Monday, March 9, 2020

Fiddling, Burning: Commentary in the Time of Coronavirus

Donald Trump is incapable of truth, heedless of science, and hostage to the demands of his insatiable ego.

This [i.e., "Coronavirus Numbers by States"] seems to be the best and really only source of information I've seen with detailed and frequently updated data on the rate of COVID-19 testing and infections broken down by states within the United States. This is the breakdown by states. This is the daily cumulative update. In each case you have total tests, positives, negatives and pending. In a better world, the CDC or some other government agency would be publishing this information. But that’s not happening.

When the outbreak was first detected at the start of 2015, there were immediate calls from public health experts for Pence to lift the ban on syringe exchanges to stop the spread of the disease, but he held off, remaining morally opposed to needle exchanges despite a wealth of evidence that such practices do not encourage more drug use, and successfully curb the spread of HIV. 
Pence instead told people he was going to pray on what to do.

As health experts warn of increasing coronavirus cases and encouraged workers to telecommute, President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, declared again on Friday that the disease is "contained" and urged Americans: "Stay at work."  
Trump also insisted Friday: "We stopped it," apparently referring to cases coming in from China. 
The men made their comments on the same day that two more coronavirus deaths were reported — in Florida — bringing the national toll to 17.

To date, per an investigation in the Atlantic, fewer than 2,000 people have been tested for Covid-19 in the US — a number far behind other developed countries. South Korea, for example, has tested more than 140,000 people and has even set up drive-though testing stations for people to access
Evidence is mounting that early in the outbreak, in January and February, China bought the world time with its aggressive action to contain the viral outbreak in its borders. The testing fiasco in the US indicates we didn’t use that time well.

Local girl returns from Italy, flies into Chicago, takes Amtrak to [St. Louis], gets sick, family asked to self quarantine, father and younger sibling break quarantine to attend school dance. 

Just as Oregon health officials were announcing Saturday morning that the number of coronavirus cases in Oregon had more than doubled to seven, the Multnomah County Health Department tweeted a photo of a crowded music concert and the caption: "If you are feeling well, feel free to go out and have a good time this weekend."

As long as the president is projecting such breeziness about the virus, in other words, to question his optimism is to question him. “They’ll use fear on the same issues Trump does: the Democrats, the socialists, immigrants, religious minorities,” said sociologist Andrew Whitehead, co-author of the recent book Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States. "But where the administration is saying, 'We've got it under control, there's nothing to be afraid of,' they'll fall in line with that." Even, it seems, when a global pandemic is involved.

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