monday, April 6, proceeds to lose his noodle: Despite the nearly 1.8 million tests that you say the United States has done, the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services released a report today — a survey — of more than 300 hospitals across the country. And the number one complaint from those hospitals were severe shortages of testing supplies and a really long wait time. Trump initial responses include: Well, it’s just wrong. [...] It’s just wrong. Did I hear the word “inspector general”? Really? It’s wrong. And they’ll talk to you about it. It’s wrong. [...] Uh, it’s — well, where did he come from — the inspector general? What’s his name? [...] No, what’s his name? What’s his name? [...] Well, find me his name. Let me know. Okay? If you find me his name, I’d appreciate it. [...] So, give me the name of the inspector general. Could politics be entered into that? [...]

-- Christi Grimm started working in the inspector general's office in 1999; she was not a political appointee. Eventually, Trump taps ABC's Jon Karl (President of the White House Correspondents' Association, author of "Front Row at the Trump Show" published March 2020), who identifies Grimm, for more information on this career government employee:

KARL: Mr. President, if I can follow up on this question of the HHS inspector general. And, by the way, her name is Christi Grimm. And it wasn’t so much her opinion, but they interviewed 323 different hospitals.
TRUMP: Well, it still could be her opinion. But when was she appointed? When was she appointed?
KARL: I’m not sure when she was appointed.
TRUMP: Would you do me a favor? Let me know.
KARL: I’ll — I’ll check on it.
TRUMP: No, no, let me know now. I have to know now, Jon. Let me know now. [...]
TRUMP: How long has that person been in government? Could I ask you that?
KARL: Did serve in the previous administration.
TRUMP: Oh, you didn’t tell me that. Oh, I see. You didn’t tell me that, Jon.
KARL: She was appointed for her current position in January of this year, by your government.
TRUMP: You didn’t tell me that. Did serve in the previous admin- — you mean the Obama administration. Thank you for telling me that. See, there’s a typical fake-news deal.
KARL: Well, you asked me when she was — you asked me when she was appointed.
TRUMP: No, look. Look —
KARL: I told you when she was appointed by your administration.
TRUMP: You’re a third-rate reporter. And what you just said is a disgrace. Okay? You asked me — you said, “Sir, just got appointed.” Take a look at what you said. Now, I said, “When did they — when did this person — how long in government?”
KARL: But, but —
TRUMP: “Well, it was appointed in the Obama administration.”
KARL: But her current job was in your administration, sir.
TRUMP: Thank you very much, Jon. Thank you very much. You will never make it.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:13 PM on May 2, 2020 [19 favorites]


Christ, what a partisan piece of shit
posted by Windopaene at 6:13 PM on May 2, 2020 [4 favorites]


I honestly thought I could not have an even lower opinion of Trump, but that transcript did the trick.
posted by thelonius at 6:47 PM on May 2, 2020 [9 favorites]


Don't you have that experience almost daily? I certainly do. My middle-of-the-road, mostly politically disengaged 74 year-old mother feels exactly the same way. She thinks most of her friends and family have gone insane.

What keeps just blowing my mind is that I can set aside his politics entirely and he's still the most repulsive, irritating, terrible human being I've ever had the misfortune to figure in my life. If you plumbed my subconscious for everything that would make up a personality I would find most repugnant, it would be his. How can there possibly be as much as 30% of American society who don't feel similarly?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:21 PM on May 2, 2020 [43 favorites]


They believe that the media are literally printing fake quotes and lying about what he says and does. Even when he's caught on video. They believe what they wish were true, not what is actually true.
posted by wierdo at 8:25 PM on May 2, 2020 [6 favorites]


The fantasy they've created of Trump is really quite apparent even in cartoons, drawings, and photoshops made by supporters. He stands upright, is muscular, square-jawed, and sometimes even has manly stubble. They can't accept even his physical reality. They created an illusion and that illusion is now all they see.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 8:47 PM on May 2, 2020 [7 favorites]


That's obscene. They [armed white Michigan protestors] should all be arrested and put away. I am sure it would be far different if they weren't white.

@MichaelHarriot on if black people did that (not necessarily armed) from reconstruction through 1970.
posted by Mitheral at 9:58 PM on May 2, 2020 [8 favorites]


Don't you have that experience almost daily? I certainly do.

Likewise. Been having it on every report of anything that loathsome POS has ever said or done since first being made aware of him by Time magazine in the eighties.

Had him down for decades as the face of Ugly America. Utterly without taste, utterly without restraint, utterly without judgement, utterly without merit. In 2016 it took me a full week to accept that Ugly America genuinely had asserted itself in the polls and that I wasn't merely having another psychotic episode.

If it were not for The Onion I don't know where I'd be.
posted by flabdablet at 1:51 AM on May 3, 2020 [13 favorites]


They created an illusion and that illusion is now all they see.

I think the Fox Fascist Hero propaganda works to some extent, but the more jarring possibility is that Trump being the worst, most useless, most entitled white POS in the USA was the point. Replace a very competent black technocrat with a white combative moron just to show the libs/women/immigrants who's boss, seems like the perfect expression of white patriarchal supremacy to me.
posted by benzenedream at 5:40 AM on May 3, 2020 [19 favorites]


City's proclamation requiring face masks in stores and restaurants is amended after threats of violence
(CNN) An emergency proclamation issued Thursday in Stillwater, Oklahoma, requiring the use of face masks in stores and restaurants was amended Friday after threats of violence.

"In the short time beginning on May 1, 2020, that face coverings have been required for entry into stores/restaurants, store employees have been threatened with physical violence and showered with verbal abuse," Stillwater City Manager Norman McNickle said in a statement.

"In addition, there has been one threat of violence using a firearm. This has occurred in three short hours and in the face of clear medical evidence that face coverings helps contain the spread of Covid-19."

Due to the threats of violence the city has decided to amend their emergency order but still want people to wear face masks whenever possible, the statement said.
Letting the terrorists win, not that there's much of a choice unless you're going to have cops stationed at every store and restaurant.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:58 AM on May 3, 2020 [14 favorites]


Replace a very competent black technocrat with a white combative moron just to show the libs/women/immigrants who's boss,

That is a lot of the point, but it can't be all of it, because look at the 2016 Republican primaries......where the objects of Trump's jeering and schoolyard bullying were other Republicans. So many, many voters seem to like and admire that character in itself, regardless of who is the object. I don't know, maybe they took those demonstrations as mainly indications that this is how Trump was going to own the libs/women/immigrants.
posted by thelonius at 12:15 PM on May 3, 2020 [8 favorites]


The fantasy they've created of Trump is really quite apparent even in cartoons, drawings, and photoshops...

What Lemmings Believe
Bob Mankoff, New Yorker 4/13/1997
posted by cenoxo at 12:35 PM on May 3, 2020 [5 favorites]


Trump’s purge of inspectors general continues. It’s an assault on good governance.Vox, Alex Ward, May 2, 2020 • 'Why Trump’s purge of US watchdogs is “a war on accountability.”'

It's one of his never-ending wars.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:32 PM on May 3, 2020 [3 favorites]


Interesting critique of Michigan capitol protestors:

Darth Bader Ginsburg @Disord87 (Twitter thread / ThreadReader)
Let's take a second to talk about how infuriating this photo [inside the capitol] is. Beyond the white privilege of walking armed into a govt building unmolested; Beyond how asinine their demands are...

These assclowns have no earthly idea how to wear combat equipment!
9:15 PM · May 1, 2020
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:50 PM on May 3, 2020 [6 favorites]


Biden, Warren: There’s no oversight of coronavirus relief — because that’s what Trump wants
Both of us have served in Congress overseeing the executive branch. We have also both served in the executive branch and answered to independent oversight. Take it from us: Oversight is vital to an effective democracy and a fair economy, and it’s a threat only if you have something to hide. [...]

The Biden administration will appoint an inspector general to review every coronavirus relief transaction currently evading serious scrutiny. Wasteful, corrupt deals and giveaways will be rooted out and undone. Suspicious transactions will be referred to the Justice Department for investigation and prosecution. Every Trump administration official and business executive contemplating such deals should hear us loud and clear. Trump may wink and nod at this corruption. We will not.
Looking forward *and* back: por que no los dos?
posted by tonycpsu at 2:52 PM on May 3, 2020 [21 favorites]


As some of the rest of the world starts moving on, the situation in the US is still getting worse. No dispute there. In a month or two, if the US isn't getting better but other countries are, should we Americans expect travel bans on us? We've talked about pity before, but when will they put their feet down and not let us come visit because we are a danger? And how would the dotard feel about that?
posted by Snowishberlin at 3:17 PM on May 3, 2020 [10 favorites]


ZeusHumms: Interesting critique of Michigan capitol protestors

This guy is raises a lot of good points, but he's kind of full of it, too (his point about black children is 100% on point, of course).

If we're going to consider any of these guys a "militia" then what they are wearing bears no consequence, because the absurdity of front line combat vis-a-vis militias is that you wear whatever you have available, even if it is too small or not setup correctly. I don't know this guy's background, but the adherence to practicality is so institutionalized within our popular concepts of how militaries function that of course it seems ridiculous that these people are not kitted out "correctly". Go look at militias anywhere around the world and a lot of them are not going to be kitted out in any sort of "correct" manner, much less any sort of tactically advantageous one. A lot of people in militias around the world are running around in knock-off Adidas track pants and shoes and wearing t-shirts.

The thing about the modern American militia movement is that they aren't meant to be setup to go into combat. This is a psychological war, and showing up like a character from Call of Duty is the first thing that Americans are going to associate with this style of dress. It conveys to the out-group (liberals) that they are powerful, dangerous, and ostensibly not to be fucked with, while to the in-group (fascists) that they are wealthy. A lot of these guys are walking around with thousands of dollars of weaponry and equipment. The entire point of their outfits isn't meant to say "I am ready to go to combat", it's meant to say "I have money, check out all my gucci military gear." It's LARPing. That gun the 3rd guy has on him? That's an FN FS2000, which was discontinued years ago and now sells for anywhere between $2000 to $4000, and is incredibly rare to find.

None of these guys are gonna go down shooting in some sort of civil war when they have people that are much more poor, more mentally ill, with nothing to lose, to act as grunts for them, whether that means sending mail bombs to prominent Democrats or shooting up schools and grocery stores or joining large fascist organizations like Atomwaffen Division. These guys are not the proletariat of the right-wing, they're the petit bourgeoisie. They are already part of communities that give them some sort of identity and reason to live, whether that's church or their families or their jobs or even the gun shooting community, or anything else. The people that we should be concerned with, in my opinion, are the isolated young men who are being recruited by groups like Atomwaffen Division or The Base.

Michigan has a long history with the American militia movement, alongside the Militia of Montana. While these groups appear to have gained a bit of a resurgence in the past 12 years, I don't think they have as much relevance in hard right-wing militancy circles, compared to groups like Atomwaffen or The Base, who are really the new kids on the block as far as hardcore militancy groups go. These sorts of militia groups are sort of old-guard constitutionalist/"New World Order"/anti-government type of people, and while they're typically white supremacists, they aren't exactly hardcore neo-Nazis like the aforementioned.

For what it's worth, leftist militia "groups" always dress way better than these fools. Go look at photos of the EZLN, or even Kurdish grandmothers defending their towns from ISIS. A bunch of guys that look like characters from Escape from Tarkov don't have shit on women with traditional Kurdish tattoos and wearing Kurdish dresses carrying around AK-47's.
posted by gucci mane at 4:12 PM on May 3, 2020 [29 favorites]


The tall, mohawked, heavily armed dude in a lot of the recent "storming" photos. I'm going to be totally kitted out, AND look like Travis Bickle. That will get people to respect me!

What a bunch of sad tools.
posted by Windopaene at 4:58 PM on May 3, 2020 [1 favorite]


Birx’s ‘Fox News Sunday’ interview lays bare the discord in Trump’s coronavirus response (Aaron Blake, WaPo Analysis)
The Washington Post published its latest in-depth investigation into the Trump administration’s uneven response to the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday night. On Sunday morning, an interview with a leading medical expert on the White House task force reinforced it. [...] Birx was asked about Trump’s projections in recent weeks that there would be between 50,000 and 60,000 deaths, which he later increased to 60,000 to 70,000. We are at over 66,000 deaths, with little sign in recent weeks of any significant downturn. Birx told host Chris Wallace that “our projections have always been between 100,000 and 240,000 American lives lost, and that’s with full mitigation and us learning from each other of how to social distance.”

[...] Birx’s most significant comments on Sunday, though, came with regard to the protesters in Michigan. [...] “It’s devastatingly worrisome to me, personally, because if they go home and infect their grandmother or their grandfather who has a co-morbid condition and they have a serious or a very — or an unfortunate outcome, they will feel guilty for the rest of our lives,” she said. “So we need to protect each other at the same time we’re voicing our discontent.” That’s a kind of cautioning and rebuking of the protesters that we simply haven’t seen from Trump.
Trump contradicts top health officials with vaccine timeline, malaria drug claims (Politico)
Trump on Sunday evening said he wasn't concerned about which country develops a vaccine first. "I just want to get a vaccine that works. I really don't care. If it's another country, I'll take my hat off to them," he said. But if another country beats the U.S. to the finish line in developing a vaccine, many are worried that Trump’s withdrawal from international cooperation efforts — including his recent move to strip funding from the World Health Organization — will limit America’s access to the cure.
posted by katra at 11:14 PM on May 3, 2020 [2 favorites]


Trump BFF Bolsonaro Incites New Protest With Brazil Virus Toll Rising, Bloomberg, Matthew Malinowski, May 3, 2020.
> President met protesters in front of presidential palace
> Bolsonaro had drawn criticism after attending April 19 protest
...
PHOTO: Bolsonaro gestures while attending a protests at the Planalto Palace on May 3. Photographer: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images.
...
Brazil’s total number of confirmed deaths from coronavirus reached 7,025 while the number of cases rose to 101,147, according to Health Ministry data released on Sunday.
Perhaps T&B yearn for the happy days at Mar-a-Lago*.

*PHOTO March 7, [2020]: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, center, stands with President Donald Trump, second from left, Vice President Mike Pence, right, and Brazil's Communications Director Fabio Wajngarten, behind Trump partially covered, during a dinner in Florida. Photo: Alan Santos, Brazil's Presidential Press Office via AP, Illustration: USA TODAY).
posted by cenoxo at 11:34 PM on May 3, 2020


Sitting at the feet of Lincoln (PHOTO of Fox News interview 5/3/2020), Trump Foresees Virus Death Toll as High as 100,000 in the United States — But even as President Trump acknowledged that the coronavirus has been deadlier than he had previously predicted, he pressed to reopen the country., New York Times, Peter Baker, 5/3/2020.

All presidential predictions come with editing rights.
posted by cenoxo at 11:59 PM on May 3, 2020


I've been watching Bolsanaro with an increasing dread.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:08 AM on May 4, 2020 [6 favorites]




It's LARPing. That gun the 3rd guy has on him? That's an FN FS2000, which was discontinued years ago and now sells for anywhere between $2000 to $4000, and is incredibly rare to find.

Good luck getting spare parts for your boutique assault rifle if the civil war you obviously long for ever does break out, jackass. Don't worry, though, the loyalists will have plenty of interchangeable parts for their M-4s and M-16s.
posted by Gelatin at 8:06 AM on May 4, 2020 [3 favorites]


if they go home and infect their grandmother or their grandfather who has a co-morbid condition and they have a serious or a very — or an unfortunate outcome, they will feel guilty for the rest of our lives,” she said.

They won't, you know. It'll be the governor's fault.
posted by glasseyes at 8:31 AM on May 4, 2020 [10 favorites]


I like how appropriately that chair in the photo makes Trump look like a 4-year-old child as he whines about getting worse press coverage than Abraham Lincoln.

He talks about revising the number of deaths up to 80 or 90 thousand in the same breath he complains about his treatment by the press. He's a sociopath.

In fact, I think it would be a good idea if they carved a new wax sculpture, life size, of tiny Trump in that chair and mounted in next to Abraham Lincoln just as a reminder to the nation how far the country has fallen and never to make that mistake again.
posted by JackFlash at 8:38 AM on May 4, 2020 [8 favorites]


...a new wax sculpture, life size, of tiny Trump in that chair and mounted in next to Abraham Lincoln...

...underneath Lincoln's raised right foot.
posted by cenoxo at 8:47 AM on May 4, 2020 [2 favorites]


I've been watching Bolsanaro with an increasing dread.
self link: Weimar Brazil in the time of Plague.
Similar to Trump to the North, Bolsonaro's only interest seems to be reelection in 2022
He is getting more and more isolated and therefore crazier. Now heavily aligned with the evangelicals
The Nation: He’s the only head of state able to out-Trump Trump in sheer recklessness and social-networked delirium.
His appointment of new head of the Policia Fedeeral was blocked.
It is now revealed that son Flavio is being formally investigated for giving government money to milicias for illegal property development like the one in Muzema which collapsed in april 2019
The new Justice minister André Luiz Mendonça, is pastor of the Presbyterian Church Esperança in Brasília.
Bolsaro believes in Business before people and considers the poor to be expendible.
There is complete neglect of indiginous peoples, This is deliberate to keep the Bible Beef + Bullet lobby onboard as shown by the recent firing of the enforcement head of the Ministry of Environment.
Amazon deforestation could trigger new pandemics, experts warn amid fears over Brazilian land ownership law.
The most immediate concern though is that Covid-19 has already crashed health sevices in Manaus and Ceara state. Rio now has no hospital beds left and figures are believed to be underrerported by a magnitude of x 10 to x 15.
posted by adamvasco at 9:45 AM on May 4, 2020 [14 favorites]


Is there a way to rig the Lincoln Memorial statue so that it can vomit? Asking for a friend.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:43 AM on May 4, 2020 [3 favorites]


We’re Still Living and Dying in the Slaveholders’ Republic, Ibram X. Kendi, The Atlantic
Slaveholders desired a state that wholly secured their individual freedom to enslave, not to mention their freedom to disenfranchise, to exploit, to impoverish, to demean, and to silence and kill the demeaned. The freedom to. The freedom to harm. Which is to say, in coronavirus terms, the freedom to infect.

Slaveholders disavowed a state that secured any form of communal freedom—the freedom of the community from slavery, from disenfranchisement, from exploitation, from poverty, from all the demeaning and silencing and killing. The freedom from. The freedom from harm. Which is to say, in coronavirus terms, the freedom from infection.

The slaveholder’s freedom to seceded from Lincoln’s “house divided against itself”—divided between the freedom to and from.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:59 AM on May 4, 2020 [21 favorites]


Mod note: Hey folks "my US state is better than your US state for $REASONS" comments not really ok here unless it's just a state-comparison grabass thread which this is not.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:55 AM on May 4, 2020 [3 favorites]


My apologies.
posted by adamg at 12:01 PM on May 4, 2020


Trump's preparedness chief prioritized biodefense over pandemics, benefitting a former clientDaily Kos, Kerry Eleveld, May the 4th
Shortly after Robert Kadlec was confirmed as head of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, he started pushing to increase the nation’s reserves of a smallpox vaccine that just happened to be purchased from a former client of his when he was consulting in the private sector, according to The Washington Post. Kadlec also came to oversee the National Strategic Stockpile when that responsibility was moved from the Centers for Disease Control to his office in 2018. [...]

[...] By the time Kadlec assumed control of the nation's preparedness planning, he restricted decision-making to a small circle of allies, cut out the interagency process, and focused almost exclusively on prepping for an attack orchestrated by a U.S. adversary. Kadlec denied any wrongdoing concerning the contract with Emergent, saying the vaccine deal was negotiated by contract officers at his agency. But as the Post writes: “Citing limited resources, his office halted an Obama-era initiative to spend $35 million to build a machine that could produce 1.5 million N95 masks per day.”
Oops.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:12 PM on May 4, 2020 [16 favorites]


She Predicted the Coronavirus. What Does She Foresee Next? (Frank Bruni, NYT Opinion, May 2, 2020 / MSN reprint)
[...] she called Trump “the most incompetent, foolhardy buffoon imaginable.”
posted by katra at 5:58 PM on May 4, 2020 [11 favorites]


“I’m quite certain that this is going to go in waves,” she added. “It won’t be a tsunami that comes across America all at once and then retreats all at once. It will be micro-waves that shoot up in Des Moines and then in New Orleans and then in Houston and so on, and it’s going to affect how people think about all kinds of things.”

They’ll re-evaluate the importance of travel. They’ll reassess their use of mass transit. They’ll revisit the need for face-to-face business meetings. They’ll reappraise having their kids go to college out of state.
She also puts the event horizon at 3 years.
posted by xammerboy at 11:44 PM on May 4, 2020 [7 favorites]


Most states fall short of coronavirus testing thresholds, Associated Press; Christina A. Cassidy, Matthew Perrone, Jason Dearen, Nicky Forster; 5/2/2020:
As more states begin to relax their coronavirus lockdowns, most are falling short of the minimum levels of testing suggested by the federal government and recommended by a variety of public health researchers...

Three months into an unprecedented public health emergency, the White House has largely resisted calls for a coordinated plan to conduct the millions of tests experts say are needed to contain the virus. What federal officials outlined recently isn’t even an official benchmark ... and a majority of states are not yet meeting it.

With no specific guidelines, states are left to figure out what a successful testing program should be while they simultaneously try to reopen their shattered economies. If states don’t have robust testing, public health experts say they will be unable to detect outbreaks quickly enough to contain them, which could lead to more shutdowns...
“It’s dangerous and irresponsible,” said Lawrence Gostin, a public health specialist at Georgetown University....
posted by cenoxo at 2:40 AM on May 5, 2020 [3 favorites]


Trump gives up on virus fight to focus on economic recovery – and re-electionGuardian; David Smith; 05/05/2020 • "With Covid-19 deaths set to almost double this month, the president is putting the stock market before lives, critics say"
A leaked internal White House report predicts the daily death toll from the virus will reach about 3,000 on 1 June, almost double the current tally of about 1,750, the New York Times revealed on Monday.

Yet at the same time, Trump has scrapped daily coronavirus taskforce briefings and marginalized his medical experts in favour of economic officials flooding the airwaves to urge states to reopen for business – even amid rising infection rates.

“They’ve decided in a very utilitarian kind of way that the political damage from a collapsed economy is greater than the political damage from losing as many as 90,000 more Americans just in June,” said Rick Wilson, a former Republican strategist. “We’re witnessing the full-scale application of a kind of grisly realpolitik that is a clear willingness to trade lives for the Dow Jones.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:03 AM on May 5, 2020 [6 favorites]


The most terrifying thing to me in that Laurie Garrett interview--the most colossal failure of the Trump administration in this whole shit storm--is a subject that I see almost no attention to, no coverage of: the complete silence from US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She remarks that the CDCs in other countries are mystified by the inaction of and the lack of communication from the US CDC.

Fauci and Birx are representatives of the scientific community in the public face of the Trump response. They are trustworthy figures in their own right but they are not the experts we need at this moment. Fauci is fundamentally a research biologist--his great renown and well-deserved credibility and expertise is based in learning the nuts and bolts about how infectious agents act on the body. That is of course incredibly important to know. BUT IT IS NOT THE SAME AS EXPERTISE IN PUBLIC HEALTH AND DISEASE CONTROL. Likewise, Birx has rock solid credentials and well deserved renown and credibility in infectious disease research, public health prevention, and global health. THIS IS STILL NOT THE SAME AS EXPERTISE IN PUBLIC HEALTH AND DISEASE CONTROL.

Public health and disease control is *specifically* the expertise of, what else, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Former CDC director Tom Frieden wrote in an op-ed in the NYT on April 12:
If you open a medical textbook to any page, you can be sure that some of the world’s top experts on the condition discussed on it work at the C.D.C. The C.D.C. consists of a dozen centers plus the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and has thousands of staff members stationed around the world.

It channels most of its funds to state and city health departments, and is the key partner for every state and for many countries. Its guidance on everything from newborn testing to vaccine schedules to traumatic brain injury is, with reason, the most trusted advice for health professionals and the public. Its more than 200 specialized laboratories set the standard for the world.

The C.D.C. was created to protect the country from infectious disease threats, whether naturally occurring or man-made. It has led the federal response to major health threats since it was founded 75 years ago — until now. Just when America most needs its guidance on the pandemic, the country’s top public health experts do not appear to be guiding, and are certainly not communicating, our response.
Later in the essay he writes,
Dr. [Nancy] Messonnier, along with Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of C.D.C. and previous director of the respiratory disease center, are our country’s top two experts on controlling respiratory viruses. I will feel safer when we are hearing from them regularly and when it is clear that they are guiding the national response.
You all may remember Nancy Messonier as the expert who made headlines in late February when she warned of severe disruption. This led to a big loss in the stock market, drawing Trump's ire, and a swirl of right wing nutball rumors that her remarks were politically motivated since she is sister to Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw the Mueller investigation.

What else can we conclude? The federal agency that is the source of the country's absolute pinnacle of expertise for exactly this kind of crisis, is completely neutralized because of Trump's ego and right wing fever dreams.

Is the congressional investigation into the handling of the pandemic response calling people from the CDC?
posted by Sublimity at 7:23 AM on May 5, 2020 [35 favorites]


Is the congressional investigation into the handling of the pandemic response calling people from the CDC?

Chances are slim that the White House would let them testify, but the House should at least make the White House, publicly, prevent CDC officials from testifying, and then wonder aloud, often, what Trump is hiding this time.
posted by Gelatin at 7:44 AM on May 5, 2020 [9 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised if all external CDC mail wasn't being approved by a junior Pence staffer.

Can Bill Gates just inspire all these people to quit and join a private CDC? They sure as shit aren't being allowed to do their life's work under Trump, and this will go down in history as one of the worst public health failures of all time.
posted by benzenedream at 8:54 AM on May 5, 2020


I don't think privatizing the public health administration is anything to hope for. At all.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 9:03 AM on May 5, 2020 [14 favorites]


(Imagine a Susan G. Komen for coronavirus where once a year they put commemorative mask designs on every conceivable consumer product and literally nothing else)
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 9:05 AM on May 5, 2020 [12 favorites]


A group of former CDC staffers who are allowed to communicate with the outside world and not under Trump's thumb would be more useful right now than what we have, which is a coordination agency that is not allowed to communicate. I am not suggesting the CDC be turned into Chuck-e-CDCs, but there must be some way to coordinate outside of Trump's egosphere.
posted by benzenedream at 9:36 AM on May 5, 2020 [2 favorites]




Trump rails at 'loser types' as dissident Republican ad gets under his skin (Guardian)
A political ad criticizing Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has prompted a string of name-calling, angry tweets from the president, in which he derided his critics as “loser types”. [...] The federal government response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been described to the Guardian, in earlier reporting, as “one of the greatest failures of basic governance and basic leadership in modern times”.
The White House is considering winding down the coronavirus task force in the coming weeks. (NYT live blog)
It is not clear whether any other group might replace the task force. But its gradual demise, which officials said might never be formally announced, would only intensify the questions about whether the administration is adequately organized to address the complex, life-and-death decisions related to the virus and giving adequate voice to scientists and public health experts in making policy. [..] While the rate of new infections and deaths has been falling in New York, it has continued to rise in much of the rest of the country, and a number of projections suggest that deaths will remain at elevated levels for months to come and could increase as states ease their stay-at-home orders.
posted by katra at 12:00 PM on May 5, 2020 [3 favorites]


Hey, are the Conways still married to each other? What is going on there?
posted by nonasuch at 12:32 PM on May 5, 2020 [2 favorites]


They're just going to wind down the task force completely and not tell anyone...
posted by xammerboy at 12:54 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]


Kushner coronavirus effort said to be hampered by inexperienced volunteers (via)
The volunteers were told to preserve and share a copy of all of their official emails, to comply with the Federal Records Act, according to the volunteer and administration officials. But Libowitz said that “by using private email accounts, we have no assurances that their emails are being preserved. . . . This doesn’t prove anything nefarious is going on, but if something nefarious was going on, this is how they would do it.”
Well, that's it, folks. "Emails". Drop the balloons. We got him.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:59 PM on May 5, 2020 [13 favorites]


Pence confirms they're looking to wind it down, citing "the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country".

Maybe they can try to find Dubya's "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner
posted by tonycpsu at 1:08 PM on May 5, 2020 [15 favorites]


Pence confirms they're looking to wind it down, citing "the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country".

I don't think I actually believed it until now, but they really do intend to declare victory and go home, don't they? While the pandemic is still stalking the country killing people? And then call stories of the continued pandemic "fake news," and see if their base buys it?

But the reason Trump trails Biden in the polls is that Trump's base is not enough. True, without the MAGAhats, he's sunk, but the hardcore deplorables are not close to a majority. Trump needs people in the center to believe that everything's really okay -- and to believe that this belief is worth staking their lives and health, and that of their families -- and that prospect seems unlikely.
posted by Gelatin at 1:15 PM on May 5, 2020 [6 favorites]


just imagine the same playbook as hurricane Maria, scaled to the entire nation. that's the plan.
posted by One Thousand and One at 1:22 PM on May 5, 2020 [9 favorites]


With $1,200 checks instead of paper towels.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:24 PM on May 5, 2020 [5 favorites]


just imagine the same playbook as hurricane Maria, scaled to the entire nation. that's the plan.

But if what was happening in Puerto Rico didn't sink into the American consciousness the way Katrina did, it's at least in part because 1) that was hardly Trump's first, only, or most conspicuous display of sheer, depraved incompetence and b) the lives of other voters didn't depend on it. The media isn't going to play along with Trump's "everything's back to normal!" pretense, and neither will state governors.

In fact, Trump's instinct to take revenge on his perceived enemies is only going to make the epidemic worse, because -- as he's hinted openly -- he doesn't feel he owes aid to governors who aren't nice to him. Trump's every instinct is, obviously, geared to make this crisis (as with so many others) worse, and while pretending everything's okay may get him his beloved rallies, it isn't going to convince loyal Americans to risk their own lives by joining the pretense.
posted by Gelatin at 1:33 PM on May 5, 2020 [3 favorites]


Trump rails at 'loser types' as dissident Republican ad gets under his skin

Violating Reagan's 11th Commandment? ( "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican" )?

Its A Bold Strategy Cotton, Lets See If It Pays Off For Them....
posted by mikelieman at 2:24 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]


It's not like it's a new strategy, he's been kicking Republicans (and veterans, and the elderly, and, and, and) since before he got the nomination. I mean, Jesus, remember when he dissed that gold star family early on? The only people he hasn't bullied/put down is his crime family members and Putin.
posted by Mitheral at 3:13 PM on May 5, 2020 [10 favorites]


Whistleblower: US failed to prepare, sought quick virus fix (AP)
The Trump administration failed to prepare for the onslaught of the coronavirus, then sought a quick fix by trying to rush an unproven drug to patients, a senior government scientist alleged in a whistleblower complaint Tuesday. Dr. Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, alleges he was reassigned to a lesser role because he resisted political pressure to allow widespread use of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug pushed by President Donald Trump. [...] “I witnessed government leadership rushing blindly into a potentially dangerous situation by bringing in a non-FDA approved chloroquine from Pakistan and India, from facilities that had never been approved by the FDA,” Bright said Tuesday on a call with reporters. “Their eagerness to push blindly forward without sufficient data to put this drug into the hands of Americans was alarming to me and my fellow scientists.”

Bright filed the complaint with the Office of Special Counsel, a government agency that investigates retaliation against federal employees who uncover problems. [...] Bright’s allegation that he was removed over his resistance to widespread use of the malaria drug was already public, but his whistleblower complaint added details from emails and internal communications while bringing to light his attempts to acquire N95 respirator masks early on, which he said were ignored by superiors. [...] “Time after time I was pressured to ignore or dismiss expert scientific recommendations and instead to award lucrative contracts based on political connections,” Bright said in the call with reporters. “In other words, I was pressured to let politics and cronyism drive decisions over the opinions of the best scientists we have in government.”
posted by katra at 3:22 PM on May 5, 2020 [15 favorites]


Pence confirms they're looking to wind it down, citing "the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country".

"I stepped down as WH Ebola Response Coordinator when we were down to FIVE CASES A WEEK.

Yes, FIVE CASES A WEEK." — @RonaldKlain
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:33 PM on May 5, 2020 [6 favorites]


According to the Worldometers charts, today is the first day in months that New York didn't have the most "new deaths" having been surpassed by New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
posted by Windopaene at 4:39 PM on May 5, 2020


I notice DeSantis in Florida has 37,000 and change, where as Louisiana has 30,000. Remember when DeSantis wanted to have peeps from New Orleans stopped on the highway? Now he wants to open the movie theaters.

Republican Logic.
posted by valkane at 4:51 PM on May 5, 2020 [6 favorites]


Trump does not wear coronavirus mask at Honeywell factory that makes masks

He'll wear the safety goggles, but not the mask because... Ego? Optics? Stupidity.
posted by valkane at 5:04 PM on May 5, 2020 [4 favorites]



He'll wear the safety goggles, but not the mask because...


It will smudge the bronzer?
posted by speug at 5:11 PM on May 5, 2020 [5 favorites]


Theory, which we can try on for size and see how it fits reality: red-state Republicans suddenly don't care about the virus and have decided to "open up America", because they are seeing that the virus disproportionately kills those in urban areas and, especially, minorities. Who they, I think this goes almost without saying, don't give a shit about, and after a few glasses of scotch in the right company would probably straight-up admit they'd prefer dead anyway. (I mean, these are the same kind of people who said AIDS was the "great White hope" not that many years ago. We've seen this before.) To them, this isn't a catastrophe to be avoided, it's an opportunity, to kill off the wrong kind of voters, therefore to be embraced. They're a death cult: their cult, others' deaths.

Too dark, too cynical? Maybe. But we'll see if the shoe fits.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:12 PM on May 5, 2020 [10 favorites]


Except for all the Red states that are leaping up the charts in terms of new cases...

Been spending far too much time looking at the Worldometers numbers. Iowa and Nebraska and Indiana have jumped way higher than one would expect today, at least in terms of cases per 1M population.
posted by Windopaene at 5:18 PM on May 5, 2020 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately for Trump the virus seems impervious to racism, so he's out of ideas.
posted by adept256 at 5:41 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]


looks like it is doing pretty well surfing the topography of institutional racism tho.
posted by 20 year lurk at 5:59 PM on May 5, 2020 [7 favorites]


If we had a Democratic President, they would be calling covid a plague against the unpure liberal unbelievers. It would be God's will in their minds, but because Trump is the chosen one, they can't fly that flag.
posted by valkane at 6:03 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]


Dallas salon owner gets 7 days in jail for reopening in defiance of countywide restrictions (FOX5NY)
A Dallas County judge offered Shelley Luther, the owner of Salon a la Mode, a deal: apologize for being selfish for having her salon open while everyone else’s were closed, pay a fine, shut down until Friday and she could avoid jail time. “Your actions were selfish, putting your own interests ahead of the community in which you live,” said District Judge Eric Moye. “You disrespected the orders of the state, the county and this city.” But Luther was not compelled by the offer.

[...] The judge found Luther and her company, Hot Mess Enterprises, guilty of civil and criminal contempt of court. She was taken into custody and sentenced to seven days in jail, one for each day her salon was open after the court ordered her to close. [...] Luther’s attorney, Warren Norred, said they will appeal and mocked the judge. “If you’re not willing to die for your fellow countrymen then it’s you that is selfish,” Norred said. “As opposed to, maybe the vulnerable can just stay inside and order pizza, or we can bring them things.”
Trump cheers on governors even as they ignore White House coronavirus guidelines in race to reopen (WaPo, May 4, 2020 / MSN reprint)
White House recommendations released last month encouraged states to wait to see a decline in cases over a two-week period, as well as having robust testing in place for front-line workers before entering “Phase One” of a gradual comeback. But Trump and some of his aides have backed away from their own guidelines, opting instead to hail the broad economic reopening that health experts say has started too quickly.
posted by katra at 7:54 PM on May 5, 2020 [5 favorites]


"Too dark, too cynical? Maybe. But we'll see if the shoe fits."

No, I think it's accurate to some extent, but for most it's a more nebulous "it's not us" belief.

I've been very depressed for several days because of an overwhelming sense of dread that things are going to get much worse even as everyone seems to believe the worst has passed.

I don't think Trump's strategy will work because it's essentially granting the virus free-reign in all the places it heretofore hasn't badly impacted. Much of the Midwest is still on the initial upslope, and it's now showing up widely in rural areas.

Throughout I've been checking the JSU CSSE site for stats on various US counties—both those I think are notable and those of personal interest. One of the latter is the small, very conservative town of 14,000 I grew up in and through March and the first week of April it had zero cases. Then for a couple weeks it had one. In the last week or so, it's jumped to nine.

We're already seeing the beginnings of second waves in the places that first relaxed — hell, there are signs of second waves in parts of western Europe. There is now abundant evidence that the prevalence is much higher than we've thought, indicating that even many of the localities with no reported cases probably have some. No one is "safe" from this and there's approximately zero chance there will be a vaccine broadly available before the middle of next year.

So there's a thousand reasons to believe that in the US by November there will be, or have been, several times the number of cases and deaths as we've seen so far. If so, there is no way in hell that Trump could pretend it isn't happening. Regardless, we can be sure he'll point the finger at everone but himself.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:57 PM on May 5, 2020 [7 favorites]


As states reopen, here’s how you protect yourself from the coming surge (Leana S. Wen, WaPo Opinion)
Leana S. Wen is an emergency physician and visiting professor at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Previously, she served as Baltimore’s health commissioner.
I am deeply worried that the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic will bring much more suffering and many more preventable deaths. What should concerned policymakers and residents do? Two things: First, prepare for a massive surge. [...] But, of course, that might not be apparent for weeks or even months. That’s because of the lag between new exposures to the virus and the subsequent increase in infections, hospitalizations and deaths. [...] The danger here is that policymakers and the public will jump to the wrong conclusions if they don’t immediately see the numbers increasing. [...] The difference is that this time there will likely be numerous outbreaks at once. That will strain the nation’s capacity to respond. Also worrisome is that many of these outbreaks will occur in rural communities that already struggle with lack of hospitals and health-care workers. [...] Now is also the time to fully implement pandemic response plans to shore up health-care capacity across the country.

[...] Second, stay safe for yourself and for those around you. Just because you now can go out in public doesn’t mean you should. This is not the time to plan family gatherings, dinner parties and play dates. [...] Residents in reopening states should follow the same public health guidance as when they were under shelter-in-place orders: Stay six feet away from people. Wash your hands frequently. Wipe down surfaces that others are touching. If you must return to work, be an advocate for your health: Ask your employer what practices are being put into place to protect workers and customers. Inquire about telecommuting, staggered shifts and other possibilities. [...] And try to reduce the risk for others, as well. Wear a mask when in public. Drive, walk or bike if you can, and reserve public transportation for those who have no other choice. Keep a daily diary of where you’ve been and with whom you spent time — that way, if you’re found to have covid-19, it will be easy to trace your contacts. Most important, stay home if you can. Social distancing is a privilege that many do not have.
posted by katra at 9:17 PM on May 5, 2020 [12 favorites]


Four Republican lawmakers sue Inslee over coronavirus stay-home order, contending ‘the emergency has been contained’ (Seattle Times, via WaPo live blog)
A 28-page complaint, filed by the lawmakers and others in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, contends “the emergency has been contained” and that continuing restrictions for workers, businesses and residents are not legally justified. [...] Inslee called the lawsuit’s claims “biologically ignorant and humanly heartless” when asked about it at a news briefing Tuesday afternoon. “It’s just ignorant, because this is a very transmittable disease,” Inslee said. “It continues to transmit disease, we had hundreds of new cases just yesterday, it’s just a biological fact.”
State Emergency Authorities to Address COVID-19 (Benjamin Della Rocca, Samantha Fry, Masha Simonova, Jacques Singer-Emery, Lawfare, May 4, 2020)
The coronavirus has spread to all 50 states, the District of Columbia and multiple territories, with case totals still increasing rapidly in the United States. Governors across each of the states and territories have been responsible for much of the response, enacting restrictions on nonessential businesses and enforcing stay-at-home orders. On Lawfare, several of us previously reviewed the U.S. state and territory laws authorizing quarantine and isolation. Here, we review the other emergency authorities that state and territory executive authorities possess to address the pandemic. We have prioritized states with the most cases and will continue updating by alphabetical order.
posted by katra at 9:43 PM on May 5, 2020 [3 favorites]


Trump's base is not enough

Trump's base seems to be enough that the rest of the Republican Party will convince themselves they need to rally around his narrative. This remains a close presidential race, now, while Trump visibly fiddles while Rome burns. Later, people will be highly motivated to post rationalize the decisions our country made.
posted by xammerboy at 10:02 PM on May 5, 2020 [2 favorites]


Guess which criminal asshole is involved in this case in Washington? Oh look, Tim Eyman again. What a surprise. YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO WIN AN ELECTION YOU FUCK! But, you might be able to keep the grift going, right. What contemptible humans...
posted by Windopaene at 10:02 PM on May 5, 2020 [5 favorites]


Guess which criminal asshole is involved in this case in Washington? Oh look, Tim Eyman again. What a surprise. YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO WIN AN ELECTION YOU FUCK! But, you might be able to keep the grift going, right. What contemptible humans...

Technically, Eyman filed a separate lawsuit:
Last week, Tim Eyman, the initiative promoter also running for governor, and others filed a lawsuit broadly challenging Inslee’s order as “tyranny.” The lead plaintiff in that lawsuit, Franklin County Commissioner Clint Didier, said at a news conference last week, “We can take care of this virus by letting the people catch it.”
Tim Eyman and small-business owners sue Gov. Jay Inslee over coronavirus stay-home order, calling it ‘tyranny’ (Seattle Times, May 1, 2020)
Stephen Pidgeon, the attorney for the plaintiffs, said the law does not allow Inslee to quarantine people who aren’t sick, nor to determine which jobs are “essential” and “nonessential,” calling that the “greatest grievance” outlined in the case. The 16-page complaint he filed asks for damages of at least $100,000 and for court orders invalidating Inslee’s restrictions and prohibiting similar ones. Pidgeon, a former candidate for state attorney general, has worked on a variety of conservative legal causes, including challenges to same-sex marriage and to Sound Transit’s car tab fees. He also has spread false “birther” claims about former President Barack Obama, who he claimed planned to install an “Islamic Caliphate” in the U.S. if reelected in 2012. In a recent blog post, Pidgeon suggested the coronavirus pandemic was part of God’s wrath against sin, and tied it to “wickedness” of laws in Washington, such as a sex-education bill passed this year by the state Legislature. [...]

Tina Podlodowski, chair of the Washington State Democratic Party, criticized comments by Didier and other Republican leaders in recent days as “dangerous” and against the advice of health experts. “The ‘protests’ today and this lawsuit are nothing more than partisan publicity stunts that needlessly threaten the progress we have all made together. If there are any responsible Republican legislative leaders left in Olympia, they must speak out against these alarming comments from members of their party,” she said in a statement.
posted by katra at 10:50 PM on May 5, 2020 [2 favorites]


wisconsin supreme court heard oral arguments (youtube; begins circa 4:47) tuesday (slate) in wisconsin legislature vs. palm, (tpm), in which legislators of a certain party seek to enjoin the state department of health service's stay-at-home order.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:04 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]


Masks and Emasculation: Why Some Men Refuse to Take Safety Precautions — They think it makes them look weak, and avoiding that is evidently more important to them than demonstrating responsible behavior., Scientific American, Peter Glick, 4/30/2020:
Why the reluctance to model safe behavior? My research with Jennifer Berdahl and others suggest one critical reason, which is that appearing to play it safe contradicts a core principle of masculinity: show no weakness. In short, wearing a mask emasculates.

The refusal to wear a mask undermines the message that the rest of us should take safety precautions. But that’s the least of the problem. Leaders who are more concerned with preserving a macho public image put our lives at risk as they prove their manhood by showing resistance to experts’ opinions, hypersensitivity to criticism and constant feuding with anyone who seems to disagree with them.

In our research, the show-no-weakness principle manifests by acting like you always know the answer. Admitting uncertainty or that you rely on anyone else’s opinion seems “weak.” Trump’s resistance to experts’ advice stems from a constant need to demonstrate that “I alone can fix it.”...
There’s a world of difference between “I alone can fix it.” and “We together can fix it.” The former attitude comes from insecurity and distrust, the latter from confidence and cooperation, two qualities the Poor Donald sadly lacks.
posted by cenoxo at 2:31 AM on May 6, 2020 [16 favorites]


Jay Rosen: The plan is to have no plan
The plan is to have no plan, to let daily deaths between one and three thousand become a normal thing, and then to create massive confusion about who is responsible— by telling the governors they’re in charge without doing what only the federal government can do, by fighting with the press when it shows up to be briefed, by fixing blame for the virus on China or some other foreign element, and by “flooding the zone with shit,” Steve Bannon’s phrase for overwhelming the system with disinformation, distraction, and denial, which boosts what economists call “search costs” for reliable intelligence.

Stated another way, the plan is to default on public problem solving, and then prevent the public from understanding the consequences of that default. To succeed this will require one of the biggest propaganda and freedom of information fights in U.S. history, the execution of which will, I think, consume the president’s re-election campaign. So much has already been made public that the standard script for a White House cover up (worse than the crime…) won’t apply. Instead, everything will ride on the manufacture of confusion. The press won’t be able to “expose” the plot because it will all happen in stark daylight. The facts will be known, and simultaneously they will be inconceivable.
So yes, it's just like I said. Unforgivable.
posted by Gelatin at 4:16 AM on May 6, 2020 [25 favorites]


Trump's base seems to be enough that the rest of the Republican Party will convince themselves they need to rally around his narrative.

That's fine for them when other people -- people Republicans don't care about -- are getting hurt. "Owning the libs" is the closest thing the Republicans have to a core policy belief. But this time "rallying around his narrative" means putting their own lives and health, and those of their families, on the line. Not all Republican voters will be willing to go that far.

Conservatism is all about privatizing profit and socializing risk, and catching a plague is a difficult risk to socialize. Some Republicans will pretend it's all over because Republicans like to believe in comforting magical thinking, yes. But others will know the disease rages unchecked and know -- because he's the one asking them to believe it -- that Trump is responsible.
posted by Gelatin at 4:47 AM on May 6, 2020 [3 favorites]


Texas Governor Admits Dangers of Reopening State on Private Call With Lawmakers • Daily Beast; Olivia Messer; 05/05/2020 • '“Pretty much every scientific and medical report shows that whenever you have a reopening... it actually will lead to an increase and spread,” Gov. Greg Abbott said.'
The audio was recorded by somebody on the call, and a clip of it was sent to The Daily Beast on Tuesday. It was first reported by state political site Quorum Report, which noted that Abbott’s public statements so far have largely only mentioned that Texas may see an increase in the numbers due to increased testing capacity, rather than increased contact. Though Abbott has repeatedly said in public interviews that reopening “can” or “could” cause a spike in cases, the audio recording from last Friday’s call appeared to show a more direct and certain understanding of the risks.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:19 AM on May 6, 2020 [10 favorites]


In short, wearing a mask emasculates.

even if it's got that punisher skull on it?
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:20 AM on May 6, 2020 [3 favorites]


In short, wearing a mask emasculates.

even if it's got that punisher skull on it?


Yeah, I think the cart and horse are in different places here -- possibly even perpendicular paths. Wearing a mask is only emasculating if everyone else is wearing a mask. If it's presented as "badasses wear masks because they stand alone against the forces of evil", then it's not emasculating.

Or, as with everything these days, "wearing a mask is emasculating" is an excuse, not a reason.
posted by Etrigan at 7:27 AM on May 6, 2020 [12 favorites]


If that man would wear a mask just once, just one fucking time, just to give permission, it would undoubtedly slow the spread. But, his ego.
posted by adept256 at 7:42 AM on May 6, 2020 [8 favorites]


Trump: COVID-19 task force not dismantling, just refocusing. AP News; Zeke Miller, Jill Colvin And Darlene Superville; 5/6/2020
One day after saying that the COVID-19 task force would be winding down, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that it would continue indefinitely, but focus more on rebooting the economy. [...]

A White House official acknowledged Wednesday morning that signaling that the task force was preparing to shut down sent the wrong message and created a media maelstrom. The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal thinking, said the membership in the task force group would change as the nature of the crisis evolves.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:47 AM on May 6, 2020 [2 favorites]


the membership in the task force group would change as the nature of the crisis evolves.

My guess is this timing has to do with the whistleblower. The grift has gotten too hot and no one wants to be left holding the bag. I wonder how much 29 million doses of chloroquine costs? Even without corruption, which I don't doubt there is, no one wants to stay around for the fallout when accountability comes around.

As for membership in the tasking force changing, it's hard to imagine people queuing up to be thrown under a bus, yet they continue to do it! Working for Trump is a voluntary curse. I don't know what they think they'll get out of it, but jail time is not off the table.
posted by adept256 at 8:03 AM on May 6, 2020 [1 favorite]


Arizona Workers Blast ‘Live and Let Die’ While Maskless Trump Tours Factory

In a clip from Reuters, at one point on the tour, workers blasted Guns N’ Roses’ cover of the James Bond theme song from Wings, “Live and Let Die.”

That's the worker's right to protest I guess. Good for them. Then I read in an msn article:

The Rolling Stones song "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was also played at the end of Trump's speech - a song that is a fixture at the end of his rallies.

How tone deaf is this guy? I guess you couldn't get these masks when you wanted them. Here I am in a factory making them and I'm not even wearing one. I'm gonna sign off with a song called You Can't Always Get What You Want, fuck you byeeeeeee.
posted by adept256 at 9:07 AM on May 6, 2020 [1 favorite]


And it wasn't just somebody's phone, this was apparently played through the plant's sound system. Hard to believe whoever was responsible isn't going to see repercussions. I saw the end of the tour and his exit music, and figured that was is tone-deaf campaign, but now I'm wondering who actually played that.
posted by achrise at 9:19 AM on May 6, 2020


And then call stories of the continued pandemic "fake news," and see if their base buys it?

They already have.
posted by Preserver at 9:40 AM on May 6, 2020 [3 favorites]


Guardian: Pelosi to Trump: 'Death is not an economic motivator'
Speaker Nancy Pelosi harshly criticized Trump in an MSNBC interview as the president seeks to pivot to focusing on reopening the US economy. The Democratic speaker warned that Trump was jeopardizing Amercans’ health and that his strategy would do nothing to ease the country’s economic distress. “Death is not an economic motivator, stimulus, so why are we going down that path?” Pelosi told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell. The speaker emphasized that Trump should follow the scientific guidance of experts to determine when the country should start reopening, rather than “cheering people on, going with guns and swastikas to the Michigan legislature and saying these are really good people.”
‘Stop throwing us bare bones’: US union activism surges amid coronavirus (Guardian)
In recent weeks, there has been an extraordinary surge of anger and activism nationwide as workers have protested what they consider inadequate safety protections against Covid-19: at meatpacking plants, McDonald’s restaurants, Amazon warehouses, bus depots and grocery stores. Labor leaders applaud the walkouts and sickouts, and many of them are asking whether this spike in activism can be converted long-term into increased organizing and unionization and somehow reverse labor’s decades-long slide. The answer depends in part on how vigorously unions and other worker groups respond, but also on how successfully America’s many anti-union corporations respond in quelling this new militancy and any push for unionization.

[...] Tom Smith, national organizing director for the communications workers union, said coronavirus-related activism was setting the stage for longer-term organizing. “It’s changing people’s calculus,” he said. “Workers often sense they’re taking a risk when they’re acting collectively. But Covid-19 has turned some of that calculus on its ear. Yeah, maybe the boss will hold it against me. Maybe this will put my job in jeopardy. But I’m not going to put my life or my newborn’s life or my immuno-compromised parent’s life in danger.”
posted by katra at 10:50 AM on May 6, 2020 [10 favorites]


Donald Trump is bored: He wants to move on from this pandemic — just as it hits swing statesSalon; Amanda Marcotte; 05/06/2020 • "There's no grand political strategy here — Trump's tired of this virus and wants to get back to trolling his foes"
It's tempting to imagine that Trump is motivated by some clever political strategy — or by any strategy at all — in making this move now. But it's probably just that he's getting bored with this whole coronavirus crisis and, now that things are getting really hard, he's ready to abandon it and move on. That's exactly what he did during his entire career in the real estate business — and in his marriages — abandoning one failed venture after another the second things turned rocky. Now he's doing it to the entire country. [...]

It's clear the only value Trump has ever seen in the coronavirus task force was about using it as a pretext to hijack the daily briefings for a spectacle of self-aggrandizement. In psychological terms, the briefings, formerly a source of gratifying narcissistic supply for Trump, are now associated in his mind with narcissistic injury. Trump doesn't value American lives, only his own ego. Now that the task force no longer serves his ego, he's lost interest.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:01 AM on May 6, 2020 [11 favorites]


Armed citizens escort lawmaker into Michigan State Capitol
State Rep. Sarah Anthony pushes for tighter security in Lansing


Tweet: "At least three African Americans carrying large rifles" escorted MI State Rep. Sarah Anthony into the State Capitol, a week after armed white men swarmed the building:

See how these people are dressed? That’s real militia style. Scope the black Air Max 97’s the man in the front is wearing. This is how you do it.
posted by gucci mane at 2:26 PM on May 6, 2020 [7 favorites]


I honestly can't tell if you are joking or not. You're saying his Nike shoes show he's the real deal? How about not having knee, elbow, nor eye protection? No helmet, no gloves? Jeans?
posted by achrise at 3:02 PM on May 6, 2020


Pretty sure that's gucci mane's point - actual militias, folks engaged in actual combat (note: whether you agree with their methods and goals or not) who are not officially members of any branch of military service tend to show up in "whatever clothes they own plus guns."

They don't have a bunch of expensive military "accessories" like ammo vests and helmets and camouflage backpack hydration systems and "tactical pants" and fancy "mil-spec" gloves and "special forces" boots and all the others stuff worn by, say, the out-of-shape middle-aged white guys having a temper tantrum at the Michigan Statehouse.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:04 PM on May 6, 2020 [18 favorites]


Trump says coronavirus 'worse attack' than Pearl Harbor

And if there is an attack, there must be an enemy. Fortunately Trump backed down when he was asked if he actually meant to declare war on China.
Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office of the White House, Mr Trump said: "We went through the worst attack we've ever had on our country, this is worst attack we've ever had.

"This is worse than Pearl Harbor, this is worse than the World Trade Center. There's never been an attack like this.

"And it should have never happened. Could've been stopped at the source. Could've been stopped in China. It should've been stopped right at the source. And it wasn't."

Asked later by a reporter if he viewed the pandemic as an actual act of war, Mr Trump suggested it was the pandemic that is America's enemy, rather than China.

"I view the invisible enemy [coronavirus] as a war," he said. "I don't like how it got here, because it could have been stopped, but no, I view the invisible enemy like a war."

posted by Joe in Australia at 4:07 PM on May 6, 2020


But, the source looks like it might have been France? What a pile of garbage. Maybe you should have paid attention instead of saying it was no worse than the flu, and ignoring it for 6 weeks? Asshole.
posted by Windopaene at 4:34 PM on May 6, 2020 [3 favorites]


@achrise: I'm being tongue-in-cheek, but was also furthering a point I made in a comment of mine above, which was in reply to a tweet thread about the people who showed up to the city hall dressed in combat gear.

Those Nike shoes are comfortable. If you're gonna be standing around on your feet all day and you don't expect to be running around rough terrain those would be ideal. You don't need knee, elbow, nor eye protection. No helmets. The second man has shooting gloves on. All of that stuff is going to slow you down, and considering these guys are going to be operating in a close-quarters building where they are going to be needing to clear rooms versus hitting the ground, these outfits are comfortable and useful for that type of area. People with actual combat experience can correct me if I am wrong, however.

On top of all that, and this may seem ridiculous, but depending on where they're going to be in the building, they're going to potentially be blending in more with their surroundings versus if they were kitted out to the extreme. To us, that seems ridiculous, because we're seeing them in this context where they are the focal point. But a lot of people in a building going about their lives are not as observant.

The fact of the matter is, and this is what my post above was discussing, is that militias wear whatever they want, whatever they have on hand. My thesis is that American militias don't necessarily dress for combat, they dress and aestheticize as a way to signify group-status and to portray a particular image, not to be combat effective.

Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces. They're traditionally fighting outdoors, so the use of camo is the main difference here, but most of these people aren't going to be wearing the type of gear you mentioned.

Kurdish grandmother and another woman wearing what looks like typical athleisure wear. This is from the Turkish invasion of NE Syria in Oct. 2019.

Libya. T-shirts, jeans, sandals.

Libya. More camo this time, but still wearing just pants, shirts, jackets, some wearing sandals.

Members of the EZLN in Mexico. More uniform, but still just basic clothing: shirts and pants.

Militias can uniform themselves when they are more organized, but when you see people in combat zones that don't have that sort of organization they really just grab what they can and go. American militias like to present an image that isn't so much "we're ready for combat" but rather "we have money to spend to look this part".

And also I just think these guys look cooler.
posted by gucci mane at 4:35 PM on May 6, 2020 [24 favorites]


Maybe I’ll write a medium.com article about this topic so that I don’t keep derailing, although I have no idea how to put these ideas together 🙄
posted by gucci mane at 5:10 PM on May 6, 2020 [5 favorites]


Trump’s New Message: Time to Move On to the Recovery (Peter Baker, NYT)
Confronted with America’s worst public health crisis in generations, President Trump declared himself a wartime president. Now he has begun doing what past commanders have done when a war goes badly: Declare victory and go home.
A New Source of Coronavirus Spread: ‘Covid-19 Parties’ (NYT / AP)
The discovery astounded local leaders who had been working in recent weeks to contain a large outbreak at a meat processing facility in the area.
Trump's push to reopen US risks ‘death sentence’ for many, experts warn (Guardian)
The US president has praised governors of states that have started to loosen restrictions on social distancing and business activity, even though he has admitted that people will suffer as a result. “Will some people be affected badly? Yes,” Trump said on Tuesday. “But we have to get our country open, and we have to get it open soon.” Public health experts have pointed out that Covid-19 infections and deaths are mounting dangerously in much of the US. [...] “Typically pandemics occur in waves across different places, so people shouldn’t think we are getting out of the woods just yet,” said Irwin Redlener, a physician and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness.

“A lot of places haven’t got the brunt of this yet. The worst is to come, it’s inevitable. The public health restrictions make a difference and when you lift them you will see consequences. A premature opening will be a death sentence for people.”
posted by katra at 7:16 PM on May 6, 2020 [3 favorites]


Laurie Garret, author of "The Coming Plague" explains that if we do not administer a silver bullet vaccine that requires no booster to every person on the planet this year, the virus will likely become a part of life ongoing, like the flu, except with the power to kill millions. I assume this is because the virus will mutate into different strains.
posted by xammerboy at 7:53 PM on May 6, 2020 [7 favorites]


“Will some people be affected badly? Yes,” Trump said on Tuesday.

Trump touted reopening. Privately, his team sounded alarms. (Politico)
POLITICO obtained audio recordings of three conference-call meetings held between April 24 and May 1, led by HHS and FEMA officials and designed to keep a wide range of federal agencies apprised of the government’s coronavirus response. [...] In the calls, officials in Washington and their regional counterparts were blunt about their struggle to keep pace with a flood of requests from governors for more medical equipment, even as the president touted the administration’s actions to secure sufficient gear from foreign and domestic producers.

[...] “The numbers of deaths definitely will be high,” Daniel Jernigan, director of the Center for Disease Control’s influenza division, said at the start of a May 1 conference call. [...] Minutes later, another official underscored the risk facing the U.S.: If all the states moved to lift their social distancing restrictions, hospitals nationwide could see a surge of new coronavirus cases, creating the potential for severe ventilator shortages within weeks. [...] Nearly all of FEMA’s regional teams reported continued increases in both cases and deaths as governors moved to terminate stay-at-home orders, flagging on the calls new hot spots in prisons, meat processing plants, and other high-risk facilities. At least two states at the time — South Carolina and Georgia — were among those planning to reopen despite logging zero consecutive days of decreasing cases, according to one slide distributed to the group and obtained by POLITICO, much less meeting any of the other basic reopening recommendations or “gates” laid out by the CDC.

In Georgia, according to another slide the group saw, new Covid-19 cases were up 65 percent and deaths were up nearly 103 percent over a two-week period.
'It's gone haywire': When COVID-19 arrived in rural America (AP, May 5, 2020)
Rural people, African Americans and the poor are more likely to work in jobs not conducive to social distancing, like the food processing plant in nearby Mitchell County where four employees died of COVID-19. They have less access to health care and so more often delay treatment for chronic conditions; in southwest Georgia, the diabetes rate of 16 percent is twice as high as in Atlanta. Transportation alone can be a challenge, so that by the time they make it to the hospital, they’re harder to save.

[...] Some here had thought that their isolation might spare them, but instead it made the pandemic particularly cruel. In Terrell County, population 8,500, everyone knows everyone and every death is personal. [...] “They are vulnerable people living in vulnerable places, people who are marginalized on a variety of measures, whether we’re talking about race, whether we’re talking about education or employment, in places that have fewer resources,” said Shivani Patel, an epidemiologist at Emory. Then COVID-19 arrived: “It’s like our worst nightmare coming true.”
posted by katra at 8:35 PM on May 6, 2020 [12 favorites]


I’m getting very scared now that something I’ve mentioned on here twice in the past couple of years could potentially come to fruition.

Axios: Trump and some top aides question accuracy of virus death toll
President Trump has complained to advisers about the way coronavirus deaths are being calculated, suggesting the real numbers are actually lower — and a number of his senior aides share this view, according to sources with direct knowledge.

What's next: A senior administration official said he expects the president to begin publicly questioning the death toll as it closes in on his predictions for the final death count and damages him politically.
At what point in time do we start seeing fake documents created and the official death toll being manipulated? Will we ever actually know how many people died when all this is over?

Here is a comment of mine from Sept. 2018. The crux of it is philosophical and “postmodern” (due to the topic of that thread) but it relates to this directly.
As our reality begins to dissolve, other ones begin cropping up. Conservatives literally live in their own reality, and believe in an entirely different set of facts about the world than anybody else, which is then backed up by “officials”, like Trump. What I mean by this is that, separate from the fact that each person experiences their own “lived experience”, which is why you have things like identity politics in the first place, there is still an objective reality. The most current example is Puerto Rico, where some 3000 people died. That’s real, that is our objective reality, but conservatives are living in a reality where that didn’t happen, and they’re able to point to Trump’s numbers as evidence for their reality, as he is the memetic engineer of that reality. He creates the false reality and the others jump into it.
This is what I was afraid of back then: the possibility of an event in which the factual numbers can be faked by the administration, who are in a position of power to do so, thus creating an entirely fake reality surrounding this event and what we are collectively experiencing. There are people rallying at city halls yelling about the death toll being fake. We’re on our way to 100,00 people dying from this, and when it’s all over, are we actually going to have hard data on how many people died? Or are we going to have Trump’s fake data?
posted by gucci mane at 10:08 PM on May 6, 2020 [9 favorites]


But case and death totals appear to be coming from states, not the federal government.
posted by Windopaene at 10:11 PM on May 6, 2020 [6 favorites]


The problem is that Trump doesn't need to convince many people that this is all a sham for those few people to become huge disease vectors. We'll have one reality believed in by all sane people, and one believed in by Trump's base, but that will be enough to force the country to reopen on Trump's terms. There's no point in sheltering if a small percentage of people are determined to create a forever outbreak to own liberals.
posted by xammerboy at 10:19 PM on May 6, 2020 [4 favorites]


How many Republican states will manipulate and falsify data in order to be in Trump’s good graces? To receive federal funding? To receive special favors?
posted by gucci mane at 10:21 PM on May 6, 2020 [1 favorite]


Not all states are run by Trumpists. Some even have Republican Govenors. Hogan in Maryland, for example.
posted by Windopaene at 10:38 PM on May 6, 2020 [3 favorites]


the point in sheltering when a small percentage of people are determined to create a forever outbreak will be the same as it is now for individuals and their loved-ones: to avoid infection, stay out of hospitals and stay alive as much as possible as long as possible in the hope that treatments/vaccines will be developed. for that collective of those who are not part of that small percentage, the point will remain to decrease/forestall massive consumption of limited health care resources.

marcy wheeler, yesterday, had a post presenting some data manipulation by georgia, arizona and the administration.

data will persist longer than president horrorshow's administration; if we're lucky, so will widespread commitment to empirical science as a source of relatively-reliable information.
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:40 PM on May 6, 2020 [11 favorites]


I should amend what I said. One goal of sheltering is to reduce infections to the point where it's relatively safe for large numbers of people to carefully engage in public life again for at least some time. We're not going to hit that safe point unless even this small number of people who believe the virus is a sham can be convinced to shelter. Eventually, we'll need to reopen businesses whether it's safe or not.
posted by xammerboy at 11:05 PM on May 6, 2020 [4 favorites]


We’re on our way to 100,00 people dying from this, and when it’s all over, are we actually going to have hard data on how many people died? Or are we going to have Trump’s fake data?

The actual numbers of dead people will be hard to fake. The numbers of 'covid-19' vs 'regular' deaths will be at a variance, and we have the numbers for years before covid-19. These are 'excess deaths'. That will have to have an accounting. I'm more worried about the spin-wizards setting up hospitals to fail and supply lines to crumble, and then the parties responsible to say 'Oh, that's not us, that's a failing of the states/governors/democrats/fake news/whatever - Anyway, there's plenty of blame to go around, that 'quarter-million dead' number isn't all due to us, let's all agree it was a terrible time for America, and move forward, not play the blame game"

Just thinking about it makes me mad, even though nothing would be more expected right now.
posted by pseudophile at 3:49 AM on May 7, 2020 [5 favorites]


data will persist longer than president horrorshow's administration; if we're lucky, so will widespread commitment to empirical science as a source of relatively-reliable information.

With any luck, much of that data will be entered into evidence at their trials.
posted by Gelatin at 5:18 AM on May 7, 2020 [12 favorites]


Eventually, we'll need to reopen businesses whether it's safe or not.

Do we, though? I suppose the word businesses is extremely vague so this claim is all but meaningless, but I am curious - what is your inclusion / exclusion criteria for which businesses will need to be reopened regardless of safety?
posted by lazaruslong at 7:54 AM on May 7, 2020 [3 favorites]


Breaking news: The Trump Administration has shelved a document created by the CDC, which contained step-by-step advice to local authorities on how and when to re-open restaurants and public places. It was supposed to be published last Friday, but a CDC official told the Associated Press that their scientists were told that the guidance "would never see the light of day".

Fortunately, the Associated Press also obtained a copy from another official and has released it, in convenient document form. I'm sure anyone can figure out how to make copies and distribute them to the local authorities and businesses where they live.

(Why, I just so happen to be sitting next to a printer right now, and my boss is out of the office....)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:58 AM on May 7, 2020 [20 favorites]


My point is that without economic assistance people will agitate to reopen businesses so they can work to buy food.
posted by xammerboy at 9:02 AM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


the president's valet has tested positive, cnn reports. this is me not wishing disease or worse on anybody.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:06 AM on May 7, 2020 [9 favorites]


real good discussion of current state of antibody tests in opening minutes of TWiV 610.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:10 AM on May 7, 2020


Or are we going to have Trump’s fake data?

Yah, I wonder the same thing about November. Like, if/when CNN and MSNBC call the election for Biden (turn around three times and spit? Did I do it right?), the fool is going to pull out some poster board and start writing in Sharpie that he won, and deny official numbers, and then where will we be? With 30,000,000 people believing the White House numbers and everyone else believing reality? I can't imagine what after that.
posted by Snowishberlin at 9:19 AM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


My wife and I own and run a small yarn shop in North Carolina, a state that is scheduled to begin reopening tomorrow. We will not be reopening for the foreseeable future (we did manage to convert to online sales, where we are making about a third of what we typically sell). Our proximity to Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee make safety of in-person sales pretty much untenable now. It's possible we could open later in the summer on a one-customer-at-a-time locked door everyone-wearing-face-coverings basis, but I'm not sure it would bring us enough extra business to be worthwhile. We may just give up our great downtown location because I can't imagine when welcoming tourists into town would ever start being a good idea again. We haven't pursued a PPP loan because we can't envision when we might reopen. We're drawing unemployment and being very careful with our spending. But we're a business that may never reopen. I'm not optimistic about the prospects of going out and looking for another job, but I'm even less optimistic about the return of the tourist economy anytime soon.
posted by rikschell at 9:53 AM on May 7, 2020 [18 favorites]


20 year lurk, I am not wishing disease on anybody either, but the news in that article about the President and Vice President being tested weekly did warm my heart a little - those looooong swabs going so deep in your head that they look like they're supposed to tickle your brain look SO unpleasant. They may be terrible people, but at least they're being made to put up with brain-tickle swabs at least every seven days, if not more.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 10:05 AM on May 7, 2020 [4 favorites]


The conversation shouldn't be whether to reopen, of course, but how to reopen. Here some things I would do:

Temperature and infection testing, isolating, and contact tracing, including electronic tracking and informing. Move as many businesses and services to outdoor spaces as possible. Transition to a delivery economy as public utility. Enforce social distancing and public chemical showers. Provide universal income, health insurance, food services, etc. Everything should be considered. Doorknob design should change.
posted by xammerboy at 10:10 AM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, given how often the President and people around him are tested, you'd expect a false positive from time to time even with a very accurate test. In fact with the way government employees must be quarantined in order to even be allowed anywhere near the President, it seems extremely likely this is a false positive.

On the other other hand this administration is more incompetent than you can imagine, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 10:12 AM on May 7, 2020 [3 favorites]


given how often the President and people around him are tested, you'd expect a false positive from time to time even with a very accurate test. In fact with the way government employees must be quarantined in order to even be allowed anywhere near the President, it seems extremely likely this is a false positive.

Do you actually trust that this President and the people around him actually are being tested, though?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:28 AM on May 7, 2020 [2 favorites]


AP Exclusive: US shelves detailed guide to reopening countryAP; Jason Dearen and Mike Stobbe; 05/07/2020
The Trump administration has shelved a document created by the nation’s top disease investigators with step-by-step advice to local authorities on how and when to reopen restaurants and other public places during the still-raging coronavirus outbreak.

The 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” was researched and written to help faith leaders, business owners, educators and state and local officials as they begin to reopen.

It was supposed to be published last Friday, but agency scientists were told the guidance “would never see the light of day,” according to a CDC official. The official was not authorized to talk to reporters and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

The AP obtained a copy from a second federal official who was not authorized to release it. The guidance was described in AP stories last week, prior to the White House decision to shelve it.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:29 AM on May 7, 2020 [8 favorites]


Do you actually trust that this President and the people around him actually are being tested, though?

I would suspect the President isn't taking the test, but making everyone else around him take it. Can't really tell.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:34 AM on May 7, 2020 [6 favorites]


Contact tracers told of coronavirus parties in southeast Washington. These are parties to help people get infected as quickly as possible, in the belief that it's better to get the virus sooner rather than later.
posted by xammerboy at 10:39 AM on May 7, 2020


The AP story I saw yesterday about the coronavirus parties quoted one prosecutor noting that attendees are subject to gross misdemeanor charges and that some cases have already been referred for prosecution. I don't know that will actually happen, but threats are being made at least.
posted by wierdo at 10:45 AM on May 7, 2020 [3 favorites]


The C.D.C. prepared detailed guidelines for reopening. The White House rejected them, asking for revisions. (NYT live blog)
The guidance, which the C.D.C. first submitted to the White House in draft form two weeks ago, was meant to help states, local governments and businesses adopt measures that would help keep the virus from spreading once they reopened. But several federal agencies, including the Department of Labor and the Office of Civil Rights within the Department of Health and Human Services, protested, saying it would be harmful to businesses and the economy and too prescriptive for houses of worship in particular, a federal official said.

More than half of states have begun to reopen their economies or plan to do so soon, but most fail to meet the criteria recommended by the Trump administration. In more than half of the states that are easing restrictions, case counts are trending upward, positive test results are on the rise, or both, raising concerns among public health experts.
Most States That Are Reopening Fail to Meet White House Guidelines (NYT)
The White House’s guidelines are nonbinding and ultimately leave states’ fates to governors. The criteria suggest that states should have a “downward trajectory” of either documented coronavirus cases or of the percentage of positive tests. Public health experts expressed criticism because “downward trajectory” was not defined and the metrics do not specify a threshold for case numbers or positive rates.

Still, most states that are reopening fail to adhere to even those recommendations: In more than half of states easing restrictions, case counts are trending upward, positive test results are rising, or both, raising concerns among public health experts. [...] “With so many places opening up before we see indicators of meaningful, sustained transmission declines, there is substantial risk of resurgence,” said Kimberly Powers, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
posted by katra at 10:50 AM on May 7, 2020 [8 favorites]


The southeast Washington COVID-party accusations have been retracted by the official who called them out yesterday.
posted by Windopaene at 11:01 AM on May 7, 2020 [6 favorites]


A Preview of Vaccine Distribution if Trump is Reelected
Fiction writers call this foreshadowing:
“In my opinion, and I think in the opinion of many of my colleagues, there is a complete lack of transparency about how this decision is being made and who is making it,” said Daniel Kaul, an infectious disease physician at the University of Michigan. [...] Even medical centers chosen to receive the drug were in the dark. “I legitimately do not have any insight into how hospitals were selected,” said Paul Biddinger, director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Disaster Medicine and one of the leaders of the hospital’s pandemic response.
Should we assume that this is like many other aspects of the Trump administration's pandemic response -- Jared Kushner is in charge and the decisions are being made by young Masters of the Universe from investment banks and consulting firms? Does someone on Kushner's team have an old college chum who's now at Mass General, while no one with any connections to the princeling's princelings works at North Shore Medical Center?

So I'll repeat what I've said before: If you think you'll be able to get a dose of the eventual COVID-19 vaccine shortly after it's made available, remember that distribution of the vaccine will be exactly like this if it arrives in the next presidential term and Trump has been reelected. There'll be no transparency about the distribution. There'll be no discernible logic. It's possible that the vaccine will be distributed in a way that's riddled with corruption and profiteering, but it's also possible that arrogant, unqualified people will just make decisions based on connections and personal whims.

posted by tonycpsu at 11:03 AM on May 7, 2020 [20 favorites]


This was in today's NYT Coronavirus live blog:
Trump invites a group of World War II veterans — all older than 95 — to the White House.

Mr. Trump has invited eight World War II veterans — each older than 95 and part of the age group most at risk if they contract Covid-19 — to take part in a photo-op Friday morning at the White House and an event at the war memorial to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Victory Day, Michael D. Shear reports.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:56 PM on May 7, 2020 [6 favorites]


Ugh. Pelosi Dials Up a K Street Bailout
But the problem isn’t about compromise, it’s about invisibility. Nancy Pelosi has run the House of Representatives by fiat for close to two months, and there hasn’t been a single word of protest as she locks every other member of the Democratic caucus out of policymaking and hands them take-it-or-leave-it legislation to rubber stamp. If Jayapal has ever objected to that you sure wouldn’t know.

As Ezra points out, instead of organizing around one thing, progressives supply 100-item wish lists that everyone knows won’t be fulfilled. This has two consequences: the wish lists show progressives are not completely serious about governing, and the leadership can always pick like 2 of the 100 out of the list and give members something to justify voting for a bad bill. [...]

Meanwhile, Pelosi has been talking about what she’ll add to the next bill, and it’s relatively unconstrained by wish lists. One of the elements is changing the eligibility standards for PPP small business loans to include 501(c)(4) and (c)(6) nonprofit organizations. You might know (c)(6) organizations by another name: lobbyists. Unbelievably, K Street has asked for a bailout and is on the road to getting it. I mean lobbyists are good at lobbying, I guess.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:37 PM on May 7, 2020 [6 favorites]


'Not nearly enough' coronavirus testing to safely reopen, Senate health chair says (Politico)
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) called the more than 7 million diagnostic tests run to date “impressive, but not nearly enough” adding “there is no safe path forward to combat the novel coronavirus without adequate testing.” [...] The Harvard Global Health Institute released new data Thursday that suggest more than 900,000 coronavirus tests need to be completed daily to consider safely relax distancing measures, as a growing number of states are doing.

That number is significantly higher than the approximately 250,000 tests per day the country is currently running, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project. Premier Inc., a group purchasing organization, released a survey Thursday that found health systems will need to at least triple the current testing capacity to restore nonemergency services even partially. Premier’s survey found two factors that are major obstacles to increasing coronavirus testing: not enough chemical reagents needed to perform tests and shortages of swabs to take patient samples.
posted by katra at 1:41 PM on May 7, 2020 [7 favorites]


Top Republican fundraiser and Trump ally named postmaster general, giving president new influence over Postal Service (WaPo, May 6, 2020) The Postal Service’s board of governors confirmed late Wednesday that Louis DeJoy, a North Carolina businessman who is currently in charge of fundraising for the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, will serve as the new postmaster general.

DeJoy will be the first postmaster general in two decades who did not rise through the agency’s ranks. [...] DeJoy, a North Carolina native, has played a prominent role in Republican politics, particularly since Trump won the presidency in 2016. He has given more than $2 million to the Trump campaign or Republican causes since 2016, according to the Federal Election Commission, including a $210,600 contribution to the Trump Victory Fund on Feb. 19. He has given more than $650,000 to the Trump Victory Fund and more than $1 million to the RNC.[...] DeJoy’s wife, Aldona Wos, is vice chairman of the president’s Commission on White House Fellowships and is Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Canada. She previously served as ambassador to Estonia in the George W. Bush administration.

Trump vows complete end of Obamacare law despite pandemic (WaPo, May 6, 2020) “We want to terminate health care under Obamacare,” Trump told reporters Wednesday, the last day for his administration to change its position in a Supreme Court case challenging the law. “Obamacare, we run it really well. . . . But running it great, it’s still lousy health care.” While the president has said he will preserve some of the Affordable Care Act’s most popular provisions, including guaranteed coverage for preexisting medical conditions, he has not offered a plan to do so, and his administration’s legal position seeks to end all parts of the law, including those provisions.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:19 PM on May 7, 2020 [5 favorites]


She Said Anthony Fauci Sexually Assaulted Her. Now She Says Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman Paid Her to Lie.
After failing to frame Robert Mueller, Elizabeth Warren, and others for sexual misconduct, the infamous Trumpster hoaxers tried to go after Fauci. But the woman they hired to play the victim had second thoughts.
During the nine-minute, 35-second call, Wohl and Burkman do not cover themselves in glory.
"Mother Nature has to clean the barn every so often," Burkman counters. "How real is it? Who knows? So what if 1 percent of the population goes? So what if you lose 400,000 people? Two hundred thousand were elderly, the other 200,000 are the bottom of society. You got to clean out the barn. If it's real, it's a positive thing, for God's sake."
posted by adamvasco at 4:53 PM on May 7, 2020 [10 favorites]


Trump intensifies war with Democrats over voting laws
President Donald Trump’s political operation is expanding its legal effort to stop Democrats from overhauling voting laws in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Republican National Committee and Trump reelection campaign are doubling their legal budget to $20 million as litigation spreads to an array of battleground states. With the virus likely to complicate in-person balloting in November, Democrats have been pushing to substantially ease remote voting restrictions — something the Trump campaign and RNC are aggressively fighting in the courts.

Trump, who has long been fixated on voter fraud, has taken a personal interest in the project. He is expected to discuss the legal maneuvering during a meeting with his political team Thursday.
Populism!
posted by tonycpsu at 5:32 PM on May 7, 2020 [6 favorites]


Trump, who has long been fixated on voter fraudvoter suppression.

I'm really starting to wish that journalists would brand this for what is it, 100s of thousands of people denied their constitutional rights for every fraudulent vote cast.
posted by Mitheral at 6:11 PM on May 7, 2020 [18 favorites]


An Ugly Day for the Justice Department (Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic, Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare)
The Justice Department did not merely contend that Flynn should be allowed to withdraw his plea, as he has been seeking to do. It argued that the entire case should be dismissed with prejudice—meaning that the case should be dismissed in a fashion that would preclude its being refiled. [...] The government’s 20-page brief is not an honest document—perhaps the reason that it is signed only by Timothy Shea, the interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia—and not a single one of the career prosecutors who worked on the case. That may also be the reason why Brandon Van Grack, the prosecutor who has worked the case from the beginning, moved to withdraw from the case entirely just hours before the Justice Department filed its motion. The brief’s account of the history of the Flynn case is not accurate, its account of the government’s own conduct equally flawed. [...] Based on this position, the Justice Department today took an even greater leap: that it is perfectly legal for the official, if interviewed under these circumstances, to lie through his teeth repeatedly to the FBI agents who show up to interview him.

[...] As astonishing as the motion is, it does not come out of nowhere. Van Grack is only the latest of Mueller’s prosecutors to withdraw from a case seemingly in light of mishandling by the Justice Department under Barr: in February 2020, all four assistant U.S. attorneys prosecuting Roger Stone removed themselves from the case on the same day that the department filed a sentencing memo undercutting their work. Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, selected by Barr to conduct an ambiguous “review” of the Mueller investigation, continues his work. A year after the public release of the Mueller report, Barr has yet to give up on his project of dismantling the investigation—even in the midst of a deadly pandemic. In an interview with CBS this evening, Barr defended his decision. Claiming he had a duty to dismiss the charges, the attorney general lamented, “It’s sad that nowadays these partisan feelings are so strong people lose any sense of justice.” Barr is right about this—but his words have more than a whiff of projection about them. When asked how history would view his decision, Barr chuckled that “history is written by the winners, so it largely depends who’s writing the history.” He’s right about that too. And having won, at least for now, he is busily rewriting history.
posted by katra at 6:20 PM on May 7, 2020 [14 favorites]


March 30, 2020: Virus Pandemic Delays Judge's Review of Unredacted Mueller Report; as of April 24, 2020, Federal Judge Sets Target Deadline for Completed Review of the Unredacted Mueller Report: A privacy and civil liberties group that nudged a federal judge one week ago, asking him to review the unredacted version of the Mueller Report as soon as possible, has gotten an answer. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton set a target deadline on Wednesday for completing his review of the Department of Justice’s redactions. Walton set a status conference for noon on June 18, ordering the plaintiffs–the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), BuzzFeed and BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold—and the DOJ defendants to appear.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:36 PM on May 7, 2020 [1 favorite]


Trump, wrapping up an call into Fox and Friends this morning: “Well all I can say is Happy Mother’s Day,” he said. “I had a great mom, I loved my mom and she loved me which, I must tell you, probably not easy to do but she was so good to me, she was so good, I couldn’t do any wrong, which was a big problem, maybe that’s why I ended up the way I ended up, I don’t know, I couldn’t do any wrong in her eyes.”

“I miss my parents,” he said. And no one quite knew what to say. “Yeah, so do I — miss my parents,” host Steve Doocy chimed in. And then it was time to go.
posted by box at 7:57 AM on May 8, 2020 [3 favorites]


[….]"I loved my mom and she loved me which, I must tell you, probably not easy to do but she was so good to me, she was so good, I couldn’t do any wrong, which was a big problem, maybe that’s why I ended up the way I ended up, I don’t know, I couldn’t do any wrong in her eyes.”

I was going to say I didn't think he was this capable of being self-aware, but stopped clocks, etc.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:42 AM on May 8, 2020 [11 favorites]


she was so good to me, she was so good, I couldn’t do any wrong, which was a big problem, maybe that’s why I ended up the way I ended up

Somehow it's always the mother's fault, even - perhaps even especially - for "self-made men".

now look what you made me do
posted by flabdablet at 9:10 AM on May 8, 2020 [15 favorites]


Guardian: Pence staffer tests positive for coronavirus
Just before Air Force Two was to be wheels up to Iowa one of Vice President Mike Pence’s aides tested positive for coronavirus. Several staffers were forced to exit the plane, which is taking Pence, a Trump Cabinet member, and two GOP Senators to the Hawkeye State, Raw Story reports.
Guardian: The man and masks
Donald Trump has said certain White House staff members have started wearing face masks, one day after the White House said his personal valet had tested positive for coronavirus. [...] It was reported that Trump was “lava level” angry about the valet situation.

Jennifer Taub (@jentaub) “After learning one of his valets was infected, Trump became ‘lava level mad’ at his staff and said he doesn’t feel they are doing all they can to protect him from the virus.”https://t.co/76S5voSDho May 7, 2020
posted by katra at 9:41 AM on May 8, 2020 [7 favorites]


I would suspect the President isn't taking the test, but making everyone else around him take it. Can't really tell.

Does anyone believe Trump had a swab jammed four inches up his nose more than once?
posted by adept256 at 10:59 AM on May 8, 2020 [10 favorites]


Given that public statements on Trump's medical condition - height, weight, general health etc. are pretty clearly false there is no real reason to believe that he tested negative for COV-19. It is quite possible that he is an asymptomatic carrier and that he infected his personal valet.
NB: "Possible" - I'm not living in tin foil hat land.
Plus what adept256 just said
posted by speug at 11:13 AM on May 8, 2020 [6 favorites]


Trump became ‘lava level mad’ at his staff

Why, are they "opening up the country White House" too fast for him?
posted by ctmf at 11:49 AM on May 8, 2020 [11 favorites]


Katie Miller, Pence spokesperson, tests positive for coronavirus (Politico)
Miller serves as the vice president’s top spokesperson, traveling with him frequently and attending meetings by his side. She is also married to another top White House aide and senior adviser, Stephen Miller, who writes the majority of Trump’s speeches and spends copious amounts of time around the president, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. [...] “We have put in place the guidelines that our experts have put forward to keep this building safe, which means contact tracing," [White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany] told reporters during Friday’s news briefing. "All of the recommended guidelines we have for businesses that have essential workers, we are now putting them in place here in the White House. So as America reopens safely, the White House is continuing to operate safely.”
posted by katra at 12:24 PM on May 8, 2020 [4 favorites]


I saw the disgusting things people were saying about RBG and her health, how disgraceful it all was. But Ruth is a good and kind person and Stephen Miller is a piece of shit.

Still, it's not worth saying.
posted by adept256 at 12:35 PM on May 8, 2020 [3 favorites]


President Trump is so close to the Miller couple that he attended their wedding in February 2020 at the Trump International Hotel, where he stayed at the party for roughly two hours and delivered a short speech to toast them.

Gee, that's some bad luck for a couple of newlyweds. I mean the coronavirus.
posted by valkane at 12:44 PM on May 8, 2020 [2 favorites]


Lawyers: Investigators recommend whistleblower is reinstated (AP)
Investigators with the Office of Special Counsel “made a threshold determination that HHS violated the Whistleblower Protection Act by removing Dr. Bright from his position because he made protected disclosures in the best interest of the American public,” his lawyers Debra Katz and Lisa Banks said in a statement. The OSC is an agency that investigates whistleblower complaints.

The lawyers said investigators are requesting that HHS reinstate Bright.
posted by katra at 12:53 PM on May 8, 2020 [6 favorites]


Mike Pence Caught on Hot Mic Asking to Carry Empty Box So He Could Look Like He’s Helping (TheRoot.com, May 8, 2020, with the NBCNews.com coronavirus blog as original source): Pence joined a team to help deliver boxes of personal protective equipment (PPE) outside a Virginia nursing home with COVID-19 patients on Thursday—without wearing any himself, because he’s a total asshole. Here’s how NBC News describes the event:

Pence put a box of equipment on the doorstep of the Woodbine Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in Alexandria and waved inside before wheeling over more boxes and helping unload them. He was not wearing a mask or gloves while handling the packages. Other officials who were with him were also not wearing masks.

Unfortunately for Pence, he was mic’d up for the photo-op and he was literally caught asking if he could carry empty boxes to the door so he could look strong and tough and not like an asshole. Except he’s always an asshole. Always.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:56 PM on May 8, 2020 [13 favorites]


Mike Pence is a 100% "If I was Australian I'd use the C-word", but that's clearly him making a joke, not being caught faking carrying a box.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:03 PM on May 8, 2020 [1 favorite]


...he [Trump] doesn’t feel they are doing all they can to protect him from the virus.

I've heard that the United States' Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station is quite agreeable this time of year, plus there have been absolutely ZERO cases of COVID-19 on the whole continent (something The Imperial Donald can take credit for). What does he have to lose?
posted by cenoxo at 1:14 PM on May 8, 2020 [1 favorite]


Also a joke: how he's not wearing PPE while handling boxes of PPE. Pence's comedy is subtle and multilayered.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:16 PM on May 8, 2020 [6 favorites]


Pence's empty box comment doesn't even twitch the outrage needle for me. The guy is out there campaigning. Every photo you see of him is a set up to one degree or another. From what they are wearing, to where the photo is taken from, to who isn't standing in view. (As a blue collar guy the one that always sticks out like a sore thumb for me is how shiny new, and clean, PPE is in photos. And I'm not talking about the Visitor's PPE; I mean all the people the visitor is supposedly interacting with doing their "normal" job on a "normal day" who just so happen to have hard hats, vests, and gloves that obviously just got handed out that morning).

I'm much more disgusted that he apparently has done so little manual labour in his life that he doesn't know how to use a four wheeled push cart (Five seconds into this clip you see him lifting the rear wheels of the cart off the ground).

“We have put in place the guidelines that our experts have put forward to keep this building safe, which means contact tracing," [White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany]

And thereby making plain she and by extension the Whitehouse doesn't understand the difference between public health measures and personal health measures. Contact tracing does nothing to keep an individual safe instead it enables actions that keep populations safe. This is like barebacking some bar pickup and counting on the health department's contact tracing to prevent one getting the clap.
posted by Mitheral at 1:18 PM on May 8, 2020 [9 favorites]


And thereby making plain she and by extension the Whitehouse doesn't understand

They understand, and there is no need to accidentally minimize their policies as a product of ignorance when they openly admit otherwise.
posted by katra at 1:39 PM on May 8, 2020 [5 favorites]


To note: infected Pence spokesperson Katie Waldman Miller married Stephen Miller, architect of the administration's most vicious anti-immigration policies [Stephen Miller is Exploiting the Coronavirus Crisis for His Immigration Crackdown (Vanity Fair, April 16, 2020) Trump’s senior adviser is reportedly pushing to leave immigrant children in the custody of border patrol for an extended period], in February 2020 at the Trump International Hotel; Trump attended and gave a toast to the newlyweds. From the Politico link: "She's a wonderful young woman, Katie, she tested very good for a long period of time," President Donald Trump said on Friday during a meeting with congressional Republicans at the White House. "And then all of the sudden today she tested positive. She hasn't come into contact with me. She's spent some time with the vice president."

"This is why the whole concept of tests aren't necessarily great," the president continued. "The tests are perfect, but something can happen between a test where it's good and then something happens and all of the sudden. She was tested very recently and tested negative, and then today I guess for some reason she tested positive. So Mike knows about it and Mike has done what he has to do. I think he is on an airplane, going to some far away place, but you'll be able to ask him later on. But they've taken all of the necessary precautions. I understand Mike has been tested, vice president, and he tested negative."


[Pence's 'faraway place" destination: Brigado-- sorry, Iowa.] The vice president is scheduled to meet with faith leaders in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday to discuss responsible religious gatherings, followed by a roundtable on securing food supply. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Iowa Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst also accompanied Pence on the trip.

Coronavirus live news: Donald Trump says virus will 'go away without a vaccine' (The Guardian, May 8, 2020) US president Donald Trump has just said coronavirus “will go away without a vaccine”, but there may be “some flare ups next year”. However he has said this may not be until after autumn, or next year, and did not offer any scientific evidence for that prediction.

“[Viruses] die too, like everything else,” he said.

posted by Iris Gambol at 2:54 PM on May 8, 2020 [4 favorites]


"all of _the_ sudden" does not sound like that man's normal ... unaffected ... diction.

cnn has it as "all of a sudden" and, at 0:30 in the clip labeled "[president's hateful name] questions 'the whole concept of tests.' see gupta's reaction," clearly says "all of a sudden" in the first instance (the second is cut off).
posted by 20 year lurk at 3:40 PM on May 8, 2020


Sure, the Velociraptors Are Still On the Loose, But That’s No Reason Not to Reopen Jurassic Park (Carlos Greaves, McSweeney's, May 6, 2020)
Hello, Peter Ludlow here, CEO of InGen, the company behind the wildly successful dinosaur-themed amusement park, Jurassic Park. As you’re all aware, after an unprecedented storm hit the park, we lost power and the velociraptors escaped their enclosure and killed hundreds of park visitors, prompting a two-month shutdown of the park. Well, I’m pleased to announce that, even though the velociraptors are still on the loose, we will be opening Jurassic Park back up to the public!

[...] you’ll be pleased to know that, rather than double down on our containment efforts, we’ve decided to dissolve the velociraptor containment task force altogether, and focus instead on how we can get people back into the park as quickly as possible. So rather than concentrating on so-called life-saving measures like “staying in designated safe areas” or “masking your scent,” we’ll be focusing on the details that will get our customers really excited, like a wider selection of fun hats, a pterodactyl-shaped gondola ride to the top of the island, and a brand new Gordon Ramsay designed menu at the Cretaceous Cafe.
posted by katra at 6:55 PM on May 8, 2020 [22 favorites]


This video has been going around twitter for the past few days. It’s...quite a sight to behold.

Ector County Sheriff’s SWAT team raiding a peaceful protest at Big Daddy Zane’s in West Odessa. The bar opened this afternoon despite Abbott’s latest orders, saying “all businesses are essential.”

Full coverage tonight on @KPEJFOX24News & @Big2News


Non-twitter link: Per Governor Greg Abbott’s latest executive order, bars, gyms, and salons are not allowed to open yet. However, this is not stopping some local businesses from opening anyway. What was supposed to be a “peaceful” demonstration quickly took a wrong turn at Big Daddy Zane’s, a local bar in West Odessa.

First of all, Ector County, Texas (namer after Confederate General Matthew Ector) has a population of roughly 138,000 and this sheriff’s department straight up rolled in with an MRAP. If you aren’t familiar with MRAP’s, they are “mine-resistant ambush protected” vehicles, specifically made for the US military to protect soldiers against IEDs in combat zones.

Secondly, here you see a bunch of guys with assault rifles and maybe some plate armor on, but wearing roughly the same type of stuff we’re seeing at these armed anti-quarantine rallies. It looks like they pretty much surrendered immediately.
posted by gucci mane at 7:03 PM on May 8, 2020




And Texas jumped to 7th in new cases today...
posted by Windopaene at 7:28 PM on May 8, 2020


Per Governor Greg Abbott’s latest executive order, bars, gyms, and salons are not allowed to open yet.

When a (white) salon owner was jailed for defying the order, the Lt. Governor paid the fine. The Governor modified the order, she was released, and Ted Cruz got his hair cut at her salon. A GoFundMe for the salon owner has raised over $500,000.

And Texas jumped to 7th in new cases today...

It's on the lower end on a population adjusted basis. The states that are on the scariest trajectories right now are Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota.
posted by jedicus at 7:38 PM on May 8, 2020 [2 favorites]


Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota

They'll reopen the beaches there to make Trump happy.
posted by adept256 at 7:43 PM on May 8, 2020


Iowa and Nebraska keep going up on the "cases per 1M residents" on Worldometers.
posted by Windopaene at 8:41 PM on May 8, 2020


And yes, Minnesota has jumped, though I thought they had been doing well, and I hadn't seen that they had relaxed stuff. Indiana is way up there as well. I expect Georgia will keep moving up, though I think SD and Nebraska and maybe Iowa are all related to small populations and meat-packing plants.
posted by Windopaene at 10:12 PM on May 8, 2020


Guess those folks in Texas never had any luck getting PPP loans or any disaster grants or the unemployment assistance that is available now even to (most) small business owners.
posted by wierdo at 10:49 PM on May 8, 2020 [1 favorite]


And it suddenly strikes me that a bunch of these assholes were loudly shouting "you're either with us or you're against us!" Now that (they claim) we are under attack, they refuse to lift a finger in their own defense or the defense of our nation as a whole.
posted by wierdo at 10:57 PM on May 8, 2020 [1 favorite]


Document reveals Secret Service has 11 current virus cases, as concerns about Trump’s staff grow (Yahoo News, May 8, 2020)
On Monday, Yahoo News reported that there are regularly held large events with unmasked attendees in close quarters at the White House — including inside the Oval Office, which is the president’s inner sanctum. Many Secret Service employees on the White House grounds are among those who are not wearing masks.
Trump flouts coronavirus protocols as security experts warn of need to protect president from a lethal threat (WaPo, May 8, 2020)
Several security officials with executive branch experience said in interviews Friday that the White House has taken a lax and risky approach that, in their view, reflected Trump’s consistent efforts to minimize the threat from the virus. [...] Like Trump, most of his aides, including Pence and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, have not worn face masks, and the president has huddled with guests at the White House for photo-ops that undermine the efforts at social distancing that do take place, such as seats placed more than six feet apart. [...] “Normally the White House would defer to the medical unit on safety. They would defer to the Secret Service on security,” said one former Trump White House official who has heard complaints from current staff about the lack of protocols. “But in this White House, everybody seems to be just doing their own thing.”

Traditionally, the White House medical unit, run by the Navy and led by the White House physician, has been in charge of dictating health safety protocols for the staff on the 18-acre White House complex. [...] But as the novel coronavirus spread in January, said an official involved in those efforts, “it was stunning that they weren’t taking those measures.” [...] Katie Miller’s positive test raised questions over who else she might have been in contact with. She has attended nearly all of the White House coronavirus task force meetings, led by Pence, in the Situation Room, aides said. No aides wore masks in those meetings, except occasionally Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser. [...] White House aides said Friday they were not releasing Katie Miller’s name publicly but were forced to confirm it to reporters after Trump identified her during his meeting with the Republican lawmakers.
posted by katra at 12:14 AM on May 9, 2020 [8 favorites]


Guess those folks in Texas never had any luck getting PPP loans or any disaster grants or the unemployment assistance that is available now even to (most) small business owners.

Ohio urges employers to report workers fearful of returning to work (Guardian, May 8, 2020)
“With any decision, there’s a risk,” DeWine said when introducing the plan. “What we did today is a risk. Doing nothing is a risk.” Worker advocacy groups have criticized the government’s crackdown on employees who refuse to return to work due to the virus, saying it will ultimately harm vulnerable workers, especially those who may not have the capacity to properly fight claims from their employer that they can safely return to work. “Leaving employees, who have little access to evidence needed to prove their employer failed to follow Covid protocols and who are largely without access to legal counsel and advice … will be too much for many with legitimate claims to navigate and will put working Ohioans at a disadvantage,” said a statement from advocacy groups Policy Matters Ohio and Ohio Poverty Law Center.
‘It’s too early to go back’: Workers fear for their health and finances as states rush to reopen (WaPo, May 8, 2020)
For workers, the predicament is a difficult one. Many were thrown out of their jobs unexpectedly, as the coronavirus took root in the United States. Then, they were thrust into an unemployment system riddled with immense yet predictable technical glitches and bureaucratic delays that left them without aid. Now, months later, some still haven’t received their first checks — but they have been left to make uncomfortable decisions about what comes next. [...] Some workers’ benefits may end more abruptly: A growing roster of states has started issuing ultimatums to their residents, telling them to accept their old posts, if they’re re-offered the opportunity, or risk losing unemployment aid altogether. The threats have been most pointed in Republican-led states, where worries persist that people are trying to avoid work for as long as they can.

[...] Democrats, meanwhile, have started sounding alarms about the need for newer, more enhanced unemployment benefits, particularly in states where the coronavirus has taken its greatest toll and left the economy in shambles. A new proposal from Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, would offer more federal jobless aid on a sliding scale, with more money set aside for workers in states where total claims are highest. “The bottom line is clear,” Wyden told reporters Thursday. “The pandemic is getting worse.”
posted by katra at 12:26 AM on May 9, 2020 [3 favorites]


I can not-quite-personally confirm that Florida's UI system is in a complete shambles. Even many W-2 employees have seen absolutely nothing after 6-8 weeks, while less than 10,000 ICs have yet had their claims for PUA processed. The computer system barely works most of the week despite now being offline nightly and all weekend. The call centers are so overwhelmed that it is nearly impossible to contact anyone, and the 2,000 new (contract, at a cost of over $100 million) agents can't actually do anything but tell you what the website says, if it's working. Only if you get lucky enough to be routed to one of the 23 agents that were there in the before times can anything be done to resolve any issues in the over one million claims that have been filed so far.

Worse yet, the system is so broken that they are falling to notify people of adverse determinations in a timely manner so that an appeal can be filed within the 20 day window allowed by law. Further still, they managed to fuck something up and just lost the wage information for at least tens of thousands of applicants, leading to claims being spuriously denied for lack of any wages earned.

Adding insult to injury, our delightful governor has claimed that the problems with lost applications and missing wage information is the fault of the claimants for not providing a complete application.

Maybe some other states are having issues, but nothing like the omnishambles the Sunshine State is inflicting on its residents, where even the lucky are taking more than a month to get paid a dime. And even then, there is no rhyme or reason to who gets paid what. To top it all off, the state has all but abandoned its public records law, refusing to release or claiming not to have information about death certificates issued, statewide hospitalization data, detailed information about COVID testing, PPE distribution, the unemployment system, and more. Yet somehow there are numbers available to put on charts when Ron DeSantis feels the need to chastise the media when he doesn't like their reporting. This in a state that still has one of the strongest open records law of any state and where the courts are very willing to enforce it (eventually).

This is veering into get your own blog territory, but I think it's important to highlight what things are like in Trump's ideal America where governors have their head firmly up his ass, which he has thus far failed to fully inflict on much of the nation.

On the bright side, the UI fiasco has been bad enough that it may well drive votes away from Republicans come November. People do tend to remember when they personally take it on the chin, and a lot of folks are. There's only two weeks left on our eviction/foreclosure moratorium and hundreds of thousands of claims remain unprocessed.
posted by wierdo at 2:39 AM on May 9, 2020 [14 favorites]


Resisting Trump’s claims that everything is fine, Columbia Journalism Review, Jon Allsop, 5/8/2020:
...the aim of the White House, along with Trump-allied Republican governors, is to control information about the virus in order to spin a new, optimistic narrative. Troublesome statistics have been brushed off or suppressed. Inconveniently candid messengers—such as Dr. Anthony Fauci—have been blocked from sharing their views, including with Democratic-led Congressional committees. “If the message were to go out with complete objectivity, it would be disastrous for Trump,” Max Skidmore, a political scientist who has written a book on presidential responses to pandemics, told Olorunnipa. Instead, Trump is “simply trying to divert attention.”
...
In a blog post that was shared widely, including on MSNBC, Jay Rosen, a media academic at New York University, wrote that Trump’s plan “is to have no plan, to let daily deaths between one and three thousand become a normal thing, and then to create massive confusion about who is responsible.”

Rosen argues that the no-plan plan relies on the manufacture of chaos. The press, he says, “won’t be able to ‘expose’ the plot because it will all happen in stark daylight. The facts will be known, and simultaneously they will be inconceivable.”...
No matter how many COVID-19 deaths there have been (or will be), no matter how badly damaged the economy is, declare victory and move on to what’s really important: the Imperial Donald’s 2020 re-election.

Truth or lies, confirmation or denial, consistency or contradiction, and real or fake news are irrelevant to Trump. The only message that matters at any given moment is whatever it takes to make him look good and his enemies look bad. To this end, Trump’s latest campaign video is “American Comeback”.
posted by cenoxo at 4:05 AM on May 9, 2020 [3 favorites]


I spoke to the woman coordinating anti-lockdown protests. She told me what they plan to do next.
Many demonstrations claim to be grassroots, common threads link many to nationwide conservative groups.
ignorance, privilege, and anti-black racism is driving white protesters to risk their lives.
American Revolution 2.0, which presents itself as bipartisan, has been assisted by far-right individuals – some with extremist links.
posted by adamvasco at 6:18 AM on May 9, 2020 [6 favorites]


The trump administration seems pretty fucking germy.
Yeah, that's one thing about this disease, even though it will hit the poor and vulnerable hardest, it will not leave the rich and strong out. Prince Charles and Boris Johnson had it relatively early on in the UK. Now it is one degree of separation from the president and VP, who are both elderly men, the president probably with pre-existing conditions. They are going to have to be very lucky not to get it.
posted by mumimor at 6:46 AM on May 9, 2020 [4 favorites]


Ivanka Trump’s personal assistant has covid-19 also. The trump administration seems pretty fucking germy.

If I were the minimum wage member of the custodial staff who cleaned their sinks, toilets, showers, and baths, I might do the minimum needed to not get any complaints, which may be far away from the actual standards.
posted by mikelieman at 7:47 AM on May 9, 2020 [3 favorites]


Adam Serwer, The Atlantic: The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying — The pandemic has exposed the bitter terms of our racial contract, which deems certain lives of greater value than others.
The coronavirus epidemic has rendered the racial contract visible in multiple ways. Once the disproportionate impact of the epidemic was revealed to the American political and financial elite, many began to regard the rising death toll less as a national emergency than as an inconvenience. Temporary measures meant to prevent the spread of the disease by restricting movement, mandating the wearing of masks, or barring large social gatherings have become the foulest tyranny. The lives of workers at the front lines of the pandemic—such as meatpackers, transportation workers, and grocery clerks—have been deemed so worthless that legislators want to immunize their employers from liability even as they force them to work under unsafe conditions. In East New York, police assault black residents for violating social-distancing rules; in Lower Manhattan, they dole out masks and smiles to white pedestrians.

Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, with its vows to enforce state violence against Mexican immigrants, Muslims, and black Americans, was built on a promise to enforce terms of the racial contract that Barack Obama had ostensibly neglected, or violated by his presence. Trump’s administration, in carrying out an explicitly discriminatory agenda that valorizes cruelty, war crimes, and the entrenchment of white political power, represents a revitalized commitment to the racial contract.

But the pandemic has introduced a new clause to the racial contract. The lives of disproportionately black and brown workers are being sacrificed to fuel the engine of a faltering economy, by a president who disdains them. This is the COVID contract.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:58 AM on May 9, 2020 [17 favorites]


On the bright side, the UI fiasco has been bad enough that it may well drive votes away from Republicans come November. People do tend to remember when they personally take it on the chin, and a lot of folks are.

Ah, but remember: if they have to take it on the chin so that the Others also take it on the chin, then they will happily do so.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 8:21 AM on May 9, 2020 [2 favorites]


"racial contract" struck me as some disturbing newspeak. serwer (at tonycpsu's above link to atlantic article) attributes it to charles mills in eponymous book:
If the social contract is the implicit agreement among members of a society to follow the rules—for example, acting lawfully, adhering to the results of elections, and contesting the agreed-upon rules by nonviolent means—then the racial contract is a codicil rendered in invisible ink, one stating that the rules as written do not apply to nonwhite people in the same way. The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal; the racial contract limits this to white men with property. The law says murder is illegal; the racial contract says it’s fine for white people to chase and murder black people if they have decided that those black people scare them. “The terms of the Racial Contract,” Mills wrote, “mean that nonwhite subpersonhood is enshrined simultaneously with white personhood.”
it may be worth noting that an "implicit agreement" such as the "social contract" is also "written in invisible ink."
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:33 AM on May 9, 2020 [5 favorites]


Trump’s base escapes the worst of job losses (Politico, May 8, 2020)
A POLITICO analysis of demographic data released Friday by the Labor Department indicates that, so far, the people most likely to have lost their jobs to the Covid-19 pandemic are a very different group from those who became unemployed during the Great Recession of 2007-09 — many of whom were still struggling to regain their economic footing when they pulled the lever for Trump.

None of the groups slammed the hardest by coronavirus layoffs — women, low-wage workers, Latinos, blacks and the young — went for Trump in the 2016 election, and none give him high approval ratings now. If the downturn drags on, of course, such distinctions will diminish or disappear altogether as joblessness migrates up the income scale. Even now, the sheer magnitude of a nearly 15 percent unemployment rate, with no economic sector untouched, alarms Republicans and Democrats alike. But congressional Republicans reluctant to spend more dollars on economic relief needn’t worry that the workers affected most by the downturn so far are part of the Republican base. They aren’t.
A new study shows just how badly black Americans have been hit by Covid-19 (Politico, May 5, 2020)
The study — performed by a dozen scientists and researchers from six organizations and universities, including Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center — is one of the first to capture the impact on African American populations nationally. [...] Though the study is currently under review by a medical journal, the scientists felt an urgency to release their findings Tuesday in the hope that more complete data could influence policy decisions by state and federal governments. The findings back up trends in states such as Wisconsin and Louisiana, which have seen African Americans hit harder by the coronavirus compared with white residents. [...] Ninety-one percent of the 677 disproportionately black counties — those with black populations of 13 percent or greater — were located in the South. The study evaluated cases and deaths across 3,142 counties from Jan. 22 to April 13.
posted by katra at 9:42 AM on May 9, 2020 [5 favorites]


She has attended nearly all of the White House coronavirus task force meetings, led by Pence, in the Situation Room, aides said. No aides wore masks in those meetings, except occasionally Matthew Pottinger

This is such a distillation of incompetence. The Coronavirus Task Force is not only not doing shit for the country, they're not even doing anything for their own White House Grounds, or even for themselves personally. Where commonly accepted guidelines and measure exist, they're not even themselves bothering to follow them. Trump is such an idiot at staffing, he not only hires incompetents, he hires incompetents who don't even believe in their own mission. It's all fraud and children playing "government". I wonder if they put stuffed animals in chairs sometimes and serve them fake tea.
posted by ctmf at 10:50 AM on May 9, 2020 [16 favorites]


White House aides said Friday they were not releasing Katie Miller’s name publicly but were forced to confirm it to reporters after Trump identified her during his meeting with the Republican lawmakers.

I realize this probably the minorest of infractions by the Trump Crime Family but is there some sort of HIPPA carve out at play here or is this a case of Katie Miller's employer giving out controlled medical data to the press?
posted by Mitheral at 11:08 AM on May 9, 2020 [4 favorites]


I know even if one of my employees went on national TV and announced having a certain medical condition, I still could not confirm it if asked. There are certain things I could say, like employment status... maybe, some of which might appear to confirm it. That would be legally sticky enough that the smart person would shut down the whole conversation before being tempted to say something stupid.

Kind of like releasing classified information, "he did it too, before me" never works as a defense.
posted by ctmf at 11:17 AM on May 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying

Remember the hot half-minute when the seriousness of the virus supposedly 'struck home' at the end of March, because Trump's lifelong friend/political supporter/fellow real-estate scion Stanley Chera tested positive? “I had a friend who went to a hospital the other day. He’s a little older, and he’s heavy, but he’s (a) tough person,” Trump said. “And he went to the hospital, and a day later, he’s in a coma … he’s not doing well. The speed and the viciousness, especially if it gets the right person, it’s horrible. It’s really horrible,” he said. (Time, April 13, 2020) Chera, 77, was hospitalized on March 24, and died some 10 days after Trump mentioned him in the March 29 briefing. On April 13, Trump tweeted, "My deepest sympathies go out to Frieda Chera and the family of the late, great, Stanley Chera, one of Manhattan's most brilliant real estate minds. Stanley was charitable, kind, and a wonderful friend. He will be truly missed!" (CNN, April 13, 2020)

But Trump's gonna Trump; after the March 29 briefing, The president, who is 73, alluded a day later to having “friends” who were ill. “I have some friends that are unbelievably sick,” Trump said. “We thought they were going in for a mild stay. And, in one case, he’s unconscious — in a coma. And you say, ‘How did that happen?’” Trump had left the impression that having personally known someone who became sick with COVID-19, the disease the virus causes, had influenced his decisions about how to handle the outbreak. But asked at a later briefing whether his friend’s case had marked a turning point in his thinking, Trump said it had not because he had been seeing the statistics and the rising case numbers. “He’s sort of central casting for what we’re talking about, and it hit him very hard,” Trump said of Chera on April 1. “I’ve never seen anything like it.” (Time, April 13, 2020)

In a space of a few days, his one friend becomes multiple friends (simultaneously less intimately concerning yet more impressive in scale); Chera, once a "tough person," is suddenly someone out of central casting (not an invulnerable iconoclast like Trump himself); and any personal connections are unimportant anyway, because Trump's more of a stats man.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:24 PM on May 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


Also, two people in Pence's immediate circle tested positive, and Katie Miller (and a few others) had to get off Pence's plane before departure yesterday. Pence still didn't wear a mask during the Iowa visit. (The Intercept, May 9, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:28 PM on May 9, 2020


Missed the pull quote and the edit window: What’s more, a live video stream of the second event, a roundtable discussion with food industry leaders in Des Moines, showed that all five of the invited guests arrived wearing masks but were asked to remove them shortly before the vice president joined them on stage. (The Intercept, May 9, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:39 PM on May 9, 2020 [10 favorites]


CDC director to quarantine after ‘low-risk’ exposure at White House (WaPo live blog)
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “will be teleworking for the next two weeks,” according to a CDC spokesman, who said Redfield “has been determined to have had a low-risk exposure” on Wednesday to “a person at the White House who has covid-19.” The spokesman did not identify the infected person.
FDA Commissioner Hahn self-quarantines after Pence aide tests positive for covid-19 (WaPo live blog)
Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, began to self-quarantine for two weeks after being exposed to an individual who tested positive for the coronavirus, the FDA said late Friday. A senior administration official said the individual in question was Katie Miller, press secretary to Vice President Pence. [...] Miller confirmed to NBC News on Friday that she tested positive and said she was asymptomatic.
Guardian: Obama: Trump virus response 'an absolute chaotic disaster'
Yahoo News has a big fat scoop, having obtained what it says is tape of Barack Obama talking to his alumni association about the justice department’s decision to drop the case against Michael Flynn, the former Trump national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Moscow. A report on the report is on its way. [...] Obama reportedly addresses Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Here’s the passage in full:

"This election that’s coming up on every level is so important because what we’re going to be battling is not just a particular individual or a political party. What we’re fighting against is these long-term trends in which being selfish, being tribal, being divided, and seeing others as an enemy — that has become a stronger impulse in American life. And by the way, we’re seeing that internationally as well. It’s part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty. It would have been bad even with the best of governments. It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset – of ‘what’s in it for me’ and ‘to heck with everybody else’ – when that mindset is operationalized in our government."
posted by katra at 12:51 PM on May 9, 2020 [9 favorites]


Can we start threatening the right with bringing Barack Obama back? "Every one of you is doing such a shitty job we're going back to the way it was before."

And then have Obama say something publicly like "Oh, I'd just start by cleaning house. Firing every single person."

I mean, that's the kind of negotiation the right understands. Propose their worst nightmare so they accept the not-quite-as-scary more easily. Anchoring expectations, I believe it's called. It's a very naive negotiating tactic, but it works really well with naive opponents.
posted by ctmf at 1:18 PM on May 9, 2020 [4 favorites]


I think many people imagine that electing Joe Biden will be like having Obama back. I know... I don't think so.
posted by mumimor at 1:49 PM on May 9, 2020 [2 favorites]


WaPo live blog: Obama appears to call Trump’s coronavirus response an ‘absolute chaotic disaster,’ report says
Katie Hill, Obama’s spokeswoman, confirmed the call occurred and “nothing in the [Yahoo] story is inaccurate.”
posted by katra at 2:44 PM on May 9, 2020 [4 favorites]


Let's see if Trump can resist being an abject racist about Obama right in the middle of the Ahmaud Arbery story. It could be genius timing.
posted by rhizome at 3:04 PM on May 9, 2020 [2 favorites]


In the early days of the pandemic, the U.S. government turned down an offer to manufacture millions of N95 masks in America (May 9, 2020) It was Jan. 22, a day after the first case of covid-19 was detected in the United States, and orders were pouring into Michael Bowen’s company outside Fort Worth, some from as far away as Hong Kong. Bowen’s medical supply company, Prestige Ameritech, could ramp up production to make an additional 1.7 million N95 masks a week. He viewed the shrinking domestic production of medical masks as a national security issue, though, and he wanted to give the federal government first dibs.

“We still have four like-new N95 manufacturing lines,” Bowen wrote that day in an email to top administrators in the Department of Health and Human Services. “Reactivating these machines would be very difficult and very expensive but could be achieved in a dire situation.”
[Rebuffed that same day, Bowen emailed again.] “We are the last major domestic mask company,” he wrote on Jan. 23. “My phones are ringing now, so I don’t ‘need’ government business. I’m just letting you know that I can help you preserve our infrastructure if things ever get really bad. I’m a patriot first, businessman second.” In the end, the government did not take Bowen up on his offer. Even today, production lines that could be making more than 7 million masks a month sit dormant.

Bowen's overture is mentioned in Rick Bright's whistleblower complaint. [Text at NPR.] WaPo reports: On Jan. 26, Bright wrote to a deputy that Bowen’s warnings “seem to be falling on deaf ears.” That day, Bowen sent Bright a more direct warning. “U.S. mask supply is at imminent risk,” he wrote. “Rick, I think we’re in deep s---,” he wrote a day later.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:58 PM on May 9, 2020 [22 favorites]




Top health officials are quarantining after being exposed. (NYT live blog)
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, confirmed a CNN report that he had begun a “modified quarantine” given what he called a “low risk” contact.

[...] Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, who oversees the Senate’s health committee, said in a statement Saturday that the White House had agreed to give Dr. Hahn and Dr. Redfield a “one-time exception” and allow them to testify by videoconference at a scheduled hearing on Tuesday about how to return safely to work and school.
As deaths mount, Trump tries to convince Americans it’s safe to inch back to normal (WaPo / MSN reprint)
The administration is struggling to expand the scale of testing to what experts say is necessary to reopen businesses safely, and officials have not announced any national plan for contact tracing. Trump and some of his advisers are prioritizing the psychology of the pandemic as much as, if not more than, plans to combat the virus, some aides and outside advisers said — striving to instill confidence that people can comfortably return to daily life despite the rising death toll. [...] But Trump’s outward projections of assurance and hope masked the more sober acknowledgments of some outside advisers and experts who worry the number of deaths will either stabilize around 2,000 per day or continue to climb over the next month.

“The question is, will people become anesthetized to it? Are they willing to accept that?” said one adviser to the White House coronavirus task force who, like many others interviewed for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters or offer candid assessments.
posted by katra at 6:41 PM on May 9, 2020 [5 favorites]


emergency proclamation of march 13 authorized HHS secretary to "waive or modify certain requirements of the Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children’s Health Insurance programs and of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule throughout the duration of the public health emergency." there is no evident way to find out of the secretary has or hasn't waived or modified certain requirements, but by now we can be confident that, if there is a requirement of HIPAA the president is alleged to have violated, the secretary certainly will waive it or claim after the fact that it already had been waived, if not in general, then in that specific case, when the president did the righteous thing, whether the secretary did so or not, while simultaneously asserting that the president did not do that thing, and that the president was right to do that thing, and that that the law does not apply to the president, while refusing, on grounds of intrinsic dignity and executive privilege to respond to the absurd question at all.
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:13 PM on May 9, 2020 [3 favorites]


New Yorker cartoon by Barry Blitt, 5/8/2020: Don’t Tread On Me (aka The Running of the Bullshit).
posted by cenoxo at 7:27 PM on May 9, 2020 [3 favorites]


White House aides rattled after positive coronavirus tests and officials send mixed messages on how to respond (WaPo)
The White House on Saturday scrambled to deal with the fallout from two aides testing positive for the coronavirus, as officials who were potentially exposed responded differently, with some senior members of the pandemic task force self-quarantining while others planned to continue to go to work. [...] several administration officials said White House staffers were encouraged to come into the office by their supervisors, and that aides who travel with President Trump and Vice President Pence would not stay out for 14 days, the recommended time frame to quarantine once exposed to the virus.

[...] the nervousness and concern among White House staffers became more palpable on Saturday, according to people familiar with the matter who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the tensions. Now that Redfield and Hahn are staying away, some officials said they don’t know if they should keep going to work at the White House. [...] After news of Miller’s diagnosis, aides were going through seating charts, looking at her schedule to discern where she had been and trying to question anyone who may have been close to her in a room. Emails were sent about possible exposure, and staffers were called. [...] Friday was “totally nuts,” a senior administration official said.
posted by katra at 8:21 PM on May 9, 2020 [9 favorites]


Should Congress protect businesses from coronavirus lawsuits? (Amber Phillips, WaPo, May 8, 2020)
Let’s explore the arguments for and against this debate that’s animating Capitol Hill
On the other side of this debate are trial lawyers, workers advocates and Democrats, and this side [...] argue[s] employees and customers deserve the right to sue if they feel their health is being put at risk for a company’s bottom line. [...] For example, a county health department in Utah said Monday that a business forced employees who tested positive for covid-19 to show up to work, leading to almost half becoming infected, the Daily Herald in Utah reported. “This is completely unacceptable,” county officials said in a statement.

There are also prominent workplace lawsuits related to coronavirus against Smithfield, one of the nation’s largest pork-producers. It had to close a meatpacking plant in South Dakota after it became a virus hot spot. Now, an anonymous worker who cuts up pig meat in one of its Missouri plants is suing, saying the plant won’t follow basic guidelines like keeping six people apart or encouraging workers to stay home if they are sick.
posted by katra at 10:11 PM on May 9, 2020 [4 favorites]


Friday was “totally nuts,” a senior administration official said.

Meanwhile, most large government offices have had a game plan for this eventuality since March, and most have had to exercise it at least once. Could have known what to do and calmly gone about it, if they'd been paying the fuck attention.
posted by ctmf at 10:48 PM on May 9, 2020 [7 favorites]


That game plan includes a communication strategy to keep people informed of what's going on, what's going to happen, and what's expected of them. It helps make people feel like it's going to be ok. Someone is in charge, knows what to do, and cares.

I guess it would be hard to communicate that if none of it is true, though, so maybe I have that advantage over the white house.
posted by ctmf at 10:56 PM on May 9, 2020 [9 favorites]


On the other side of this debate are trial lawyers, workers advocates and Democrats, and this side

Oh my god I hate that framing so much.
posted by Gadarene at 3:59 AM on May 10, 2020 [7 favorites]


Contagion within the White House would be catastrophic for our national security, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Opinion, Samantha Vinograd, 5/9/2020:
President Trump's personal valet, the vice president's spokeswoman, Katie Miller, and Ivanka Trump's personal assistant (who has been teleworking for nearly two months) all tested positive for Covid-19, illustrating the manifold threats the pandemic poses to our government. The news raises questions about the legitimacy of the White House's own narrative about its ability to keep Americans safe, while highlighting the potential havoc the coronavirus could wreak on our government and national security.

News that the coronavirus has infiltrated the White House presents a direct threat to the administration's narrative that it is taking the necessary measures to keep the American people safe. Earlier this week, the White House rejected the very guidelines it asked for from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection on how to safely reopen the country because the CDC's 17-page draft was "overly prescriptive."

Instead of relying on experts, the White House is flying blind, putting itself in charge of determining how to keep Americans safe. To make matters worse, the failure to protect the President and Vice President Mike Pence doesn't inspire much confidence that the administration is doing everything possible to protect the rest of us. It also undercuts the President's assertions that it's time to reopen the country because it's clear that new infections are a reality — even in the White House.

More directly, this news threatens the functioning of our government....
Now that multiple COVID-19 infections have come within arms‘ reach of the President inside the innermost circle of the best-informed, most secure, most visible government office in the United States, what hope do ordinary Americans have of avoiding eventual infection?

The Imperial Donald’s personal, selfish rejection of CDC and WHO guidelines for taking even the simplest precautions to protect others around him is completely irresponsible. Along with his push to rapidly re-open the country — which is far more vulnerable than he is as President — we can see what he truly thinks of his own staff, his base, and the American public.

Rules for thee, not for me.
posted by cenoxo at 5:44 AM on May 10, 2020 [6 favorites]


Add it to the list of threats to our national security that Trump has pretended do not exist. And the list of indictable nonfeasance and malfeasance of office charges he should be slapped with.

And yes, framing the liability thing as a debate is ridiculous. Nobody thinks businesses should be sued if they are following all applicable health and safety guidelines and that offer workers reasonable accommodation. Happily, the laws currently in place should already be sufficient to prevent suits against those who are acting in good faith.

Responsible reporting would note that Republicans have long had a stated goal to make businesses unaccountable for their torts and that no new law is necessary to do what the Republicans are currently saying needs to be done. It's not even disaster capitalism they are trying for, it's just straight up fascism.
posted by wierdo at 5:58 AM on May 10, 2020 [4 favorites]


Nobody thinks businesses should be sued if they are following all applicable health and safety guidelines and that offer workers reasonable accommodation.

I think the liability debate has more depth than the WaPo article outlines, but I was pulling quotes to highlight the contrast with the Trump administration reportedly not following CDC quarantine guidelines.
Reopening is dangerous. And some workers and customers will die and some companies will face lawsuits as a result. But if your argument is that companies can’t afford to be saddled with the costs of paying for someone’s illness or death, then why do you think employees can afford it, asked Kenneth Dau-Schmidt, an employment law and labor professor at Indiana University who has advised businesses on reopening. “They will be stuck with either the decision to take a risk and return to work — and if I die, my family is left without me and my paycheck and there’s no compensation for it — or give up my job and look for a new one at a time when the economy is in really bad shape,” he said. He said rather than litigation shields, it makes sense to have a compensation program for workers and their families, because he doesn’t think that traditional workers’ compensation will cover an illness that’s rampant in society. (Workers’ compensation doesn’t extend to the flu, for example.)
Or, perhaps we live in abnormally dangerous times (Justia) and businesses should be held to a stricter standard, to streamline litigation and reduce costs.
posted by katra at 8:26 AM on May 10, 2020 [4 favorites]


Fauci and Birx's public withdrawal worries health experts (Politico)
Key health agencies remain relegated to the background. Some congressional requests for health officials’ testimony are being rejected. And though the task force is still intact, it has not held a press briefing for 13 days — the longest the public has gone without having Anthony Fauci or Deborah Birx at the White House podium since the briefings began in late February. [...] those public appearances will be on an “as needed” basis, said the official, who could not say if the task force would resume any regular briefing schedule — or if a federal health agency like the Centers for Disease Control would eventually take over as the face of the public health response. Public health experts have urged the administration to put the CDC in charge of the response for months, arguing it would help de-politicize the response.
White House adviser Hassett: 'It's scary to go to work' (Politico)
White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett acknowledged on Sunday it’s risky to work in the White House now that several staff have tested positive for the coronavirus. “It’s scary to go to work,” he said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "I'll wear a mask when I feel it's necessary," he explained, noting he had one with him for Sunday’s interview.
Guardian: "Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, gave his sobering assessment of the pandemic on NBC’s Meet the Press, saying “we’re going to see 60 to 70% of Americans” infected with Covid-19.
We have to understand that we’re riding this tiger, we’re not directing it,” Osterholm said. “This virus is going to do what it’s going to do. What we can do is only nibble at the edges, and I think it’s not a good message to send to the public that we can control this virus in a meaningful way. ... What we have to tell people honestly, what they want to hear, they don’t want it sugarcoated and they don’t want it coated in fear. But somewhere between now and tomorrow, next year, we’re going to see 60 to 70% of Americans ultimately infected with this virus. What we have to do is to figure out how not just to die with the virus but also how to live with it. And we’re not having that discussion. As Lewis Carrol once said: ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.’”
posted by katra at 9:34 AM on May 10, 2020 [7 favorites]


It is a complete and total lie that our only option is to just let everyone get infected, just hopefully slowly enough to have the ability to provide medical care for everyone who needs it as a result of the pandemic.

We can exert a tremendous amount of control over how big this thing gets through manufacturing and distributing sufficient PPE that everyone can mask up and wear gloves any time they leave the house, requiring that people use it and actually enforce it rather than just giving up because it makes some snowflakes throw a temper tantrum, keeping as many people as possible working from home, and enforcing appropriate social distancing measures.

The only thing stopping us is the treasonous man baby in the White House and his equally treasonous boot licking enablers whose sole aim is to ensure government can't do anything at all except shovel money into their donor's bank accounts. The insistence that there is nothing we can do to stop it only serves to excuse Trump's epic failure. If it can't be stopped, he can't be blamed for not stopping it.

Trump said it was a war, so maybe it's time we started acting like it.
posted by wierdo at 9:56 AM on May 10, 2020 [12 favorites]


Fauci and Birx's public withdrawal worries health experts
Maybe it's okay if Birx is taking a bit of a breather? As deaths mount, Trump tries to convince Americans it’s safe to inch back to normal (WaPo, May 9, 2020) During a task force meeting Wednesday, a heated discussion broke out between Deborah Birx, the physician who oversees the administration’s coronavirus response, and Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Birx and others were frustrated with the CDC’s antiquated system for tracking virus data, which they worried was inflating some statistics — such as mortality rate and case count — by as much as 25 percent, according to four people present for the discussion or later briefed on it. Two senior administration officials said the discussion was not heated.

“There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust,” Birx said, according to two of the people. [...]

Birx said in a statement: “Mortality is slowly declining each day. To keep with this trend, it is essential that seniors and those with comorbidities shelter in place and that we continue to protect vulnerable communities.” That assertion is contrary to Johns Hopkins data, which shows U.S. daily deaths hovering close to 2,000 most days for several weeks now, and climbing higher some days last week. Many experts also believe coronavirus deaths are actually being undercounted, with mortality data showing that U.S. deaths soared in the early weeks of pandemic, far beyond the number attributed to covid-19.
--
Emphasis mine. From 2005-2014, Birx was the the Director of CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA), which is part of the agency’s Center for Global Health.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:57 AM on May 10, 2020 [3 favorites]


Contagion within the White House would be catastrophic for our national security

On the other hand, it would at least temporarily incapacitate two of the people who have done a tremendous amount of harm to the country, so having them be temporarily replaced with more capable people may be exactly what we need.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:01 AM on May 10, 2020 [11 favorites]


Trump is so vain he might just straight up resist orderly 25th amendment transfers of power to Pence (and thereby to others) if he gets ill. And the Trump yes men will resist pushing it because of fear of repercussions from Trump and his minions and base after/if Trump recovers (or heck even if he doesn't). If Pence is ahead of Trump on the curve and both are incapacitated by the virus, *boom* Acting President Pelosi. It's hard to imagine cases where the pandemic gets worse but the resulting constitutional crisis as the GOP refuse to or at minimum continuously question the legitimacy of Acting President Pelosi would definitely do it.
posted by Mitheral at 10:44 AM on May 10, 2020 [4 favorites]


It is a complete and total lie that our only option is to just let everyone get infected, just hopefully slowly enough to have the ability to provide medical care for everyone who needs it as a result of the pandemic.

And it can be difficult to pull concise quotes to make it more clear that it doesn't appear that is what Osterholm appears to be advocating.
“When we say what we mean by opening the economy, that’s really unclear,” Osterholm said. “We have to, we can’t stay locked down for 18 months, but at the same time when you have cases increasing, deaths increasing, healthcare workers without adequate protective equipment, and we’re suddenly going back to what was once our normal lives, that’s not a safe place to be. We can’t do that and not expect to see a major increase in cases.”
Guardian: Atlanta mayor slams Trump for 'erratic leadership'
“Many young people are out and about as if everything is normal,” she said. “Our malls have opened. Restaurants are reopening. But, anecdotally, I have spoken with just as many people who have said that they will remain at home. “Many of our Fortune 500 companies are not reopening for business just yet. And I think … therein lies the issue that we have really across this nation. You have Fortune 500 companies and people who have the ability to telework are able to remain at home, but our frontline workers, many who are most vulnerable in terms of having access to health insurance and to quality health care, are the people who are having to go back out to work. “And so we will see over the next couple of weeks what this massive health experiment, what the results are in our state.”

Asked what she would like to see from the federal and state government to help remedy the kind of racial disparities in Covid-19 patients referred to by Robert F Smith on NBC, Bottoms said: “One, I think that we need to make sure that people have access to funding, people who own small businesses, that they have access to these loans, and that they are able to make decisions not based on economics, but what is best for their health and for their families and for their communities. “But, also, I think that we have to be responsible. We know that there will be a time that we have to reopen this country, because we’re not at the point that there is a cure or even a vaccine for Covid-19. But I think we have to be very thoughtful. I don’t think the way to reopen up Georgia and stimulate the economy is to send the people out who can least afford to get sick.”
posted by katra at 10:56 AM on May 10, 2020 [2 favorites]


continuously question the legitimacy of Acting President

Well that's a guarantee, so how to deal with it needs to be in the plan from the get-go. They did it with Barack Obama, FFS. Pelosi would have to use force and threats to get people to do every. little. thing. from enacting directives to delivering the morning paper.
posted by ctmf at 10:57 AM on May 10, 2020 [3 favorites]


If Pence is ahead of Trump on the curve and both are incapacitated by the virus, *boom* Acting President Pelosi.

This is not true. If the president is incapacitated under the 25th amendment, it doesn’t matter whether or not the VP is incapacitated, he and only he is the Acting President anyway.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:04 AM on May 10, 2020


If Trump and Pence are simultaneously incapacitated, General Haig can take over.
posted by orange ball at 11:05 AM on May 10, 2020 [6 favorites]


Or Pelosi. Isn't that the order of succession?
posted by Sublimity at 11:08 AM on May 10, 2020


My 7yo niece is really good at Dr Mario, so she's far more qualified than the current leadership if the succession breaks down.
posted by adept256 at 11:10 AM on May 10, 2020 [1 favorite]


A Presidential Succession Nightmare (Jack Goldsmith, Ben Miller-Gootnick, Lawfare, Mar. 25, 2020)
Imagine, as it is easy to do, that President Trump and Vice President Pence die or are temporarily unable to discharge the powers and duties of the Office of the President due to infection by the coronavirus. The 1947 statute says that in that circumstance, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi “shall … act as President” after resigning as speaker and from Congress. [...] But in truth it’s a nightmare scenario for all Americans because there is a powerful (though not airtight) argument that the Succession Act’s placement of the speaker in the line of presidential succession (and after her, the president pro tempore of the Senate) is contrary to the Constitution’s Succession Clause. That clause states that only an “Officer” may succeed and act as president. Most of the pertinent commentary maintains that the term “Officer” here does not include members of Congress. If that is right, Pelosi could not constitutionally “act as President,” even though the statute says she can.

But who would decide the controversy? Imagine that Pelosi declares herself acting president after Trump and Pence become incapacitated. And imagine that, at the same time, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (the executive officer next in line under the statute) declares himself acting president on the basis of a legal opinion from Attorney General William Barr proclaiming legislative succession to the presidency unconstitutional. How would the matter be resolved? The answer, as we discuss below, is unclear.
posted by katra at 11:16 AM on May 10, 2020 [5 favorites]


Trump wants America to ‘normalize’ coronavirus deaths. It’s the media’s job not to play along. (Margaret Sullivan, WaPo Perspective)
“The problem with normalizing deaths,” they wrote in a recent essay for the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University, where Lutz is an anthropology professor, is that “it allows more deaths. It makes it easier for the horrors of virus deaths to fall off the broadcast news chyron, to divert resources away from public health and for future politicians to treat the next pandemic even more glibly.” Consider the way news outlets and pundits have adopted the language of “reopening the country” from politicians, making it a constant in headlines, cable panel discussions and radio reports. This terminology presents a false choice. [...] Even worse, it conflates what’s good for the economy with what’s good for the citizens of the country. Then there’s Trump’s latest trope: “We have to be warriors. We can’t keep our country closed down for years.” Rather than encouraging Americans to think in a more nuanced way about how to prevent coronavirus deaths while helping the millions who are suffering financial disaster, the language implies a brutal and necessary trade-off.

[...] The media’s role in Trump’s plan-without-a-plan? Well, he’s counting on us to regurgitate and magnify his message — and in doing so, make people begin to shrug off the daily horrors as inevitable. When journalists repeat the rhetoric about the necessity of widespread “reopening” or when they become inured to the continuing death count, they do his work for him. But there’s another way. The media can find ways to point out the loaded language and its political purpose. [...] We can report on alternative strategies to the flailing, premature attempts to return to life as we knew it. We can emphasize what the scientists and medical professionals are saying. And, above all, we can keep making the deaths and suffering personal, more than mere numbers. Tell the stories of those who died. And, as Fernandez put it, “keep highlighting the abnormalities” — the ways that the virus has so cruelly upended our standards of what is acceptable.
posted by katra at 11:45 AM on May 10, 2020 [9 favorites]


Trump needs a bubble in which to build his fantasy reality among, well, supporters, but every time he tries, reality pokes a hole in it. So now instead of (or in addition to) calling the news fake, he's trying to bully them into helping him build that bubble, which I imagine involves not running bubble-poking stories and angles.
posted by rhizome at 12:12 PM on May 10, 2020 [2 favorites]


The storm we can’t see (Garrett M. Graff, WaPo, May 8, 2020)
Our leaders are guilty of a colossal failure of imagination. The ability to understand what’s truly happening is a prerequisite for devising solutions. Until they begin looking squarely at the daunting reality, the United States has no chance of surmounting this crisis. [...]

Addressing the Great Depression took enormous creativity and agility by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Dealers; it required massive new social programs, employment efforts that transformed the country and targeted individual industries, right down to literally paying writers to write about the Great Depression. The federal response to that crisis also underscores how large and long the U.S. government’s present-day interventions might need to be. [...] It’s clear that we as a country need to be thinking in terms of tens of trillions of dollars of federal effort over the next decade. Planning in terms of weeks and $1,200 stimulus payments certainly helps now, but it’s no Marshall Plan. Every hour and day that the federal government fails to recognize the scale of this problem, the problem gets worse — and the solutions will be harder and more expensive.
posted by katra at 12:18 PM on May 10, 2020 [9 favorites]


A Presidential Succession Nightmare (Jack Goldsmith, Ben Miller-Gootnick, Lawfare, Mar. 25, 2020)

I find it deliciously ironic that the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 was passed by a congress that featured Republican majorities in both houses.

(Fun historical note: the political career of the Republican Speaker of the House at the time, Joseph W. Martin Jr., was later ended by a Heckler.)
posted by hangashore at 1:34 PM on May 10, 2020


Oh, man, another WPA would be tremendous. The advances in communications, and transportation, and sanitation, and... there were just so many ways that the New Deal bettered living conditions and lives, and it could have done even more. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was an ambitious employment and infrastructure program created by President Roosevelt in 1935, during the bleakest years of the Great Depression. Over its eight years of existence, the WPA put roughly 8.5 million Americans to work. Perhaps best known for its public works projects, the WPA also sponsored projects in the arts – the agency employed tens of thousands of actors, musicians, writers and other artists. The WPA employed 700,000 people in New York City, including my granddad. Have a look at that division's accomplishments in a single year: WPA Projects in New York City, 1 July 1938-30 June 1939. (Notable projects; interactive map highlighting a few of them.) The LivingNewDeal.org site has country-wide projects searchable by location, category, agency, or artist.

Can you imagine? Yeah, it's infrastructure week, again, as in: important work gets completed, measurably improving the standard of living for all of us. Competency and decency, how exotic and enchanting.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:35 PM on May 10, 2020 [13 favorites]


I suspect that another WPA would be very difficult to achieve, as most conservatives have been spending the past 50 years trying to undo many of the programs created by the WPA on the grounds that they were "socialism".

However, this particular congress being forced to create a new WPA in order to repair the damage caused by how Trump handled the coronavirus would be....(Chefkiss)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:11 PM on May 10, 2020 [4 favorites]


Then there’s Trump’s latest trope: “We have to be warriors. We can’t keep our country closed down for years.”

This is too stupid. If you carry on as usual with no protective measures, you're a warrior alright, and you're fighting for the enemy. You're carrying the ammo and performing strikes. You're a fucking traitor killing Americans.

I mean, FUCK.
posted by adept256 at 2:20 PM on May 10, 2020 [8 favorites]


...right down to literally paying writers to write about the Great Depression.

Not to mention many great WPA artists and photographers.
posted by cenoxo at 2:57 PM on May 10, 2020


One might also worry that doubling down on the 'warriors' thing would remind people that one was a draft-dodger.
posted by box at 3:00 PM on May 10, 2020 [1 favorite]


I suspect that another WPA would be very difficult to achieve, as most conservatives have been spending the past 50 years trying to undo many of the programs created by the WPA on the grounds that they were "socialism".

Maybe, but I think Trump is kind of more flexible than typical conservatives on doing these sorts of things, as long as there's something in it for him. Like a week ago he floated the idea of giving aid to states if they changed their sanctuary cities policies. So, my concern with Trump doing some kind of WPA program is using it as a vehicle for his earlier campaign promises like building The Wall.
posted by FJT at 3:02 PM on May 10, 2020


‘Scary to Go to Work’: White House Races to Contain Virus in Its Ranks (Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, NYT)
Mr. Trump continues to reject guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to wear a mask when meeting with groups of people. But a senior administration official said the president was spooked that his valet, who is among those who serve him food, had not been wearing a mask. And he was annoyed to learn that Ms. Miller tested positive and has been growing irritated with people who get too close to him, the official said.

Two senior administration officials said there were no plans to keep Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence apart because of a concern that they both could be incapacitated by Covid-19. [...] The White House is frequently testing its staff using ID Now, a rapid test by Abbott Laboratories that can generate a result in five to 13 minutes. [...] But some hospitals and doctors found that it was turning up too many false negatives — cases in which people really had the virus, but the test said they did not. [...] In recent weeks, some White House aides have also received other tests that require deep nasal swabs and take several hours to process. [...] Those tests, which are made by several different companies, are also not perfect.
Mike Pence self-isolates after aide was diagnosed with coronavirus - Bloomberg reporter (Reuters / MSN)
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is self-isolating away from the White House after an aide was diagnosed with the coronavirus, a Bloomberg reporter tweeted https://twitter.com/JenniferJJacobs/status/1259603437664243714 on Sunday. Pence has repeatedly tested negative, including on Sunday, for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the tweet added.
posted by katra at 3:32 PM on May 10, 2020 [1 favorite]


With the current "administration" such a program would be a springboard for still more grifting.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:34 PM on May 10, 2020


does Mike Pence live in a time warp?
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:35 PM on May 10, 2020


the president was spooked that his valet, who is among those who serve him food, had not been wearing a mask.

it was turning up too many false negatives

You mean he's starting to be personally affected by all the stupid decisions he's been trying to push on the American people? Is the next story going to be a white house staffer dies after taking chloroquinine?

no plans to keep Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence apart because of a concern that they both could be incapacitated by Covid-19

What could go wrong. I mean he's just SO fucking stupid and stubborn about listening to anyone else or changing his mind. People will die because of that, and it may well include him.
posted by ctmf at 3:51 PM on May 10, 2020 [5 favorites]


Quarantine and Isolation (CDC)
If you feel healthy but: Recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19

Stay Home and Monitor Your Health (Quarantine)

* Stay home until 14 days after your last exposure.
* Check your temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms of COVID-19.
* If possible, stay away from people who are at higher-risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
@JenniferJJacobs Pence "has tested negative every single day and plans to be at the White House tomorrow," a spokesman for the VP, Devin O’Malley, says in a statement. May 10, 2020

@JenniferJJacobs Because of the possible coronavirus exposure from his staffer, Pence chose not to attend Trump's meeting Saturday with military leaders at White House. One of joint chiefs who wasn't there, Michael Gilday, chief of Naval Operations, just tested negative for coronavirus, I'm told. May 10, 2020
posted by katra at 4:07 PM on May 10, 2020 [1 favorite]


Given that the Succession Act was passed relatively contemporaneously with the 25th Amendment, it's pretty clear that Congress, the States, and the Executive all agreed that it was both Constitutional and appropriate at the time. It's just yet another "flood them with bullshit" kind of argument. It's been the law of the land since before I was born, and I'm not exactly young any more. Only in the past couple of years have these "concerns" about its Constitutionality existed.
posted by wierdo at 4:25 PM on May 10, 2020 [8 favorites]


Planning in terms of weeks and $1,200 stimulus payments certainly helps now, but it’s no Marshall Plan.

that would be $1200 stimulus payment, singular. it's fucking insane that the government has barely even given the citizenry that much of their money back (barely as many people still haven't gotten paid and will never get paid) and just kinda expected everyone to figure it out. america is a failed state.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:13 PM on May 10, 2020 [7 favorites]


Trump charges Obama with 'biggest political crime in American history' • Guardian; Martin Pengelly; 10 May 2020 • "Retweet storm after justice department drops Flynn case"
“The biggest political crime in American history, by far!” the president wrote in a tweet accompanying a conservative talk show host’s claim that Barack Obama “used his last weeks in office to target incoming officials and sabotage the new administration”.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:37 PM on May 10, 2020 [1 favorite]


Chief of Naval Operations quarantined; head of National Guard tests positive for COVID-19, Task & Purpose, Jeff Schogol, 5/10/2020:
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday [WP bio] will be quarantined for one week after coming into contact with a relative who is sickened with the coronavirus, a Defense Department spokesman said on Sunday. Gilday has tested negative for the coronavirus, the spokesman said.

Separately, Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel [WP bio], head of the National Guard Bureau, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the Defense Department spokesman said. Lengyel tested negative for COVID-19 on Sunday and will have a third test on Monday to confirm that he does not have the disease.

Neither Gilday nor Lengyel attended a meeting at the White House on Saturday with the president and senior military leaders....
See also: Chief of U.S. National Guard in limbo after conflicting coronavirus tests: officials; Reuters, Idrees Ali & Phil Stewart, 5/10/2020.
posted by cenoxo at 6:38 PM on May 10, 2020 [4 favorites]


Obviously the Coronavirus has its heart set on Trump. I hope it works out.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:10 PM on May 10, 2020 [6 favorites]


> I suspect that another WPA would be very difficult to achieve, as most conservatives have been spending the past 50 years trying to undo many of the programs created by the WPA on the grounds that they were "socialism".

Maybe, but I think Trump is kind of more flexible than typical conservatives on doing these sorts of things, as long as there's something in it for him.


Oh, I wasn't thinking of Trump when I said that. I was thinking of Congressmen - Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:46 PM on May 10, 2020 [1 favorite]


Some of my lunatics fancy themselves King...The Madness of King George - King George III meets Dr. Willis.
posted by cenoxo at 8:04 PM on May 10, 2020 [1 favorite]


america is a failed state.

America is largely run by people who want it to be a failed state, yes. When you put people who don't believe in government in charge of government, that is the inevitable outcome.
posted by wierdo at 10:21 PM on May 10, 2020 [13 favorites]


If 80% of Americans Wore Masks, COVID-19 Infections Would Plummet, New Study Says — There’s compelling evidence that Japan, Hong Kong, and other East Asian locales are doing it right and we should really, truly mask up—fast., Vanity Fair, David Ewing Duncan; 5/8/2020:
...If you’re wondering whether to wear or not to wear, consider this. The day before yesterday [5/6/2020], 21 people died of COVID-19 in Japan. In the United States, 2,129 died. Comparing overall death rates for the two countries offers an even starker point of comparison with total U.S. deaths now at a staggering 76,032 and Japan’s fatalities at 577. Japan’s population is about 38% of the U.S., but even adjusting for population, the Japanese death rate is a mere 2% of America’s.

This comes despite Japan having no lockdown, still-active subways, and many businesses that have remained open—reportedly including karaoke bars, although Japanese citizens and industries are practicing social distancing where they can. Nor have the Japanese broadly embraced contact tracing, a practice by which health authorities identify someone who has been infected and then attempt to identify everyone that person might have interacted with—and potentially infected. So how does Japan do it?

“One reason is that nearly everyone there is wearing a mask,” said De Kai, an American computer scientist with joint appointments at UC Berkeley’s International Computer Science Institute and at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He is also the chief architect of an in-depth study, set to be released in the coming days [*], that suggests that every one of us should be wearing a mask—whether surgical or homemade, scarf or bandana—like they do in Japan and other countries, mostly in East Asia....

[*Details and links follow in the article.]
Some wag might even say: “Besides those who refuse to wear masks (and ask others to take theirs off), what have we got to lose?
posted by cenoxo at 3:38 AM on May 11, 2020 [13 favorites]


Watching people turn an elementary public health precaution that is, at worst, mildly inconvenient, into some sort of culture war identity politics shibboleth has been....well, discouraging.
posted by thelonius at 5:48 AM on May 11, 2020 [24 favorites]


When you put people who don't believe in government in charge of government, that is the inevitable outcome.

Oh, they believe in it. They know how effective it is. The problem is that this efficacy comes at a price, and a few more cents out of every dollar after the first ten million or so is simply unacceptable to them.
posted by Etrigan at 5:51 AM on May 11, 2020 [4 favorites]


"If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever"
On Wednesday, dozens of garbage workers, employed by the temp service People Ready, went on strike, demanding proper safety equipment.
After striking, the workers were fired en-masse.
Prison Labor Replaces Striking Garbage Workers.
Under state rules, prison inmates, employed by Metro Services, will be paid only 13% of what garbage workers, who only make $10.25-an-hour, are being paid.
posted by adamvasco at 6:54 AM on May 11, 2020 [9 favorites]


When you put people who don't believe in government in charge of government, that is the inevitable outcome.

Oh, they believe in it. They know how effective it is. The problem is that this efficacy comes at a price, and a few more cents out of every dollar after the first ten million or so is simply unacceptable to them.
posted by Etrigan at 8:51 AM on May 11


Eh. The case has been made - I think most prominently by Charles P. Pierce, but who can remember anymore - that while the Reagans and the William F. Buckleys and the Newt Gingrichs knew that "government is ineffective" was bullshit to be used as cover for funneling more dough into the pockets of the rich, we're now into a second or even third generation of conservative politicians and pundits (Matt Gaetz, Tucker Carlson, Tomi Lahren, etc.) who have pretty literally been raised hearing this since a young age, so they believe that it's true. That's part of the reason they're so cultish about it all, nobody ever told them that "the government is the problem" was, like Santa Claus, a convenient fiction.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:11 AM on May 11, 2020 [18 favorites]


Native American tribes reject coronavirus checkpoint threat
The Ogala Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux nations in the US state of South Dakota continued on Monday to reject attempts by Republican Governor Kristi Noem to force the tribes to take down coronavirus health checkpoints on their land.

On Friday, Noem had threated legal action if the checkpoints on federal and state highways were not removed within two days, a move that would violate both tribal sovereignty as well as existing agreements between the state and Sioux governments. The checkpoints are part of the measures the tribes have put in place to stop the spread of the pandemic in their territory.

Harold Frazier, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux, said "we will not apologize for being an island of safety in a sea of uncertainty and death…You continuing to interfere in our efforts to do what science and facts dictate seriously undermine our ability to protect everyone on the reservation."

[...]

Last week, more than a dozen tribes across the US announced they were suing the federal government over a delay in federal pandemic relief funding. According to the stimulus package agreed to by the US Congress and signed by President Trump, $8 billion was to be allocated to hard-hit Indigenous nations. However, lawyers for the tribes say they have not received any of the funding due a dispute with the Trump administration, which is arguing that for-profit businesses run by Native Americans in Alaska, a state valuable to US oil interests, should be allocated some of the funds.
posted by XMLicious at 10:44 AM on May 11, 2020 [10 favorites]


Washington state residents threatened for complaining about businesses violating lockdown orders (WaPo live blog, May 10, 2020)
Residents in Washington state who complained about businesses violating Gov. Jay Inslee’s coronavirus restrictions have faced harassment and threats of violence after their contact information was posted on Facebook pages of conservative groups, the Seattle Times reports. [...] The residents’ names, emails and phone numbers appeared in a spreadsheet shared last week by groups called Washington Three Percenters and Reopen Washington State, both of which have promoted recent protests over restrictions intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Times reported. A spokeswoman for the state’s pandemic response office told the newspaper that the groups probably got the information through public records requests for complaints that have been filed.
No quarantine for Mike Pence despite rash of Covid-19 cases in White House (Guardian)
Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee who chairs the health committee, has entered self-quarantine after a staffer tested positive.

[...] While Trump was reportedly “spooked” by the revelation that his valet had carried the virus, it has also been reported that he told confidants he fears he would look ridiculous in a mask and the image would appear in negative ads. “It’s a vanity thing, I guess, with him,” the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said on MSNBC. “You’d think, as the president of the United States, you would have the confidence to honor the guidance he’s giving the country.”
posted by katra at 11:01 AM on May 11, 2020 [6 favorites]


Shutdown of tribal casinos deals blow to Indian Country, The Missoulian, Nicholas K. Geranos (Associated Press); 5/10/2020:
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — When the Kalispel Tribe of Indians closed its casino as the coronavirus took hold in Washington state, it essentially shut down its economy.

That difficult choice has played out nationwide as some 500 Native American casinos have voluntarily closed during the pandemic, often taking away tribes' main source of income in an effort to protect people's health in communities with limited medical resources.

The U.S. government authorized $8 billion for tribes in a coronavirus relief package in March, when most casinos closed, but it's been slow to distribute the money, deepening the woes on reservations. “We can't fund any programs without the casino" — no health care, education, law enforcement or fire protection, said Phil Haugen, chief operating officer of the Kalispel Tribal Economic Authority.
...
While other Native American-owned casinos have reopened or plan to in coming weeks, most are still closed. That's also forced layoffs and furloughs among the more than 1 million people working for tribes, many of them in casinos.
posted by cenoxo at 11:25 AM on May 11, 2020 [4 favorites]


...it has also been reported that he [Trump] told confidants he fears he would look ridiculous in a mask and the image would appear in negative ads.

Not at all — if Trump wore this mask, nobody would notice the difference.
posted by cenoxo at 11:36 AM on May 11, 2020 [3 favorites]


he told confidants he fears he would look ridiculous in a mask and the image would appear in negative ads

I mean he's not wrong, chunks of his base would go ballistic. Look at how the world shifted into this shitty alternate timeline when the last president wore a TAN suit.

Of course a real leader would tell those people to pound sand if he acknowledged them at all but *shrug*.
posted by Mitheral at 12:51 PM on May 11, 2020 [3 favorites]


Coronavirus: California rodeo attracts thousands despite social distancing orders (The Independent, May 11, 2020) ‘We have inalienable rights given to us by God,’ spectator says

Thousands attended a rodeo in California despite state orders against public gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic, it has been reported. Crowds could be seen packed tightly in the stands at Sunday’s annual Cottonwood Rodeo in rural Shasta County, after local police said they would not enforce the state’s lockdown orders. Video also showed people queueing outside toilets and food trucks, even though organisers promised food would not be sold at the event. Despite the crisis – California has seen more than 66,000 cases of Covid-19 – a number of spectators told local media they felt safe enough to attend due to Shasta County’s low rates of confirmed infections.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:18 PM on May 11, 2020 [5 favorites]


Welp, here we are : Guardian liveblog, "Trump on coronavirus: 'We have met the moment and we have prevailed'
Trump declared victory over what he has called the “invisible enemy” as Covid-19 deaths surpasses 80,000.

“We have met the moment and we have prevailed,” Trump, flanked by ventilators and testing supplies, said during a briefing in the Rose Garden on Monday. He later clarified he was discussing testing."
posted by soundguy99 at 2:24 PM on May 11, 2020 [7 favorites]




Trump doesn't want coronavirus testing: His instinct is always to hide the truthSalon; Amanda Marcotte; April 22, 2020
Lying about statistics is at the heart of who Trump is. The man has never met a number that he didn't think he should immediately improve to flatter himself through straight-up lying and manipulation. [...]

Trump lies about numbers compulsively because he has gotten away with it his whole life, mostly by leaving other people to clean up the messes he's made. That's how he managed to survive multiple bankruptcies, which were no doubt caused in large part by his compulsion to manipulating the numbers until it finally caught up with him.

[...] His every instinct is to lie and cheat, especially when it comes to concealing truth and manipulating numbers, and he simply will never believe there's any situation he can't lie and cheat his way out of.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:30 PM on May 11, 2020 [11 favorites]


"Evacuating" might be a little dramatic. The Indian government is making commercial and military flight arrangements to return its citizens in the United States back to India.

In weeks past, American citizens in India (and other countries) have been repatriated back to the United States — US repatriates over 4,000 Americans from India, Economic Times, 4/23/2020:
Washington: The US has so far repatriated over 4,000 Americans from India and efforts are being made to bring back about 6,000 more from the country, a senior US official has said.

The US Department of State has coordinated the repatriation of 65,000 American citizens and family members from 122 countries on 687 flights so far. This includes over 1,000 US citizens from Pakistan. "In India, we've already coordinated the repatriation of more than 4,000 US citizens. We have four more flights scheduled in the coming days," Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Ian Brownlee told reporters at a press conference here on Wednesday. Brownlee said some 6,000 Americans are being repatriated from India in the coming days.

"Looking across the entire world, we're tracking the greatest number (of Americans) are still in South Central Asia, India and Pakistan. And the vast bulk of those are in India -- it's like 6,000 or so. (In) Western Hemisphere, we're tracking somewhere in the 4,000 range. Africa comes next with about 3,000," he said.

Brownlee strongly encouraged US citizens in India, Pakistan and elsewhere to register at step.state.gov [Smart Traveler Enrollment Program] and also to monitor embassy websites [USEmbassy.gov] carefully for the latest information on the special repatriation flights. "Consular sections around the world are consistently sending out detailed messages about the status of repatriation flights and local health conditions via STEP as well as through our embassy websites and social media accounts," he said.
See also: Covid-19: US plans last repatriation flights out of India, American Bazaar Wire, 4/16/2020:
Stranded in India due to coronavirus pandemic, many Americans face a dilemma: fly back to the worst affected nation or shelter in a completely locked down India with less than 425 deaths to date. But Uncle Sam is getting impatient with their indecision. Faced with diminishing demand for repatriation flights, it has served notice on them to make up their minds “or be prepared to remain in India until commercial flights resume.”

India which banned all international flights on March 22 has extended a nationwide lockdown until May 3 midnight. All international and domestic flights remain suspended until then.

In its latest update Thursday, the US embassy in New Delhi said the US State Department and the US Mission to India have repatriated over 3,200 US citizens from India to the US in recent weeks — indicating only 100 or so Americans had flown out in the last couple of days....
posted by cenoxo at 4:36 PM on May 11, 2020 [3 favorites]


The Trump administration's "monstrous idea": Direct payments in exchange for Social Security cutsSalon; Jake Johnson; May 11, 2020
Suddenly concerned about the growing national debt now that corporations have secured access to trillions of dollars in COVID-19 bailout funds with little oversight, Trump administration officials are reportedly considering several proposals purportedly aimed at reducing government spending — including a pair of plans that would provide Americans with cash payments in exchange for delays or cuts to their Social Security benefits.

In addition to weighing a push for automatic federal spending cuts that would take effect once the economy rebounds from the coronavirus crisis, Washington Post reported Sunday that top White House economic officials are "exploring a proposal floated by two conservative scholars that would allow Americans to choose to receive checks of up to $5,000 in exchange for a delay of their Social Security benefits."

Senior administration officials have also "discussed the 'Eagle Plan,' a 29-page memo that called for an overhaul of federal retirement programs in exchange for upfront payments to some workers," according to the Post. "The proposal calls for giving Americans $10,000 upfront in exchange for curbing their federal retirement benefits, such as Social Security."
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:42 PM on May 11, 2020 [7 favorites]


Eagle Plan
Say what you will about the 'founding fathers,' sometimes even they knew the score: Bald eagles are opportunistic predators meaning that in addition to hunting for live prey, they will steal from other animals (primarily from other eagles or smaller fish eating birds) or scavenge on carrion.

The coronavirus killed American exceptionalism (Vox, May 6, 2020). The reports coming out of the United States in the coronavirus pandemic have the feel of dispatches from the fall of Rome — a society-wide crackup of what was, in theory, the most advanced and influential nation on the planet. [Over the last few months, MetaFilter FPPs and comment posts linked many news stories referenced in this article.]
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:07 PM on May 11, 2020 [6 favorites]


'Don't ask me. Ask China': Trump clashes with reporters then abruptly leaves press briefing (The Guardian)

"Weijia Jiang, White House correspondent of CBS News, asked why the president constantly emphasises that the US is doing better than any other country when it comes to testing.

“Why does that matter?” she queried. “Why is this a global competition to you if every day Americans are still losing their lives and we are still seeing more cases every day?”

Trump retorted: “Well, they are losing their lives everywhere in the world. Maybe that is a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me. Ask China that question. When you ask China that question you may get a very unusual answer.”

The president then called on another reporter, Kaitlan Collins of CNN, but she paused as Jiang interjected: “Sir, why are you saying that to me, specifically?”

The president replied: “I am not saying it specifically to anybody. I am saying it to anybody who would ask a nasty question like that.”

The CBS correspondent pointed out: “That is not a nasty question.”

Collins, at the microphone, then tried to ask her question, but Trump said he was now looking to someone at the back. As Collins repeatedly objected, the president turned on his heel and left the podium."
posted by valkane at 5:56 PM on May 11, 2020 [14 favorites]


the president takes his balld faced lies and goes home leaving dumbfounded press and staff picking their toes in the rose garden.

inexplicably, that exchange is not featured c-span clip. their full event feed is having some trouble, but it happens around 1:00:37 here. it is probably worth watching the previous few questions, also, when (at about 54:00) he is asked about his wrongful repeated claim that anyone who wants to get tested can get tested, and says that's true, and then that it is not true, and then giroir (contradicting his immediately preceding answer at 51:48) and the novel-flunky-du-jour (i haven't been watching two minutes hate for some time now, that callow youth smith from cms may not be so novel) both explain that everybody who needs to be tested -- need defined by symptoms, contact or expectation of being near the president, and illustrating with the fact that they don't get tested every day -- can get tested, and then the president sums up again asserting that everyone who wants to get tested can get tested, although they shouldn't want to get tested.

nothing should be surprising here anymore, but it is pretty stunning to behold.
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:12 PM on May 11, 2020 [7 favorites]


Well, they are losing their lives everywhere in the world. Maybe that is a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me. Ask China that question.

The transcript actually makes Trump look good compared to the audio and misses out on Wiejia Jiang's reaction. The final couple minutes are a golden example of how women intimidate Trump. Worth a watch even if you normally wouldn't listen to His Cheetoness.

Also it's good to see reporters holding him down to insist on answers to their question and not what ever stream of consciousness Trump lets out.
posted by Mitheral at 7:22 PM on May 11, 2020 [10 favorites]


Should Congress protect businesses from coronavirus lawsuits?

Because Canada can't help but make Trump look bad:

BC WCB announces Corvid-19 added to presumptive schedule:
The measure, known as presumptive coverage, will mean “workers who contract this disease won’t need to jump through unnecessary hoops to prove their work-related illness,” Cronk said.

[...]

These essential workers shouldn’t have to go to the effort of proving their infection is work-related, at a time when they should be focusing on their health and their families while recovering from this terrible disease.
posted by Mitheral at 7:32 PM on May 11, 2020 [6 favorites]


Because Canada can't help but make Trump look bad:

BC WCB announces Corvid-19 added to presumptive schedule


Say, that's really something to crow about!
posted by Reverend John at 8:28 PM on May 11, 2020 [8 favorites]


BC WCB announces Corvid-19 added to presumptive schedule

The Crow-navirus and CORVID-19.
posted by bz at 9:19 PM on May 11, 2020 [3 favorites]


[Previously] After Testing Positive for COVID-19, National Guard Chief Gets Negative Result, Military.com, Oriana Pawlyk, 5/11/2020:
The head of the National Guard has tested negative for the novel coronavirus for the second time since learning he had previously tested positive. Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, received a negative result for COVID-19 at Walter Reed Military Medical Center on Monday, the Guard said in a statement.

Lengyel first tested positive just ahead of Saturday's Joint Chiefs meeting with President Donald Trump. A second test Lengyel took the same day came back negative; officials said he would self-isolate and be screened again "to confirm his negative status."...
posted by cenoxo at 9:40 PM on May 11, 2020 [1 favorite]


It happens all the time, and there are many things that are far more terrible, but it really triggers me when Trump calls people or their questions/statements nasty. This is not the place for sharing why it triggers me personally, and I know there is a whole literature about Republicans and disgust. But it also seems so undignified. Trump wants so much to be respected, but he keeps on doing unrespectable things.
posted by mumimor at 12:36 AM on May 12, 2020 [20 favorites]


Regardless of the American spin on everything, we're still calling them evacuation flights.
posted by Mrs Potato at 1:34 AM on May 12, 2020 [2 favorites]


Considering the sad shameful state of affairs under The Imperial Donald, you’re probably right.
posted by cenoxo at 6:05 AM on May 12, 2020


White House staff ordered to wear masks, BBC News, 5/11/2020. Everyone except the Donald, that is:
White House staff have been ordered to wear masks when entering the West Wing after two aides tested positive for coronavirus.

The White House personnel office has said that staff must cover their faces at all times except when seated at their desks, socially distant from colleagues. The directive comes after an aide for Vice-President Mike Pence and a valet for President Trump fell ill.

Mr Trump said he required the policy. Appearing without a mask in the Rose Garden for a press briefing on Monday, however, the president claimed he did not need to follow the directive because he kept "far away from everyone", and played down the White House infections....
I don’t think the White House staff gets it yet — it’s they (and the rest of us) who need protection from what’s coming out of his mouth.
posted by cenoxo at 6:20 AM on May 12, 2020 [7 favorites]


tryna decide whether to watch/listen to public health officials testify before congress or the oral arguments in the mazars case at the supreme court is a real richness of embarrassments.
posted by 20 year lurk at 6:21 AM on May 12, 2020 [10 favorites]


Trump is continuing deportations during the pandemic. It’s causing the coronavirus to spread.Vox; Nicole Narea; May 12 2020 • "Immigration court hearings and asylum-claims processing have been put on hold. But not deportations."
The US has recently instituted testing of all deportees, but not before they had deported hundreds of Covid-positive immigrants who may have been asymptomatic or developed symptoms after they were placed on the plane. In Guatemala, these deportees account for roughly 19 percent of the country’s total coronavirus cases.

Advocates have been urging the Trump administration to halt deportations during the pandemic to avoid spreading coronavirus in Central America and the Caribbean.

“Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Haiti have very limited capacity for testing, surveillance, and treatment and a limited supply of medical equipment such as ventilators,” Sergio Martín, general coordinator for the nonprofit Doctors Without Borders in Mexico, said in a statement. “A major outbreak of Covid-19 could be catastrophic.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:35 AM on May 12, 2020 [4 favorites]


senate health education labor and pensions committee hears from public health officials (c-span)
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:05 AM on May 12, 2020 [1 favorite]




tryna decide whether to watch/listen to public health officials testify before congress or the oral arguments in the mazars case at the supreme court is a real richness of embarrassments.

Well, the latter seems like it would further allow Trump to think he is above the law, if his tax returns are allowed to remain secret.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:11 AM on May 12, 2020 [1 favorite]


Fauci says US death toll likely an undercount and warns of reopening risks (Guardian)
The New York Times reported that Fauci would deliver a stark warning of the dangers of lifting restrictions too soon. “The major message that I wish to convey … is the danger of trying to open the country prematurely,” Fauci told the paper on Monday night.

“If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country. This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal.” [...] He warned against opening schools on the assumption that children are safe from the disease, noting the recent documentation of a strange inflammatory syndrome in some child cases.
Top health experts testify that the U.S. is not “out of the woods” and warn against reopening too fast. (NYT live blog)
Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday morning that “we are not out of the woods yet,” a day after President Trump declared, “we have met the moment, and we have prevailed.”
posted by katra at 9:26 AM on May 12, 2020 [6 favorites]


Naomi Klein in the Intercept: Under Cover of Mass Death, Andrew Cuomo Calls in the Billionaires to Build a High-Tech Dystopia.
"A future in which our homes are never again exclusively personal spaces but are also, via high-speed digital connectivity, our schools, our doctor’s offices, our gyms, and, if determined by the state, our jails."
Part I of Shock Doctrine and Disaster Capitalism in the age of Covid-19.
posted by adamvasco at 9:48 AM on May 12, 2020 [4 favorites]


Murphy presses health officials for more detailed guidance on reopening (WaPo live blog)
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) pressed health officials over whether the Trump administration would release more detailed guidance to aid states beginning to reopen, adding that the guidance so far provided is “criminally vague.”

Redfield declined to commit to a specific timetable on when the CDC might issue more detailed guidance. Several media outlets reported last week that the White House rejected CDC guidance because it was overly prescriptive. “You work for a president who is frankly undermining our efforts to comply with the guidance you gave us,” Murphy told the health officials. “The guidance you gave us is criminally vague. The plan to reopen America was to be followed by more nuanced, detailed guidance.”
Guardian: Fauci says virus not under control in US
Massachusetts Democratic Senator and recent 2020 candidate Elizabeth Warren just took the proverbial (remote) stage. She said: “In the last 16 weeks over 1.3 million Americans have been infected with coronavirus, 80,000 people have died and 30 million people have lost their jobs. Dr Fauci you have advised six presidents, do we have coronavirus contained?” The US top public health expert Dr Anthony Fauci, testifying remotely, responded starkly: “If you mean ‘do we have it under control?’, no.” [...]

Fauci warned again that if there are not sufficient systems put in place by the fall, for testing, contact tracing and other measures, that there will “inevitably” be a second wave of illness in the US. Warren concluded: “The time for magical thinking is over, we are running out of time to save lives.”
posted by katra at 9:59 AM on May 12, 2020 [6 favorites]


Testing becomes a flash point in the Senate hearing. (NYT live blog)
Admiral Giroir, the assistant secretary of health who is overseeing the government’s testing response, testified that the administration is planning to send enough testing swabs for 12.9 million tests to states over the next four weeks, and that by September, the country will have the ability to conduct 40 to 50 million tests per month. [...] But his remarks drew skepticism from Democratic senators, including Senator Murray of Washington, the committee’s top Democrat. “This administration has had a record of bringing us broken promises that more supplies and testing are coming and they don’t,” she said. “And we know that testing needs will persist long past June, long past.”

The amount of testing in the United States has been steadily increasing, with nearly 400,000 tests processed on Monday, a daily record, according the Covid Tracking Project. But that is still not at the level that many public health experts say will be needed to safely reopen society. Some experts have said that 2 to 3 million people per day must be tested in order to quickly identify hot spots and get the virus under control. Shipping millions of swabs to states doesn’t guarantee that they will immediately begin to scale up testing. [...] Other bottlenecks have also limited the number of tests that can be done, including having enough workers to take samples from patients and enough protective equipment to keep the workers safe. On Monday, a coalition of public health organizations sent a letter to Congress asking for at least $7.6 billion to increase the contact tracing work force in the United States. The organizations say they need at least 100,000 additional contact tracers, 10,000 supervisors, and 1,600 epidemiologists to rapidly build contact tracing capacity in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Romney says U.S. testing record ‘nothing to celebrate whatsoever’ (WaPo live blog)
Trump and other administration officials on Monday regularly pointed to the fact that the U.S. was conducting more testing per capita than South Korea, which has been widely praised for its early and aggressive testing efforts that helped stem its outbreak. Romney said U.S. officials were ignoring the fact that South Korea had far higher testing capacity than the United States early in its outbreak, while the United States was “treading water in February.” South Korea has had fewer than 300 covid-19 deaths. Romney also asked why the CDC’s data collection system was so outdated and asked Redfield what Congress needed to do to help modernize the system.
Guardian: CDC admits the US missed chance to contain Covid-19
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just made a devastating confirmation of what most already realized. He admitted to the Senate health committee hearing underway in Washington that the US failed to contain the coronavirus, thus preventing the fast spread that occurred across the country and so far has killed at least 80,000 people in America. Instead, the US had to move almost directly to the mitigation stage - to try to reduce the severity of the crisis, having failed in late February and early March to prevent the crisis.
posted by katra at 10:13 AM on May 12, 2020 [11 favorites]


The coronavirus crisis in Navajo Nation has gotten so bad that Doctors Without Borders just sent a team into the United States
posted by adamvasco at 12:41 PM on May 12, 2020 [12 favorites]


I don't think the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières involvement is recent: FAQ: MSF's COVID-19 response in the United States (April 17, 2020) MSF first launched our COVID-19 response by partnering with organizations helping the homeless and housing insecure in New York City, which is currently the epicenter of the global pandemic and is also home to our US office. MSF has expanded our COVID-19 response to include teams on the ground in Florida, Puerto Rico, New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. We also are providing remote support—such as advising on infection prevention and control and hospital triage set-up and providing informational materials on COVID-19 best practices—to organizations helping vulnerable groups in various other geographic areas of the US.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:16 PM on May 12, 2020 [6 favorites]


Two big warning signs for Trump in the new coronavirus poll — signs he doesn’t seem to want to see (Aaron Blake, WaPo)
A new Washington Post-Ipsos poll has a pair of important messages for President Trump. They’re just not the ones that he seems to be taking away from the survey. Trump on Tuesday morning appeared to respond to the poll, which shows sterling approval ratings for governors’ responses to the coronavirus outbreak: An average of 71 percent across the country. Trump argued that he deserves credit for that. [...] What Trump did not seem to internalize, though, are the important differences between those governors, or one other important finding from the poll.

[...] As The Post’s Scott Clement and Dan Balz reported in their story on the poll, one of the key differences between the governors is in how aggressively they have been in pushing to reopen their states. While the average approval rating for governors is 71 percent, it goes as high as 86 percent for Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), and it’s significantly lower in a trio of big states in which GOP governors have been slower on stay-at-home orders and more aggressive on reopening: Florida, Georgia and Texas. [...] Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is perhaps the most instructive. His efforts to reopen have arguably been the most controversial — eventually earning a begrudging rebuke from Trump — and he’s at just 39 percent. [...] The Post poll [...] shows that 74 percent of all Americans prefer to “keep trying to slow the spread of the coronavirus, even if that means keeping many businesses closed,” while just 25 percent prefer to “open up businesses and get the economy going again, even if that means more people would get the coronavirus.”
Guardian: Even as Donald Trump urges getting people back to work and reopening the economy, analysis shows thousands of people are getting sick from Covid-19 on the job.
Recent figures show a surge of infections in meatpacking and poultry-processing plants, The Associated Press reports. There’s been a surge of new cases among construction workers in Austin, Texas, where that sector recently returned to work. [...] “The people who are getting sick right now are generally people who are working,” Dr. Mark Escott, a regional health official, told Austin’s city council. “That risk is going to increase the more people are working.”

There are plenty of new infections outside the workplace in nursing homes, and among retired and unemployed people, particularly in densely populated places such as New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and urban parts of New Jersey and Massachusetts. Yet of the 15 US counties with the highest per-capita infection rates between April 28 and May 5, all are homes to meatpacking and poultry-processing plants or state prisons, according to data compiled by the AP. [...] And across the country many health workers were among the earliest Americans to test positive. They continue to be infected in large numbers.
posted by katra at 1:32 PM on May 12, 2020 [3 favorites]


@JoeBiden campaign issues on point video/ad lampooning Trump's minimization of the breaking pandemic.
Donald Trump just doesn't understand: We have an economic crisis because we have a public health crisis — and we have a public health crisis because he failed to act.

posted by Mitheral at 2:22 PM on May 12, 2020 [10 favorites]


Outflanked XIV: A Most Viral Outflankening
House Democrats have unveiled a very good $3 trillion stimulus package. I wonder how those populist firebrands in the Republican Senate conference will respond?
Republicans rejected the legislation even before they saw it, describing it as a liberal wish list that would go nowhere in the Republican-led Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he was at work on crafting liability protections for businesses instead. “This is not a time for aspirational legislation,” McConnell said.
Comrades Hawley and Cotton are going to be furious when they hear about this!
For those who haven't been following LGM's "Outflanked" series, here's some context.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:37 PM on May 12, 2020 [3 favorites]


Illinois had a bad day...

4000 new cases. Yikes.

Texas up to fourth in new cases, Florida up to sixth, and Georgia up to ninth... How's that re-opening shit working out for your citizens, you shithole Govenors?
posted by Windopaene at 4:27 PM on May 12, 2020 [6 favorites]


Unreleased White House report shows coronavirus rates spiking in heartland communities (NBC News)
Coronavirus infection rates are spiking to new highs in several metropolitan areas and smaller communities across the country, according to undisclosed data the White House's pandemic task force is using to track rates of infection, which was obtained by NBC News. The data in a May 7 coronavirus task force report are at odds with President Donald Trump's declaration Monday that "all throughout the country, the numbers are coming down rapidly."

The 10 top areas recorded surges of 72.4 percent or greater over a seven-day period compared to the previous week, according to a set of tables produced for the task force by its data and analytics unit. They include Nashville, Tennessee; Des Moines, Iowa; Amarillo, Texas; and — atop the list, with a 650 percent increase — Central City, Kentucky. On a separate list of "locations to watch," which didn't meet the precise criteria for the first set: Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Minneapolis; Montgomery, Alabama; Columbus, Ohio; and Phoenix. The rates of new cases in Charlotte and Kansas City represented increases of more than 200 percent over the previous week, and other tables included in the data show clusters in neighboring counties that don't form geographic areas on their own, such as Wisconsin's Kenosha and Racine counties, which neighbor each other between Chicago and Milwaukee. [...] The spiking infection rates suggest that the pandemic is spreading quickly outside major coastal population centers that were early hot spots, while governors of some of the states that are home to new hot spots are following Trump's advice to relax stay-at-home restrictions.
posted by katra at 4:44 PM on May 12, 2020 [8 favorites]


AP Exclusive: CDC docs stress plans for more virus flareups (AP)
The Associated Press obtained a 63-page document that is more detailed than other, previously reported segments of the shelved guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It shows how the thinking of the CDC infection control experts differs from those in the White House managing the pandemic response. The White House’s “Opening Up America Again” plan that was released April 17 included some of the CDC’s approach, but made clear that the onus for reopening decisions was solely on state governors and local officials. By contrast, the organizational tool created by the CDC advocates for a coordinated national response to give community leaders step-by-step instructions to “help Americans re-enter civic life,” with the idea that there would be resurgences of the virus and lots of customization needed.

[...] Both the CDC document and the White House’s published plan recommend communities reopen in phases as local cases of coronavirus subside. One of many differences, however, is advice for when communities should allow for the resumption of nonessential travel. The shelved CDC guide advises communities to avoid all nonessential travel in phases of reopening until the last one, when cases are at the lowest levels. Even then, the CDC is cautious and advises only a “consideration” of the resumption of nonessential travel after 42 continuous days of declining cases of COVID-19. The White House plan, by contrast, recommends that communities “minimize” travel in Phase 1, and that in Phase 2, after 28 consecutive days of decline, “Non-essential travel can resume.” [...] Another stark difference in the final White House plan and that designed by epidemiologists at the CDC is the latter’s acknowledgement that COVID-19 cases will likely surge after states reopen, and that local governments need to continuously monitor their communities closely. [...] The CDC’s guidelines stress the dangers of states and regions going it alone in such perilous times. The agency advises a national approach, rather than a patchwork, because policies in one state will in time affect others.
posted by katra at 4:55 PM on May 12, 2020 [11 favorites]


Herd immunity requires a sort of "saturation" of infections, hopefully most of those infected not experiencing serious illness and presumably not being infectious on an ongoing basis.

To get to herd immunity you have to go through that saturation. A model for this is New York City (just talking about the city, not the metro area). NYC has had 15,000 confirmed deaths and 5,000 more presumed. New York City has 1 out of every 40 people in the United States. Multiply the 20,000 by 40 and you have 800,000 deaths. On top of this, NYC through social distancing, has flattened the curve but not stopped the pandemic. It will continue to have a lingering high, although not apocalyptic, rate of infection.

Herd immunity is just giving into the stampede.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:20 PM on May 12, 2020 [5 favorites]


U.S. judge puts Justice Department’s move to drop charges against Michael Flynn on hold (WaPo)
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said in an order Tuesday that he expects individuals and organizations will seek to intervene in the politically charged case. Having others weigh in could preface more aggressive steps that the federal judge in Washington could take, including — as many outside observers have called for — holding a hearing to consider what to do. [...] Sullivan said he will “at the appropriate time” set a schedule for outside parties to argue against the Justice Department’s claims as the government seeks to drop the charges. [...] Sullivan’s order noted that he was proceeding under a rule of civil procedure that gives judges sole discretion to accept outside arguments. Although there is no parallel criminal rule, the federal appeals court for Washington has ruled external entities in criminal cases can always ask to file an amicus brief, Sullivan said.

Legal experts said the order allows others to file objections to the Justice Department’s move and could open the door for adversarial proceedings in which one or more attorneys argue against the Justice Department. It would also permit, if the judge chooses, to require both sides to produce evidence and revisit the case for and against Flynn. In an evidentiary hearing, Sullivan could call witnesses — such as Flynn, his investigators or even prosecutors — to obtain more facts about how the case was handled and why Flynn and agents took the steps they did.
posted by katra at 8:24 PM on May 12, 2020 [10 favorites]


As coronavirus roils the nation, Trump reverts to tactic of accusing foes of felonies (WaPo)
The list of purported culprits Trump has charged include two television news hosts, a comedian, at least five former officials from the FBI and Justice Department, the state of California, a broadcast television station and at least five top national security officials from President Barack Obama’s administration. [...] In recent days, Trump has tried to shift attention from the twin economic and health-care crises, seizing on new revelations from the Justice Department that he claims are exculpatory for his administration. Trump and his allies have used the disclosures to try to make the case that a broad criminal conspiracy was launched against his presidency by a powerful cabal of government agents. Coverage of the decision by the Justice Department to drop charges against Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has taken priority over the pandemic in some conservative media in recent days.
The Justice Department’s Faulty Arguments in the Flynn Case (Robert S. Litt, Lawfare, May 8, 2020)
It’s telling that no career prosecutor was apparently willing to sign the department’s motion, which was signed only by interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Timothy Shea. The department’s arguments in this case fit a disturbingly partisan pattern of distorting long-standing legal doctrines in the service of protecting the president as an individual rather than the national interest.
Acting intelligence chief Grenell gave DOJ list of Obama officials who ‘unmasked’ Michael Flynn (WaPo)
[The unmasking], which has been a cornerstone of Trump’s long-standing allegations of criminality by his predecessor, identified Flynn as the person urging Russia not to respond to punitive sanctions that the Obama administration had imposed after the Kremlin’s interference in the presidential election. Unmasking is a routine practice used to identify a U.S. person who is anonymously referred to in an intelligence document [...] Current and former officials said unmasking can be a vital tool for identifying potential spies or terrorists. [...] Releasing the names would be an unprecedented action and risk turning powerful authorities to declassify intelligence toward political ends, current and former intelligence officials said. [...] The Trump administration has offered no evidence that the unmasking in Flynn’s case was improper or didn’t follow standard rules.
posted by katra at 10:23 PM on May 12, 2020 [5 favorites]


It is reassuring, that history rarely forgets. When then end comes, people figure it out. Think about the collaborators of history. Goebels, Himmler, etc. They may have wielded power, but they are now considered as the worst people. A shame these current collaborators don't have the awareness to realize they are adding their names to the lists of horrible people in history... (Barr)
posted by Windopaene at 10:46 PM on May 12, 2020 [2 favorites]


New US coronavirus hotspots appear in Republican heartlands
The geographical spread of new hotspots suggest that the virus is advancing quickly outside major coastal towns and cities such as New York, Newark and Seattle where infection rates are now plateauing or dipping.

Many of the new emerging hotspots, both rural and urban, are in states where governors refused to issue stay-at-home orders, or are following Trump’s advice to relax lockdown restrictions despite public health warnings about the dangers of doing so too soon.

posted by mumimor at 3:10 AM on May 13, 2020 [3 favorites]


Minnesota lawmakers anticipate new peacetime emergency order from Gov. Tim Walz this Thursday, so buckle up for more whining about "you said this would end next week! Stop moving the goalposts! I need a haircut!" and utter failure to understand that this is a constantly evolving situation so what was true just last week may not be now.

Also, this is an actual statement that (R, of course) MN House Majority Leader Kurt Daudt actually said to a reporter:
“I want us to follow data,” Daudt said. “I think at some point it appears the governor made a switch from making sure we controlled the spread so it spread more slowly and protected our high-risk and older people, [to] a strategy to prevent all Minnesotans from getting COVID.”
Emphasis mine. Note that he seems to believe the bolded part is a bad idea, not a laudable if unlikely goal. Did someone say death cult?
posted by Flannery Culp at 5:42 AM on May 13, 2020 [8 favorites]


Naomi Klein in the Intercept: Under Cover of Mass Death, Andrew Cuomo Calls in the Billionaires to Build a High-Tech Dystopia.

democracynow! spends most of the today's program (may 13) discussing this with ms. klein.
posted by 20 year lurk at 5:47 AM on May 13, 2020 [1 favorite]


Texas up to fourth in new cases, Florida up to sixth, and Georgia up to ninth... How's that re-opening shit working out for your citizens, you shithole Govenors?

While I am sympathetic to this argument, Texas has the second-highest population in the USA, Florida is 3rd*, and Georgia is 8th, so a naive assumption would be that they're about where I'd expect anyway?

*though apparently Miami and Ft. Lauderdale are still mostly shut down, so it really is worse than you'd expect
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:48 AM on May 13, 2020 [3 favorites]


While I am sympathetic to this argument, Texas has the second-highest population in the USA, Florida is 3rd*, and Georgia is 8th, so a naive assumption would be that they're about where I'd expect anyway?


About where you would expect why? Infections are not inevitable. Texas and Florida and Georgia had the good fortune to avoid the initial wave of infections of the worst states so had a lot of time to observe the practices in other states and save their citizens. So they are about where you would expect if you expected them to ignorantly learn absolutely nothing and do absolutely nothing to avoid joining the worst, even given a head start.
posted by JackFlash at 6:51 AM on May 13, 2020 [11 favorites]


Jared Kushner Admits There's 'Risk' in Reopening the Country Too SoonTime; Tessa Berenson and Brian Bennett; May 12, 2020
When asked if there was a chance the presidential election could be postponed past November 3 due to the pandemic, Kushner said that isn’t his decision. “I’m not sure I can commit one way or the other, but right now that’s the plan,” he said.
Kushner Cleans Up Remark Saying He’s ‘Not Sure’ He ‘Can Commit’ To Election Being Held As ScheduledTalking Points Memo; Cristina Cabrera; May 13, 2020
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:16 AM on May 13, 2020 [3 favorites]


New US coronavirus hotspots appear in Republican heartlands

Speaking of which - Salon.com: Michigan anti-lockdown protesters spread COVID-19 to rural areas, Whitmer tells Pence in leaked call:

"Whitmer, a Democrat, asked Pence to discourage the demonstrations after the state's data suggested the protesters brought COVID-19 back to their rural communities."
posted by soundguy99 at 7:35 AM on May 13, 2020 [9 favorites]


Paul Manafort released from prison due to virus concerns, Associated Press, Michael Balsamo, 5/13/2020:
Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s onetime presidential campaign chairman who was convicted as part of the special counsel’s Russia investigation, has been released from federal prison to serve the rest of his sentence in home confinement due to concerns about the coronavirus, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Manafort, 71, was released Wednesday morning from FCI Loretto, a low-security prison in Pennsylvania, according to his attorney Todd Blanche. Manafort had been serving more than seven years in prison following his conviction.

His lawyers had asked the Bureau of Prisons to release him to home confinement, arguing that he was at high risk for coronavirus because of his age and preexisting medical conditions. Manafort was hospitalized in December after suffering from a heart-related condition, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press at the time. They were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity....
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of others far less fortunate remain — Let Our People Go, NYT Opinion, Michelle Alexander, 5/13/2020.
posted by cenoxo at 7:37 AM on May 13, 2020 [3 favorites]


Mod note: One comment deleted, please doublecheck to see that your link hasn't been posted shortly before you post it. Also friendly reminder please aim for pullquotes of no more than 2 paragraphs; it's fine to just summarize too.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:42 AM on May 13, 2020 [1 favorite]


Hey all, native Texan here. Our state tracking dashboard has the least detailed info on cases, deaths, statistics, etc. of the 20 I went through yesterday collating data for a work project. It's just enough data to look useful without telling you much at all.

But since the White House recently directed Greg Abbott to start testing long-term care facility residents and workers, I expect to see a big jump in reported case and death numbers very, very soon. As a liberal living in the second-largest hotspot in the state, it's been hard watching my entire family get together for birthdays, Easter, etc. with relatively little or no fear while we are excluded for obvious safety reasons.

I'm eager to see the results of this new testing directive, especially since 93,000 Texans live in nursing facilities. Our state's also begging Congress for employer liability protections against covid-19 exposure claims, which would likely protect people like that doctor who gave hydroxychloroquine to Covid-positive residents with Alzheimer's without getting their or their families' consent first.

Anyway, it's a shit show down here for sure. I'm guessing the first Texas wave will peak around the end of this month, assuming we can ever get past the testing bottleneck. Currently, my city -- the second-largest outbreak center in Texas -- is going to lose federal funding to test 1,000 people per day on May 30. That means the only two drive-thru testing centers for the ninth-largest city in America with 1.35 million residents might close at the end of this month.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:54 AM on May 13, 2020 [10 favorites]


About where you would expect why? Infections are not inevitable. Texas and Florida and Georgia had the good fortune to avoid the initial wave of infections of the worst states so had a lot of time to observe the practices in other states and save their citizens

To a first approximation I would expect raw numbers from more populous states to be higher than in smaller states, that’s all. My dumb state has less than 1/4 the population of Texas, so no matter how much Bill Lee screws up, we’re not going to look as bad by total infections (and probably new infections) as Texas will. Both total and per capita numbers should be compared to get a good idea of this.

(What’s a good source for new infection data? covidtracking.com has totals, but I don’t see historical numbers I could subtract out.)

Speaking of my dumb state: infection totals in Shelby County have been weirdly linear for like a month and a half now, at about 500 new cases/week. They are testing symptomatic people for free, and supposedly they have more than enough testing capacity for that subset, so that shouldn’t be the bottleneck anymore. Still not enough to test everybody though.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:20 AM on May 13, 2020


Trump flunkies try to scapegoat Anthony Fauci — but we all know who's really to blameSalon; Amanda Marcotte; May 13, 2020 • 'Trump once declared "I alone can fix it" — but his followers now claim he's been manipulated by an evil mastermind'
This is the paradox of Trumpian authoritarianism. On one hand, Trump ran on the promise that "I alone can fix it", but from the second he set foot in the Oval Office, he and his supporters have depicted him as a helpless child being controlled by a nefarious "deep state" that is working against him.
Obamagate! Trump is peddling a new fake scandal — but reality is causing him big problemsSalon; Heather Digby Parton; May 13, 2020 • 'Sure, Bill Barr and Fox News will play along with this latest distraction. But there's no way around 83,000 deaths'

“Obamagate” conspiracy theory falls apart after a reporter asks President Trump one questionSalon; Igor Derysh; May 12, 2020 • 'After hundreds of tweets pushing the "Obamagate" claims, Trump cannot name one thing he believes Obama did wrong'

Trump Has No Fixer To Make COVID-19 Go AwayWashington Monthly; David Atkins; May 9, 2020 • "He’s used to simply hiring people who make his problems disappear. That won’t work with a global pandemic."
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:56 AM on May 13, 2020 [13 favorites]


Rick Bright will warn Congress of 'darkest winter in modern history' without ramped up coronavirus response (CNN, via the Guardian)
"Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities," Bright is expected to say Thursday, according to his prepared testimony obtained by CNN. "Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be darkest winter in modern history."

[...] In his written testimony, Bright also calls for several key steps to improve the federal government's response to the pandemic and head off a spike in cases in the fall, including increasing public education of preventative measures, ramping up production of essential medical supplies and developing a national testing strategy. "The virus is out there, it's everywhere. We need to be able to find it, to isolate it and to stop it from infecting more people," Bright plans to say. "We need tests that are accurate, rapid, easy to use, low cost, and available to everyone who needs them."
posted by katra at 12:02 PM on May 13, 2020 [7 favorites]


Infection rates were climbing at Nebraska meatpacking plants. Then health officials stopped reporting the numbers. (WaPo, May 12, 2020) More than a thousand have been infected at meatpacking plants, but state officials won’t say which ones. Workers and families say they have a right to know.

UPDATE: Shortly after this story was published, Tyson and the Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department announced the results of testing at the company’s plant in Madison, Neb. Of the employees and contractors who work at the Madison plant, 212 tested positive for coronavirus. The company said that it would also release the results of testing at its other plants to employees, government officials and other stakeholders.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:58 PM on May 13, 2020 [8 favorites]


The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the state's stay-at-home order, saying that "the Governor cannot rely on emergency powers indefinitely" in a prolonged pandemic, and instead of issuing "orders," the health department must issue "rules," which are subject to review and veto by the state legislature. (The governor is a Democrat, while the state supreme court and legislature have Republican majorities.)
posted by mbrubeck at 4:21 PM on May 13, 2020 [6 favorites]


When will we start to refer to the Wisconsin Supreme Court as serial killers?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:25 PM on May 13, 2020 [5 favorites]


"Patience Roggensack has made her decision, now let her enforce it."
posted by tonycpsu at 4:27 PM on May 13, 2020 [3 favorites]


And now Maryland's stay-at-home order has been lifted by Governor Hogan (R), effective this Friday evening, to be replaced by a stay-at-home "advisory" with stores, salons, and churches all allowed to operate at 50% capacity.
posted by mbrubeck at 4:34 PM on May 13, 2020


Montgomery and PG counties are keeping stay-at-home orders in place, and we're the two most populous counties with the most cases. I don't know if Baltimore is going to reopen, but they probably shouldn't.
posted by nonasuch at 4:44 PM on May 13, 2020


50% is an absolute batshit number to start with, particularly with MD on the high end of new cases and deaths per capita, and particularly because 50% will probably be the floor, not the ceiling.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:48 PM on May 13, 2020 [7 favorites]


50% is "every other seat", which sure as hell isn't personal space of 6'....
posted by mikelieman at 5:18 PM on May 13, 2020 [4 favorites]


There is talk of Miami-Dade county allowing restaurants to open at 50% capacity next week despite the state's current guidance being 25%. Masks are supposed to still be required, but compliance is already poor. This in a county where there is unambiguously a significant reservoir of illness given that new cases continue to come in faster than existing infections resolve and the death rate has failed to decline substantially in the past few weeks.

Several cities seen intent on maintaining their business closure orders for a few days after that, but absent a significant spike in the numbers between now and then, it's pretty clear that they're done with all this unless and until hospitals become overwhelmed again. Never mind that we still haven't met the criteria they developed early on for reopening.

The only sane part about the whole deal is that the county seems to recognize the necessity of contact tracers and they are preparing to hire 1,000 people for that work to augment the 220(!) contact tracers the state has assigned. Never mind that even that is still at best 20% of the need. Never mind that PPE is still scarce.

The real kick in the teeth is that the eviction moratorium is about to expire while hundreds of thousands of people still have yet to receive even a dollar from unemployment and a large portion of those who have gotten something haven't gotten what they are owed. Many have seen zero FPUA checks, while others have received one or more $600 payments but no state payments and vice versa.
posted by wierdo at 5:35 PM on May 13, 2020 [1 favorite]


It’s not your imagination: Grocery bills are rising, and these are the main culprits; Fast Company, Connie Lin, 5/13/2020:
As Americans—many of whom are newly unemployed—stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19 and take up cooking in an attempt to cut costs, they might find themselves thwarted by price hikes at their local grocery stores. Turns out you can’t escape the devastating effects of the global pandemic, no matter where you go. Your cookies are now 5.1% more expensive.
...
With supply levels low and demand levels high, we must expect prices to increase. And our economic smarts do not fail us, revealed the U.S. Labor Department. Data shows a great majority of grocery store categories have become pricier from March 2020 to April 2020. Here’s by how much:

[Short list follows in the article, see full U.S. Consumer Price Index for March-April 2020.]
US Grocery Prices See the Biggest Jump in Nearly 50 Years — The culprit: rising costs for meat and eggs during the pandemic; AdWeek, Diana Pearl, 5/12/2020:
In April, the prices Americans were paying for their groceries spiked by the highest percentage seen in nearly 50 years. Today, the Labor Department reported that prices for groceries—also referred to as the “food at home” index—across the United States jumped by 2.6% in April, the highest single-month bump since February 1974, according to CNBC.

The spike in grocery prices is likely directly correlated to the spike in demand for the product. Grocery stores have been some of the only retailers around the country to keep their doors open during the coronavirus pandemic. And with restaurants closed to dine-in patrons, people have been eating at home more than ever, too....
posted by cenoxo at 5:41 PM on May 13, 2020 [3 favorites]


Masks are supposed to still be required, but compliance is already poor.

Plus the majority of the time you are in a restaurant you are eating and drinking. Once you take your mask off to eat, it's off for the duration of your meal. If there are tighter restrictions on seating to allow for social distancing, any time hanging out after eating will be curtailed. So, by the time your mask is back on your face, you're settling your bill and basically leaving.
posted by marimeko at 6:13 PM on May 13, 2020 [3 favorites]


Trump says Fauci’s warnings about reopening amid coronavirus crisis are not ‘acceptable’ (CNBC)

“I was surprised by his answer, actually” Trump said when asked for clarification. “To me it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools.”

“The only thing that would be acceptable, as I said, would be professors, teachers, et cetera, over a certain age,” Trump added. “Because this is a disease that attacks age, and it attacks health.”
posted by valkane at 6:41 PM on May 13, 2020 [2 favorites]


15 states now investigating child illness possibly linked to coronavirus, Cuomo says (CBS News) New York has now identified over 100 cases of the "pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome." Doctors in the United Kingdom first noted cases of the syndrome, which appears to be similar to Kawasaki disease, a rare but serious illness seen in some children who have contracted a viral infection. [...] According to the governor, 14 other states, as well as Washington D.C. and five European countries, have reported cases. The states are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Washington.

Three children in New York, ages five, seven and 18, have died after showing symptoms of the illness. Of the state's 102 identified cases, 60% have tested positive for COVID-19 and 40% tested positive for its antibodies. [...] A majority of the cases in New York, 70%, had to be treated in an intensive care unit, while 19% required intubation and 43% are still hospitalized. Cuomo said the cases have cropped up across the state and in a wide range of ages, with a majority in children between five and 14 years old. New York's Department of Health sent an alert to 49 other states on Monday, notifying them of syndrome's correlation with COVID-19. At the time, only 85 cases had been reported in New York.

The governor noted on Wednesday that it was only recently that public health officials believed children to be safe from contracting the coronavirus.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:12 PM on May 13, 2020 [6 favorites]


I am catching up on the thread while sitting in the ER right now with my generally healthy, athletic 14-year-old. Waiting for some more test results and so far things seem promising, thankfully, but his primary physician saw heart-related behavior in him today that made her say “go, now, to check and make sure it’s hopefully not this.” It is something not to be fucked with (my translation). Stay healthy, friends.
posted by rodeoclown at 9:08 PM on May 13, 2020 [29 favorites]


Not to live-blog this, but we're now back at home after positive (um, the good kind!) results from EKG & blood tests at the ER, indicating that our son does not appear to be experiencing 'pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome'.

This has been especially relieving because his pediatrician is the same unnamed 'regular doctor' who recognized the symptoms in another 14-year-old and ambulanced her to the ER where she was confirmed to be Oregon's first case... a state that's not even one of the fifteen listed in Iris Gambol's CBS link above...
posted by rodeoclown at 10:54 PM on May 13, 2020 [37 favorites]


Fed chair warns of long, painful downturn if Congress does not provide more economic relief (WaPo / reprint)
Still, Republicans have largely dismissed the $3 trillion bill that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) intends to bring to a vote on Friday. House Republicans have dubbed it “Pelosi’s Socialist Wish List Act” and intend to vote against it en masse, but Pelosi on Wednesday said Powell’s warnings validate her call to push for more spending immediately. “The American people and experts agree that we must ‘think big’ to protect lives and livelihoods during the coronavirus crisis,” she said. “Not acting is the most expensive course.”
As coronavirus rolls on, Republicans hit ‘pause’ on new aid (AP)
[...] recent polls show GOP voters are far more likely to be satisfied with the government’s virus response than Democrats. They are less fearful of a second wave of cases as states loosen stay-at-home orders, and they are not clamoring for more aid. [...] For now, negotiations are in neutral. The Senate is poised to push off the legislative debate until after the Memorial Day break, when Republicans hope the virus will finally begin to ease.
Team Trump Pushes CDC to Revise Down Its COVID Death Counts (Daily Beast)
Officials inside the CDC, five of whom spoke to The Daily Beast, said they are pushing back against that request, claiming it could falsely skew the mortality rate at a time when state and local governments are already struggling to ensure that every person who dies as a result of the coronavirus is counted. Scientists and doctors working with the task force, including Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have said the U.S. death-toll count is likely higher than is being reflected in government data sets.
posted by katra at 11:19 PM on May 13, 2020 [10 favorites]


Ohio wanted to strip benefits from people who didn’t report to work during the pandemic. Hackers got in the way. (WaPo live blog)
“No benefits are being denied right now as a result of a person’s decision not to return to work while we continue to evaluate the policy,” Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Kimberly Hall told cleveland.com on Monday. The state had previously emailed employers with a link to a designated website where they could report employees “who quit or refuse work when it is available” due to concerns about the coronavirus. Those employees would then be subjected to a review process to determine whether they were still eligible for unemployment benefits, since state law makes it illegal to collect those funds while turning work down.

But many Ohioans and advocates for workers’ rights pointed out that people have valid and justifiable reasons for not wanting to return to work in the midst of a pandemic. On Friday, an anonymous hacker released code that would make it easy for anyone to automatically submit false data to the website, Motherboard reported. His goal was to flood the site with bogus claims so that the state would waste time figuring out which submissions were real, he told the outlet.
posted by katra at 12:09 AM on May 14, 2020 [15 favorites]


Brian C Kelt writing for The Atlantic: The Very Real Problem of Both Trump and Pence Getting COVID-19 at the Same Time

Before the obvious snark: it would be a vexed Constitutional and political problem, which is what he's addressing.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:52 AM on May 14, 2020 [4 favorites]


From cenoxo's Fast Company article on rising grocery prices:
food supply chain, which has been thrown out of whack. Farmers and food producers have complex channels in place to distribute their products to restaurants and grocery stores across the country, but after most restaurants shut down and grocery sales began spiking, food suppliers were unable to alter their distribution systems fast enough to meet the sudden shift in demand
Which, AAAAAAARGH! is exactly the kind of thing that could have been ameliorated by a semi-competent Federal government response - y'know, Federal, as in "supervises and coordinates interstate business", the kind of thing even cranky "minimal Federal government" conservatives agree has a purpose.

But no. AFAICT not one bit of thought has been put into using the resources of any sector of the national government to assist or coordinate in tweaking the food supply chain so food can get to the right places, keeping farms in business and reducing the economic impact on the rest of us. Besides, of course, declaring certain businesses "essential" so the people have to work, and saying, "PPE? Yeah, you should have some. Good luck with that. Not my problem."
posted by soundguy99 at 4:01 AM on May 14, 2020 [17 favorites]


I'm reminded of when it looked like we might run out of water, in a drought, and it came to light that the State government believed it would be inappropriate for them to "compete" with the private sector in offering any kind of emergency supply. Their plan was fistfights at the Wal-Mart over pallets of Aquafina.
posted by thelonius at 5:18 AM on May 14, 2020 [11 favorites]


I'm reminded of when it looked like we might run out of water, in a drought, and it came to light that the State government believed it would be inappropriate for them to "compete" with the private sector in offering any kind of emergency supply.

Recall that one of the arguments deployed in public against including a public option in the ACA, which would allow Americans to buy into Medicare, was that private insurance couldn't compete with a less expensive, better quality government run health insurance, and that wasn't fair.

The so-called "liberal media" studiously ignored what a devastating admission that was, instead splitting hairs over Obama saying one could keep their health insurance not applying to dirt-cheap, value free junk plans that were now illegal because the ACA requires all insurance to cover at least some health care.
posted by Gelatin at 5:53 AM on May 14, 2020 [23 favorites]


private insurance couldn't compete with a less expensive, better quality government run health insurance, and that wasn't fair

That's essentially the same argument that our local arm of the Murdoch press and its idiotlogical fellow travellers always wheel out against our well respected public broadcaster whenever it's on the trail of malfeasance in some high place or other.

I always get a little pang of astonishment at the gall of these people before reality kicks back in and I remember who they are.
posted by flabdablet at 6:24 AM on May 14, 2020 [4 favorites]


Is the Food Supply Chain Actually Breaking?, AgProfessional, Tyne Morgan, 4/29/2020:
...“I have a little different view,” says Jayson Lusk, a Purdue University agricultural economist. “I think by and large, throughout this crisis, the food supply chain has responded remarkably well. Yes, we had a short period for some grocery store shelves were empty, but by and large, food was available. It might have been a different variety or different brand than you're accustomed to buy. But the foods system responded remarkably well to a completely unexpected and unprecedented event. We certainly have some very serious challenges coming up in the meat sector, but that doesn't mean the entire system is broken.” ... while the chain may not be broken, there is a severe strain on it, especially when it comes to moving animals through processing plants.

[See Twitter infographic: The Road From Farm To Table.]

“It's opened our eyes to how much we depend on farmers and on a well-functioning food supply chain,” Lusk says. “That includes on those processors in the middle, in how much we count on the fact that we're well-fed. We've just taken food security for granted. And hopefully people will come away from this with a greater appreciation of just how intricate and how much work goes into supplying a bountiful and secure supply of food.”
Not to mention the United States’ extensive network of national highways, roads, and streets.
posted by cenoxo at 6:52 AM on May 14, 2020 [7 favorites]


(By the way, I forgot another key component of that argument -- that it wasn't fair, because private insurers have to make a profit and the government doesn't. The ACA's critics stated, out loud and in public, the very reasons public health insurance is necessary -- because money goes to line investors' pockets instead of providing health care -- and no one seemed to notice.)
posted by Gelatin at 8:00 AM on May 14, 2020 [15 favorites]


Appeals court greenlights emoluments suit against Trump (Politico)
A lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of violating the Constitution by accepting foreign government money through his luxury Washington hotel can proceed to fact-gathering about Trump's profits, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. The Richmond-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals voted, 9-6, to reject Trump's bid to shut down the lawsuit the governments of Maryland and the District of Columbia brought alleging violations of the Constitution's emoluments clauses.
Federal judge mulls contempt charge against Michael Flynn (Politico, May 13, 2020)
The Justice Department moved last week to drop the prosecution of Flynn launched by special counsel Robert Mueller, but U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan slammed the brakes on that effort by announcing Wednesday evening that he is appointing a former federal judge to argue against the government’s unusual bid to dismiss the case against an ally of President Donald Trump. Sullivan’s order also directed the retired judge, John Gleeson, to recommend whether Flynn should face a criminal contempt charge for perjury — apparently for declaring under oath at two different court proceedings that he was guilty of lying to the FBI, before he reversed course in January and claimed he had never lied.
posted by katra at 9:35 AM on May 14, 2020 [16 favorites]


The perjury charge seems like pure grandstanding, because AFAICT (IANAL) one can't prove to a degree required by criminal law that the original confession was perjury (not least because it wasn't at all, but appears to have been the truth), and the later statements, which are vaguer and not under oath, can''t possibly be perjury.

I mean, it's a nice rhetorical flourish to say, "aha, one of these two contradictory statements must be untrue, so you committed perjury at some time!" but it doesn't pass legal muster in this case because the January sttements weren't under oath. Even if they had been, I don't think this would fly, because perjury is tied to a specific statement, not to a general assertion of falsehood, and it's entirely possible that if someone makes two contradictory statements, neither of which is of known truth value, each of them individually cannot be determined to be false and thus individually neither of them could be successfully deterined to be perjury.

Contempt might work just fine, because that's less rigorously defined, but perjury means something, and it's pretty difficult to charge without specific evidence that (a) the statement in question is false, (b) the statement is question was not believed to be true by the defendant at the time they uttered it, (c) the statement was made under oath, and (d) the statement is material to the pursuit of justice. Those first two in particular are a pretty serious ask, and until specifics emerge on the actual testimony deemed perjury, I'd say this one's going nowhere.
posted by jackbishop at 9:48 AM on May 14, 2020


Senator Richard Burr stepping down from Intelligence Committee.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Thursday that Burr "contacted me this morning to inform me of his decision to step aside as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee during the pendency of the investigation." He said Burr's resignation as chairman will be effective at the end of the day on Friday.

Burr's decision to step aside as chairman is a stunning development for the North Carolina Republican, who has led the Senate Intelligence Committee through its three-year investigation into Russian election interference that is nearing its completion.

Shortly after McConnell's announcement, Burr told reporters he is resigning as intelligence chair because "this is a distraction to the hard work of the committee and the members and I think the security of the country is too important to have any distractions."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:55 AM on May 14, 2020 [11 favorites]


"This investigation of a Senator trying to profit from a pandemic is a distraction to the hard work of making sure corporations who donate to Senators profit from a pandemic."
posted by tonycpsu at 9:59 AM on May 14, 2020 [7 favorites]


The perjury charge seems like pure grandstanding, because AFAICT (IANAL)

Court asks retired judge to oppose Justice Dept. effort to drop Michael Flynn case, examine whether ex-Trump adviser committed perjury (WaPo, May 13, 2020)
In a commentary article on Monday, Gleeson observed the Justice Department has made conflicting statements to the court, which has “the authority, the tools and the obligation to assess the credibility of the department’s stated reasons for abruptly reversing course.” “The law provides that the court — not the executive branch — decides whether an indictment may be dismissed. The responsible exercise of that authority is particularly important here, where a defendant’s plea of guilty has already been accepted. Government motions to dismiss at this stage are virtually unheard of,” Gleeson wrote.

[...] [Former federal prosecutor Randall] Eliason said Sullivan’s contemplation of holding Flynn in contempt for perjury exposed what has long been a flaw in Flynn arguing that his plea should be undone. Flynn admitted in court under oath three times before two different judges that he lied to the FBI. “They can’t have it both ways,” Eliason said. “If they’re going to say now he didn’t lie to the FBI, then he lied to the judge. … But presumably [U.S. Attorney General William P.] Barr’s DOJ is not going to prosecute him for perjury, so another option is the judge could hold him in contempt for lying to the judge.”
Judge Appoints Outsider to Take On Justice Dept. in Flynn Case (NYT, updated May 14, 2020)
It was not immediately clear what Judge Sullivan was focused on with his request for input on whether to essentially accuse Mr. Flynn of criminal perjury. [Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches criminal law at Duke University,] said he doubted it would qualify as perjury for Mr. Flynn to embrace the Justice Department’s claim that he committed no crime because his admitted lies were purportedly immaterial to a proper investigation — whether or not that legal theory is true. But, Mr. Buell said, there could be a legitimate issue if Mr. Flynn were to claim that he did not lie after all — a notion the Justice Department’s filing also hinted at — despite previously telling judges that he had.
posted by katra at 10:15 AM on May 14, 2020 [5 favorites]


Trump could, of course, pardon Flynn any time he pleases, but he apparently isn't willing to pay the political costs of doing so. It's remarkable that Barr is willing to do Trump's dirty work for him, and that Sullivan isn't having it.

(It's also remarkable how Republicans suddenly remember that perjury entails subjects material to an investigation any time the subject isn't Bill Clinton.)
posted by Gelatin at 10:27 AM on May 14, 2020 [6 favorites]


two pleas, each admitting at least three occasions of lying; sworn declaration: "in truth, i never lied," (at para. 46). see, e.g., judge sullivan to judge gleeson: pick flynn's perjury, and voluminous granular coverage at emptywheel.
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:55 AM on May 14, 2020 [6 favorites]


Trump could, of course, pardon Flynn any time he pleases, but he apparently isn't willing to pay the political costs of doing so.

What would those costs be? Are there more than a dozen people in the entire country who would genuinely be upset at a pardon but are okay with this?
posted by Etrigan at 11:12 AM on May 14, 2020 [1 favorite]


"This investigation of a Senator trying to profit from a pandemic is a distraction to the hard work of making sure corporations who donate to Senators profit from a pandemic."
Well, I mean on one level yes.. but it would be foolish to conclude that the investigation of Senator Burr and pressure to remove him from his committee chair have arisen out of any newfound passion for justice on the part of this administration, especially with the very different treatment of Senator Loeffler to contrast against.

To whatever extent (and I would argue a considerable one) this is an opportunistic removal and public rebuke of a committee chair seen by Trump and McConnell as too independent (i.e. barely at all but apparently still too much) and insufficiently obedient to the party line -- to that extent, this is a very bad thing. Senator Burr can richly deserve everything he's got coming to him but this can simultaneously be an exercise in tightening the president's control over the party and making an example of those who permit even the mildest criticism pour encourager les autres.

Considered in context with other tentative (and not-so-tentative) moves towards the overt politicization of federal investigative and prosecutorial functions, I'm not particularly sympathetic towards Senator Burr as an individual but I am still alarmed by the collection of events in progress.
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:17 AM on May 14, 2020 [4 favorites]


What would those costs be?

According to Andy Wright, writing for Newsweek on July 20, 2017:
[...] there could be other counterintuitive effects of a pardon [...] For example, it could potentially remove federal legal jeopardy in a manner that may defeat an assertion of the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Were Trump to pardon his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, tomorrow, Congress might be able to get a court order requiring Flynn to testify before the committees because he no longer faces federal criminal prosecution. That court order or resulting congressional contempt finding, in turn, could theoretically be enforced by coercive contempt (i.e., jailing until such time as the witness provides ordered testimony). Because coercion serves process integrity goals rather than criminal goals, that enforcement power probably could not be defeated by another presidential pardon.
posted by katra at 11:19 AM on May 14, 2020 [8 favorites]


Congress might be able to get a court order requiring Flynn to testify before the committees because he no longer faces federal criminal prosecution.

Did the next paragraph in that article from 2017 say "And Flynn absolutely wouldn't refuse to testify, and if Trump attempted to influence him to refuse, that would certainly lead to his impeachment, conviction, and removal from office."?
posted by Etrigan at 12:21 PM on May 14, 2020 [4 favorites]


Did the next paragraph in that article from 2017 say "And Flynn absolutely wouldn't refuse to testify, and if Trump attempted to influence him to refuse, that would certainly lead to his impeachment, conviction, and removal from office."?
The criminal and congressional Russian investigations should proceed with integrity and without interference. With Trump at the helm and his family under scrutiny, pardon power hangs over the investigations like a sword of Damocles. The pardon sword is largely held overhead by a thread made of political, rather than legal, fiber.
Flynn Redux: What Those FBI Documents Really Show (Quinta Jurecic, Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare, May 1, 2020)
Trump has not ruled out pardoning Flynn—and has recently railed against the prosecution. Flynn’s most likely path out of the criminal justice system is through presidential clemency, which could arrive any day and with no warning. A great deal of the legal machinations in court and the verbal machinations in the media may well be aimed not at the legal process but at inducing the president to finally grant Flynn a pardon.​
When the Pardon Furthers the Conspiracy: Limits to the Pardon Power (Sam Berger, Just Security, Jan. 9, 2019)
All of this should give Trump associates and would-be co-conspirators real pause. Not only are presidential pardons unable to protect against state criminal charges and federal civil suits, but they also cannot protect against federal criminal liability if they are in furtherance of a conspiracy to obstruct justice. Not welcome news for those desperately seeks to avoid accountability for their actions. Trump associates who have shunned or are considering shunning plea deals in the hopes of securing a presidential pardon would do well to consider a twist on an old maxim: it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up that continues that crime.
posted by katra at 12:35 PM on May 14, 2020 [9 favorites]


Heather Cox Richardson, May 13 2020:
With Trump behind presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in most polls, with unemployment worse than it’s been since the Great Depression, and with almost 85,000 Americans dead and no sign of a let-up, Trump knows he’s in trouble. Welcome “Obamagate,” a scandal Trump says is “the biggest political crime in American history, by far!”
This "scandal" is difficult to define.

Bartiromo agrees with Trump that Obamagate is big "scandal" even though he can't explain it to her • Raw Story/Salon; Travis Gettys; May 14, 2020 • "... he couldn't answer her multiple requests to explain it "

Obamagate was the worst crime ever committed and here is what it was • Washington Post Op/Ed; Alexandra Petri; May 13 2020
This was the genius of Obamagate! President Obama knew that Donald Trump was his greatest political rival, even though he was not running against Donald Trump (and could not) and Donald Trump was technically his successor, not his rival (Obamagate did not account for this) and so, deviously, he handed power peacefully over to Donald Trump in the routine way.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:02 PM on May 14, 2020 [12 favorites]


Also from Heather Cox Richardson, May 13 2020, on Burr's resignation/removal from his chairmanship:
So why Burr? Remember I mentioned that the Senate Intelligence Committee agreed with the Mueller investigation, and that It was due to release the final volume of its report soon? Burr is the chairman of that key committee. If he is discredited enough to lose his chairmanship, McConnell will get to choose his replacement. And it’s a pretty safe bet the committee will no longer support the conclusions of the Mueller Report.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:04 PM on May 14, 2020 [12 favorites]


@sahilkapur: Trump on coronavirus cases: "When you test, you have a case. When you test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn't do any testing we would have very few cases." (via)

Where's that meteor when you need it.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:40 PM on May 14, 2020 [12 favorites]


Pentagon removes Defense Production Act point person.
The official said they were "startled" by the development and the decision was not made by Santos' immediate boss, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord, but came from "the White House and interagency."
posted by adamvasco at 3:13 PM on May 14, 2020 [4 favorites]


Where's that meteor when you need it.

The COVID-19 meteor will be invisible to the naked eye, but not its tsunami:posted by cenoxo at 3:47 PM on May 14, 2020 [4 favorites]


And just as Florida relaxes its restrictions and shortly before South Florida allows restaurants and retail to open, testing sites in much of the state are being closed due to a disturbance bringing heavy rain and tropical storm force wind gusts to the area.

Looks like Governor DeSantis will finally get that decrease in new cases he's been so desperately looking for after all.
posted by wierdo at 4:09 PM on May 14, 2020 [2 favorites]


2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami: 227,898 dead.
Johns-Hopkins COVID-19 Map: +301,370 deaths (and counting...)
posted by cenoxo at 4:19 PM on May 14, 2020 [4 favorites]


During the day I've spoken with a lot of people across most if not all sectors of life, and they all agree that we will not get back to anything resembling normal for more than a year. That doesn't mean we'll be locked down for more than a year, *only* that the disruption will continue into 2023. Some were very worried, some were even optimistic, but each and every one I listened to was worried about the situation in the US, because the US economy is such a large part of the world economy that even if every single other country does the right thing, a US failure will break the world economy.
Since every single other country is not doing the right thing, specially the economy/business people were not feeling good at all. I'd even say that one of them seemed unhinged.
On the other hand, if the US straightens up, that can outweigh the idiocy going on in Brazil, Russia, the UK and other smaller countries where governments pretend they can ignore the pandemic.
posted by mumimor at 4:50 PM on May 14, 2020 [4 favorites]




Lockdowns are ending. We need to stay ready for the virus to surge. (William Hanage, WaPo Opinion)
William Hanage is an associate professor of epidemiology at the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
As U.S. states emerge into the summer and loosen their grip on the pandemic, they should be prepared for it to come roaring back. Nobody knows exactly when or where it will. We have to accept that there are a lot of things we don’t yet know about the virus, or how people will react to reopening. We will probably make different sorts of contacts with each other than we did in the winter before the pandemic: Some places will mandate the use of masks; others won’t. Some places will permit larger gatherings than others, and with that will come the risk of super-spreading events. The amount of time people spend together in the relatively close quarters that appear necessary for most transmission will be crucial.
posted by katra at 5:31 PM on May 14, 2020 [1 favorite]


Ousted vaccine official testifies country still lacks master plan amid pandemic (WaPo / MSN reprint)
Mike Bowen, co-owner of Prestige Ameritech, the country’s last full-line medical mask manufacturer, took his place at the witness table and recounted how he had offered to HHS to ramp up production of N95 masks in January, but his plan was cast aside. [...] Under questioning, Bowen said that if HHS had taken him up on his offer, he could have been producing an additional 7 million N95 respirators a month by now.

[...] Asked later if he was troubled by the administration’s response to the pandemic, including reassigning Bright, Bowen said he had been. “I’m a lifelong Republican, and I’m embarrassed by how that’s been handled,” Bowen said. “Like Rick Bright said, it’s the scientists we need to be listening to, and we’re not.”
Virus tests hospitals in pockets of US as some states reopen (AP)
Among them is a suburb of Washington, D.C. The head of a hospital system in Maryland’s Prince George’s County, a majority black community bordering the city, said the area’s intensive care units “are bursting at the seams.” [...] Even in places that have relaxed restrictions, hospitals continue to operate on an emergency footing. [...] The Northeast Georgia Health System, which operates four hospitals, is still struggling to buy the disposable protective gowns it needs. [...] The system’s largest hospital serves a county at the epicenter of the state’s poultry industry. About one-third of Hall County’s residents are Hispanic or Latino, a demographic that has accounted for up to 60% of the system’s COVID-19 patients. [...] Wright, the hospital CEO in Prince George’s County, said the three emergency departments his medical system operates are steadily seeing upward of 70 new COVID-19 confirmed and suspected patients every day.
posted by katra at 6:47 PM on May 14, 2020 [5 favorites]


If just the virus and karma could get on the same page...

Sadly, karma is a blind wheel.

These ignorant protesters, and people in charge are just making me SO ANGRY.
posted by Windopaene at 9:15 PM on May 14, 2020 [2 favorites]


Two people today, one a journalist and one a classics professor, independently noted to me that Trump’s recent attack on Obama completes a classic story arc. Trump’s political career began with conspiracy-theory attacks on Obama. Trump’s “birtherism” theory was that Obama was born not in America but in Africa, and thus was ineligible to be president. After four years of promises to his base that have ended up in chaos, now characterized by death and unemployment, Trump has returned to where he began, with a conspiracy-theory attack on Obama. In literature, that narrative arc—the return to the beginning—means the story is nearing its end.
- Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from An American, May 14, 2020
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:17 PM on May 14, 2020 [9 favorites]


Trump Demands Graham Make Obama Testify. Graham Says No Thanks. • Talking Points Memo; Cristina Cabrera; May 14, 2020

Graham shoots down Trump's call for Obama testimony on Russia probe origins • Politico; Andrew Desiderio; May 14, 2020
Just moments after Trump appealed directly to the South Carolina Republican on Twitter, Graham reiterated that he does not intend to call Obama before his committee — and he warned of the precedent such an action would set.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:09 PM on May 14, 2020 [5 favorites]


Raging Against ‘Mere Life,’ The Federalist Has Declared War On Public Health OrdersTalking Points Memo; Matt Shuham; May 13, 2020
As public health experts warn that the pandemic will require long-term sacrifices in order to keep infection rates down, a TPM review of three months of coverage found that The Federalist has pursued a different route. For weeks, the site has been at the vanguard of the backlash against COVID-19 public health orders.

After early attempts to interrogate the media’s “hysteria” about the virus — and amid an ongoing obsession with what to call it — the site has pushed to “reopen” despite the growing death toll. That’s meant instructing readers to buck up, avoid “cowardice,” and fight back.

This isn’t a fringe blog. The Federalist, though frequently a platform for the off-color and unscientific, is also read by those in power.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:54 PM on May 14, 2020 [7 favorites]


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded Thursday night that he was wrong to claim [on Monday] that the Obama administration had not left behind a plan to deal with a pandemic in the US. (CNN, May 14, 2020) "I was wrong. They did leave behind a plan, so I clearly made a mistake in that regard," McConnell said during an interview with Fox News' Bret Baier. The concession comes days after he falsely accused the Obama administration of failing to leave the Trump administration "any kind of game plan" for something like the coronavirus pandemic during a Trump campaign online chat with Lara Trump, the President's daughter-in-law. In reality, former President Barack Obama's White House National Security Council left the Trump administration a detailed document on how to respond to a pandemic. The document, whose existence was publicly revealed by Politico in March, is called the Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents. [...]

Additionally, outgoing senior Obama officials also led an in-person pandemic response exercise for senior incoming Trump officials in January 2017 -- as required by a new law on improving presidential transitions that Obama signed in 2016. [...] Still, McConnell added Thursday that "as to whether or not the plan was followed and who's the critic and all the rest, I don't have any observation about that because I don't know enough about the details of that to comment on it in any detail."
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:40 PM on May 14, 2020 [9 favorites]


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded Thursday night that he was wrong to claim [on Monday] that the Obama administration had not left behind a plan to deal with a pandemic in the US. (CNN, May 14, 2020) "I was wrong. They did leave behind a plan, so I clearly made a mistake in that regard," McConnell said during an interview with Fox News' Bret Baier.

What? Why is he admitting a lie? We haven't seen that for nearly four years now. Does he know something we don't?
posted by mumimor at 3:19 AM on May 15, 2020 [10 favorites]




And why has Trump and/or the White House allowed — assuming they could be blocked somehow — Fauci, Redfield, and esp. Bright to give such blunt testimony (that openly disagrees with his own COVID-19 beliefs) before the Senate Health Committee this week? Remember that the White House suddenly called Fauci and Redfield out of their testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee back on March 11, 2020, forcing a recess until the next day.
posted by cenoxo at 5:26 AM on May 15, 2020


World looks on in horror as Trump flails over pandemic despite claims US leads way
TIL from clicking a link in that article that Putin is spelt Poutine in French, and I find that soothingly hilarious.

Also, this is more interesting than I had expected: The comedian going viral for lip-syncing Trump: 'People really hate him'
“It is interesting because as a writer you want to heighten how ridiculous things are. But everything he says is already so ridiculous that it is hard to heighten it,” she says.
She has had many “you couldn’t write this stuff” moments – in fact, she says some of Trump’s comments are so unbelievable that trying to mock him would be worse than using a direct quote. “I saw people saying they shared [my videos] with Trump supporters and for once there is nothing they can say. The clip is literally, completely unedited – I haven’t edited [the audio] at all – so what can they say to argue with it?” she says.
I've begun to be very irritated when comedians on late night shows imitate Trump. I can't exactly say why. But her approach, where she uses the real audio and only provides the gesture (and her young, female body), does something different.
posted by mumimor at 6:03 AM on May 15, 2020 [24 favorites]


5 sailors test positive for COVID-19 after returning to the USS Theodore Roosevelt from isolation, Task & Purpose, Jeff Schogol, 5/14/2020:
Five sailors who returned to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt [docked in Guam] have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)... The sailors had previously tested positive for the disease but they had spent more than two weeks in isolation, showed no symptoms for at least three days, and they all tested negative for the disease twice before being allowed back on the aircraft carrier...

“The five sailors developed influenza-like illness symptoms and executed their personal responsibility by reporting to medical for evaluation ... were immediately removed from the ship and placed back in isolation ... close contacts were mapped ... and are receiving the required medical care.” Another 18 crew members who are not showing symptoms have been taken off the Theodore Roosevelt ... because they were in close contact with the sailors who tested positive for coronavirus...
Even aboard disinfected (and continuously cleaned) U.S. Navy warships — whose crew members are subject to military discipline, multiple tests, strict isolation/quarantine, frequent medical observation, and display no symptoms — there's no guarantee against testing positive later.

What can we then expect with uncontrolled and loosely monitored civilian populations?
posted by cenoxo at 6:16 AM on May 15, 2020 [10 favorites]


TIL from clicking a link in that article that Putin is spelt Poutine in French, and I find that soothingly hilarious.

This is both closer to the Russian pronounciation and also it should be noted that "Putin" in French would be hard to distinguish from "putain" (bitch, whore)
posted by dis_integration at 6:29 AM on May 15, 2020 [1 favorite]


This is both closer to the Russian pronounciation and also it should be noted that "Putin" in French would be hard to distinguish from "putain" (bitch, whore)

I know, but I'm 8 and for some reason, poutine is more laughable when it comes to Putin than putain.
posted by mumimor at 6:42 AM on May 15, 2020 [4 favorites]


The CDC > Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) > Cases, Data, & Surveillance > COVID-19 Forecasts page has national and states' (PDF download and forecast data .CSV download) Cumulative Death Forecasts and charts, updated May 14, 2020:
    Interpretation of Cumulative Death Forecasts:
  • This week’s national-level forecasting includes 12 individual forecasts, and all indicate an increase in deaths in the coming weeks. Predicted rates of increase differ among the forecasts, depending on assumptions about the strength and coverage of social distancing behaviors.
  • The National Ensemble Forecast suggests that the number of cumulative reported deaths are likely to exceed 100,000 by June 1st.
  • State-level ensemble forecasts indicate that states with low numbers of deaths reported to date are not likely to see a rapid rise in the coming weeks, while states with high numbers of deaths reported to date are likely to see substantial increases.
posted by cenoxo at 8:29 AM on May 15, 2020 [3 favorites]


Anything you can do we can do better.
Brazil now has two Health ministers resign inside a month.
Nelson Teich departed stating:
¨It's difficult to reconcile Bolsonaro's wishes with reality."
"Está difícil conciliar os desejos de Bolsonaro com a realidade"
posted by adamvasco at 9:01 AM on May 15, 2020 [8 favorites]


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded Thursday night that he was wrong to claim [on Monday] that the Obama administration had not left behind a plan to deal with a pandemic in the US.

And even if Obama hadn't, Trump has been in office for more than three years and he still needs an instruction manual from Obama on how to be president? What an astounding admission of Trump's incompetence by McConnell.
posted by JackFlash at 10:37 AM on May 15, 2020 [15 favorites]


Guardian: If you would like to experience the sound of a trucker protest, Newsday White House correspondent Laura Figueroa Hernandez has you covered:
Laura Figueroa Hernandez (@Laura_Figueroa) As Trump delivers briefing on vaccines in Rose Garden you can hear loud honking from outside WH grounds. pic.twitter.com/RuJ6ZgDZO9 May 15, 2020

And NBCNews White House Correspondent, Geoff Bennett, shared a photo of the impressive line-up of trucks near the White House.

Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) Here’s a pic of the protesting, honking truckers you can hear during this Rose Garden presser. They are parked along Constitution. (Took this pic on my way home last night.) pic.twitter.com/sNZloRxR5T May 15, 2020
Guardian: Truckers disrupt Trump press conference
posted by katra at 11:41 AM on May 15, 2020 [3 favorites]


I've begun to be very irritated when comedians on late night shows imitate Trump. I can't exactly say why.

Clowns aren't funny when they're driving the train you are on.

(He was always a threat to everybody who wasn't white, Christian, and at least middle class, now he's a threat to the health of the whole country, both fiscally and medically.)
posted by benzenedream at 11:48 AM on May 15, 2020 [3 favorites]


White House confident in virus test despite false negatives (AP)
The head of the Food and Drug Administration said Friday his agency has provided new guidance to the White House after data suggested that the test used by President Donald Trump and others every day may be inaccurate and provide false negatives. [...] White House officials on Friday continued using the Abbot ID Now test. [...] FDA commissioner Steve Hahn said that if a person is suspected of having the disease caused by the coronavirus, “it might be worth, if the test is negative, getting a second confirmatory test. That’s what our guidance is about.”
States are letting stay-at-home orders expire, regardless of virus metrics (Politico)
“Once those start being eased, as soon as you have more people having more social contact, we are likely to see cases creeping up again,” warned Alison Buttenheim, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing’s Department of Family and Community Health. “Masks will help, but masks are not a substitute for keeping away from each other.”
New York barber who 'illicitly' cut hair for weeks has coronavirus (Fox5 NY)
Dr. Carol Smith, the Ulster County health commissioner, urged anyone who got their hair cut at a Kingston barbershop within the last three weeks to immediately contact their primary care physician and get tested for the virus. [...] "As much as we would all like to go out and get a professional haircut, this kind of direct contact has the potential to dramatically spread this virus throughout our community and beyond," Smith added.
posted by katra at 11:56 AM on May 15, 2020 [4 favorites]


It's like these jokers would pull the trigger six times when playing Russian roulette, because nothing bad happened the first time.
posted by Gelatin at 12:55 PM on May 15, 2020 [17 favorites]


I have a sneaking suspicion that the FBI going after Burr is targeted campaign.

Ken Dilanian on twitter just now: In his last act as intel chairman, Richard Burr has submitted for declassification the final volume of the intel committee’s Russia report – 1,000 pages on the committee’s “counterintelligence findings.”

This all seems very weird.
posted by gucci mane at 1:00 PM on May 15, 2020 [8 favorites]


I have a sneaking suspicion that the FBI going after Burr is targeted campaign.

You aren't the only one. If memory serves me correctly, Heather Cox Richardson, Marcy Wheeler, and others speculate the same. The assumption is he would be replaced on the Senate Intelligence Committee by a Trump loyalist who would refuse to release any further findings about Trump's involvement with Russian election interference.

Which is, just to be clear, Trump using his political power to take revenge on political enemies and rewrite history. It's the definition of tyranny and totalitarianism. Republicans are playing a dangerous game -- they presume that their tame media, to say nothing of overt propaganda mills like Fox News, will happily cover their performed outrage at the least action of a Democratic president and put the metaphorical genie back in the bottle, but the founders knew that authoritarianism is hard to stop once it gets started, and tyrannical powers can be used against one as easily as by one.

It also shows how much they know they can never implement their agenda by persuading a majority of loyal Americans to support it.
posted by Gelatin at 1:09 PM on May 15, 2020 [6 favorites]


Trump unveils 'warp-speed' effort to create coronavirus vaccine by year's endGuardian; David Smith; 15 May 2020
Donald Trump has announced details of a “warp-speed” effort to create a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year, even as experts warn that such a breakthrough could take longer than 18 months. [...] the US president also urged schools to reopen in the autumn and insisted: “Vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back.”

Unveiling details of “Operation Warp Speed”, a name that references a concept popularised by Star Trek and other science fiction, Trump said: “That means big and it means fast. A massive scientific, industrial and logistical endeavour unlike anything our country has seen since the Manhattan Project.”
As long as it doesn't turn into "Operation [Star Trek joke goes here]".
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:13 PM on May 15, 2020 [1 favorite]


Faced with an appalling US coronavirus death toll, the right denies the figuresGuardian; Adam Gabbatt; 15 May 2020 • "Fox News is foremost in promoting the idea that official figures are inflated, whereas experts believe more people have died"
Worryingly, the disinformation push seems to be working. An Axios-Ipsos poll found that the death toll has become a political issue, 40% of Republicans believing fewer Americans are dying from coronavirus than the official toll says.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:17 PM on May 15, 2020 [2 favorites]


Which is, just to be clear, Trump using his political power to take revenge on political enemies and rewrite history.

More precisely, it's Trump using his legal power to take revenge. It's one thing to tell McConnell to get Burr off the committee; using the FBI to send the message is pure tyranny.
posted by Etrigan at 1:19 PM on May 15, 2020 [5 favorites]


Reviving the US CDC, The Lancet [WP], Editorial; Volume 395, ISSUE 10236, P1521; May 16, 2020:
...the CDC has made mistakes, especially on testing in the early stages of the pandemic. The agency was so convinced that it had contained the virus that it retained control of all diagnostic testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, but this was followed by the admission on Feb 12 that the CDC had developed faulty test kits. The USA is still nowhere near able to provide the basic surveillance or laboratory testing infrastructure needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

But punishing the agency by marginalising and hobbling it is not the solution. The Administration is obsessed with magic bullets—vaccines, new medicines, or a hope that the virus will simply disappear. But only a steadfast reliance on basic public health principles, like test, trace, and isolate, will see the emergency brought to an end, and this requires an effective national public health agency. The CDC needs a director who can provide leadership without the threat of being silenced and who has the technical capacity to lead today's complicated effort.

The Trump administration's further erosion of the CDC will harm global cooperation in science and public health, as it is trying to do by defunding WHO. A strong CDC is needed to respond to public health threats, both domestic and international, and to help prevent the next inevitable pandemic. Americans must put a president in the White House come January, 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics.
The Imperial Donald need not apply.
posted by cenoxo at 1:22 PM on May 15, 2020 [3 favorites]


Trump unveils 'warp-speed' effort to create coronavirus vaccine by year's end

Trump also said "And if we don’t [have a vaccine in the pretty near future], we’re going to be like so many other cases where you had a problem come in, it’ll go away at some point, it’ll go away."

Incredibly dangerous magical thinking.

Also, good job naming the project after a fictional technology that most scientists believe is physically impossible. Idiots.
posted by jedicus at 1:22 PM on May 15, 2020 [5 favorites]


Warp speed. He's an idiot. You can't just throw more and more people and money at a project and expect it to go faster (If that's even happening) - developing a vaccine is complicated and ensuring efficacy and safety require time. This is a classic "9 women can't make a baby in a month" problem.
posted by mrgoat at 1:23 PM on May 15, 2020 [17 favorites]


developing a vaccine is complicated and ensuring efficacy and safety require time.

Safety takes time, but efficacy can be established extremely quickly using challenge studies, for which there are already over 21,000 young, healthy volunteers for whom intentional exposure to the virus would have relatively low risk.

This is a classic "9 women can't make a baby in a month" problem.

Only to a point. Numerous vaccine candidates using different approaches can all be developed in parallel, and we can start building factories, planning distribution, and stockpiling doses while we wait for trials and regulatory approval. There are certain parts that can't be sped up no matter what, particularly Phase I, where you really have no choice but to wait and see if a vaccine causes bad side-effects.
posted by jedicus at 1:27 PM on May 15, 2020 [8 favorites]


Well said, jedicus, I apologize for being hyperbolic. It's definitely true that running down multiple parallel paths is a useful approach, and could speed up the development of a vaccine dramatically at the cost of having to scrap the factories and doses of the ones that turn out to be duds. (Don't actually care. Capitalist profit can go sit in the corner and cry in it's beer while we get this handled.)

Still, this guy's acting like we're going to push the timeframe down from the normal 12-18 month minimum. He's saying we'll have an effective vaccine, proven safe and distributed in the hundred millions by 8 months from now, which from everything I've read (and I recognize, I'm not an expert in the field), would seem to be remarkably quick. It's irresponsible, magical thinking.
posted by mrgoat at 1:45 PM on May 15, 2020 [1 favorite]


there are already over 21,000 young, healthy volunteers for whom intentional exposure to the virus would have relatively low risk.

That's only a guess. Probably it's a good guess but it's still a guess. We don't know how long or how effective immunity lasts if it exists.
posted by rdr at 1:46 PM on May 15, 2020 [1 favorite]


Sorry. I misunderstood your comment. I see that you're talking about testing for efficacy on Covid naive young people, not for safety. on people that already tested positive for Covid 19. I still don't know about the ethics of exposing people to a potentially lethal disease.
posted by rdr at 2:17 PM on May 15, 2020


I still don't know about the ethics of exposing people to a potentially lethal disease.

The WHO has published criteria for COVID-19 vaccine challenge studies [pdf].

This Guardian article is a good overview. As it notes, "challenge trials are a mainstream approach in vaccine development and have been used in malaria, typhoid and flu" (i.e. also potentially lethal diseases). COVID-19 is different in that there is no good treatment, but the potential societal upside is enormous. The crux of the argument:
the risk of death from Covid-19 for [a healthy person] in their 20s is around one in 3,000 – similar to the risk for live kidney donation. In this case, the potential benefits would extend not to a single individual, but to thousands or millions who could be protected by a vaccine.
The WHO guidance gives 8 criteria. Very briefly: there must be a strong scientific justification; a risk/benefit assessment; consultation and engagement with the public, experts, and policy makers; close coordination with between researchers, funders, policy-makers, and regulators; optimal site selection to minimize risk; selection of participants with minimal risks; independent, specialized expert review; and rigorous informed consent.
posted by jedicus at 2:38 PM on May 15, 2020 [8 favorites]


Reviving the US CDC, The Lancet [WP], Editorial; Volume 395, ISSUE 10236, P1521; May 16, 2020

Lancet editorial blasts Trump’s ‘inconsistent and incoherent’ coronavirus response (WaPo / MSN reprint)
The strongly worded critique highlights mounting frustration with the administration’s response among some of the world’s top medical researchers. Medical journals sometimes run signed editorials that take political stances, but rarely do publications with the Lancet’s influence use the full weight of their editorial boards to call for a president to be voted out of office.
posted by katra at 3:19 PM on May 15, 2020 [4 favorites]


If Trump had been in charge during World War II, this column would be in German (Max Boot, Opinion, WaPo, May 15, 2020) Medical experts argue that it’s necessary to dramatically ramp up testing, but Trump has no national plan to do so, and said on Thursday that testing might be “frankly overrated.

“When you test you find something is wrong with people,” he declared. “If we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases.” The mind reels. This is akin to FDR saying that if no one reported the attack on Pearl Harbor, it wouldn’t have happened.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:21 PM on May 15, 2020 [6 favorites]




Trump administration outlines audacious plan to deliver ‘hundreds of millions’ of Covid-19 vaccine doses by end of 2020 (STAT News)
The Trump administration’s scientific muscle, however, was notably silent. During his remarks, the president was flanked by three physician-researchers: Fauci; Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator; and Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health. The three doctors were the only federal officials who appeared on stage wearing masks. None spoke at any point during the press conference.
Trump promises hundreds of millions of coronavirus vaccine doses by January, but scientists doubt it (WaPo)
President Trump formally unveiled an initiative Friday afternoon aimed at making hundreds of millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine broadly available by year’s end — a goal that many scientists say is unrealistic and could even backfire by shortchanging safety and undermining faith in vaccines more broadly. [...] Outside scientists said it was dangerous to set public expectations that a vaccine could be available by any deadline, given the many scientific unknowns and the fact that the first candidates are just now being injected into humans. [...] Peter Jay Hotez, dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said that with some large trials likely to begin this summer, the most reasonable timeline for proving a vaccine safe and effective would be the second half of next year — and even that would be “an absolute record.”

A number of senior administration officials said on the condition of anonymity that they are also skeptical of the president’s timeline but that Trump wanted to provide “hope.” Birx has gently told the president it will be more difficult than he thinks to create a vaccine quickly.
posted by katra at 5:18 PM on May 15, 2020 [2 favorites]


Surely I'm not the only one who notices the whole "by the end of 2020" translates as a promise he can keep repeating is going to magically come true right up till election day. "You'll have those vaccinations in a couple of weeks, and only I can bring you that!"

That is 100% all this is about for him. Argh!
posted by bcd at 5:24 PM on May 15, 2020 [16 favorites]


"All the vaccine was ready in 2020 but Sleepy Joe Biden and the Demokrat wouldn't deliver. So spiteful - just so I wouldn't get credit for the greatest success ever in pandemic history!!! SAD!"
You heard it here first...
posted by speug at 7:52 PM on May 15, 2020 [1 favorite]


Trump mobilizing U.S. military to deliver coronavirus vaccine, Reuters, 5/14/2020:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump is mobilizing the U.S. military to distribute a novel coronavirus vaccine when one becomes available and will focus first on older Americans.

“You know it’s a massive job to give this vaccine,” Trump said in an interview broadcast Thursday on Fox Business Network. “Our military is now being mobilized so at the end of the year, we’re going to be able to give it to a lot of people very, very rapidly.” He said he believes there will be a vaccine by the end of the year and the United States is mobilizing “our military and other forces” on that assumption.

The White House has set a target of having 300 million vaccine doses by the end of 2020. No such vaccine for this pathogen has been approved though a number are under development, and producing and distributing an effective vaccine are seen as key steps to jumpstarting the U.S. economy...
No further military details given. Trump's warming up to campaign mode now and can say anything about anyone, any time, anywhere. Truth, lies, contradictions, and hypocrisy are irrelevant. Say whatever it takes to win, then ignore the losers and their objections afterwards.

There's more about 'Operation Warp Speed' in U.S. ‘Warp Speed’ vaccine effort comes out of the shadows, Science, Jon Cohen, 5/15/2020:
Conventional wisdom is that a vaccine for COVID-19 is at least 1 year away, but the organizers of a U.S. government push called Operation Warp Speed have little use for conventional wisdom. The project, vaguely described to date but likely to be formally announced by the White House in the coming days, will pick a diverse set of vaccine candidates and pour essentially limitless resources into unprecedented comparative studies in animals, fast-tracked human trials, and manufacturing. Eschewing international cooperation—and any vaccine candidates from China—it hopes to have 300 million doses by January 2021 of a proven product, reserved for Americans.

Those and other details, spelled out for Science by a [unidentified] government official involved with Warp Speed, have unsettled some vaccine scientists and public health experts. They're skeptical about the timeline and hope Warp Speed will complement, rather than compete with, ongoing COVID-19 vaccine efforts, including one announced last month by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)....
Warp Speed will not consider vaccines made in China: “We can't partner with Chinese companies, that's just not going to happen.” The main goal is to protect the United States: “The attitude here is the oxygen mask approach,” the official says. “We want to get our oxygen mask on first and then we're going to help the people around us.
posted by cenoxo at 10:59 PM on May 15, 2020 [3 favorites]


230 days for him to make his deadline. 172 days until the election.
posted by Reverend John at 8:23 AM on May 16, 2020


Don't you need a vaccine first?
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:26 AM on May 16, 2020


Trump Removes State Dept. Inspector General (Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, NYT)
President Trump continued his purge of inspectors general late Friday, moving to oust Steve A. Linick, who had served in that post at the State Department since 2013, and replacing him with an ambassador with close ties to Vice President Mike Pence. [...] The decision to remove Mr. Linick, first reported Friday night by Politico, is the latest in a purge of inspectors general whom Mr. Trump has deemed insufficiently loyal to his administration, upending the traditional independence of the internal watchdog agencies whose missions are to conduct oversight of the nation’s sprawling bureaucracy.

Representative Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, called the decision to remove Mr. Linick an “outrageous act” meant to protect Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from accountability. In his statement, Mr. Engel said that he had learned that Mr. Linick’s office had opened an investigation into Mr. Pompeo. Mr. Engel said that “Mr. Linick’s firing amid such a probe strongly suggests that this is an unlawful act of retaliation.” [...] The removals of the inspectors general — and their replacements by allies of the president’s — are part of an aggressive move by Mr. Trump and his top aides against who he considers to be “deep state” officials in many key agencies and who he believes are opposed to his agenda. On May 1, even as the coronavirus pandemic continued to ravage the country, Mr. Trump moved to oust Christi A. Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, whose office had issued a report revealing the dire state of the nation’s response to the pathogen.
Trump ousts State Department watchdog (Politico)
“The president’s late-night, weekend firing of the State Department inspector general has accelerated his dangerous pattern of retaliation against the patriotic public servants charged with conducting oversight on behalf of the American people," Pelosi said in an statement. "Inspector General Linick was punished for honorably performing his duty to protect the Constitution and our national security, as required by the law and by his oath."
posted by katra at 9:03 AM on May 16, 2020 [8 favorites]


Bad news out of Spain. They have done the world's largest and most detailed survey of coronavirus antibody prevalence in the population. Antibodies indicate the number of people who have been exposed to the disease. They took blood samples from 70,000 people and found that only 5% have antibodies. This is in the country that has had the highest fatality rate in the world.

Most epidemiologists suggest that you need at least 60% to 80% for herd immunity. That means 12 to 16 times more cases and more deaths before Spain gets there.

The U.S., which so far has a much lower incidence than Spain, likely needs at least 20 times the number of cases and deaths. With close to 100,000 deaths today that means another 2 million deaths to get to herd immunity.

People talking about herd immunity are just blowing delusional smoke. We are not even close and it would probably take two years to get there. That leaves mitigation as the only reasonable policy until they develop either a viable treatment or vaccine.
posted by JackFlash at 10:22 AM on May 16, 2020 [23 favorites]


> Who’s Enforcing Mask Rules? Often Retail Workers, and They’re Getting Hurt (NYT / MSN reprint)

Stores Stress Over How to Handle a Customer Who Won’t Wear a Mask (WSJ)
Retailers are taking varied approaches. Some chains have advised workers to let mask-less customers in despite state and local laws, while others are drawing a harder line on site or directing workers to call local law enforcement if a shopper breaks the rule. [...] CVS Health Corp., in a policy mirrored by competitors Walgreens Boots Alliance Co. and Rite Aid Corp., has told its workers not to refuse service to noncompliant patrons. In cities and states where masks are required, CVS puts up signs reminding customers of the rule, a spokesman said. [...] If the customer refuses, “our priority is to help them complete their purchases as quickly as possible and provide them with information about other options we have available for their future needs,” the spokesman said. The company, he said, takes that approach to avoid potentially contentious or violent interactions between employees and customers. [...] Rite Aid and Walgreens also said they direct employees to avoid confrontations with customers.
The best part of my supermarket job was the people. Now, they’re the worst part. (Donte Martin, WaPo Perspective)
As a front-end manager, I manage employees and direct the public in the store, so I’m used to dealing with disgruntled customers. [...] In pandemic times, that disregard shows up in sad and scary ways — often in how customers ignore new store policies. [...] Some people have lashed out at the requirement that customers wear masks indoors. One shopper refused to listen, even after multiple associates told her she had to put one on — and she got mad about it. She got up in people’s faces, shouting at them. That’s not a fun experience, even in normal times, but now, it’s dangerous — you can just imagine the little droplets flying everywhere. [...] My co-workers and I read stories about customers attacking employees at Target and McDonald’s, or see footage of people bringing guns to state capitols, and it scares us. You never know how or when someone will lash out.

[...] But you also see the good in people. We have one regular customer who comes in with a big sign that says “Thank you!” [...] A lot of shoppers are really grateful for our work, and they try to leave us tips, though our store policy doesn’t allow us to accept them. [...] I wish more people knew that grocery store employees take care of the community. I wish we had Plexiglas at our work stations, and more protective equipment. I wish we had professional security — that it wasn’t up to the clerks to account for the public’s behavior. I wish people had a more united approach to this crisis, and tried harder to understand the reasons behind public safety rules. These rules aren’t about bossing shoppers around. They’re about all of us looking out for each other’s health.
posted by katra at 10:44 AM on May 16, 2020 [5 favorites]


Preliminary results from a nationwide coronavirus antibody study showed on Wednesday that about 5% of the overall Spanish population had contracted the novel virus - about 10 times more than the tally of diagnosed cases suggests. (Reuters, May 13, 2020) The results point to 2.3 million of Spain’s 45 million population being affected by the virus, if without symptoms in many cases, considerably more than the official count of under 230,000 cases. [...]

The study, carried out by the Carlos III Health Institute and the National Statistics Institute, began on April 27. It tested some 60,000 people for the presence of antibodies generated to fight off the coronavirus. Madrid, one of the worst-affected regions, showed a prevalence of 11.3%. Soria and Cuenca, in the central regions of Castilla y Leon and Castilla La Mancha, are the provinces with the highest prevalence, with 14.2% and 13.5% respectively. The overall death toll from the disease rose to 27,104 on Wednesday, while the number of diagnosed cases rose to 228,691 from 228,030 the prior day.
--
Matt Yglesias, at Vox.com, May 16, 2020: The results of a Spanish study on Covid-19 immunity have a scary takeaway
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:57 AM on May 16, 2020 [6 favorites]


U.S. employers wary of coronavirus 'immunity' tests as they move to reopen (Reuters / Yahoo, May 15, 2020)
U.S. employers have cooled to the idea of testing workers for possible immunity to the coronavirus as they prepare to reopen factories and other workplaces. [...] Interest in antibody tests from employers has fallen in recent weeks as reports have suggested that it is too early to conclude that antibodies to the new coronavirus translate into immunity. The American Medical Association cautioned on Thursday that these tests do not determine an individual's immunity.
Previously: When will we know more about antibodies? (AskMe)
posted by katra at 11:07 AM on May 16, 2020 [3 favorites]


Antibodies indicate the number of people who have been exposed to the disease. They took blood samples from 70,000 people and found that only 5% have antibodies.

Results released yesterday for antibody testing of 750 random but asymptomatic people in four Boston Zip codes showed an exposure rate of 10%. All of the people involved were given both antibody tests and swab tests for active infection - the results of that showed about 1 in 40 people tested had active infections but didn't know it. Mass. General Hospital, which helped do the testing, said the results show social distancing, masks and handwashing are working; the mayor said they also show why he won't be lifting Boston's state of public-health emergency, which was timed to the end of the state's declaration on May 18, next week.
posted by adamg at 11:10 AM on May 16, 2020 [5 favorites]


via the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health coronavirus news updates:

May 15: Was That COVID-19? Antibody Tests Promise Answers But Beware Of Their Limits (WBUR)
Antibody tests—which can show if someone has been infected with COVID-19—are important to determine how widespread the coronavirus is, say public health experts. But the tests can sometimes show false positives. Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology, said that until the tests become more reliable, “I think that people shouldn’t consider them as anything more than a toy.”
May 14: What percent positivity can — and can’t — tell us about Virginia’s COVID-19 epidemic (Virginia Mercury)
To aid in making decisions about reopening the state of Virginia amid the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Ralph Northam is considering a health metric called “percent positivity”—the percentage of total tests that are positive. Barry Bloom said that the metric can show “who’s got the biggest testing game in town.” That’s because, as the total number of tests increases, the percent of positive tests typically goes down relative to the overall number. Bloom said a declining positivity rate is a good sign that testing is increasing, but it doesn’t necessarily shed light on infections in the overall population, many of whom may be asymptomatic and “walking around, have the infection, and are able to transmit it but are perfectly healthy.”
May 13: COVID-19 May Be Much More Contagious Than We Thought (Harvard Magazine)
There’s a possibility that COVID-19 is much more contagious than previously thought. Three Harvard Chan School experts—Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology, Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology, and Caroline Buckee, associate professor of epidemiology—commented on an indicator called R nought (R0), which shows how many other people one person with COVID-19 can infect. The R0 of the coronavirus was originally thought to be in the 2 to 3 range, but experts now think it may be closer to 5 or 6. The higher the R0 of a particular disease, the harder it becomes to control its spread.
posted by katra at 11:32 AM on May 16, 2020 [6 favorites]


Continuing that last point from the Harvard Magazine article:
In the case of SARS-CoV-2, reports suggesting that herd immunity will be achieved when 55 percent of the population is immune assume that the R0 of the virus is 2.2. If the R0 is 5.7 instead, then 82 percent of the population must acquire immunity—because the higher the reproductive number, the larger the immune population must be to halt the spread of the disease. An R0 of 5.7 rather than 2.2 would require billions more doses of vaccine globally—or, if herd immunity is achieved only through infection, millions of excess deaths worldwide.
posted by chortly at 11:51 AM on May 16, 2020 [3 favorites]


This is a real thing that happened, that is happening, in California; bolding mine: The City of Atwater, Calif., declared itself a “sanctuary city for all businesses” at a special meeting on Friday, openly defying the state’s coronavirus orders, after a chorus of business owners showed up to voice their support for the measure. (NYT, May 16, 2020) “It’s not the government’s job to protect my health, it’s their job to protect my rights, and they’re being taken away, so thank you for giving them back to us,” Ron Danel, who owns a company that makes gravestones, said to the City Council. [...]

Mayor Paul Creighton, a Republican, said the “sanctuary” order meant city police and code enforcement officers would not enforce any of the state’s stay-at-home orders, although he warned that businesses with state business licenses may want to be cautious. “We have to take bold measures and save ourselves,” Mr. Creighton said. He added that the crowd at the City Council meeting was so large that the city set up two televisions outside of City Hall to broadcast the meeting for those who could not get inside.
--

Directly prior to this meeting, there was a prayer led by the pastor of Yosemite Church, Don Borgwardt: “Father God, we know in your eyes, there is no such thing as ‘essential’ or ‘nonessential.' All people are essential. All businesses are essential. All people’s lives are essential. Borgwardt is also the president of the Atwater Chamber of Commerce. Later, the Council was unanimous in its pledge to defy state orders, "earning vigorous applause from the mostly maskless crowd." In January, Mayor Creighton met Trump in DC, as part of the US Conference of Mayors winter meeting: “’I told him, ‘You’re doing a great job, but we need your help in California. We have a lot of things we need to turn around. We have a major homelessness problem,” Creighton said. “He said, ‘I need your help, too. You’ve got my commitment as long as you’re committed to working with us.’ I told him, ‘Absolutely.’” [...] One of the [conference] discussions that stood out to Creighton was Trump talking about religion and government. “He talked about not segregating religion completely out of government,” Creighton said. “Maybe if we’re more inclusive it would help impact the community.” (Merced Sun Star, January 24, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:17 PM on May 16, 2020 [2 favorites]


Newsom should send in the National Guard, State Police, whatever, and arrest these fucking tools. Do we have the rule of law or not?
posted by Windopaene at 4:45 PM on May 16, 2020 [2 favorites]


“It’s not the government’s job to protect my health, it’s their job to protect my rights, and they’re being taken away, so thank you for giving them back to us,” Ron Danel, who owns a company that makes gravestones, said to the City Council. [...]

It's the first one. (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness)
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:07 PM on May 16, 2020 [5 favorites]


Also that "all people are essential" I take as a direct reference to the racist, "All lives matter."
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:09 PM on May 16, 2020 [3 favorites]


Interest in antibody tests from employers has fallen in recent weeks as reports have suggested that it is too early to conclude that antibodies to the new coronavirus translate into immunity. The American Medical Association cautioned on Thursday that these tests do not determine an individual's immunity.

Story the other day was 50% false negatives with the Abbott test, so...a coin flip that you're truly negative.
posted by rhizome at 5:37 PM on May 16, 2020


Barack Obama attacks Trump administration's response to coronavirus pandemic (Guardian)
The comments are a rare rebuke of a sitting president from one of his predecessors, and come in the midst of a pandemic that has had devastating and disproportionate effects on communities of color in the United States.

“Let’s be honest, a disease like this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communities have historically had to deal with in this country,” said Obama, during an online commencement address to graduates of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). “We see it in the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on our communities.” As he continued, Obama criticized federal response efforts to the coronavirus crisis: “More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing. A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge,” he said.
Obama criticizes nation’s leaders for bungled handling of coronavirus pandemic (WaPo)
“We see it in the disproportionate impact of covid-19 on our communities, just as we see it when a black man goes for a jog and some folks feel like they can stop and question and shoot him if he doesn’t submit to their questioning. “Injustice like this isn’t new,” Obama continued. “What is new is that so much of your generation has woken up to the fact that the status quo needs fixing, that the old ways of doing things don’t work, that it doesn’t matter how much money you make if everyone around you is hungry and sick, and that our society and democracy only works when we think not just about ourselves but about each other.”
Obama Says U.S. Lacks Leadership on Virus in Virtual Commencement Speech (NYT)
It was one of his few public addresses to a national audience during the outbreak, and he said a leadership void had created a clear mandate for the graduates: “If the world’s going to get better, it’s going to be up to you,” he said.
posted by katra at 5:50 PM on May 16, 2020 [12 favorites]


As I have said before, imagine how much better Obama would have dealt with this crisis...

With competence and science. Fuck
posted by Windopaene at 5:55 PM on May 16, 2020 [11 favorites]


Story the other day was 50% false negatives with the Abbott test, so...a coin flip that you're truly negative.

If in general 10% of those tested turn out to have it, 95% of those who test positive actually have it (ie, there are few false positives), but 50% of those who actually have it are false negatives, then by my (always suspect) bayesian math, if you test negative on such a test you are 94% sure you don't have it. Of course, without actually going through with the test at all you would be 90% sure you didn't have it (since 90% of those who take the test in this scenario don't have it), so a negative on this test boosts your confidence in not having it from 90% to 94%, vs a perfect test which would of course boost it to 100%.
posted by chortly at 6:35 PM on May 16, 2020 [2 favorites]


Get Ready for a Vaccine Information War — Social media is already filling up with misinformation about a Covid-19 vaccine, months or years before one even exists., New York Times, Kevin Roose, Updated May 15, 2020:
The other night, midway through watching a clip from “Plandemic” — a documentary that went viral on social media last week, spreading baseless lies and debunked nonsense about the coronavirus to millions of Americans overnight — I had a terrifying thought:

What if we get a Covid-19 vaccine and half the country refuses to take it?

It occurred to me that all the misinformation we’ve seen so far — the false rumors that 5G cellphone towers fuel the coronavirus, that drinking bleach or injecting UV rays can cure it, that Dr. Anthony Fauci is part of an anti-Trump conspiracy — may be just the warm-up act for a much bigger information war when an effective vaccine becomes available to the public. This war could pit public health officials and politicians against an anti-vaccination movement that floods social media with misinformation, conspiracy theories and propaganda aimed at convincing people that the vaccine is a menace rather than a lifesaving, economy-rescuing miracle.

Scariest of all? It could actually work....
Related: How Anti-Vaccine Sentiment Took Hold in the United States, NYT, Jan Hoffman, 9/23/2019.
posted by cenoxo at 7:01 PM on May 16, 2020 [5 favorites]


Story the other day was 50% false negatives with the Abbott test, so...a coin flip that you're truly negative.

That was the PCR tests (for current infection) not the IgG antibody tests (for past infection.) Abbott makes both kinds.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 7:01 PM on May 16, 2020 [1 favorite]


New details about the organization, operation, and distribution of a potential vaccine via Operation Warp Speed — Trump Vows Vaccine by End of Year, and Mobilizes Military to Help, NYT, David E. Sanger, Maggie Haberman, Noah Weiland; 5/15/2020.
posted by cenoxo at 7:22 PM on May 16, 2020


Lies and more grift...

This timeline, Jesus.
posted by Windopaene at 7:34 PM on May 16, 2020 [2 favorites]


I'm pro-vax but I'm scared of a rushed vaccine from a hydroxychloroquine president.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:18 PM on May 16, 2020 [19 favorites]


> Social media companies need to take the threat of vaccine-related misinformation seriously and devote tremendous resources to stopping its spread.

UW Researchers Find Vaccine Hesitancy Would Hamper COVID-19 Efforts (Univ. of Wyoming, May 12, 2020)
The paper, which may be viewed here, is the latest in a series of coronavirus-related studies conducted by UW College of Business economist Linda Thunstrom, graduate student Madison Ashworth, of Star Valley, and Professor David Finnoff and Assistant Professor Stephen Newbold. The research, based on data collected primarily March 24-31, involves a randomized controlled trial with a nationally representative sample of 3,133 participants who were asked to state their intention to vaccinate themselves and their children when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely available. [...] “We find that inconsistent information from government authorities about COVID-19 risks may affect not only risk perceptions, but also health-related behaviors -- vaccine avoidance increases if the White House communicates lower risks to COVID-19 than does the CDC,” the economists wrote.

[...] “Measuring the share of the population who may be reluctant to be vaccinated for COVID-19 can help policymakers, health care workers and other authorities to plan ahead toward minimizing the impact on public health from vaccine hesitancy,” the researchers wrote. “This might involve tailored public communication programs designed to persuade vaccine-hesitant individuals to take the vaccine, or increased efforts to ensure that the vaccine uptake level among the remainder of the population is as high as possible, or both.”
posted by katra at 10:02 PM on May 16, 2020 [2 favorites]


Wyoming has not been at the forefront of the fight against the virus. Good to see their academics pushing against the attitudes of their state's citizen's attitudes.
posted by Windopaene at 10:11 PM on May 16, 2020 [1 favorite]


Fed shipment of Q-tip-style coronavirus swabs puzzles Washington state officials, latest wrinkle in supply woesSeattle Times; Lewis Kamb; 16 May 2020
Earlier this week, workers at a state health department warehouse in Tumwater, Thurston County, expected to receive a large shipment of 68,000 nasal swabs to help expand coronavirus testing in Washington. Instead, they received a surprise substitution: Dozens of boxes marked “Comforts For Baby Cotton Swabs” packed with what appeared to be thousands of Q-tips.

Typically unsuitable for medical tests, the Q-tip-style swabs prompted Reed Schuler, a senior adviser to Gov. Jay Inslee, to place a head-scratching call to the White House coronavirus task force. [...]

The task force later sent a memo from U.S. Cotton, LLC, explaining the swabs actually were produced specifically for nasal specimen collection.

But the way the swabs arrived in Washington this week — 22,000 in bulk, packed into the scores of mislabeled boxes — puzzled state health workers, Schuler said. The nasopharyngeal (NP) and nasal swabs widely used for specimen collection typically come individually wrapped in sterile packaging to avoid contamination.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:23 PM on May 16, 2020 [14 favorites]


Trump’s DOJ Says the President Would Be “Undermined” if His Tax Records Were RevealedSlate; Marty Lederman; May 15, 2020 • "That’s sort of the point."
Thanks to the Supreme Court’s new experiment in simulcasting, it’s possible you’ve already listened to Tuesday’s oral arguments in the two cases involving subpoenas to President Donald Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, and his banks, Deutsche Bank and Capital One. If so, you may well already have your own take about the arguments, and about how the court should, or likely will, decide the cases. Even so, I thought it might be worth flagging a couple of aspects of the congressional subpoena case(s)—Trump v. Mazars and Trump v. Deutsche Bank—that haven’t yet received the attention they warrant.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:31 PM on May 16, 2020 [3 favorites]


Bet those swabs were really expensive. And were sent by some random "business" who's owner might have contributed to the president's campaign. It's just so appalling.
posted by Windopaene at 10:52 PM on May 16, 2020 [15 favorites]


After five sailors tested positive last week, eight more have been detected: 13 USS Theodore Roosevelt sailors test positive after recovering from Covid-19 — The Navy also reports one [other] crew member has tuberculosis., Politico - Defense, Lara Seligman, 5/16/2020.
posted by cenoxo at 4:49 AM on May 17, 2020 [1 favorite]


If you've been thinking, Gosh darn it, why doesn't anyone ever ask obscenely rich, privileged people what they'd like us to be doing in response to the coronavirus crisis?, you just got your wish: Vanity Fair's William D. Cohan now brings us the voices of the unheard.
Since no one seems to be consulting Wall Street bankers and traders about when and how to reopen the economy, I convened an impromptu circle of Wall Streeters I know well to get their views. The consensus among them is: We can’t continue any longer in lockdown mode. Something has to give, because more than 36 million newly unemployed Americans are not going to be able to pay their monthly bills, feed their families, or maintain their mental health if the economy remains shut. And the problems are only going to get worse the longer so many Americans are out of work.
It seems to have escaped Cohan's notice that the Republican Party and the Trump administration seem to be listening exclusively to plutocrats who say exactly this. Those plutocrats, admittedly, are from elesewhere in the country, not Wall Street. But I'm struggling to feel sorry for the Wall Streeters as a result [...]
But to those people willing to listen, he would say, “We can’t shut down the country for some minuscule number of people. This is not a 100% death rate. It’s a number of basis points.”
That's what your life is to this schmuck, along with the lives of all the other at-risk people in America: basis points. That says it all.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:15 AM on May 17, 2020 [17 favorites]


"Obamagate" and "Lock her up": Pointing the way toward "Heil Trump"Salon; Lucian K. Truscott IV; May 16, 2020 • 'It’s not just a chant at Trump's rallies or lame wordplay in his tweets. It’s his call to fascist rule'

Trump tweets video of a reporter being hounded by anti-lockdown protesters, calling them 'great people'Business Insider; Sophia Ankel; May 16, 2020
The video was posted to Twitter by Kevin Vesey, a reporter with News 12 Long Island, who was reporting on an anti-lockdown demonstration organized by a pro-Trump group called the Setauket Patriots in Commack, Long Island on May 14.

The journalist was met with hostility as protesters started aggressively shouting and jeering at him while he walked past, recording his report on Facebook Live. One woman confronts Vesey, shouting, "You are disgusting. You are the virus", while another woman says in the background: "You are the enemy of the people."
The protest organizers later apologized and disowned the individuals involved.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:38 AM on May 17, 2020 [5 favorites]


That's what your life is to this schmuck, along with the lives of all the other at-risk people in America: basis points.

"Look down there. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever?"
posted by jackbishop at 10:00 AM on May 17, 2020 [8 favorites]


It's not so much who we are, but where we all are: Pale Blue Dot.
posted by cenoxo at 10:12 AM on May 17, 2020 [1 favorite]


OK, I'm going to write here now, I know it's wrong, but: let them have all the rallies. Let them shout and scream and stand close together.
But let the media ignore them. Don't expose any journalists to the danger (except those who really want to).
posted by mumimor at 11:24 AM on May 17, 2020 [3 favorites]


Sure, the accelerationist stance is seductive, but it's the same as the "repeating bad stuff in order to knock it down still broadcasts the bad stuff." Leave them alone, sure, but y'know...maybe leaving them alone removes distractions from organizing more effectively than they're able to do when enemy cameras are following people around.

The protest organizers later apologized and disowned the individuals involved.

Would love to see journalists get ahead of this inevitability. "Do you think the purpose of the protest will attract people you don't want, for whom you'll have to apologize?" I guess there isn't typically a lot of coverage of the organizers before the event, but still.
posted by rhizome at 11:35 AM on May 17, 2020 [1 favorite]


“This might involve tailored public communication programs designed to persuade vaccine-hesitant individuals to take the vaccine, or increased efforts to ensure that the vaccine uptake level among the remainder of the population is as high as possible, or both.”

It is a testament to Trump's dismantling of trust in government that even I - a former virologist and vaccination advocate - am distrustful of anything that comes out of the "Warp speed" campaign. I am going to read all the safety reports and publications for a Trump-endorsed vaccine before taking it. I would not put it past the guy to shove through either a completely fake vaccine or one that is wildly untested before the election. It'll take a few months to conclusively prove the vaccine is ineffective (e.g. just like the pushing of hydroxychloroquine), and by that time Trump hopes he'll be enjoying his second term.

I would trust whatever is approved in the EU or Canada, since their public health infrastructure is trustworthy, but if only the US approves it (and Fauci doesn't endorse it) keep your eyes open.

Jude Law's character from Contagion is now the President.
posted by benzenedream at 12:35 PM on May 17, 2020 [27 favorites]


The FDA granted emergency authorization use approval to Everlywell Inc. for its at-home virus testing kits, but made Seattle halt a promising test-at-home study (the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network, or SCAN, project) using a different kit:
The Gates Foundation in March said it was providing technical assistance for SCAN, which had been approved by regulators in Washington state, one of the first U.S. states to be hit hard by the outbreak. Bill Gates has also privately funded SCAN, according to the foundation.

On Thursday, SCAN in a statement said it has been in talks with the FDA since March 1 and initiated its request for emergency use authorization (EUA) on March 23, submitting data on April 13. “We have been notified that a separate federal emergency use authorization is required to return results for self-collected tests,” SCAN said. (Reuters, FDA suspends Gates-backed at-home COVID-19 testing program, May 16, 2020)
From that FDA press release yesterday, insultingly: Everlywell’s EUA request leveraged data from studies supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and UnitedHealth Group to demonstrate stability of specimens during shipping. The data from these studies are freely available to support other EUA requests, alleviating each test developer of the burden of recreating the same study.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:40 PM on May 17, 2020 [4 favorites]




If "Everlywell" is ringing a bell:

Oh, hey, I just listened to that episode of Sawbones.
posted by nonasuch at 3:56 PM on May 17, 2020 [2 favorites]


Nebraska, 48th in population, now at 11th in terms of cases per 1M population. Iowa has now moved above the US average. South Dakota may pass soon as well.

Texas in 6th for new cases, Florida in 8th.
posted by Windopaene at 4:46 PM on May 17, 2020 [2 favorites]


FWIW, being low-population is a significant cause of being far above (or below!) the mean rate of incidence in pretty much any reasonably infrequent occurrence, for purely statistical reasons. Nebraska and South Dakota may be in trouble (particularly given that they're disproportionately low-density, which should work on their favor), but rate of incidence might well be a result of this statistical anomaly.
posted by jackbishop at 5:33 PM on May 17, 2020 [3 favorites]


more like meat-packing I'm thinking. Nevertheless...
posted by Windopaene at 9:16 PM on May 17, 2020 [3 favorites]


VA says it won’t stop use of unproven malaria drug on veterans with coronavirus, Military Times, Hope Yen (Associated Press), 5/17/2020:
Facing growing criticism, the Department of Veterans Affairs said Friday [5/15/2020] that it will not halt use of an unproven malaria drug on veterans with COVID-19 but that fewer of its patients are now taking it. In responses provided to Congress and obtained by The Associated Press, the VA said it never “encouraged or discouraged” its government-run hospitals to use hydroxychloroquine on patients even as President Donald Trump heavily promoted the drug for months without scientific evidence of its effectiveness.

Still, it acknowledged that VA Secretary Robert Wilkie had wrongly asserted publicly without evidence that the drug had been shown to benefit younger veterans. The VA, the nation’s largest hospital system, also agreed more study was needed on the drug and suggested its use was now limited to extenuating circumstances, such as last-ditch efforts to save a coronavirus patient’s life....

[More details in the article about the VA's use of hydroxychloroquine.]
posted by cenoxo at 9:29 PM on May 17, 2020 [4 favorites]


^From cenoxo's link: The analysis of VA hospital data, done by independent researchers at two universities with VA approval, was not a rigorous experiment. Researchers analyzed medical records of 368 older male veterans hospitalized with confirmed coronavirus infection at VA medical centers who died or were discharged by April 11. About 28% of veterans who were given hydroxychloroquine plus usual care died, versus 11% of those getting routine care alone.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:01 PM on May 17, 2020 [10 favorites]


Despite how awful Trump is and how bad he has been, it still takes my breath away that people are willing to give veterans in hospital medicine that increases their chances of dying, rather than stop doing some clearly insane thing he suggested.

I can't believe after all this time, my expectations of his cronies and supporters is not yet low enough.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:58 AM on May 18, 2020 [14 favorites]


Trump said secretary of state Mike Pompeo had asked him to fire state department inspector general Steve Lenick, who was removed from his role on Friday. “I don’t know anything about him, other than the State Department and Mike in particular ... weren’t happy with the job he’s doing or something,” Trump told reports of Lenick’s ouster. (The Guardian, May 18, 2020)

At the link, the Guardian also published a screenshot of this tweet from Vox journalist Aaron Rupar:

[Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason] @jeffmason1: You said you don't know the IG you just fired. What was he doing that was treating you unfairly?

TRUMP: "I don't know. I don't anything about him. I don't know."
--
Separately, from Jeff Mason's twitter: @realDonaldTrump says he is taking #Hydroxychloroquine
Rupar has this, as well, as "I happen to be taking it ... right now, yeah" -- Trump claims he's taking hydroxychloroquine, a drug he's touted as a potential coronavirus treatment despite a lack of evidence that can lead to potentially fatal heart problems; & "I want the people of this nation to feel good. I don't want them being sick" -- Trump claims the White House doctor signed off on him taking hydroxychloroquine, which he says he was inspired to start taking because of letters he received
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:51 PM on May 18, 2020 [4 favorites]


So, we can all just start a letter-writing campaign now to decide what drugs POTUS should take?? WTF.
posted by bcd at 1:58 PM on May 18, 2020 [3 favorites]


Please proceed, Donald.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:03 PM on May 18, 2020 [12 favorites]


Idiot in chief.
posted by valkane at 2:32 PM on May 18, 2020


TRUMP: "I don't know. I don't anything about him. I don't know."

You'd think they might start asking him why he doesn't know and if he's actually in charge or not. Seems like the obvious follow-up question but I'm not a journalist or anything.
posted by VTX at 2:35 PM on May 18, 2020 [14 favorites]


U.S. Senator Marco Rubio will serve as acting chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday, after Senator Richard Burr announced he would step aside from the position during a federal investigation of his stock trades. [...] The appointment makes Rubio part of the so-called Gang of Eight, the leaders of Congress and the Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees who receive the most sensitive classified briefings. (Reuters, May 18, 2020)
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:37 PM on May 18, 2020 [3 favorites]


I find it highly unlikely he's actually taking hydroxychloroquine. For one, his doctors would be brought up on at minimum, wrongful death charges and have their license to practice medicine revoked if he dies from it. Two, he's more at risk from it because look at him - that's not a man with a healthy heart. Either he's lying to us, or they're lying to him.

Regardless of what they think of him, no doctor who is responsible for the health of the president is going to give him a medication that substantially increases his risk of death. This whole thing is just supporting grift.
posted by mrgoat at 2:42 PM on May 18, 2020 [9 favorites]




I'd believe he's taking an unproven, possibly harmful drug before I'll believe he's reading genuine letters from the American people. Speaking of grifting grifters who grift:

Moderna, the Massachusetts biotechnology company behind a leading effort to create a coronavirus vaccine, announced promising early results from its first human safety tests Monday. The company plans to launch a large clinical trial in July aimed at showing whether the vaccine works. The company reported that in eight patients who had been followed for a month and a half

[EIGHT? And seems a bit premature, wonder why the company --]

Moderna’s announcement comes days after one of its directors, Moncef Slaoui, stepped down from the board to become chief scientist for Operation Warp Speed, a White House initiative to speed up vaccine development. Watchdogs called out Slaoui’s apparent conflict of interest. Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show Slaoui’s stock options in Moderna are worth more than $10 million with the company’s share price at $66.69. In pre-market trading Monday, Moderna’s stock soared as high as 30 percent to nearly $87. Moderna also received $483 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a federal agency. (WaPo, May 18, 2020)

The first I heard of Moderna's vaccine trial was this NYT piece from March 16: Trial of Coronavirus Vaccine Made by Moderna Begins in Seattle The trial will enroll 45 healthy adults ages 18 to 55. Each will receive two shots, 28 days apart. Moderna calls the vaccine mRNA-1273. But Moderna wanted to announce promising results for eight of the forty-five test subjects, at least as of the six-week mark. Per WaPo link: The vaccine showed no worrisome safety signals, aside from redness at the injection site for one patient and some transient “systemic” symptoms in three patients given the highest dose, the company said.

Business Insider, four hours ago: Trump's newly appointed coronavirus czar, Moncef Slaoui, will divest his $10 million in Moderna stock options after initially claiming there was no conflict of interest.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:49 PM on May 18, 2020 [7 favorites]


I find it highly unlikely he's actually taking hydroxychloroquine.

The doctors are probably giving him Tic Tacs and telling him it is hydroxychloroquine just to shut him up.
posted by JackFlash at 3:55 PM on May 18, 2020 [17 favorites]


Pirin tablets.

Moncef Slaoui, PhD, was GlaxoSmithKline's chairman of vaccines until 2017. During his 25-year+ career with GSK, he headed the development of a robust vaccines pipeline, including Rotarix to prevent infantile gastroenteritis, Synflorix to prevent pneumococcal disease and Cervarix to prevent cervical cancer; his Wikipedia entry says he lost a sister early on to whooping cough. Slaoui discussed preparing for a pandemic on CNBC on Sept. 19, 2016. (CNBC, September 19, 2016)
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:16 PM on May 18, 2020 [3 favorites]


'I cannot stress this enough: This will kill you.' Fox News host Neil Cavuto was shocked by Trump's announcement that he's taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus. (Business Insider, May 18, 2020) Reacting to Trump's announcement, Cavuto mentioned a recent study by the Department of Veterans Affairs and academic researchers, which said that hydroxychloroquine had no benefit on coronavirus patients and is linked to higher death rates for VA patients hospitalized with the disease. [..] Trump on Monday suggested the VA study was conducted "with people that aren't big Trump fans." But Cavuto countered that on his show, saying the study Trump alluded to "wasn't a loaded political one."
"It was a test on patients there, and those who took it in a vulnerable population, including those with respiratory or other conditions, they died," Cavuto said. "I want to stress again: They died. If you are in a risky population here, and you are taking this as a preventative treatment to ward off the virus or in a worst case scenario you are dealing with the virus, and you are in this vulnerable population, it will kill you. I cannot stress enough: This will kill you."

He added: "So again, whatever benefits the president says this has — and certainly has had for those suffering from malaria, dealing with lupus — this is a leap that should not be taken casually by those watching at home who are assuming, well, the president of the United States says it's OK. Even the FDA was very cautious about this unless in a clinical trial safely and deliberately watched. I only make this not to make a political point here, but a life-and-death point. Be very, very careful."
--
Unfortunately, directly after Cavuto signed off, "Fox News host Greg Gutfeld of 'The Five' encouraged viewers to take the drug in question.'If it's available to you and you can take it, you do it," Gutfeld said. "That's a prudent way of looking at it.'"

posted by Iris Gambol at 5:42 PM on May 18, 2020 [12 favorites]


what is even happening
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:46 PM on May 18, 2020 [33 favorites]


“I don’t know anything about him, other than the State Department and Mike in particular ... weren’t happy with the job he’s doing or something,”

That is not how a thing that requires your sign-off works. It requires your sign-off and not the other guy's presumably because the other guy doesn't have the full picture, or the wisdom, or there could be a conflict of interest, or maybe due process requires that a second person review so people don't get fired just because they accidentally parked in the boss's parking spot while the boss is in a pissy mood. If you're just going to rubber stamp everything anyone asks you, what do we need you for? Do some fucking basic due diligence for fuck's sake.
posted by ctmf at 5:58 PM on May 18, 2020 [13 favorites]


And he says it like it doesn't make him look even more incompetent that way.
posted by ctmf at 6:05 PM on May 18, 2020 [7 favorites]


Mike Pompeo tells Trump to jump and Donnie asks "How high?" The Rubber-stamper-in-Chief.
posted by JackFlash at 6:47 PM on May 18, 2020 [2 favorites]


I don't know about him not taking the drug. He is a profoundly stupid man surrounded by people who hate him, even if they like what he brings.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:14 PM on May 18, 2020 [7 favorites]


I was going to say maybe it's finally Mike Pence's time to shine, but:
Mike Pence @Mike_Pence tweet May 18: In our call with Governors today, Dr. Fauci shared exciting news from biotech company, Moderna! The first potential Coronavirus vaccine has shown promising results in a clinical trial. 45 participants received 2 doses of the vaccine & all 45 produced antibodies.

I linked to the Washington Post story in a previous comment; while some details at that link have changed, as of 1 am EST Moderna's still reporting promising results for just eight of the 45 trial participants (though the "followed for a month and a half" has disappeared): The company’s stock, along with the Dow Jones industrial average, soared on the report that eight participants who received low and medium doses of Moderna’s vaccine had blood levels of virus-fighting antibodies that were similar or greater than those in recovered covid-19 patients. That suggests, but doesn’t prove, that it triggers some level of immunity.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:02 PM on May 18, 2020 [3 favorites]




I find it so disgusting that stunts like this - ripping a piece of paper, third-grade insults about weight to get under Trump's skin - are what we get from Pelosi instead of consistent investigation into the near-daily crimes we see from members of the Trump administration. Apparently investigations that would save American democracy are too big of a pol