Terrified Tuesday ReadsPosted: March 24, 2020
We are in deep trouble folks. The “president” is insane. We’ve known that for years, but now we are facing a global pandemic under a chief executive who cares nothing for other humans. His businesses are tanking because of this health crisis and he is panicking because he is incapable of thinking logically, planning for the future, controlling his impulses, or seeing the consequences of his actions. He obviously has severe frontal lobe deficits from dementia in addition to his lifelong malignant narcissism.
Republicans in the Senate had an opportunity to remove him and instead they chose to stick with an insane “leader” in order to line their pockets. Now we are all going to pay the price for their selfishness and short-term thinking.
I watched in horror yesterday as Trump held another “coronavirus briefing” in which he advocated for “reopening the economy” as if that were actually possible. In essence, he was saying that millions of us need to sicken and die in order to save the “economy.” Because of his severe brain damage and his lack of empathy, he cannot understand that if people go back to work the disease will spread and workplaces will end up decimated.
No intelligent person is going to go out to restaurants and clubs no matter what Trump says. So the economy will still crash and the pain will be unimaginably worse than if we had a nation-wide shutdown for two or three weeks. Of course states with rational governors will continue their shutdown policies, but if red states like Florida stay wide open, the disease will still spread even to states where people are acting responsibly.
Some people are actually suggesting that old people must die so young people can live. But that is not what is likely to happen. In the first place, we now know that young and healthy people can die of this disease. If young and middle-aged people return to their normal work and play routines, they are going to get sick and give the disease to people they interact with.
Meanwhile, older people like me who are intelligent enough to see what is happening and no longer have to go to work will stay home and protect themselves. I live alone and I intend to continue social distancing as long as it is necessary. It’s nothing new for me. I have always liked being alone and being social is hard work for me. I know intellectually that I need other people and I have learned to get myself out to spend time with them, but it won’t kill me to stay home for several weeks with just quick trips out to buy food and other necessities. I will miss seeing people, but I’ll survive. I’m not ready to die yet.
Some stories to check out today:
Bess Levin at Vanity Fair: White House: We’re Going to Have to Let Some People Die So the Stock Market Can Live.
One of the major reasons the United States is in the midst of a
health crisis that has killed 427 people and infected at least 34,354 so far is the fatty mass inside Donald Trump’s head that told him If you pretend like none of this is happening, it’ll all just go away. Singularly obsessed with the stock market, the president squandered his opportunity to contain the novel coronavirus out of fear that taking strong action would damage the economy, telling advisers in February not to “do or say anything that would further spook the markets.” Obviously that plan of “action” backfired so spectacularly that it would be quite funny if not for the whole life and death thing; weirdly, not doing anything about a deadly disease and insisting it was a hoax didn’t actually make investors feel better. Terrified about the fact that the Dow and S&P were still regularly recording some of their worst days since the crash of ’87, Trump decided roughly eight days ago to stop calling the pandemic “fake news” and actually advise people to take it seriously and stay home. One week, however, apparently represented the president’s upper limit for acting quasi-responsibly. Last Thursday, he reportedly began talking privately about getting people back to work, just three days after the CDC rolled out a campaign to encourage everyone to stay home for at least 15 days. On Sunday, he all-caps tweeted, “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”
Needless to say, telling people to get back to their normal lives within a fortnight is not at all what health experts have recommended. In fact, many agree we’ll have to practice social distancing for at least a year and perhaps up to 18 months, the alternative literally being the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Faced with that choice, most people would probably go with the former, even if it meant major damage to economy. And then you have the ghouls of Team Trump…
Click the link and read the rest at Vanity Fair.
Why has Trump suddenly pivoted after just a few days of advocating social distancing? It’s about his own bottom line. David A. Fahrenthold, Joshua Partlow and Jonathan O’Connell at the Washington Post: Before Trump called for reevaluating lockdowns, they shuttered six of his top-earning clubs and resorts.
President Trump’s private business has shut down six of its top seven revenue-producing clubs and hotels because of restrictions meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, potentially depriving Trump’s company of millions of dollars in revenue.
Those closures come as Trump is considering easing restrictions on movement sooner than federal public health experts recommend, in the name of reducing the virus’s economic damage.
In his unprecedented dual role as president and owner of a sprawling business, Trump is facing dual crises caused by the coronavirus. As he is trying to manage the pandemic from the White House, limiting its casualties as well as the economic fallout, his company is also navigating a major threat to the hospitality industry.
That threatens to pull Trump in opposite directions, because the strategies that many scientists believe will help lessen the public emergency — like strict, long-lasting restrictions on movement — could deepen the short-term problems of Trump’s private business, by keeping doors shut and customers away.
Remember, Trump is deep in debt–he borrowed $2 billion from Deutsche Bank to prop up his businesses. And he isn’t actually a billionaire.
Don’t miss this one. Donald McNeil at The New York Times: The Virus Can Be Stopped, But Only With Harsh Steps, Experts Say.
Terrifying though the coronavirus may be, it can be turned back. China, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan have demonstrated that, with furious efforts, the contagion can be brought to heel.
Whether they can keep it suppressed remains to be seen. But for the United States to repeat their successes will take extraordinary levels of coordination and money from the country’s leaders, and extraordinary levels of trust and cooperation from citizens. It will also require international partnerships in an interconnected world.
Although there are incidents of rampant spread, as happened on the cruise ship Diamond Princess, the coronavirus more often infects clusters of family members, friends and work colleagues, said Dr. David L. Heymann, who chairs an expert panel advising the World Health Organization on emergencies.
No one is certain why the virus travels in this way, but experts see an opening nonetheless. “You can contain clusters,” Dr. Heymann said. “You need to identify and stop discrete outbreaks, and then do rigorous contact tracing.”
But doing so takes intelligent, rapidly adaptive work by health officials, and near-total cooperation from the populace. Containment becomes realistic only when Americans realize that working together is the only way to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that will happen here in the U.S. Please read it anyway.
Marc Lipsitch at The Washington Post: Far more people in the U.S. have the coronavirus than you think.
Everyone asks the same important, interrelated questions. In one respect, the answer is the same for all of them: We must vastly expand our testing capacity. No country has controlled transmission effectively without massive testing capacity. The United States currently has a sliver of the capacity we need, which is a tiny fraction of that available in other countries. South Korea has performed over 320,000 tests — almost one for every 150 people. That is 30 times the testing per capita that we have done in the United States. Exceptional teams are racing to solve testing bottlenecks at local and state levels — Massachusetts is just one example — filling the vacuum left by the complete absence of federal leadership.
Regulatory and technical hurdles accounted for early delays. Now that we’re past those, several shortages are getting in the way. We don’t have enough protective equipment for testers, nor swabs for sampling or reagents to extract genetic material from the virus. We don’t have enough physical test kits, or enough human power to run large-scale testing. The result is that we have no idea how many people are infected with the coronavirus or how fast the virus is spreading.
Read the rest at the WaPo.
More reads, links only:
The New York Times: Trump Has Given Unusual Leeway to Fauci, but Aides Say He’s Losing His Patience.
Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine: Trump Is Back to Waging War on Science, at the Worst Possible Moment.
Bess Levin at Vanity Fair: Trump Won’t Order Vital Coronavirus Supplies Because Corporate CEOs Asked Him Not To.
The Washington Post: Italy’s coronavirus deaths are staggering. They may be more preview than anomaly.
Marcy Wheeler at Emptywheel: Air Traffic: A Lesson on Pandemic Economics from the Airlines.
Stay safe and healthy Sky Dancers! Please stay home as much as you can.