The T-Rump Virus

February 1, 2020

In many ways, the T-Rump is a horrifying virus, a disease upon all kinds of things, from politics and governance to clean water, health care and social programs — he’s a destroyer, lurching from one obilirated sector of life to another, everything the T-Rump touches dies.
A human infection, a virus, an endemic canker with a nefarious soul.

However, Time magazine added yesterday knocking the T-Rump bullhit: ‘But at that point, a sixth case of the virus had already been confirmed, and public health experts said it was not yet clear that those infected were “all in good recovery.”

Today, the count was up to eight infected in the US, a student at the University of Massachusetts Boston, it was reported — the coronavirus, officially titled 2019-nCoV, originated in Wuhan, China, and supposedly right now has killed at least 259 people, infected near 12,000 others worldwide. A most-excellent primer for 2019-nCoV can be found at Vox from this morning.

Beyond the horror of losing democracy as we know it, the disease of the T-Rump has infected just about every fucking thing — I saw this yesterday at Digby’s place, and it’s scary, a piece originally from Foreign Policy on the current US apparatus for combating something like the current coronavirus from China — there’s not one.

The epidemic control efforts unfolding today in China — including placing some 100 million citizens on lockdown, shutting down a national holiday, building enormous quarantine hospitals in days’ time, and ramping up 24-hour manufacturing of medical equipment — are indeed gargantuan.
It’s impossible to watch them without wondering, “What would we do? How would my government respond if this virus spread across my country?”
For the United States, the answers are especially worrying because the government has intentionally rendered itself incapable.
In 2018, the Trump administration fired the government’s entire pandemic response chain of command, including the White House management infrastructure.
In numerous phone calls and emails with key agencies across the U.S. government, the only consistent response I encountered was distressed confusion.
If the United States still has a clear chain of command for pandemic response, the White House urgently needs to clarify what it is — not just for the public but for the government itself, which largely finds itself in the dark.

What had been established under the Obama administration after Ebola broke out in West Africa six years ago are no longer:

But that’s all gone now.
In the spring of 2018, the White House pushed Congress to cut funding for Obama-era disease security programs, proposing to eliminate $252 million in previously committed resources for rebuilding health systems in Ebola-ravaged Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.
Under fire from both sides of the aisle, President Donald Trump dropped the proposal to eliminate Ebola funds a month later.
But other White House efforts included reducing $15 billion in national health spending and cutting the global disease-fighting operational budgets of the CDC, NSC, DHS, and HHS.
And the government’s $30 million Complex Crises Fund was eliminated.
In May 2018, Trump ordered the NSC’s entire global health security unit shut down, calling for reassignment of Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer and dissolution of his team inside the agency.
The month before, then-White House National Security Advisor John Bolton pressured Ziemer’s DHS counterpart, Tom Bossert, to resign along with his team.
Neither the NSC nor DHS epidemic teams have been replaced.
The global health section of the CDC was so drastically cut in 2018 that much of its staff was laid off and the number of countries it was working in was reduced from 49 to merely 10.
Meanwhile, throughout 2018, the U.S. Agency for International Development and its director, Mark Green, came repeatedly under fire from both the White House and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
And though Congress has so far managed to block Trump administration plans to cut the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps by 40 percent, the disease-fighting cadres have steadily eroded as retiring officers go unreplaced.

A scenario developing:

On Thursday, the CDC confirmed the first human-to-human spread of the Wuhan coronavirus inside the United States, between a husband and wife in Chicago.
While the wife acquired her infection traveling in China, she passed the virus to her husband on return to the United States.
Though only six Wuhan coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the United States, with no deaths, Nancy Messonnier of the CDC told reporters on Thursday: “Moving forward, we can expect to see more cases, and more cases mean the potential for more person-to-person spread.”

And so-forth-and-so-on…

(Illustration: Salvador Dali’s ‘Galatea of the Spheres,’ found here).

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