Good Day Sky Dancers!
So, what does it say when two companies that produce disinfectants and dangerous cleaning products have to remind full grow adults not to drink the shit because, well, the so-called President suggests it might be a way to clean out Covid-19 infected lungs in a Prime Time TV Presser.
Injecting disinfectant? WTF?
From CNN: Lysol maker: Please don’t drink our cleaning products . This is usually why we put these things on high shelves or under child-proof locks in homes with very small children.
The statement followed remarks from President Trump on Thursday on the use of disinfectants.
“And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in one minute. Is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning … it would be interesting to check that,” Trump said. “It sounds interesting to me,” he added.
CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta was quick to point out that this is simply wrong.
“He also said it needs to be studied. Actually, it doesn’t. I mean we know the answer to this one,” he said on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 on Thursday. “I think everybody would know that that would be dangerous and counter-productive.”
Ingesting or injecting disinfectants is dangerous, according to a medical expert employed. Food and Drug Administration chief Dr. Stephen Hahn told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “I certainly wouldn’t recommend the internal ingestion of a disinfectant.”
The US Food and Drug Administration regularly warns the public against drinking bleach, or even inhaling fumes from bleach. It’s also irritating to skin.
On Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said calls about poisonings with cleaners and disinfectants had increased more than 20% in the first three months of 2020 — as coronavirus cleaning increased — than from the same period a year earlier. Among cleaners, bleaches accounted for the largest percentage increase in calls from 2019 to 2020.
The problem is that I actually believe most of the Trumperz aren’t smart enough to figure out that they still shouldn’t be drinking bleach and Lysol. That’s a pretty strange statement too. But, it looks like those companies and lots of doctors and health organizations think there will be stupid people trying it because their orange messiah inkled it.
The FDA is warning against “use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems”. This was another Trump pet poison.
You’ll remember a couple in Arizona that found a fish version of that and killed the husband in a kool aid drink to save Trump Town. from the deep state. CNBC outlines the problems with that drug.
The Food and Drug Administration warned consumers Friday against taking malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 outside a hospital or formal clinical trial setting after “serious” poisoning and deaths were reported.
The agency said it became aware of reports of “serious heart rhythm problems” in patients with the virus who were treated with the malaria drugs, often in combination with antibiotic azithromycin, commonly known as a Z-Pak. It also warned physicians against prescribing the drugs to treat the coronavirus outside of a hospital.
“Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can cause abnormal heart rhythms such as QT interval prolongation and a dangerously rapid heart rate called ventricular tachycardia,” the agency wrote in the notice. “We will continue to investigate risks associated with the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19 and communicate publicly when we have more information.”
His ignorance as well as his extreme pathologies are killing the country. Michael Gerson–writing for WAPO–states “The GOP has reached its sad, inevitable destination.” My question is will its demise come soon enough to save us?
The Trump captivity of the GOP has reached its sad, inevitable destination: a failed presidency defended by a cowed party. As President Trump’s malignant narcissism and incompetence have been fully revealed — and can be objectively measured by the level of needless death from covid-19 — his approval among Republicans has remained strong. Across a continent filled with elected Republicans, only a few have taken a stand for sanity and effective governance.
Trump is, no doubt, in a perilous political situation. The activist right wing of his party has seized on social distancing as the health-care equivalent of socialism. The tea party fundraising machine has lurched into loud, clanking motion, trying to manufacture outrage against epidemiology. Some pro-life and pro-family groups have joined in the ill-timed promotion of social anarchy.
The president seldom defies the right-wing populists, and his immediate response was to identify with their anger. But this is a different political circumstance from any Trump has faced. In this case, pleasing the most vocal portion of his base puts another important constituency — older voters — at additional risk of painful, suffocating death. It is difficult to play both sides of this issue. And there are indications in recent polling that seniors have grown increasingly critical of Trump’s pandemic response.
Yet none of this is likely to change the minds of partisan Republicans. Some ignore or dismiss Trump’s cruelty and deception because conservative judges need to be appointed and the culture war needs to be fought. Some embrace his cruelty and deception because conservative judges need to be appointed and the culture war needs to be fought. And Trump naturally takes continued Republican job approval as an endorsement for his handling of the coronavirus crisis. In this way, Republican tolerance for Trump’s ineptitude and ignorance has made these traits more lethal.
It is sometimes useful to stare the worst possible political outcome full in the face. If Trump were reelected in November, he would place his stamp on Republican identity for a generation. The purges of dissidents would accelerate. Resistance within the party would dwindle from rare to vanishingly rare. A party of angry white people would head toward its demographic doom. And even then, Trump acolytes would probably reject ideological and racial outreach, preferring their resentments to the possibility of deliverance.
The entire party has nothing to offer but greed and craziness.
McConnell would actually take down the truly viable states with good economies to prop up his power agenda.
Unfortunately, it’s looking increasingly likely that tens of millions of Americans will in fact suffer extreme hardship and that there will be devastating cuts in services. Why? The answer mainly boils down to two words: Mitch McConnell.
On Wednesday, McConnell, the Senate majority leader, declared that he is opposed to any further federal aid to beleaguered state and local governments, and suggested that states declare bankruptcy instead. Lest anyone accuse McConnell of being even slightly nonpartisan, his office distributed two memos referring to proposals for state aid as “blue state bailouts.”
A number of governors have already denounced McConnell’s position as stupid, which it is. But it’s also vile and hypocritical.
When I say that we have the resources to avoid severe financial hardship, I’m referring to the federal government, which can borrow vast sums very cheaply. In fact, the interest rate on inflation-protected bonds, which measure real borrowing costs, is minus 0.43 percent: Investors are basically paying the feds to hold their money.
So Washington can and should run big budget deficits in this time of need. State and local governments, however, can’t, because almost all of them are required by law to run balanced budgets. Yet these governments, which are on the front line of dealing with the pandemic, are facing a combination of collapsing revenue and soaring expenses.
The obvious answer is federal aid. But McConnell wants states and cities to declare bankruptcy instead.
And, once again we see the “pro-life” agenda isn’t very pro-life as argued by Timothy Eagen in the NYT.
All of us want the same thing — a road map to the way out. The scientific consensus is clear and not that complicated: We need a significant upgrade of testing, contact tracing to track the infected, nuanced and dutiful social isolation, all to buy time until a vaccine is developed.
But the political way out reveals a stark divide, and some true madness. For Republicans, that pro-life slogan of theirs is just another term for nothing left to lose. They are now the party of death.
When Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Texas doubled down this week on prior remarks elevating commerce above life — There are “more important things than living,” he said on Fox News — he was speaking for a significant slice of his party. People are disposable. So is income. But one is more important.
Whatever we can say is American is Failing. I agree with this NBC think piece. We are not handling this crisis well at all and I’m not proud to say I agree with Chuck Todd of all people.
Without question, it’s the worst crisis the United States has faced since the Great Depression and World War II. And so far, this country’s national leaders and federal government have failed to meet the enormity of the moment.
President Trump has failed to meet the moment — whether it’s in uniting the country, giving it the unvarnished truth of the situation or even just mourning the dead.
Congress has failed the moment — despite spending some $3 trillion in aid and stimulus, many small businesses have been unable to get loans, and state governments are seeing their trust funds depleted to pay out unemployment insurance.
And while individual governors and states have stepped up their game, the entire federal government — collectively — has failed the moment. In the months since the spread first began, there have been 4.7 million coronavirus tests in the nation, which represents less than 2 percent of the U.S. population.
OOps. Too soon! There’s that both siderism. The problem with Congress in the Senate Republican majority who appears to see this as a way to reshape the country into its rural white identity. Try this for size: ” >Bailout money bypasses hard-hit New York, California for North Dakota, Nebraska“. This is from Aaron Glantz.
This was the purpose of the Paycheck Protection Program: to subsidize vulnerable small businesses and avoid massive layoffs. The loans will be forgiven entirely under certain conditions, including a requirement that a company keep all of its employees on the payroll for at least eight weeks. Within weeks, the Small Business Administration had exhausted the $349 billion appropriated by Congress, a pace that President Donald Trump has called “an incredible, incredible success.”
An analysis of 1.6 million Paycheck Protection Program loans by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting found that 58% of North Dakota’s small businesses got loans through the program. A majority of small businesses in Nebraska and South Dakota, neither of which have shelter-in-place orders, also received help.
It was a different story, however, in states with high death tolls and some of the earliest stay-at-home orders prompted by COVID-19. In New York and New Jersey, where more than 350,000 are infected and more than 20,000 have died, just 18% of businesses got help, Reveal’s analysis found. In California, where more than 3 million workers have filed for unemployment after that state became the first to issue a stay-at-home order, that number was 15%. (Reveal is among the California businesses that received a loan under the program.)
The figures were so stark that they sparked concerns of political interference. Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat who serves on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said the data raise questions about whether stimulus dollars were deliberately funneled to states that voted for Trump and have Republican governors.
Speier told Reveal that she would be calling for an investigation by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.
Reveal’s analysis found that businesses in states that Trump won in 2016 received a far greater share of the small-business relief funds than those won by his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Eight of the top 10 recipient states – ranked according to the proportion of each state’s businesses that received funding – went to Trump in 2016. Meanwhile, seven of the bottom 10 states, where the lowest proportion of businesses received funding, went to Clinton. Taken together, 32% of businesses in states that Trump won got Paycheck Protection Program dollars, we found, compared with 22% of businesses in states that went to Clinton.
“If it is as it appears, it is downright criminal. So there has to be an investigation,” Speier said, noting that the president has a record of using his office to benefit his family and supporters financially, while seeking to deny government support to those he sees as his political enemies.
“As far as the president of the United States is concerned, if he can stick it to California, he will,” she said.
So, this is beginning to feel like they may try to selectively kill us off as well suppress our vote. Mostly they are destroying their precious notion of American Exceptionalism because Republican and Trumpist agendas are about driving us into banana republic status. This is from the AP’s Calvin Woodard.
At the time of greatest need, the country with the world’s most expensive health care system doesn’t want you using it if you’re sick but not sick enough or not sick the right way.
The patchwork private-public health care system consumes 17% of the economy, unparalleled globally. But it wants you to stay home with your COVID-19 unless you are among the minority at risk of death from suffocation or complications. It wants you to heal from anything you can without a doctor’s touch and put off surgeries of all kinds if they can wait.
In the pandemic’s viral madhouse, the United States possesses jewels of medical exceptionalism that have long been the envy of the world, like the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.
But where are the results?
For effective diagnostic testing, crucial in an infectious outbreak, look abroad. To the United Arab Emirates, or Germany, or New Zealand, which jumped to test the masses before many were known to be sick.
Or to South Korean exceptionalism, tapped by Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, who accepted a planeload of 500,000 testing kits from Seoul to make up for the U.S. shortfall. The aid was dubbed Operation Enduring Friendship and annoyed Trump, the “America First” president.
Simple gloves. Complicated ventilators. Special lab chemicals. Tests. Swabs. Masks. Gowns. Face shields. Hospital beds. Emergency payouts from the government. Benefits for idled workers. Small business relief. Each has been subject to chronic shortages, spot shortages, calcified bureaucracy or some combination.
“This monumental failure of institutional effectiveness will reverberate for the rest of the decade,” Andreessen, a tech investor best known for the Netscape browser in the 1990s, said in his company newsletter.
Yet Trump uses his daily White House briefings to claim success and talk about his poll numbers, TV ratings, favorite theories about science and the praise he gets from governors, who may be at risk of seeing their states intentionally shortchanged by Washington if they don’t say something nice about him.
“A lot of people love Trump, right?” Trump asked himself at the briefing Monday.
He then answered himself. “A lot of people love me. You see them all the time, right? I guess I’m here for a reason, you know. … And I think we’re going to win again, I think we’re going to win in a landslide.”
Polls are beginning to inform Trump that he is behind so he will certainly only get worse and more desperate. One reason? The one thing you can say about “safety moms” is they want safety. Trump is the furthest thing away from that.
Here are some things to read about that:
Biden predicts Trump will try to delay November election from the Hill
We will need to be vigilant as ever and more reliant on the Democratic Party to fight like hell. Be safe! Stay Home!! Be kind to yourself!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I’m waiting for a phone call from Doctor Daughter who was on call last night at her hospital in the Seattle Burbs. Youngest Daughter joined my graduate class in Derivatives on Wednesday night to talk about Options strategies and the consumer retail brokerage market from Denver to the students held up here in New Orleans. I’m beginning to feel superfluous which is fine but I worry about them both. I especially fret about the doctors in Seattle and I can only imagine the stories that I will hear today.
My paychecks continue and I’m paying my bills which keeps me in the thankful old lady range. I’m trying like crazy not to get sick again although I–like BB–wonder if the Mardi Gras Flu that kept me sick and home for 3 weeks last month was COVID 19 instead of Influenza Type B. At this point, I’d be glad to have some antibodies because my lean/mean blue cross blue shield ACA health plan keeps me from doing anything but the required annual visits, etc. I’m having to hold out to get sick or whatever until the less expensive–but still not inexpensive–Medicare becomes available to me in the fall.
So now the narrative is that my city is supposedly to blame as the supposedly evil place that gave it to the rest of the country because Mardi Gras. This is from the NYT. We’ve reached the demonize the cities with all those people of color portion of deflecting blame from the Orange Snot Blob.
In a grim irony, there is a rising suspicion among medical experts that the crisis may have been accelerated by Mardi Gras — the weekslong citywide celebration that unfolds in crowded living rooms, ballrooms and city streets — which this year culminated on Feb. 25.
It is the city’s trademark expression of joy — and an epidemiologist’s nightmare.
“I think it all boils down to Mardi Gras,” said Dr. F. Brobson Lutz Jr., a former health director of New Orleans and a specialist in infectious disease. “The greatest free party in the world was a perfect incubator at the perfect time.”
The feeling is at once familiar and distinct for a city whose history is punctuated with epic disasters, including the deadly yellow fever outbreaks of 1853 and 1905, and Hurricane Katrina a century later in 2005. Once again, New Orleanians are afraid they could be neglected by national leaders, only this time because the coronavirus is a worldwide calamity.
“This hurricane’s coming for everybody,” said Broderick Bagert, an organizer with the community organizing group Together Louisiana.
Mr. Edwards, who, like most other Louisiana governors, has extensive experience dealing with hurricanes, said the state was struggling to confront this new kind of disaster. “We don’t really have a playbook on this one,” he said.
“If you have a flood or a hurricane it’s only a small part of the country that’s affected, so you can get the full attention of the federal government and you can get a lot of help from sister states,” he said. “That’s not possible right now because this is in every state in our country.”
As a kind of ghostliness settles over a locked-down nation, the effect of social distancing feels particularly jarring in New Orleans, a city that runs on intimacy — from the deep webs of kinship and geography that connect families and neighborhoods to the fleeting threads that bind strangers and regulars in storied restaurants and packed, sweaty clubs.
The fact that the Trumpist regime underplayed this disease at a time it was arriving in places like Seattle, Boston, NYC and yes, New Orleans cannot be underplayed right now. Nor can the fact that Trump refuses to truly act to flatten the curve and step up the production of hospital supplies and ICU beds in first, the worst hit cities, and then seeing that it continues to go to the next wave of places.
None of our cities are to blame. The Federal Government clearly botched this from the very beginning.
From WAPO: “From party to pandemic: New Orleans fears Mardis Gras fueled coronavirus outbreak as cases spike”.
More than a million dancing, singing, bead-catching celebrants packed the streets of the French Quarter and other venues across this city in the weeks leading up to the sprawling open-air party that is Mardi Gras.
There was little worry during the February festivities about the new virus that had infected a few dozen people in other parts of the country. The city’s top health official believed the flu “is far more dangerous right now than the coronavirus,” she told the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate newspaper.
Thirteen days later, on March 9, Louisiana reported its first case of covid-19. Then came another, and another. Clusters broke out in several nursing homes. The cases popping up across the state were not easily linked to each other, meaning that a galloping community spread was already underway.
A terrible realization began to dawn on residents and political leaders: The famous bonhomie of the world’s biggest free party may have helped supercharge one of the most rapid spreads of the coronavirus, which is now threatening to overwhelm Louisiana’s health-care system and potentially make the state one of the next epicenters.
“We had people from all over the world. We also had the spread of this virus, and people did not realize it was spreading,” said Rebekah Gee, a former state health secretary now on the faculty of Louisiana State University’s medical school. “So people not only caught beads, but they caught covid-19.”
As of Thursday, Louisiana had reported 2,305 cases and 83 deaths related to coronavirus — with about two-thirds of the cases and deaths in the New Orleans metro area. During the first two weeks of known infections, the virus was coursing through Louisiana at an extraordinarily rapid pace, according to an analysis by Gary Wagner, a professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He found that the rate of growth in that period was the highest in the world.
One of the biggest barriers to progress is Jared Kushner’s Shadow Task force which CREW says violates multiple laws.
Jared Kushner’s shadow coronavirus task force appears to be violating both the Presidential Records Act (PRA) and Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) by using private email accounts with no assurance their communications are being preserved and by meeting in secret, according to a letter sent today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The failure of the White House to comply with any of the PRA and FACA requirements leaves the public in the dark about the work the shadow task force has done and the influence of private industries on the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Kushner’s task force, composed of a team of allies from within the government and representatives from private industries, has operated adjacent to the official government task force spearheaded by Vice President Pence. With confusion over the shadow task force’s role and who its members are, and reports that the members of the shadow task force communicate using private email accounts, CREW has reason to believe the White House is not creating and maintaining accurate and complete records of the shadow task force’s activities as required by the PRA.
“If there was ever a time we need records and transparency, this is it. As the seriousness of this pandemic continues to grow, the public needs to understand who in the White House is making policy decisions, who from private industry is influencing those decisions, and how decisions to address this pandemic are being made,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “After this crisis has passed, we will need to be able to look back at how this administration responded to the situation and have the full picture of what was going on behind closed doors in order to understand what we could do better in the future.”
The PRA requires the president and his staff to document, preserve and maintain records of “the activities, deliberations, decisions, and policies that reflect the performance of the President’s constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties.” With Kushner at the head, the shadow task force’s development and implementation of federal strategies to address the coronavirus pandemic fall within these requirements.
The shadow task force also appears to fall under FACA provisions, which are triggered whenever a committee within the Executive Office of the President is advising the president and is not “composed wholly of full-time, or permanent part-time, officers or employees of the Federal Government.” The FACA prohibits such committees from being “inappropriately influenced by the appointing authority or by any special interest.” Contrary to the FACA’s requirements, the shadow task force is operating in secret, with neither the members of Kushner’s committee nor their interests fully disclosed to the public. Understanding and preserving the committee’s actions and conversations will be key in understanding how the administration ultimately decided to approach its COVID-19 response efforts.
Notice the part about Kushner’s private emails.
Trump has pulled back the offer of ventilators to NYC, demonized Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, and now appears to be attacking GM and FORD who are simply waiting for the proper channels to get activated. WTF?
The White House had been preparing to reveal on Wednesday a joint venture between General Motors and Ventec Life Systems that would allow for the production of as many as 80,000 desperately needed ventilators to respond to an escalating pandemic when word suddenly came down that the announcement was off.
The decision to cancel the announcement, government officials say, came after the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it needed more time to assess whether the estimated cost was prohibitive. That price tag was more than $1 billion, with several hundred million dollars to be paid upfront to General Motors to retool a car parts plant in Kokomo, Ind., where the ventilators would be made with Ventec’s technology.
Government officials said that the deal might still happen but that they are examining at least a dozen other proposals. And they contend that an initial promise that the joint venture could turn out 20,000 ventilators in short order had shrunk to 7,500, with even that number in doubt. Longtime emergency managers at FEMA are working with military officials to sort through the competing offers and federal procurement rules while under pressure to give President Trump something to announce.
But in an interview Thursday night with Sean Hannity, the president played down the need for ventilators.
This is an interesting headline from a Michigan: “‘After Trump Attacks Whitmer, She Says Vendors Aren’t Sending Desperately Needed Coronavirus Supplies. “They’re being told not to send stuff to Michigan.”‘
After President Donald Trump issued scathing comments about Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, saying she’s “not stepping up,” and “doesn’t know what’s going on,” she told WWJ 950 the state is having trouble getting the equipment they need to fight the novel coronavirus.
“What I’ve gotten back is that vendors with whom we’ve procured contracts — They’re being told not to send stuff to Michigan,” Whitmer said live on air. “It’s really concerning, I reached out to the White House last night and asked for a phone call with the president, ironically at the time this stuff was going on.”
The other stuff was Trump speaking with Sean Hannity on FOX News about Whitmer, a Democrat who has said very pointed things about the federal government’s lack of coordinated response to the coronavirus crisis. Trump said of Whitmer, “She is a new governor, and it’s not been pleasant … “We’ve had a big problem with the young — a woman governor. You know who I’m talking about — from Michigan. We don’t like to see the complaints.”
Michigan’s request for disaster assistance has not yet been approved by the White House, and Trump told Hannity he’s still weighing it.
“She doesn’t get it done, and we send her a lot. Now, she wants a declaration of emergency, and, you know, we’ll have to make a decision on that. But Michigan is a very important state. I love the people of Michigan.”
In her public addresses closing schools, bars and restaurants, and issuing a shelter in place order, Whitmer has complained about the federal’s government lack of organization and state assistance, but she told WWJ she has never personally attacked the president.
“It’s very distressing,” she said about Trump’s attack, noting that she was only one of several governors who noted “the federal preparation was concerning.”
But she apparently struck a nerve with the president. And now the question is whether the leader of the free world could possibly take it out on medical professionals, patients and communities who desperately need help.
“I’ve been uniquely singled out,” Whitmer said. “I don’t go into personal attacks, I don’t have time for that, I don’t have energy for that, frankly. All of our focus has to be on COVID-19.”
This continued pettiness ruling our National Public Health Policy and Actions should be called out immediately. I still believe no press outlet other tha CSPAN should be carrying the Trump’s political and disinformation-laden pressers. They can edit him out and play the Science portion and quit scaring the rest of us. But look, he didn’t cancel his damned rallies during the same Mardi Gras period.
So, I guess if me sitting home is the best I can do to help this, here I sit. Still, we rely heavily on our Congress Critters to do the right thing right now. You still might want to give them a ring and an earful. Please be safe!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Day Sky Dancers!
The weirdest news of the day continues to be the lines at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods as white burbies do their panic hording of toilet paper. Did I miss the memo on the magical impact of Northern and Scott to keep them ensconced in the white burbie bubble? Panic buying is just one of things that make us human, I guess. I’ve stocked up on a few things myself now but only because I’m convinced they’ll run the store empty and my plan is to go out as little as possible.
There’s nothing quite like the behavior of panicky humans—especially when it comes to hoarding. Let a blizzard approach or a hurricane churn toward shore, and we descend on stores, buying up more batteries, bottled water and canned foods than we could use in a lifetime. We’re seeing the same thing again as America hunkers down against the novel coronavirus, and of all of the products that are being snatched up the fastest, there’s one that’s in special demand: toilet paper.
The Washington Post reports a run on the rolls, with both Costco and the Giant supermarket chain stripped all but clean. Even Amazon’s physical stores “appeared to be down to single rolls of novelty toilet paper in some places Friday,” the Post said. The New York Times similarly reports from a Whole Foods supermarket in Somerville, Mass., where shoppers had to be limited to two packages of toilet paper each, lest they strip the store bare.
But why? What is it about toilet paper—specifically the prospect of an inadequate supply of it—that makes us so anxious? Some of the answer is obvious. Toilet paper has primal—even infantile—associations, connected with what is arguably the body’s least agreeable function in a way we’ve been taught from toddlerhood. Few, if any of us, remember a time when we weren’t acquainted with the product.
Ir’s no wonder that I just got emails from my German students telling me their government has told them to get out of the US. That’s right, the German government has decided it’s not safe for them to be here. I’m assuming they fully believe that it’s just a matter of time before US hospitals are overwhelmed. It hasn’t stopped US college students from partying on dude.
A lot played out this weekend but the adult playpen areas like Bourbon Street, Nashville, and Ft Lauderdale continued to party on dude even as the major events for the tourist traps of America were shut down. Student in Tulane were filling the campus’ dumpsters with furniture and home appliances as they were tossed out of their dorms. Still, the first death in New Orleans of Covid19 didn’t stop wall to wall humanity on Bourbon Street or the Irish Channel despite that St Joseph’s an St Patrick’s parade being cancelled and all sporting events were cancelled. The mayor finally sent the police in to clear the crowds.
By day, lower Magazine Street was packed with people in kilts and green shamrocks Saturday despite the cancellation of the city’s official St. Patrick’s Day parades, with many revelers appearing to hope that the luck of the Irish would be enough to keep the new coronavirus at bay.
By night, New Orleans police broke up a bustling party at a local bar, and Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a strong statement, imploring people to practice “social distancing” to stop the spread of coronavirus. Around 6 p.m. Saturday, New Orleans officers arrived at Tracey’s Original Irish Channel Bar, one of the traditional epicenters of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday in the city, to break up a large party there.
Public officials have taken steps to limit gatherings in an effort to keep the virus from moving quickly through the population. Gov. John Bel Edwards has closed schools for several weeks and barred events where 250 people or more gather. But warnings from the governor and Cantrell about avoiding close contact and large gatherings were scarcely heeded Saturday along Magazine Street, through the Irish Channel and Garden District, where the streets were bustling.
Cantrell said that to fight this virus required social distancing, carried out in all seriousness.
So, while some people spend endless time in lines buying cans of tuna, peanut butter, and toilet paper others day drink with their closest 500 or so friends. Right. This is America. They’re also hoarding guns and panic buying guns.
Some further local news that’s surreal from any vantage point. The French Market has been open continuously for over 300 years and it will be closing down today for an undetermined period.
Probably the most profoundly disturbing image yesterday was the Trumperz suprise visit to Pence’s attempt to bring some gravity to a Presser. It’s been evident that number of cases is on the rise and the number of deaths have just started to look disturbing. But hey, Trumperz was just a happy camper as the Board of Governors at the FED sent prices at the zero bound. And, I ask you again? Who is going to get a loan and like, buy something like a car right now?
So, Trumperz said “investors should be thrilled.”
Investors this morning to Trumperz (via the WSJ) :“Stocks Open Sharply Lower After Fed Slashes Rates. U.S. stocks drop 8%, while bond yields plummet again.” He just doesn’t get anything right ever. Oh, and then there’s this via CNBC: “Stock futures drop — hit ‘limit down’ — even as Fed slashes rates; Dow futures off 1,000 points Stock futures plunged Sunday night even after the Federal Reserve embarked on a massive monetary stimulus campaign to curb slower economic growth amid the coronavirus outbreak.”
The real real is getting serious too. From the Seattle Times: “EvergreenHealth doctor tests positive for coronavirus, in critical condition”.
An emergency room doctor at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland is in critical condition with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The hospital at the center of the coronavirus outbreak in King County confirmed that the doctor was ill Sunday afternoon.
“EvergreenHealth is providing care for one of our physicians who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. He is in critical condition but stable. Out of respect for our patient’s privacy and that of his family, there is nothing more we can share at this time,” says a brief statement issued by the hospital on Sunday.
The physician, who is in his 40s, has been admitted to the intensive-care unit and could be the first front-line health care worker in the state to test positive for the disease, said Dr. Liam Yore, the immediate past president of the Washington Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians.
Yore is an emergency room doctor who works primarily at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett but is also on staff at EvergreenHealth. He spoke to The Seattle Times on behalf of his professional organization and not as a representative of the hospitals.
“There was an initial test on Tuesday and that came back negative,” Yore said of his EvergreenHealth colleague, who he described as “a dedicated and selfless physician.”
That’s not the hospital where my daughter practices but it is damn close. USA’s headline today is the best advice these days: “The best thing everyday Americans can do to fight coronavirus? #StayHome, save lives ” That’s certainly my plan. I’m facing down 65 in November and while I’m relatively healthy, I will not be tempting fate.
I did watch a bit of the debate last night but was just overwhelmingly depressed especially after seeing parts of that stupid Presser. Old White men will be the death of us all. We’re going to have to vote for Biden to save what’s left of our country, but damn, I wish it didn’t come down to this. Here are some headlines.
“Trump finds his MAGA movement fracturing over coronavirus — Just two weeks after President Donald Trump rallied conservatives to focus on the threat of socialism, his followers are splintering over the coronavirus pandemic. ” via Politico.
“Biden and Bernie face off: Key moments from Sunday’s debate” also via Politico. They even elbow bumped.
Under the cloud of the coronavirus pandemic, they talked about bailouts — and hand sanitizer. Biden said he washes his hands—a lot—”God knows how many times a day!”
Biden and Sanders met Sunday night, with Biden looking to open up a commanding lead for the nomination Tuesday and with the nation struggling to contain the fast-moving coronavirus.
The debate comes amid escalating spread of the disease that is dramatically altering Americans’ way of life and the normal rhythms of a campaign. In-person rallies and fundraisers have gone digital. Staffers are working from home. And Sanders’ chances to shift the dynamic in his favor have become even more limited.
The last thing you should try to read today is from David Leonhardt and the NYT. It’s really a depressing dose of reality but we need it. “A Complete List of Trump’s Attempts to Play Down Coronavirus — He could have taken action. He didn’t. ”
President Trump made his first public comments about the coronavirus on Jan. 22, in a television interview from Davos with CNBC’s Joe Kernen. The first American case had been announced the day before, and Kernen asked Trump, “Are there worries about a pandemic at this point?”
The president responded: “No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
By this point, the seriousness of the virus was becoming clearer. It had spread from China to four other countries. China was starting to take drastic measures and was on the verge of closing off the city of Wuhan.
In the weeks that followed, Trump faced a series of choices. He could have taken aggressive measures to slow the spread of the virus. He could have insisted that the United States ramp up efforts to produce test kits. He could have emphasized the risks that the virus presented and urged Americans to take precautions if they had reason to believe they were sick. He could have used the powers of the presidency to reduce the number of people who would ultimately get sick.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Today there will be primaries in 6 states with 352 delegates up for grabs: Michigan, Washington, Missouri, Mississippi, Idaho, and North Dakota. What to watch for in each state, according to Buzzfeed News:
The 2020 Democratic primary radically changed last Tuesday, when Joe Biden surpassed even the highest expectations to build a delegate lead over Bernie Sanders. This Tuesday, the race could effectively lock into place.
Six states with a total of 352 delegates vote in the Democratic presidential primary today, which isn’t really a second Super Tuesday, even though many are calling it that (California, which voted last week, had 415 delegates on its own). But with Biden already up just about 80 delegates over Sanders going into Tuesday, a strong performance in these states could give him a lead that will be tough for Sanders to overcome. And alternatively, a surprising result for Sanders could make the primary more competitive than some assume it is right now, leading into states later this month that on paper look strong for Biden.
The biggest haul of delegates will come from Michigan, followed by Washington.
Michigan…is the big state tonight, with 125 delegates. Sanders won the primary here in 2016 over Hillary Clinton in a surprise, helping to revive his campaign even as the two basically split delegates evenly (67 for Sanders and 63 for Clinton).
Sanders and Biden have both spent much of the last week focused on winning the state. A win for Biden, especially one by a decisive margin, could be brutal for Sanders. A win for Sanders could prove that his promised coalition of young people — including young people of color — and the white working class still has life. Recent polls have shown a double-digit lead for Biden, but they showed one for Clinton ahead of the 2016 primary, too….
Washington…is tonight’s second-biggest state, with 89 delegates. Sanders won the state in a blowout in 2016 and is hoping to win by a decent margin again this year.
But Sanders has a disadvantage this year relative to 2016: The state will no longer hold caucuses, where he performed well with hyper-engaged, organized supporters. Washington this year is conducting its primary entirely by mail. About 22% of ballots were returned before Super Tuesday, which could limit a Biden bounce. Voting by mail has also reduced fears about the state’s coronavirus outbreak limiting turnout. But the result here isn’t necessarily certain: There’s been limited recent polling, and neither candidate has campaigned here in the last week.
A Detroit Free Press poll released Monday found that Biden has a 24-point lead over Sanders, with the former vice president drawing 51 percent of Democratic voters’ support to Sanders’ 27 percent. A Monmouth University poll, also released Monday, saw Biden with 51 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, while 36 percent supported Sanders. The RealClearPolitics polling average puts Biden up by 22.6 points.
Still, the Free Press noted, Sanders overcame a similar polling margin to win the state four years ago: The paper’s 2016 survey by the same pollsters gave Hillary Clinton a 25-point lead, but Sanders eventually won by 1.4 percentage points thanks to an unexpected surge of younger voters….
Biden has a narrow lead in Washington after eroding Sanders’ early lead with his Super Tuesday momentum. According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Biden’s up by 2 points over Sanders.
The progressive-leaning state has 89 delegates — it’s the second-biggest trove of the day after Michigan — and Sanders won it handily in 2016….
Biden is also leading the polls in Missouri and Mississippi. Results in the tiny states of Idaho and North Dakota are anyone’s guess.
Obviously, the coronavirus is is leading the news today, despite the importance of the primaries. Here’s the latest.
Is what’s happening in Italy a preview for the U.S.? CBS News: Coronavirus brings Italy’s “darkest hour,” and takes a mounting toll in the U.S.
As Italians woke up to the most severe restrictions on their every-day lives since World War II, China said it was easing virus-control measures in the province where the COVID-19 disease emerged late last year. The contrasting conditions on two of the biggest battlefronts against the virus showed its severity, and the feasibility of corralling and controlling it.
Italy has imposed unprecedented travel restrictions on its 60 million people to control the deadly coronavirus outbreak in the country.
“I am going to sign a decree that can be summarised as follows: I stay at home,” Conte said on television, announcing that the entire country would effectively be placed on lockdown from Tuesday.
“Travel must be avoided across the entire peninsula unless it is justified by professional reasons, by cases of need or for health reasons,” Conte said.
These measures extend a quarantine zone that Italy had imposed on its northern heartland around Milan and the greater Lombardy region, Venice, and Pesaro Urbino on Sunday.
The restrictions will run until April 3.
All schools and universities will immediately close. Serie A football matches and all other sporting events are also being suspended for the coming month.
All ski resorts are out of action and cinemas, museums, nightclubs and similar venues must remain shut after being ordered to close their doors over the weekend, the decree said.
While religious institutions will stay open, as long as people can stay a metre from one another, ceremonies such as marriages, baptisms and funerals are banned.
Read more at the link.
The office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) was scheduled to deliver the Worldwide Threat Assessment to the House Intelligence Committee on Feb. 12 and the hearing has not been rescheduled, according to staffers and members of the House and Senate intelligence committees. The DNI’s office declined requests for a comment on the status of the report. Democratic staffers say they do not expect the report to be released any time soon.
The final draft of the report remains classified but the two officials who have read it say it contains warnings similar to those in the last installment, which was published on January 29, 2019. The 2019 report warns on page 29 that, “The United States will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support.”
The 2019 warning was the third time in as many years that the nation’s intelligence experts said that a new strain of influenza could lead to a pandemic, and that the U.S. and the world were unprepared. “Although the international community has made tenuous improvements to global health security, these gains may be inadequate to address the challenge of what we anticipate will be more frequent outbreaks of infectious diseases because of rapid unplanned urbanization, prolonged humanitarian crises, human incursion into previously unsettled land, expansion of international travel and trade, and regional climate change,” the 2019 threat assessment warned.
Rather than acting on these recurrent warnings and bolstering America’s ability to respond to an outbreak, the Trump administration has instead cut back money and personnel from pandemic preparedness.
Click the link to read the rest.
Apparently, Trump doesn’t want immigrants to know how to protect themselves from the virusThe Miami Herald : Trump administration orders immigration courts to immediately remove coronavirus posters.
Immigration court staff nationwide have been ordered by the Trump administration to take down all coronavirus posters from courtrooms and waiting areas.
The Executive Office for Immigration Review, which falls under the Department of Justice, told all judges and staff members in an email Monday that all coronavirus posters, which explain in English and Spanish how to prevent catching and spreading the virus, had to be removed immediately.
“This is just a reminder that immigration judges do not have the authority to post, or ask you to post, signage for their individual courtrooms or the waiting areas,” wrote Christopher A. Santoro, the country’s acting chief immigration judge in a mass email to immigration court administrators nationwide.
“Per our leadership, the CDC flyer is not authorized for posting in the immigration courts. If you see one (attached), please remove it. Thank you.”
The information in the flyers came from the CDC. Why doesn’t the Trump administration want people in these courts to have the information?
Will the Republicans change their attitudes now that some GOP lawmakers–and maybe even Trump and Pence–have been exposed to the virus?
The Daily Beast: CPAC Attendees Want to Know Who the Mystery Coronavirus Patient Is.
Revelations that a man infected with the novel coronavirus hobnobbed with top Republicans at the annual Conservative Public Action Conference last month has prompted a wave of fright among Republican operatives who attended the conference and fear they may have been exposed, too. And as the fear has mounted so too have complaints that the conference’s planners have been too secretive about the man’s identity.
The American Conservative Union, which organizes the annual event in National Harbor, Maryland, announced Saturday afternoon that a man who was infected with the coronavirus attended CPAC. Since then, four prominent Republicans—Sen. Ted Cruz (TX), Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ), Rep. Doug Collins (GA), and Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL)—have announced that they’re self-quarantining after interacting with the man.
Gaetz has undergone a test for the virus. In contrast, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who also had contact with the infected man, said he won’t self-quarantine.
Gaetz flew on Air Force One with Trump yesterday and rode with him in the presidential limosine. Doug Collins was seen shaking hands and talking with Trump after the conference. For unknown reasons, Trump has not been tested for the virus.
A CPAC attendee infected with coronavirus attended multiple days of the conference on a gold-level VIP ticket as well as a Friday night Shabbat dinner associated with the event, according to people familiar with the situation.
The infected attendee was a CPAC regular who made a hobby of meeting high-profile conference speakers and taking photographs with them. His gold-level ticket gave him access to a private lounge directly outside the green room for speakers on the conference’s main stage.
As of early Monday evening, event organizers have contacted “just over a dozen” people who they have identified as having direct contact with the infected attendee, according to Ian Walters, spokesman for the American Conservative Union, which organizes the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
The ACU’s handling of the case has led to grumbling from some conferencegoers, who have complained of a two-tiered system: VIPs have been notified directly even to be told they did not interact with the infected man, while ordinary rank-and-file attendees have by and large been left to wonder, receiving only vaguer information in mass emails. Meanwhile, critics have noted the irony of prominent officials downplaying the outbreak even as the disease may silently have been spreading among the Trump administration’s own members and supporters.
More stories to check out today:
Jennifer Senior at The New York Times: President Trump Is Unfit for This Crisis. Period.
Brian Klass at The Washington Post: The coronavirus is Trump’s Chernobyl.
The Atlantic: The Dangerous Delays in U.S. Coronavirus Testing Continue.
Tom Bossert at The Washington Post: It’s now or never for the U.S. if it hopes to keep coronavirus from burning out of control.
The Daily Beast: Trump Chatted With Taliban Leaders on Secret U.S. Kill-or-Capture List.