By Robert A. Vella
Deep inside a secret lair somewhere, dark forces are conspiring to defeat Donald Trump in this year’s presidential election. The grand conspiracy was masterminded by that satanic evildoer we now call coronavirus. This highly infectious disease, which is technically a pandemic (i.e. an epidemic crossing multiple national borders and affecting large geographical areas), never liked Trump and has joined with other nefarious never-Trumpers such as Democrats, the mainstream media, the stock market, medical science, socialists, poor non-white people from “shithole” countries, and…, and…, and…
Well, you get the picture.
Apparently, the stock market is especially hostile towards Trump right now because it is currently in its fourth consecutive day of crash-diving towards economic recession. Oh yes, and the news media must be really hostile too because it is reporting this massive sell-off. It’s also infuriating to Trump that congressional Democrats (and even some Republicans) have the temerity to criticize his administration’s response to this non-crisis, and that the World Health Organization (WHO) has increased the global threat level of coronavirus to ‘very high.’ Or, so says Trump and his sycophants like White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
I ask you, is this incompetence or psychosis (i.e. a disconnection with reality)?
Regardless, coronavirus doesn’t care about Trump nor about his political ambitions (i.e. getting reelected so that he can consolidate his dictatorial stranglehold on power which would protect him from future civil and criminal liability). It’s going to do what all viruses do. The only way humans can combat it is for governments to follow the advice of medical experts and to put politics aside. South Korea provides an ideal example. It is producing coronavirus test kits at a prodigious rate and is testing hundreds of thousands of its residents in order to acquire the scientific data necessary for a coordinated and effective strategy to limit the spread of this disease and to treat those infected. Trump and his henchmen are doing the exact opposite. They are not only trying to obscure the severity of this outbreak, they are also impairing the capacity of medical professionals to respond to it (e.g. the CDC leadership preventing states from doing their own coronavirus testing while not supplying them enough approved test kits).
Despite the Trump administration’s obstruction, some states (e.g. California, New Jersey, and New York) are moving forward anyway. Why? Because doing so will limit the severity of this outbreak, reduce human suffering and save lives, and help restore stability to the economy.
Here’s today’s news:
GENEVA/BEIJING, Feb 28 (Reuters) – The rapid spread of the coronavirus increased fears of a pandemic on Friday, with six countries reporting their first cases and the World Health Organization (WHO) raising its global spread and impact risk alert to “very high.”
World shares fell again, winding up their worst week since the 2008 global financial crisis and bringing the global wipeout to $6 trillion.
Hopes that the epidemic that started in China late last year would be over in months, and that economic activity would quickly return to normal, have been shattered.
As the highly infectious coronavirus jumped from China to country after country in January and February, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lost valuable weeks that could have been used to track its possible spread in the United States because it insisted upon devising its own test.
The federal agency shunned the World Health Organization test guidelines used by other countries and set out to create a more complicated test of its own that could identify a range of similar viruses. But when it was sent to labs across the country in the first week of February, it didn’t work as expected. The CDC test correctly identified COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. But in all but a handful of state labs, it falsely flagged the presence of the other viruses in harmless samples.
As a result, until Wednesday the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration only allowed those state labs to use the test — a decision with potentially significant consequences. The lack of a reliable test prevented local officials from taking a crucial first step in coping with a possible outbreak — “surveillance testing” of hundreds of people in possible hotspots. Epidemiologists in other countries have used this sort of testing to track the spread of the disease before large numbers of people turn up at hospitals.
This story is based on interviews with state and local public health officials and scientists across the country, which, taken together, describe a frustrating, bewildering bureaucratic process that seemed at odds with the urgency of the growing threat. The CDC and Vice President Mike Pence’s office, which is coordinating the government’s response to the virus, did not respond to questions for this story. It’s unclear who in the government originally made the decision to design a more complicated test, or to depart from the WHO guidance.
The California patient who tested positive for the coronavirus days after being hospitalized is in serious condition and intubated, California Rep. John Garamendi told CNN’s Erin Burnett.
The Solano County woman has puzzled health officials, who say they have not been able to trace where she contracted the virus. The patient didn’t have any relevant travel history, exposure to another known patient and wasn’t one of the evacuees repatriated from China, officials said.
The new patient was transferred to UC Davis from a Northern California hospital last Wednesday but wasn’t tested by the CDC until Sunday, after doctors at UC Davis persisted in their request.
Both hospitals said there was no testing initially administered because the patient didn’t fit the existing CDC criteria for coronavirus.
Feb 27 (Reuters) – California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday that health officials are monitoring 8,400 people for coronavirus symptoms after they arrived in the state from domestic commercial flights.
The state currently has only about 200 test kits, an “inadequate” number, but has been in “constant contact with federal agencies” that will be sending a significant number of new test kits in coming days, Newsom said.
“WARNING: If you have recently purchased Meth, it may be contaminated with the Corona Virus,” wrote the Merrill Police Department in Merrill, Wis., in a Wednesday Facebook post about the disease. “If you’re not comfortable going into an office setting, please request any officer and they’ll test your Meth in the privacy of your home. Please spread the word! We are here for you!”
It was one of several police departments nationwide to push out the hoax, apparently in pursuit of laughs and possibly even the rare arrest. It generated mixed reactions, some seeing it as funny, others as deplorable, fueling coronavirus fears through fake public service announcements on official channels.
Departments in St. Francis County, Ark., Johnson City, Tex., Tavares, Fla., and Decatur County, Kan., have all blasted out the warning, in some cases grabbing straight-faced headlines from local TV news outlets that ran the story like a police news release without a hint of skepticism.
WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee is launching a wide-ranging probe of Attorney General William Barr and the Justice Department, demanding briefings, documents and interviews with 15 officials as it tries to determine whether there has been improper political interference in federal law enforcement.
Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., on Friday sent Barr a letter listing a series of matters that the committee finds “deeply troubling,” including Barr’s involvement in the case of President Donald Trump’s longtime confidant Roger Stone.
Nadler also is questioning Barr about his involvement in other cases related to friends and associates of Trump and about internal investigations into department employees who investigated Trump after the 2016 election.