What a week! Today’s video deals with a troubling aspect of all this that hasn’t really begun to be reckoned with yet. Because of CDC and FDA screw-ups, and Trump’s campaign against acknowledging the disease, we are only now waking up to the fact that the United States probably harbors more cases of Coronavirus than any other country in the world, including China. This has probably been true for weeks, or maybe even a month. What this means is that our country has acted as a super spreader, sending this disease everywhere. We have the medical capacity to (hopefully!) keep this from being too much of a mass death event. Many of the countries we gave this disease to do not have that capacity. While Donald Trump has done the United States incredible damage with his mismanagement of this pandemic, he may have done even more to harm the rest of the world.
Video Transcript after the jump…
Hey there. As the world falls further into the coronavirus disaster it’s natural for there to be some rally round the flag kumbaya, let’s pull together stuff. Unfortunately in the United States, the leadership has been so bad and continues to be so bad that we don’t have that luxury.
Within a day of each other in late January, the South Korean and US governments were notified that each of their countries had their first Coronavirus cases. Two months later, South Korea has around 9,000 cases, and New York State alone has well over twice that many.
And it’s still almost uniquely hard to get a test in the United States. Today’s video is about Donald J. Trump, the man who killed the world.
Now many of you out there want to blame China for this catastrophe, and I got to say, with all the horseshit propaganda they are spewing lately, I am warming up to the idea. But it’s important to remember what we are blaming China for. For a full month they silenced people who wanted to raise the alarm. And from the very top they lied about the severity of the disease. That’s exactly what Donald Trump’s administration did. Except he did it for two months instead of just one. And Trump didn’t lie about the disease when there were a handful of cases in some second tier city, he did it while multiple better run countries were already shutting down. Trump took one half assed action in late January, and has been congratulating himself for it ever since.
“We can say this tonight without a doubt. The President’s European and China ban, I predict, will go down as the single most consequential decision in history. That’s not political. It brought us time. It bought hospitals time to prepare, for the worst case scenario.”
Let’s talk about that miraculous shutdown. China notified the World Health Organization that it had a problem on December 31st. It acknowledged the full severity of the problem by shutting down Wuhan on January 23rd. The first US case was confirmed on January 21st. When did Trump’s heroic China ban happen? January 31st. And it didn’t shut down anything. The planes kept coming and though the claim was that airport health screening would be stepped up, that was probably another of Trump’s many lies. The text of the order itself lays out that 14000 people used to come to the US From China every day, and Trump’s ban did nothing about US citizens or their family members, the population most likely to bring this disease into US communities. As if Americans couldn’t be infected.The Europe ban wasn’t fully implemented until March 17th, when the US likely already had thousands of cases.
These bans, if they really existed, could have saved the US if they were implemented along with Korean style mass testing and tracing of people who might have been exposed to the virus. That’s not what Trump decided to do. Instead, he opted for Chinese style intimidation of whistleblowers and lying to cover up what most experts already knew.
“And again, when you have 15 people, and the 15, in a couple days, is going to be down to close to zero, uhhh, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”
Trump’s defenders are absolutely right to point to failings by the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug administration, among others. But Donald Trump is the man in charge supposedly, so this is on him too. The CDC put together a test that did not work. The FDA then held up private testing because of a series of regulatory barriers, that were each lifted weeks after they should have been. This means that in most of the US, it still today, takes over a week to get test results back, while in the rest of the world it takes a day, or just a few hours. The Federal government’s epidemic response bureaucracy is made up of competing organizations that need centralized direction. After the Ebola epidemic in 2014 Obama set up two coordinating groups at the Department of Homeland Security and at the National Security Council specifically focused on infectious disease response. Donald Trump fired all of these professionals in April and May of 2018.
Even without the coordination of the groups Trump disbanded, a competent president should be capable of managing an epidemic outbreak with calm leadership. Obama did it twice. Trump loves to complain about Obama’s handling of the swine flu epidemic in 2009 and 2010. You should expect to stop hearing about that as much next week, when US coronavirus deaths exceed the full year total for Swine flu.
The scale of the disaster in the United States should not distract you from what this has done to the rest of the world. We are lucky that the state of New York is wealthy and has some of the world’s best health infrastructure. In New York at least, Testing is finally beginning to happen in large numbers. What it reveals is horrifying. New York alone has more confirmed cases than France, and all but 6 other countries. Shamefully, testing is still very scarce in most of the rest of the country. The US is officially only the third most infected country. To me, it’s obvious that we are the most infected country, I only wonder whether it’s by a factor of two or three or five. What this means, is that as many mistakes as China made in the first month of the disease, their crime pales in comparison to what we did to the world in the two months following our first cases.
Our airports remained open and unencumbered without any kind of testing or screening. Our president, more worried about markets than people, told the country that everything was just fine, as the world’s richest and most connected nation hhh bbqbecame a super spreader. This disease was born in China, but it’s US government mismanagement that made it a pandemic. Trump supporters want to call this the China virus. I think it makes a lot more sense to call it the Trump virus.
“Dr. Fauci said earlier this week that the lag in testing was in fact a failing, do you take responsibility for that, and when can you guarantee that every single American who needs a test will be able to have a test what’s the date of that?
Yeah, No I don’t take responsibility at all
No I don’t take responsibility at all
No I don’t take responsibility at all
No I don’t take responsibility at all
Finally thanks to the leadership of governors like New York’s Andrew Cuomo and Washington’s Jay Inslee, and medical professionals everywhere, we are beginning to take this seriously. But few are reckoning with the scale of the damage we are about to see both to human life and the world economy. There are some optimistic pieces out there that claim that if we are good at social distancing and do a lot of test and trace we could all be back at work by April 15th. The model they use for this is South Korea. But these optimistic models are leaving something out. South Korea released the hammer when they had a few hundred cases. The US is just getting serious now that we probably have a couple hundred thousand cases. I am no mathematician, but even I know that makes an extraordinary difference. As bad as the markets look today, trust me, this is just getting started. The consequences are going to be horrific. For the whole damn world.
I guess it’s possible that things will look more normal in a month or so. Maybe the weather will save us, or the consensus will shift and we will decide old folks and the health system are on their own. But even if that happens two things will remain true. The United States has so far failed utterly in the face of the century’s first real challenge, and it is Donald Trump’s incompetence that has brought about this result. Trump is the man who killed the world as we know it.
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