Even on the weekend the wind blows, which way-or-not depends, and so the coronavirus continues to barrel-down upon humanity with full, unchecked glee — we’re coupled with a pandemic and an idiot in charge of handling said pandemic.
Reportedly, the T-Rump has finally been tested for the virus after spending a shitload of time with people already infected, along with shaking a shitload of nasty hands, though, results haven’t been announced.
One most-excellent effect of the orange shithead coming down with COVID-19, and maybe Pence catching it, too, would be Nancy Pelosi being made president. A dream within a nightmare.
In those night terrors, David Frum at The Atlantic this afternoon has a good piece on why T-Rump waited so long to be tested, despite having tests readily available — one reason, the asshole is a pathological nutcase:
Donald Trump is a fearful person.
He is terrified of sharks.
He is especially fearful of disease and death.
He banished his chief of staff from the room for coughing.
He told a German magazine in 2007 that he would not go near his own children when they were sick.
Any medical test is an encounter with mortality.
By refusing to look, the encounter is avoided—or postponed.
Private citizen Trump hired oddball doctors who assured him that he was in fabulous condition when he obviously was not.
President Trump promoted a White House doctor who suggested that Trump might possibly live to 200 given his “fabulous genes.”
It’s plausible that Trump doesn’t want to be tested for fear of being told otherwise.
(Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway, found at The Daily Beast).
A most-major complication in countering the coronavirus is the T-Rump himself babbling incoherently, lying about all kinds of shit, from testing to travel bans, and acting like a prissy turd, whining about ‘“a nasty question”‘ about his conduct in the face of the crisis.
This morning on Fox News Sunday, former Congresswoman Donna Edwards described reality: ‘“What we don’t get is that kind of reassurance coming directly from the president, because of his contradictions, because, you know, the information that he puts out is just not accurate. He would actually, I think, do better in terms of the public if he’d just shut up.”‘
Or resign — which will never happen, of course.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 event is really taking off all over the world — Spain is now on lockdown after a jump of 1,500 cases in one day (total of 5,753 cases nationwide, second highest in Europe), France will shutter nonessential businesses, and Italy announced a 20-percent leap in cases (3,497 new ones) with 157 people also dying between yesterday and today.
This is indeed serious business.
Yet the US has sucked at this thing. Ashish Jha, who runs the Harvard Global Health Institute (NPR):
“Our response is much, much worse than almost any other country that’s been affected,” Jha says.
He uses the words “stunning,” “fiasco” and “mind-blowing” to describe how bad it is.
“And I don’t understand it,” he says incredulously.
“I still don’t understand why we don’t have extensive testing. Vietnam! Vietnam has tested more people than America has.” (He’s citing data from earlier this week. The U.S. has since started testing more widely, although exact figures still aren’t available at a national level.)
A real-good overall piece on the coronavirus was found at the Guardian yesterday afternoon, and even relates how the virus works, and how testing works, though this the major points:
New measures are being introduced that should speed up access to test kits.
Roche, the manufacturer of state-of-the-art testing machines that are 10 times faster at getting results than other models, has just been given approval by the US Food and Drug Administration to produce a new coronavirus test which should see 500,000 or so additional kits available from next week.
New York state, which is an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, has also been given permission to run its own testing operation using both public and private laboratories.
At a White House press conference on Friday, Donald Trump said the federal government was working in partnership with private laboratories such as Quest Diagnostics to sharply increase capacity.
Google had also been enlisted to devise a website that would advise individuals on how to gauge their symptoms and if needed steer them towards new drive-in testing facilities with results likely in 24 to 36 hours.
All of this is good news, as it is should bring much more testing capacity on stream.
However, the big jam:
The US is woefully behind the curve in tackling the novel coronavirus, especially in terms of testing.
It is now thought the disease may have first emerged in China as early as November though Chinese authorities only revealed the crisis in January.
Even so, Trump was only putting crucial elements of the US testing strategy in place on Friday, almost two months after the scale of the danger was fully known.
With a virus that is as contagious and lethal for vulnerable populations as Covid-19, that is unthinkably slow.
“Failure” is right.
That’s precisely the word that Dr Anthony Fauci, one of the top US officials dealing with the crisis, used to describe the testing fiasco on Thursday.
And how bad is this fuck-up?
A few statistics put it in perspective.
South Korea, which is increasingly being seen as a model of good practice, has been testing up to 15,000 people a day – and has reached more than 230,000 people.
In the US, the total number of people who have been tested is still only about 11,000.
That’s a per capita rate that is about 130 times lower than in South Korea.
South Korea’s blanket testing has helped the country turn the corner of the epidemic.
The number of new cases reported in South Korea every day is now falling, suggesting good policy and strong leadership can beat the virus.
The US had neither.
Testing is way-important:
The even more basic answer is that Covid-19 is invisible and can easily go undetected.
It also spreads very quickly, and can be passed along by people who themselves have no symptoms.
Trying to combat the disease without testing is like running through a forest blindfolded — it’s not going to end well.
The only way to get to grips with the disease, experts say, other than locking down entire cities like China and Italy have done, is mass testing.
This allows doctors and government to operate on two levels: they can identify carriers of the virus who can then be quarantined until they are no longer infectious, and they can also carry out random sample testing in communities to spot localized outbreaks that can then be targeted as “containment zones”.
Despite the T-Rump nasty-mouthing yesterday, “No, I don’t take responsibility at all” for this shit:
With a health crisis of this dimension, the buck stops at the top, and that’s Trump.
From the outside, medical experts say, he has taken the wrong approach, thinking of Covid-19 as an outside threat to be dealt with by closing borders rather than an inevitable and already existing fact of life inside the US that must be dealt with through testing and isolation.
This week, in his Oval Office address to the nation, Trump called it the “foreign virus” which is a dangerously misleading concept.
Remarkably, he continued to talk on Friday about combating coronavirus through “a very strong border policy”, when the disease has almost certainly been prevalent inside the US undetected for weeks.
The bottom line is that Covid-19 is happening on Trump’s watch.
He may find his usual techniques for deflecting criticism – lying, adopting conspiracy theories and blaming others – may not spare him the consequences this time.
Well, at least it’s the weekend…