Thursday, April 9, 2020

No One Could Have Seen This Coming

No One Could Have Seen This Coming

So here's an angle that I haven't seen posted anywhere (you read it here first). One of Trump's favorite talking points these days as he seeks to deflect blame for is ill-preparedness in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic (when he's not blaming President Obama or the WHO) is that no one could have seen the coronavirus pandemic coming. The Washington Post, among others, has examined this claim and found it to be lacking.

We know, for instance, that in 2018 Trump and his team dismantled the Global Pandemic Office of the National Security Council. We also know that in early 2017, before Trump was sworn into office, Obama administration officials briefed a group of restive, incoming Trump cabinet members on how to respond to a global pandemic.

But one thing few people have noted is that in addition to all that the year 2017, the very year that Trump took office, was notable because that flu season was the worst, in terms of the number of fatalities, that the US had experience in over 4 decades. At the time the Associated Press reported:

Last fall and winter, the U.S. went through one of the most severe flu seasons in recent memory. It was driven by a kind of flu that tends to put more people in the hospital and cause more deaths, particularly among young children and the elderly....
Fatal complications from the flu can include pneumonia, stroke and heart attack.
CDC officials called the 80,000 figure preliminary, and it may be slightly revised. But they said it is not expected to go down.
It eclipses the estimates for every flu season going back to the winter of 1976-1977. Estimates for many earlier seasons were not readily available.
Last winter was not the worst flu season on record, however. The 1918 flu pandemic, which lasted nearly two years, killed more than 500,000 Americans, historians estimate.

So not only was the Trump administration handed a bureaucracy, tools and playbooks to deal with a global pandemic like the one we are now experiencing (which they either dismantled or ignored) but Trump's first year in office saw the worst flu season in 40 years. A particularly virulent flu strain triggered over 80,000 deaths in the US. Yet even that wasn't enough to shake Team trump out of their deep slumber and cause them to consider that maybe we ought to be a little better prepared for when the "big one" comes.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Another Trump Administration Failure

Another Trump Administration Failure

One of the biggest lies that Trump keeps repeating is that he "inherited a broken system" for dealing with pandemics. Yet every day we find out about another Obama administration pandemic mitigation initiative that the Trump administration either dismantled or failed to implement. Today the Washington Post reports that following the H1N1 swine-flu virus, the Obama Administration put in place an initiative to speed the production of N95 protective gear. A completed proposal was presented to the Trump administration in 2018, and then was promptly shelved:

In September 2018, the Trump administration received detailed plans for a new machine designed to churn out millions of protective respirator masks at high speed during a pandemic.
The plans, submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by medical manufacturer O&M Halyard, were the culmination of a venture unveiled almost three years earlier by the Obama administration.
But HHS did not proceed with making the machine.
The project was one of two N95 mask ventures — totaling $9.8 million — that the federal government embarked on over the past five years to better prepare for pandemics.
The other involves the development of reusable masks to replace the single-use variety currently so scarce that medical professionals are using theirs over and over. Expert panels have advised the government for at least 14 years that reusable masks were vital.
That effort, like the quick mask machine, has not led to a single new mask for the government’s response.

Yet he takes no responsibility.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Impeachment lie

The Impeachment Lie:

The Washington Post reports:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that Trump’s impeachment distracted the administration’s attention from the emerging crisis, seeming to lay blame on the congressional Democrats who led the effort. 

In fact, Trump was so distracted by impeachment he was only able to hold the following political rallies during that time period:

Jan 9 - Toledo Ohio
Jan 14 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Jan 28 - Wildwood, NJ
Jan 30 - Des Moines, Iowa
Feb 10 - Manchester, New Hampshire
Feb 19 - Phoenix, AZ
Feb 20 - Colorado Springs, Co
Feb 21 - Las Vegas, Nevada
Feb 28 - Charleston, SC

Yeah... that's a man who's so distracted by impeachment he doesn't have time to focus on a deadly disease that's right at the nation's doorstep. I mean, the list of events reads like a Rolling Stones concert schedule... you know... if the Rolling Stones were some crappy, no talent, White Power Death Metal band.

Dumber even than Donald Trump?

Perhaps, if you are Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. The Washington Post reports:

After resisting a statewide stay-at-home order for days, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) succumbed to the pressure and issued one on Wednesday. Part of the reason, he said, was that he had just learned some new information.
Kemp said he was “finding out that this virus is now transmitting before people see signs.”
“Those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad, but we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours,” he said. He added that the state’s top doctor told him that “this is a game-changer.”

So, yeah. Kemp just learned something that the news, the CDC and the WHO have been warning us for months.

Time to start blogging again...

These are the worst of times,
and we're being led
by the worst of men.

Case in point

 Wait.  No, I don’t want [the states] to compete because all they’re going to do is drive up the price.  I don’t want them to compete.  They should be calling us.  And we can work it so they get the ventilators and they get shipped directly.

If they’re competing, if they’re calling — even if there’s only two of them calling, they’re going to just drive up the price.  Because as nice as some of the people that do ventilators, they do want to make money.  Okay?

-Donald Trump on March 31, 2020

First of all, governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work, and they are doing a lot of this work.  The federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping.  You know, we’re not a shipping clerk.  The governors are supposed to be — as with testing, the governors are supposed — are supposed to be doing it.

-Donald Trump on March 18, 2020