Nel's New Day

May 22, 2020

Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Somebody Else’s Death

Protesters paid by far-right organizations have been carrying their assault rifles across the nation and encouraging people to infect others. A study using cellphones show they may be successful as they travel hundreds of miles to events and take infections back home. A Denver event showed participants heading back to neighboring states such as Wyoming, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Utah.

Shutdown orders crossed the nation on March 15, beginning with Illinois, Ohio, and New York City. Starting social distancing just one week earlier—while DDT was still denying COVID-19 was any problem—could have prevented 36,000 deaths, over 36 percent of fatalities reported today. Two weeks earlier, these measures could have saved 54,000 lives. Other than banning some travel from China on January 28 and from Europe on March 13, DDT took no steps to prevent the spread of the virus. Researchers said the U.S. needs to remember this lesson for the future because DDT says he will not be closing down the nation even with a resurgence of COVID-19. A CDC official said the agency was “muzzled.”

Other dangers to human life continue from the federal government. The federal government—including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin—fought against giving Native American tribes the money allotted by Congress. He finally gave the tribes the money instead of to related organizations, but Native Americans still get substandard treatment. DDT’s former chief of staff Zach Fuentes got a contract to sell masks to the government just days after registering his company and bought possibly faulty masks from China. Navajo hospitals got $3 million of these respirator masks; 247,000 of the masks, valued at $800,000, are perhaps unsuitable for medical use. Another 130,400, worth about $422,000, are not the kind specified in the order. Fuentes charged the Navajo Nation $3.24 per mask, compared to the $1.31 he charged the Bureau of Prisons. Pre-pandemic cost per mask was $1. As of today, the Navajo Nation reported 4,434 COVID-19 cases and 147 death—a higher rate than New York’s worst rate.

The government’s incompetence also lets people go hungry. The Northeast, hardest hit by COVID-19, received $46 million, the second-lowest funding of any region, from DDT’s $1.2 billion fresh food aid program. The Southwest, including Texas, received over five times as much money as the Northeast for one-fourth as many coronavirus cases. In short, the Northeast has 10 percent of the country’s population, 33 percent of COVID-19 cases, and 4 percent of food relief dollars. The USDA claimed one rejected Maine distributor was missing a signature, but the distributor said signature was present when he rechecked his paperwork. Food bank demand in Maine increased 35 percent, but USDA blocked Maine’s growers from selling their fresh produce to the program. The USDA also refused both bids from Alaska, meaning the state could not take part in the program until Food Bank found one way to get a winning bidder for fruits and vegetables. Shipments, however, can’t go outside Anchorage, and no meat or dairy is included.

Instead of using the three largest food distribution companies and nonprofits with long histories of feeding the poor on a large scale, USDA hired inexperienced private contractors–$107 million to a San Antonio event planner, an avocado mail-order company, a health-and-wellness airport kiosk company, and a trade finance corporation. The only criterion on where the food was distributed was who won the bids, some of them companies with no USDA license. California Avocados Direct, which received $40 million, can’t start until it pages a road to its facility, buy three cargo containers, and hire 130 people.

DDT plans to keep what he calls his “badge of honor” for a high number of COVID-19 cases and deaths if the virus returns this fall. When illegally touring a Michigan Ford Motor factory making masks without wearing a mask, he announced he would keep the nation open. DDT also attacked the Michigan Attorney General who had asked him to wear a mask, citing a “legal responsibility” under state law and a “social and moral responsibility.” He excused his refusal by saying, “I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.” In a tweet, DDT called the female AG, Dana Nessel, “The Wacky Do Nothing Attorney General of Michigan” and gave himself credit for bringing back auto companies to Michigan. Ford Motor closed two U.S. assembly plants because COVID-19 has not been contained.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, DDT’s virus expert, said a second wave would be “inevitable.” CDC Director Robert Redfield said any decision on shelter-in-place would be “data-driven.” ER physician Megan Ranney, researcher at Brown University, testified before Congress the U.S. is not “currently prepared for a second wave” because of lack of financial support and adequate science. An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll cited 77 percent saying they worry about a second wave of coronavirus happening as more businesses across the country reopen.

In an attempt to regain his voting base, DDT said he will “override” governors to open churches this Sunday. He lacks the power to do so but declared houses of worship as “essential places that provide essential services.” At least two reopened churches in Georgia and Texas closed because of attendees testing positive for COVID-19, and three dozen cases spread by a pastor and his wife after a March opening in a rural Arkansas church also killed three people thus far. DDT also indicated he was ordering CDC to make churches essential because he thinks the “timeline that I think is right.” DDT’s desperation comes from his dropping polls with white evangelicals (-11 percent), white Catholics (-12 percent), and white mainline Protestants (-18 percent).

DDT also panics about his re-election because it may require a good economy. Even Larry Kudlow, top economic official, said any economic rebound numbers “are downright bad in most cases” because of the virus’ unpredictability. Another 2.4 million people filed jobless claims last week, bringing the total to almost 39 million in less than two months. months. Mortgage delinquencies skyrocketed to 6.45 percent in April, three times the previous single-month record of 2008, and over double that of 3.06 percent in March. Only 21 percent of the 4.75 million homeowners in forbearance made their May payments. DDT is still claiming the stock market comeback at a “V,” but forecasters are predicting a “Nike swoosh” taking well into 2021 or beyond.

New guidance from CDC states one-third of infections are asymptomatic, and 40 percent of transmission occurs before people feel sick. Its “best estimate” is 0.4 percent of people who show symptoms and have COVID-19 will die, but estimates are based on data collected almost a month ago. Carl Bergstrom of the University of Washington called the projected mortality rate “optimistic,” “way out of line” with estimates of numbers infected in places such as New York City and don’t reflect “behavioral changes, social distancing, or other interventions.”

Counties with DDT’s base are the new hot zones of COVID-19. During the past four weeks, counties who voted for DDT in 2016 are more likely to show a high prevalence of the virus—100 or more cases per 100,000 people. From May 10 to May 17, 176 new counties joined the list of hundreds of counties in that category. All the new ones voted for DDT by a 12 percent margin in 2016, and he won 151 of them outright.

An analysis determining where people are most at risk for COVID-19 looked at above-average rates of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and obesity. Risks on this map go from lowest (white) to highest (darkest purple).  [visual COVID-19 risk]

Six months ago, DDT claimed his unscheduled visit to Walter Reed hospital and staying out of public view for two days was a head start on his annual physical. No report on the results was ever made, and DDT hasn’t completed his mandatory annual examination. In early March, he said he was “so busy, I can’t do it” when asked when he would complete the physical. Since that time, he has dodged reporters’ questions about the timing. His 2018 physical showed heart disease common for men in his age group. Normal presidents have this examination at the beginning of a new year.

According to a new study of 96,000 people, Covid-19 patients who took hydroxychloroquine, DDT’s drug of choice he claims to be taking, showed no special improvement and were significantly more likely to develop dangerous heart conditions.

The Merriam-Webster word-of-the-day for yesterday, “per capita,” was defined as “per unit of population; by or for each person” and “equally to each individual.” https://www.alternet.org/2020/05/he-aint-bright-trump-brutally-mocked-for-nonsensically-insisting-there-are-many-per-capitas/   Earlier, DDT tried to explain almost 100,000 deaths in the U.S. from COVID-19 aren’t too bad in response to researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore statistics that the U.S. has the ninth highest coronavirus death rate, per capita, in the world and the highest numbers of coronavirus deaths period:

“And, you know, when you say “per capita,” there’s many per capitas. It’s, like, per capita relative to what? But you can look at just about any category, and we’re really at the top, meaning positive on a per capita basis, too. They’ve done a great job.

On May 22, the U.S. had 1,645,094 COVID-19 cases and 97,647 deaths with some states lying to lower the numbers. Florida fired the person in charge of COVID-19 data because she wouldn’t doctor it to get the state opened. An analysis of deaths for five weeks ending April 25 show 1,358 to 1,831 unexpected deaths, suggesting that the epidemic death toll could be 17 percent to 58 percent higher.

 

May 15, 2020

Just a Few COVID-19 Disasters from DDT

How is Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) coping with COVID-19? An editorial in the respected British medical journal, the Lancet, lambasted DDT for his “inconsistent and incoherent national response.” Several administrations, according to the editorial, used “conservative politics” to erode CDC’s “ability to mount effective, evidence-based public health responses,” and DDT “further chipped away at the CDC’s capacity to combat infectious diseases.” The editorial listed DDT’s disastrous mistakes for the past few months, “especially on testing in the early stages of the pandemic.” It further stated that “only a steadfast reliance on basic public health principles, like test, trace, and isolate, will see the emergency brought to an end, and this requires an effective national public health agency.”

Other “conservative politics” exacerbating the health crisis:

Two months after DDT appeared to take COVID-19 seriously in mid-March, he has announced a “Operation Warp Speed” program to develop a vaccine right after the 2020 election. At his roll-out event, however, he said there may be no need for a vaccine because the virus might “go away.” The last “speed vaccine” was in 1976 for a new strain of swine flu. Concerned about costs and liability, manufacturers persuaded Congress to pass a law waiving liability. By October, reports of deaths and cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome appeared. The program was shut down after 94 reports of paralysis.  

DDT complained about the media not reporting that the U.S. has more cases than other countries because “when you test, you find something wrong with people.” He wants the media to report that “if we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases.” He is making the “case” that people have COVID-19 only because they are tested. The media is definitely reporting his statement. As for DDT’s accusation that the U.S. does the most testing, the U.S. ranks 39th in the world in testing people for COVID-19. Testing is not the reason that the U.S. has one-third the number of confirmed cases in the world with under five percent of the population. DDT also said that frontline nurses and doctors “running into death” is “a beautiful thing to see.”

Instead of following advice from medical experts, DDT is “pushing for revisions that could lead to far fewer deaths being counted than originally reported, according to five administration officials working on the government’s response to the pandemic.” With the help of Dr. Deborah Birx, DDT wants the CDC death and case counts to exclude people who likely had COVID-19 but no test confirmation and people with COVID-19 but had other health issues when they died. She fed DDT the idea that CDC inflated the number of deaths as much as 25 percent whereas medical experts believe that the U.S. may have an undercount of up to 100 percent on deaths from the virus. The Abbott coronavirus rapid test, praised by DDT and used in the White House, missed one-third of positive tests in a comparison with the diagnostic company Cepheid.

Hiding information about the virus is DDT’s pattern. Earlier this year, he didn’t want to prepare for the health crisis because the stock market might go down. DDT listened to advice from his son-in-law Jared Kushner instead of scientific experts.

Florida was the first state to blatantly announce it would reduce the number of deaths from COVID-19 by attributing them to something else. Now Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is hiding the number of confirmed cases in the state by no longer publicly sharing announced that state health officials would no longer publicly share the number of workers at the state’s meat packing plants who had tested positive for the coronavirus. The Washington Post stated, “Of the 30 counties in the United States with the highest per capita prevalence of the coronavirus last week, 10 are home to major meatpacking plants. Of those 30 counties, four are in Nebraska.”

Going mask-less at a mask-making plant, DDT repeated his complaint, “cupboards were bare.” He shows a high degree of incompetence for not filling he cupboards after he was inaugurated over three years ago.

DDT has also demanded the cautious CDC guidance on safely reopening states be changed to less definitive statements. Also missing is the statement that reopening would cause resurgences of COVID-19 and customization is vital. The White House plan lacks a comprehensive approach, and CDC guidance was released after some states reopened. 

House Speaker Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had to back down from his lie that President Obama didn’t leave a plan for a pandemic—and he did it on Fox. Yet, he didn’t address whether DDT failed to follow the 69-page document, complete with charts, graphs, plans, and decision making rubrics. (You can see it here.) The cover and tables of contents. Press Secretary “I-won’t-lie-to-the-media” Kayleigh McEnany called President Obama’s 69 pages “a thin packet of paper.”

A leaked unreleased White House coronavirus task force report showing spikes of cases across the county contradicts DDT’s claim that cases “are coming down very rapidly all throughout the country.” Cases are rising in nine states, and lack of testing in 28 other states show undercounting of cases. On May 7, the top ten cities saw cases increasing by 72 percent over seven days—for example, 650 percent in St. Louis and Central City (KY). Counties with over 100 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents has grown from 59 at the end of March to over 700 in mid-April. At that time, the majority of residents of counties that becoming high-coronavirus areas are in the South, Midwest and West. Under half reside in urban cores; more than half live in suburban, outer-suburban, small-metro and rural areas. Nearly half of those counties’ voters picked DDT in 2016. This map of COVID-19 flashpoints by county shows the large incidence of increases in the South.   

Satirist Andy Borowitz wrote, “Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan, is ‘arrogantly forcing the residents of her state to remain alive,’ Attorney General William Barr charged on Friday.” After armed protesters demanding the state open up shut down the Michigan capital in a third event, the number of COVID-19 cases jumped over 1,000 on that day along with 73 more deaths. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is gradually opening up the state, but the protesters demanded it be done immediately and completely. About the protest, Whitmer said:

“When people are showing up with guns, when people are showing up with things like Confederate flags, it tells you this really isn’t about the lockdown or about a perception of a stay-home order. It’s really an organized political statement.”

As Whitmer pointed out, the fringe protesters, 14 percent of the public, and Republicans such as the Wisconsin state Supreme Court can hurt the economy and extend the time for staying at home because it will cause spiking numbers of cases. DDT says they are “responsible” people. Three weeks ago, flyers announced an anti-shutdown rally on Staten Island telling people to “bring your children,” “no mask” was needed, and come “if you’re sick.” Only the police showed up.  

Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker pointed out that nationwide protests for opening up the states is fading because big money behind them is disappearing. She wrote “the Koch network … decided to run with scientists instead of the gun-toting provocateurs trampling the spring-green grass around state capitols.” Spiking cases from ignorantly reopening state will hurt their businesses.

Like the Tea Party movement of a decade ago, the protesters are controlled by wealthy far-right organizations who want to create chaos. The Convention of State—backed by politicians such as Ken Cuccinelli (acting director of immigrations services), Ben Carson (HUD secretary), Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ adviser Greg McNeilly—is behind the protests.

Truckers have been protesting for over two weeks because of the lack of stimulus aid, inadequate PPE, and low shipping rates. Today, they drove by DDT’s press briefing at the White House to express their frustration, but DDT said they were showing him “a sign of love.” Yesterday, they drowned out DDT’s interview with Fox’s Maria Bartiromo as truck horns drowned out their conversation. Shipping rates are lower 54 percent for April 2020 from April 2019, and truckers got no help from the $2.3 trillion disaster bill. About 20 percent of truckers are independent, and many others work for small companies desperate for help.  

DDT is also fighting to take food stamps from people during the pandemic by appealing a court ruling protecting hundreds of thousands of people’s access to food stamps during this time of crisis. Children, elderly, and disabled are the majority of food stamp recipients.

From Rasmussen, the country’s more conservative mainstream polling service, 23 percent of Republicans don’t want DDT as the GOP nominee. As DDT pushed the country to open up, his approval rating fell from 49 percent in February to 45 percent in April. Approval rating among voters over the age of 65 fell 20 points between March and the end of April, perhaps he said that they should die to save his economy. Only 23 percent of people trust what he says about COVID-19—maybe a reaction of his recommendation to swallow bleach for a cure.

Almost all governors have an excellent approval rate for their handling the health crisis with three states the exception. In those states, people thought governors lifted restrictions too quickly: Florida (48 percent), Texas (59 percent), and Georgia (65 percent.) The only governor rating below DDT, Georgia’s Brian Kemp was one of the last to close the state and one of the first to reopen it.

With a rough average of 2,000 additional deaths each day, the U.S. has 1,484,285 confirmed cases (until Birx changes the way CDC computes them) and 88,507 deaths as of May 15.

May 14, 2020

GOP Goal: Destroy Institutions Upholding the Rule of Law

Last Tuesday was a  busy day for the three branches of government: the Supreme Court heard arguments from Dictator Donald Trump’s  (DDT) lawyers that he is above the rule of law; a Senate committee heard testimony about the dangers of DDT’s reopening the nation despite the prevalence of COVID-19; and a federal judge responded to DDT’s fixer AG Bill Barr about dropping a guilty plea for lying about his attempts to negotiate with Russia without government approval while Barack Obama was president—an illegal action. In all three cases, Republicans have tried to exonerate DDT as his actions break the rule of law.

Supreme Court: 

In an electronic session, SCOTUS justices heard almost four hours of arguments about whether DDT is above the law in his lawsuits against releasing subpoenaed information regarding his financial records. DDT’s lawyer Jay Sekulow asserted DDT is “a branch of the government” and therefore cannot be investigated for the IRS’ handling of his tax returns, allegations of foreign interference in the 2016 election, and his falsification of assets for loans and taxes. 

Sekulow also argued that DDT is so busy he cannot take time to deal with the lawsuits because hey would distract from his presidential duties. DDT supposedly watches seven hours of cable TV each day, not going to the Oval Office until noon for his brief daily briefing instead of early in the morning as his predecessors did. In the afternoon he phones some governors and world leaders before his coronavirus press briefings (aka campaign rallies), but most of those briefings have disappeared. DDT rarely attendings the meetings of the coronavirus task force, ignoring the prepared remarks until immediately before he reads them. When DDT is allowed out of the White House, he plays golf and campaigns for his re-election. In responding to Sekulow’s argument that DDT is busy, Rachel Maddow described DDT’s complete schedule for last Monday.  

President Bill Clinton also argued for the Paula Jones’ 1998 lawsuit to be deferred, but the Supreme Court unanimously agreed Jones could pursue her lawsuit. The only dispensation for Clinton concerned when and where he should respond to demands for dispositions and other information. Justice Neil Gorsuch asked for the difference between the two cases. Sekulow replied that allowing the New York investigation would open the floodgates to up to 2,300 local prosecutors instituting probes.

Sekulow alleged that a “criminal process targeting the president” violates the Constitution. Both Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito seemed to side with Sekulow: Kavanaugh compared financial records to medical ones that probably wouldn’t be given to Congress, and Alito wanted a “limit” on the House’s subpoena power to keep from harassment of a president. DDT’s lawyers frequently used the term “harassment,” ignoring the House’s legitimate purpose to determine DDT’s conflicts of interest for the purpose of strengthening laws.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg disagreed with DOJ’s principal deputy solicitor general Jeffrey Wall when he questioned the motives of the Congress and argued that Congress needs to explain what laws it might write in order to substantiate a subpoena. She told Wall:

“To impugn Congress’s motive, even the policeman on the beat, if he stops a car and gives the reason that the car went through a stop sign, we don’t allow an investigation into what the subjective motive really was. So, here, you’re—you’re distrusting Congress more than the cop on the beat.”

Since DDT was inaugurated, he has rejected all subpoenas from the House and told all officials that they should not testify at hearings, the most recently everyone on the coronavirus task force. Justice Elena Kagan said that DDT would “essentially make it impossible for Congress to perform oversight and carry out its functions where the presidency is concerned.” As DDT uses political motivation for all his actions, he accuses others of the same.

DDT has consistently claimed he is above the law because of Article II in the U.S. Constitution, yet the constitution has no language establishing executive immunity. The framers of the document specifically prohibited secret bribes, a directive which requires oversight over the president. In discussing the powers of the presidency, James Madison argued that it be “confined” and warned against the “Evils of Elective Monarchies.” The first Congress in “the decision of 1789” empowered lawmakers as whistleblowers to block an executive’s corruption establishing a “throne on the ruins of your visionary republic” and “secure his election perpetual.” The Judiciary Act of 1789 held executive officials accountable instead of above the law.

Much as I am reluctant to be optimistic about anything connected to DDT, top-notch legal minds think that DDT may lose his crown—and his tax returns. Even conservative justice Clarence Thomas, who spoke during the second case in several years, asked Sekulow if the authors of the Constitution explicitly endorsed total criminal immunity for a president. Sekulow tried the spin that the idea had been “discussed” but finally said “no.” A major theory is that the New York case will be successful but that the House’s subpoenas may fail. The Supreme Court decision is final; DDT will have no higher court for an appeal.

Senate:

At exactly the same time the Supreme Court heard the three cases about DDT’s financial records, the Senate conducted a hearing about COVID-19 with four health experts. Dr. Anthony Fauci made the biggest splash when he testified that the true death toll from the virus is likely higher than reports and that attempts to a return to normal will cause major spikes in infections. Later he contradicted DDT’s assertion of virus being “well contained” by saying, “If you think we have it completely under control, we don’t.” Others testifying were CDC Director Robert Redfield, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, and Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) attacked Fauci for saying that “the consequences could be really serious” if local economies open too quickly. Paul said, “Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end-all.” Fauci answered by saying he “never made myself out to be the end-all,” that he’s “a scientist, a physician, and a public health official.” The senator wants all children to go back to school in the fall and accused Fauci of keeping them out of school. Before the hearing, Fauci had said nothing about schools’ reopening, but he answered Paul with a concern about the symptoms of a mysterious inflammatory syndrome now appearing in children and thought to be linked to COVID-19. DDT said that Fauci’s cautionary approach are “not an acceptable answer.”

Justice Department/Federal Judges:

The third major event on Tuesday occurred when a federal judge blocked AG Bill Barr from dropping the case against Michael Flynn who had confessed to lying to the FBI. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan put the DOJ request on hold until people and organizations can argue about Flynn’s exoneration. Earlier, Flynn repeated that he was guilty of lying, no one had coerced him to plead guilty, and he wouldn’t be taking back his guilty plea. Then he did. Almost 2,000 former DOJ employees representing both political parties who have called for Barr’s resignation may now be involved in the court case, and the proceedings will be public, complete with witnesses and evidence. And just before the November election.

Sullivan also asked John Gleeson, a retired federal judge, to investigate the possibility of Flynn’s perjury. Part of Gleeson’s record is putting John Gotti, a late mob boss, behind bars. Barr, supposedly a prosecutor, will be acting like a defense attorney by claiming that Flynn shouldn’t have been interviewed in an investigation; thousands of former DOJ employees accuse Barr of politicizing the department for DDT’s wishes. Last Monday, Gleeson co-authored a commentary article that states:

“The law provides that the court—not the executive branch—decides whether an indictment may be dismissed. The responsible exercise of that authority is particularly important here, where a defendant’s plea of guilty has already been accepted. Government motions to dismiss at this stage are virtually unheard of.”

The DOJ is part of the Executive branch of government. Former federal prosecutor Randall Eliason said the DOJ “cannot have it both ways.” By saying Flynn didn’t lie to the FBI, it’s saying that he lied to the judge. Perjury is a reason for a new indictment.

Mary McCord, acting assistant AG for national security at the DOJ from 2016 to 2017, wrote a piece for the New York Times titled, “Bill Barr Twisted My Words in Dropping the Flynn Case. Here’s the Truth.” She asserted:

“The F.B.I.’s interview of Mr. Flynn was constitutional, lawful, and for a legitimate counterintelligence purpose.”

The commentary clearly refutes Barr’s spin for his request to drop the Flynn case. She quotes Georgetown law professors Neal K. Katyal and Joshua A. Geltzer’s warning that Barr’s dismissal “embeds into official U.S. policy an extremist view of law enforcement as the enemy of the American people.” McCord points out Barr’s dismissal was far more than protecting Flynn. Instead, DDT “is discrediting the fundamental institutions that establish the rule of law.”

All that in just one day.

World confirmed COVID-19 cases are over 4.5 million and deaths are over 300,000. In the U.S., deaths are 86,912 on May 14, 2020, out of 1,457,593 confirmed cases. Testing is up to 32,000 per one million people in the U.S., an average of under 100,000 tests per day since he CDC developed its test. DDT prefers less testing. 
 
 

May 11, 2020

Life Gets Worse for DDT

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) held his first press conference since April 27—two weeks ago—and it didn’t go well. He refused to answer a question from an Asian-American reporter who came to Virginia when she was two years old by telling her to ask China. When she asked why, he said she had a “nasty question.” DDT had called on another reporter but then refused to let her ask any questions. When she tried to ask a question, he whirled around and stalked out of the Rose Garden. Journalists had different reasons for this particular meltdown, based on his recent personal problems.

First, COVID-19 invaded the White House in the form of two infected people, three others in self-quarantine, and most of the staffers afraid. DDT is “annoyed” about two staff members testing positive. Yesterday, Kevin Hassett, a top DDT economic adviser, said it’s “scary to go to work” and he’d “be a lot safer” if he stayed at home. He called the White House “a small, crowded place.” Staffers are told to wear masks when they aren’t at their desks and maintain social distancing. DDT still doesn’t wear a mask.

Second, the Supreme Court hears arguments tomorrow in three cases about whether DDT is above the law, as he is proud of claiming, and cannot be investigated. In one case, the House Oversight Committee has subpoenaed DDT’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, for possible fraud in hush money for Stormy Daniels and declaring assets for loans and taxes. Other subpoenas are for Capital One and Deutsche Bank about “questionable financing” of his businesses and whether “any foreign actor” (aka Russia) has “leverage” over him. The last case comes from whether, as president, he can be investigated for violating state law, also involving hush money DDT paid women with whom he had affairs. All the lower courts hearing these cases ruled that a president is not above the law, just as the Supreme Court did 46 years ago when it ruled that President Richard Nixon was required to give audio tapes to a special prosecutor. Nixon resigned 15 days later. The high court also ruled that President Bill Clinton had no immunity from lawsuits regarding events before he was elected.

Third, DDT was so traumatized by President Obama’s statements to 3,000 former staffers about the illegality of AG Bill Barr dropping the case against Michael Flynn and DDT’s incompetence in regard to the COVID-19 crisis that he rage-tweeted 52 times in one hour yesterday morning and every 7.5 minutes throughout the day. On the “leaked” tape, the former president was heard to say that DDT’s response to the pandemic was an “absolute chaotic disaster.” In his tweets, DDT fixated on the investigation into his 2016 campaign ties to Russia, calling it “Obamagate” and stating that it is “the biggest political crime in American history, by far!” He wants people “indited [sic].” DDT did squeeze in one tweet with “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY’ but wrote nothing about the at least 80,000+ people who have thus far died of the virus. The only mention of the crisis was to praise himself by tweeting, “We are getting great marks for the handling of the CoronaVirus pandemic.”

At today’s press briefing, journalist for the Washington Post Philip Rucker asked DDT what the crime is and whether the DOJ should prosecute the former president. DDT obfuscated for a while with no explanation of any crime. Rucker repeated his question, and DDT said:  

“You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.”

At the press briefing, DDT also kept claiming that the U.S. has far more testing capacity than any other country. Thirty-seven other countries have tested more than the 29,255 people per million tested in the U.S.: Canada, Russia, Italy, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Israel, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, Austria, and Australia as well as many smaller countries.

Rural counties, including those in red states are seeing new COVID-19 hot zones in reopening states. Two-thirds of people in the U.S. live in counties with rates of over 100 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents. The fastest growth of numbers in Midwestern and Southern states comes in smaller counties. Just 2.3 percent of newly high prevalence counties are in the Northeast. Counties voting for DDT in 2016 were more likely to see new cases in the past week.

In the press briefing, DDT repeated his lie that people “should all be able to get a test right now.” The lesser favored areas—mostly Democratic—must prioritize symptomatic people who have doctors’ prescriptions. CDC wants prioritization of hospitalized and high-risk patients. The nine million tests haven’t begun to meet the demand for testing. One-third of surveyed people feared they had the disease, but only five percent of the third could get a test. Admiral Brett Giroir, the Health and Human Services official overseeing testing efforts, said that states “aspire” to perform more than 12 million tests in the next four weeks, about 3.6 percent of people in the U.S. Yet, like DDT, he also said that people should not get tests if they have no symptoms, ignoring all the asymptomatic infections that need tracing—possibly up to 50 percent of the virus cases. According to Dr. Francis Collins, director for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Abbott ID Now machine, used to perform rapid coronavirus tests, has “about a 15% false negative rate.” That means the testing that DDT, white House staffers, and anyone near DDT and VP Mike Pence will give a false negative 15 times for every 100 tests.

DDT has avoided any mention of the unemployment rate after using it for three years to prove how successful he is. In six weeks, 33.5 million people have filed jobless claims, and the Department of Labor listed the unemployment rate at 14.7 percent, the highest level since the Great Depression. About 157 million people were employed before the health crisis, meaning 20 percent of them have lost their jobs. According to the Economic Policy Institute, those figures fall woefully short of reality. Another 4.3 percent unemployed come from those who dropped out of the labor force. If the 7.5 million workers “misclassified as ’employed, not at work’ instead of ‘temporarily unemployed’ …  were classified correctly AND all coronavirus-related job losses had shown up as unemployed, the unemployment rate would be around 23.6%.” According to the EPI, about 12.7 million people lost employer-based health insurance.

Last month, the EPI also reported that three to four people couldn’t get into the system to apply for unemployment for every ten people who succeeded. Another two per ten said that the process was too complicated to try. That means an additional 50 percent of eligible unemployed not reported. Technical failures include difficult phone verification processes, limits of applications only on specific days, wait times of six to eight hours, websites shut down for long periods, and user information issued by mail.

Even without these glitches, the number of jobs lost in April was more than double the entire number lost in what was called the “Great Recession” of 2009. Although 80 percent of people who lost their jobs think they will get them back, this belief isn’t reality. According to Bloomberg, a large number of layoffs called “temporary” a month ago are now “indefinite” or “permanent.” J. Crew and Nieman Marcus are declaring bankruptcy, and Lord & Taylor are liquidating inventory in its 38 department stores. Although small businesses may reopen, fear will keep customers to going to them. Fifty-two percent of them expect to be out of business within six months.

On Fox & Friends, DDT’s BFF and trade adviser, Peter Navarro, called the reporting of unemployment a “pity party.” He continued, “Anybody who thinks this is the Great Depression doesn’t understand either history or economics.” Then he repeated DDT’s claim of “the strongest and most beautiful economy” before the virus. Two of the “pity party” participants were DDT’s appointees, White House senior economic adviser Kevin Hassett and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. They agreed that job losses was leading the U.S. toward a similarity to the Great Depression. Mnuchin said that jobs were “probably going to get worse before they get better.”

Last week, Deutsche Bank predicted the second quarter GDP plummeting 40 percent, up from an earlier estimate of 13 percent down. It also thinks the economy will have a much slower recovery, hoping for an increase of 15 percent in the third quarter and 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter for a decline of 8 percent for 2020, rather than the prior forecast of 3.2 percent. A drop in consumer spending causing much of the 4.8 percent GDP slump in the first quarter will worsen. Goldman Sachs warned an 18 percent drop of stocks in the next three months because it’s in a “pseudo-bullish rally” right now.

Over 80,000 people—plus thousands and thousands of people not tested—have died from the deadliest disease in over a century, 26 million people have filed for unemployment this month, unemployment is over 20 percent, the stock market is the most volatile for decades, the GDP has dropped to unbelievable levels, and DDT announced at his campaign rally (that he calls a “coronavirus briefing”) that he is throwing himself a party on the Mall on the Fourth of July—despite the pandemic.

May 9, 2020

DDT’s Shift to Economy Kills

Filed under: Health Care — trp2011 @ 7:47 PM
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Last Sunday, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) held a freewheeling interview with two Fox interviewers in a setting that made him look very small—the Lincoln Memorial. Always the TV producer, he loved the set but maintained that he hadn’t told the Interior Department to clear if for him although he was responsible. DDT did talk about whether to protect people or kill them to protect his economy. He claimed that “you can really have it both ways,” but he picked the latter. He claimed about his unity in the U.S. after siding with the 14 percent, mostly white guys protesting while carrying assault rifles and pushing people around.  

DDT said he wanted to end social distance so he could “sit next to people”—and probably feel loved at his roaring crowds.

DDT wants to kill people by hiding information. Dr. Anthony Fauci has been largely muzzled in the White House, yet he’s still giving interviews, for example when he said on CNN:

“How many deaths and how much suffering are you willing to accept to get back to what you want to be some form of normality sooner rather than later?”

This past week, DDT was comfortable killing about 100,000 people with COVID-19. Back on the campaign trail in Arizona, DDT referenced how it’s okay with him if people are “affected badly” to make the stock market go up. “The people of our country are warriors,” he said, and “we have to get our country open.” He ignored signs telling people to wear masks at a factory that makes masks in Arizona which had is highest number of deaths from the virus on the day of his visit.

Looking like a fool at his White House campaign rallies, DDT said he would disband the coronavirus task force. After severe backlash, he said he had no idea that his daily performances were so popular. He plans to keep the task force but change its focus to the economy instead of COVID-19 .

DDT is blocking testimony from his coronavirus task force to the House, claiming that they are “Trump haters.” Testimony might reveal Jared Kushner’s directive to supply-chain vendors to prioritize orders from “VIPS” (aka conservative journalists) and use inexperienced volunteers.

The disease control experts at CDC spent weeks developing guidance for reopening communities in the safest ways possible, and the White House buried their guidelines. The report included flow charts to help local leaders make decisions about reopening or staying closed. DDT’s new press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, she of the “I won’t lie to the media” claim, said that CDC Director Robert Redfield hadn’t approved the documents. She lied. Redfield approved the document, and DDT shelved it on April 30. Also in the document was a set of phased guidelines, “Steps for All Americans in Every Community,” about testing, contact tracing, and other infection controls. DDT may not mind tracing contacts, but without tests that don’t exist, there’s no one to trace.

Redfield heard nothing after he sent the approved report to the White House for approval on April 27 although he kept asking about its status. The White House killed the document on April 30, saying that it “would [not] ever see the light of day.” On May 7, part of the report emerged into the light when AP published an article about part of it. Yesterday, they got the rest of it. The White House then called CDC and told them to take out the church flow chart.  The guide recommends three phases of reopening, including social distancing, but DDT rejected the guide because it was too cautious.

Governors are helping DDT kill more people. Hours after Arizona’s Gov. Doug Ducey announced his grand reopening plan, the state’s Department of Health ordered Arizona’s two major universities to “pause” compiling data and creating models about COVID-19 cases in the state. The university statistics argued that opening the state wasn’t safe until the end of May. After a public hue and cry, the state backed off from its demand. Arizona’s deaths from COVID-19 is skyrocketing.

COVID-19 infections and deaths are also skyrocketing at meatpacking plants, but HHS Secretary Alex Azar, working hard to please DDT, explained: all their infections happen at other places, and they just happen to be working at the plants. And they get infected because they aren’t “regular folks,” according to Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack during oral arguments suing the government for his stay-at-home order. Location of the meatpacking company under discussion, Brown County HHS Department said no one should blame the meatpacking industry for the outbreak that went from 60 cases to 800 in two weeks.

Health officials in Grand Island (NE) wanted to shut down the meat plant to develop a when they saw the devastating effects of infection at JBS, but Gov. Pete Ricketts refused their pleas. Employers told workers were told to go to work even if they were sick, and rural areas are unprepared for infections in at least 10,000 workers at over 100 meat plants. With a population of 58,607, almost 90 percent living in Grand Island, Hall County has 1,285 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 31 deaths, 38 percent of all the deaths in Nebraska, population about two million.

Four other GOP governors joined Ricketts in bragging how their refusal to issue stay-at-home orders is a “model for success”: Govs. Mark Gordon (Wyoming), Asa Hutchinson (Arkansas), Kim Reynolds (Iowa), and Mike Parson (Missouri). Over 1,600 workers at four Iowa meatpacking plants have been infected; Missouri’s 368 infections on Monday reported the highest number of new cases in one day; Nebraska’s infections in Grand Island is a higher per capita rate of infection than New York; and the virus infected over 100 prisoners and a staff member.

With the help of his sycophants, DDT uses COVID-19 to kill people through lack of transparency, lying, incompetent appointments, failure to care for country’s infrastructure, elimination of health care, restriction of supplies, favoritism, pressure to open the country for rewards, and indifference to human life except for his own.

DDT doesn’t care about anyone else’s health or death, but his Navy valet’s COVID-19 infection sent DDT to “lava-level mad,” accusing his staff of not protecting him. Close to DDT throughout the day, the personal valet serves DDT’s meals, brings him beverages, and ensures that DDT’s clothes are ironed and shoes shined, but DDT claimed he had “very little contact, personal contact with this gentleman.” CDC protocol is that anyone having close contact with an infected person stay home for 14 days since that exposure, check their temperatures twice a day, and stay away from people are high risk of getting seriously ill.

(SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

After DDT discovered his valet tested positive for the virus, he met with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Neither wore a mask. Abbott, over 60, has a weaker immune system after a 1984 accident left him partially paralyzed with a spinal cord injury. DDT’s meeting with two dozen GOP congressional leaders did not require masks and had limited social distancing. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said they had tests. After exposure to the infection, DDT also met with seven World War II veterans, ages 96 to 100. No one wore masks. DDT said he won’t wear a mask because he might look ridiculous.

Katie Miller, VP Mike Pence’s spokeswoman, has also tested positive. She frequently travels with Pence and can often be found at his side in meetings. She recently married Stephen Miller, the xenophobic author of DDT’s anti-immigration decrees. DDT said her test shows why “the concept of tests aren’t necessarily great…. Something can happen between a test where it’s good and then something happens and all of the sudden.” CDC recommends that anyone exposed to an infected person stay in quarantine for 14 days and maintain six feet social distance from all other people. Pence met with faith leaders yesterday before a roundtable on securing food supply.

Ivanka Trump’s personal assistant also tested positive, but she’s been teleconferencing from home for two months.

DDT is getting pushback on his reopening states:

  • 63 percent worry that states will lift restrictions too fast (Monmouth University Poll).
  • 70 percent of adults avoid large gatherings, and 556 percent regularly wear masks in public, including almost half of registered Republicans.  (Reuters-Ipsos poll last week)
  • Only 16 percent said they would be comfortable going to a restaurant or bar, and only 10 percent would be comfortable at public events or large gatherings. Only 32 percent said they would definitely or probably go to church services if restrictions were lifted. (Navigator Research poll in late April)
  • 43.9 percent approve of DDT’s handling the crisis; 52.3 percent disapprove. (RealClearPolitics average of polls)
  • 42 percent approve of the job DDT is doing, down 6 points from mid-April (Reuters-Ipsos poll last week). Monmouth has the same 42 percent, down 8 points from March, and only one-third said that DDT’s advice was helpful with 42 percent saying it was harmful.

And more polls. Other polls disapproving of DDT’s handling the virus.

Most people in the U.S. aren’t comfortable with opening the businesses with so many infections and deaths. The majorities are in both parties, for example, 59 percent of Republicans don’t want sit-down restaurants opening. Over 80 percent think that movie theaters should not open.

On May 9: United States – COVID-19 confirmed cases, 1,347,309; deaths, 80,037

                  World – COVID-19 confirmed cases, 4,100,788; deaths, 280,432

 
 
 

May 6, 2020

If Only COVID-19 Could Talk

Imagine if the novel coronavirus could talk. That’s what Christian Schneider did in this piece: “The Novel Coronavirus Praises the Plan to Reopen America.” He wrote:

“The following is a transcript of a press conference given by the coronavirus earlier this week.” [Right: Collage by Hannah Yoest / photos: GettyImages / Shutterstock]

 

Thank you all for joining me today. I just wanted to tell you all what a great year it’s been and what a huge success I am. When people were downplaying my importance back in February, I worried about making a splash in the greatest economy on Earth, but I never had any doubt it would be big.

In spite of those who ignored me, I’ve literally grown from zero to a million cases in two months – I’ve basically gone platinum.

And people can’t get enough of me! Now Americans are cramming into state capitols, shopping malls, and public parks to lobby on my behalf! Some people are actually bringing guns to protect their right to pass me around from person to person. A literal armed militia has risen to defend me!

And I’ve been able to achieve all this with 95 percent of the media against me. Seriously – how many pro-COVID-19 stories do you see? Nobody has been treated this unfairly since the Spanish Flu.

The fake news media aren’t giving me nearly enough credit. Even your president, Donald Trump, called me a “very brilliant enemy” and said I was a “genius!” Sure, I’m microscopic, but I have a very big brain. 

Just think of all the wonderful things that have come about since I showed up. People are baking bread and sewing masks and playing Monopoly and talking to their children. Nature is healing!

And just look at the ratings I’m getting! I’m not saying this, but I’ve heard other people say, that the press conferences the president is holding rival those of the Bachelor finale and Monday Night Football!

And just think of all the things I haven’t done. I haven’t suggested people drink bleach (I don’t even have a brain and that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard), and I haven’t Tweeted well wishes to Kim Jong Un. That guy’s an asshole.

Anyway, it’s clear the people want more of me. Some of the president’s favorite supporters have tweeted that the states’ stay-at-home orders are like “slavery” and that they’d refuse to take any vaccine once it’s developed. In the meantime,  I can get millions of dollars’ worth of free public relations. Name someone else born from a medium-rare bat that could achieve that!

See, Americans love an underdog – I’m like the nerdy kid that catches the game-winning touchdown in that Charlie Sheen movie Lucas from the ‘80s. (Shout out to Charlie Sheen – a big supporter of the anti-vax community.)

What can I say – I agree with Donald Trump’s optimism that great times are ahead. Re-opening America is more than any infectious disease can ask for. All I ask from America is that you keep manufacturing phony drama between Doctors Birx and Fauci and Trump – getting rid of the experts will be the viral equivalent of sending me out on tour.

In closing, I would like to thank all the impatient Americans for their support. If anyone ever challenges you on your love of the virus, just compare not being able to eat in a restaurant to Japanese internment camps during World War II,* yell “herd immunity!” and run out of the room.

I have provided a complimentary Clorox smoothie for all of you on your way out.

 

* In Wisconsin, Rebecca Bradley, a conservative state Supreme Court justice who forced state voters into danger by making them vote in person for the primary, compared Gov. Tony Evers’ order to close business and schools to the U.S. incarceration of Japanese people during World War II. State GOP lawmakers are suing Evers and the state Department of Health Andrea Palm to strike down Evers’ order to protect people from COVID-19. Evers has stated that overturning his order would needlessly put residents’ health and lives at risk. Even with the shelter-at-home order, Wisconsin has had 8,901 confirmed cases and 362 cases.               

The state GOP also sent out a mailer stating that voters can request an absentee ballot for a special election on May 12 on a pre-paid postcard, but the postcard didn’t mention that the applicant must also submit a photo ID. The largely rural district election includes a state senator, school board president, and closely-watched contest for Ho-Chunk Supreme Court justice. The deadline is tomorrow.

Gregg Gonsalves, a Yale epidemiologist, tweeted that the U.S. negligent response to COVID-19 is close to genocide because of the high percentage of deaths among people of color. The government sent body bags to a Native American health center when it requested tests to help them fight the virus.

First, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggested improving the economy by killing off older people; now Gov. Greg Abbott said he knows his opening the state will increase the spread of COVID-19. The information was leaked from a private telephone call. Commenters on social media were furious about Abbott’s indifference to his constituents’ lives. exploded with fury at Abbott’s seeming lack of concern for the health of his constituents. One person tweeted:

“When it comes to abortion, Governor Greg Abbott says he’s pro-life. When it comes to actual people, not fetuses, he says he’s willing to kill thousands.”

COVID-19 should be quite happy with its progress in the United States. As of today, May 6, the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. is 1,263,183 with 74,807 deaths. Outside New York, the number of cases is rapidly rising while states are caving into the small percentage of protesters who want to open up all the businesses and stop any other mitigation. Meat plants, which Secretary of Agriculture ordered to open, are infecting and killing more people. As of ten days ago, 145 inspectors stayed home from work because of virus illness, and another 130 were under self-quarantine after being exposed to infected people. Three inspectors based out of New York, Chicago, and Mississippi have died from the virus.

In the midst of a huge number of infected cases and deaths, DDT has promised to kill the Affordable Care Act, leaving tens of millions of people without health care.

Congratulations, COVID-19!

May 4, 2020

DDT Wears Mask

Filed under: Health Care — trp2011 @ 11:09 PM
Tags: , ,

“Getting great reviews, finally, for how well we are handling the pandemic.” Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) tweeted this self-evaluation about himself this morning. Over the weekend, DDT tweeted conspiracy theories while almost 5,000 people died:

  • MSNBC host Nicole Wallace was thrown off ABC’s The View “like a dog” for saying that Joe Biden was the victim of a smear campaign.
  • George W. Bush, Wallace’s former employer, was wrong for not defending DDT during the impeachment trial after Bush called for political unity during the pandemic.
  • Rapist billionaire Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself (a retweet from QAnon follower and former congressional candidate DeAnna Lorraine).

On Monday morning, DDT said that Florida should “open up a long overdue Florida Cold Case” against MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, DDT’s former friend, over the 2001 death of one of the employees in then-Rep. Scarborough’s district office. The coroner ruled that Lori Klausutis, 28, had an undiagnosed heart condition causing her to pass out and hit her head when she fell, resulting in a fatal brain clot in her brain.

The government estimates that COVID-19 deaths will rise to over 3,000 a day by June 1 after VP Mike Pence stated that the virus problem will be over by Memorial Day. (DDT’s and Pence’s predictions are always on holidays—Good Friday, May Day, and now this one.) This figure is much higher than DDT’s projections yesterday that the eventual total could be as high as 100,000. Right now, it’s 70,000, an increase of 16,000—30 percent—in nine days. At this rate, the country will hit 100,000 in only 18 days and just keep growing.

DDT also said “the United States has produced dramatically better health outcomes than any other country, with the possible exception of Germany — and I think we’re as good or better.” Germany has only ten percent that the U.S. has and a rate of 83 deaths per million compared to 211 per million in the U.S.

One model indicates that U.S. will have almost 135,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths by August. And that’s if the country complies with extensive testing and tracking contacts, something that won’t happen. Earlier models predicted lower death rates based on the assumption that the entire government would mandate stay-at-home orders and people would work together to follow the requirements. Instead, eight states never incorporated these, some people in the other 42 states ignored them, and at least 30 states are beginning to open up businesses and recreational areas this week. You can track models for countries and states in the U.S. 

Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of DDT’s coronavirus task force, said that “our projections have always been between 100,000 and 240,000 American lives lost, and that’s with full mitigation and us learning from each other of how to social distance.” Many people don’t comply. 

Epidemiologists estimate the death toll is likely much more than DD’s top number of 100,000. One analysis found 20,500 excess deaths for the five weeks from the first of March with another 16,600 in just one week between April and April 11. About the differences, epidemiologist Larry Brilliant tweeted:

“Confirmed and ‘possible’ COVID-19 deaths now exceed 100,000 in the U.S. How? Many U.S. states did not report deaths (even if doctors diagnosed COVID-19) without largely unavailable lab tests. Adding these ‘excess deaths’ underscores how deadly this disease really is.”

The reason for all these deaths? DDT’s incompetence and the GOP lawmakers’ incompetence keeping him in office. How is he killing tens of thousands of people?

Failing to close off Europe early on while taking out his anger on China with a ban for only some people coming from China to the United States. Tens of thousands of people still traveled to the U.S. after the ban; CDC found COVID-19 coming from Europe in early February to mid-March when he finally placed a ban on travel from Europe.

Downplaying the seriousness of the virus to keep the stock market high.

Pressing states to reopen to make his economy look good.

Supporting a lawsuit from a Virginia evangelical church against the governor’s stay-at-home order. AG Bill Barr, the man who has done nothing but abuse power since he got the job, threatens any state that uses too much “authority to stop the spread of COVID-19.” Barr will define “too far” in “exercise of authority.”

Neglecting testing and refusing to share his “stockpile” of medical supplies and equipment.

Always ignoring science and medical evidence for decision-making.

Pressuring people to be loyalists and hiring people who desperately create flawed tests, hide information about the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S., and permit unproven treatments and testing such as the FDA allowing fake or defective antibody tests to flood the U.S. market.

Creating a culture in which people falsely compare COVID-19 with the annual flu. According to ER physician Jeremy Samuel Faust, the annual flu mortality figures from CDC correct undercounting test-confirmed deaths with a mathematical model by including people whose diagnosis met certain clinical and epidemiological criteria. In recent flu seasons, the directly confirmed flu deaths vary from 3,448 to 15,620 deaths, much lower from the CDC estimates which DDT continually quoted. The current death count from COVID-19 are confirmed cases. The chart shows that in a little over two months, over four times the number of people have died from the coronavirus as died in the entire year of the worst flu season—and the U.S. will have at least tens of thousands more deaths. 

DDT has consistently refused to wear any protective gear, but he consistently masks his behavior. During the health crisis, he continues to attack intelligence while demanding that they lie for him to conceal his own agenda and mistakes. Talking to Fox, DDT said that intelligence told him on January 23 “that there could be a virus coming in but it was of no real import.” Intelligence had said the opposite throughout January and February. Intelligence officials who briefed the Senate called the virus “serious,” and WHO declared COVID-19 an international public health emergency on January 30. DDT declared that reports of the virus was a “deep state” plot to bring him down.

The biggest danger from COVID-19 at this time are the meat plants around the nation. Employees are crowded together with no protective gear and then go home to their families and out into the communities. With no benefits, they are forced to work, even if they feel sick, and the meat plants provide almost no testing. With poor wages, they crowd together at home: 45.1 percent of them are considered low-income.  

Public officials are horrified at the multiplication of virus cases in the places producing the greatest number of cases the virus except for prisons and nursing homes. CDC reports 20 deaths and 6,500 infected employees at 115 meat and poultry plants in 23 states.  In Iowa and South Dakota meat plants, up to 18 percent of workers in meat and poultry plants are infected with the coronavirus, and workers in the Pennsylvania and Nebraska industry account for 25 percent of the cases nationwide. The Smithfield Food slaughter plant in Sioux Falls (SD) is tied to 853 infections among 3,100 workers. CDC and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provide “guidance” without serious intent to provide safety for workers.

DDT made what he hoped was great press for him by using the Defense Production Act to keep all meat plants open no matter how much his action would increase the COVID-19 infections and deaths. Yet his mandate didn’t require this happen. The order explained that “it is important” that meat plants stay open before ordering:

“The Secretary of Agriculture shall take all appropriate action under that section to ensure that meat and poultry processors continue operations consistent with the guidance for their operations jointly issued by the CDC and OSHA.”

In other words, he thought he looked strong and decisive but can still waffle out of any personal difficulty if the publicity gets bad for him. His motto—always blame someone else.

DDT has also pushed Mexico to keep factories supplying the U.S. open despite their infections and deaths. Without testing, no one knows the extent, but anecdotal evidence indicates employers falling sick on the floor and some of them dying. A letter sent to the government stated that the U.S. wanted factories kept open for the U.S. supply chain—TVs for “communication,” grates for air flow in hospitals, Sharpie and Papermate for doctors and nurses, etc.  

DDT’s biggest problem is whether to lose voters by reopening states for economic reasons or lose voters by protecting people from infection and death. Voters over 65 believes in stopping the spread of COVID-19 by 6 to 1. Their support for DDT has dropped 20 points and become lower than any other age group except the youngest age group. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t care about killing them. His strategy to open the country—and kill people—in an attempt to help his re-election: Remove income support so that people must return to work despite danger; hide facts by not testing and concealing the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths; pretend he’s supporting freedom by supporting white supremacist protests; protect businesses against lawsuits. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-CA) summarized DDT’s strategy: Delay, Denial, Death.

On May 4, the U.S. has 1,212,900 confirmed COVID-19 cases, almost one-third in the world, and 69,921 deaths, over one-fourth of those in the world, as well as countless others who weren’t tested. World wide, confirmed cases are 3,646,341 and 252,425 deaths.

 

May 1, 2020

DDT Does Nothing about COVID-19, Brags about It

Filed under: Health Care — trp2011 @ 9:21 PM
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The first 100 disastrous days of do-nothing Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) in his non-response to COVID-19. A must read!

At her first formal press briefing today, Kayleigh McEnany’s biggest news was that she wouldn’t lie to journalists. Mostly she stuck to spin, misrepresentations, and (possibly) ignorance of the facts, but 15 minutes after her claim, she lied, calling the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh in his Senate confirmation for Supreme Court hearings “verifiably false.” The last White House press briefing was one year, one month, and three weeks ago.

DDT has declared himself a success regarding the virus, claiming that he had saved hundreds of thousands of lives through “aggressive response.” Last week, he considered fewer than 60,000 deaths a success. When the number went above 60,000, he switched to a success of under 100,000 deaths. If the U.S. continues its daily average of 2,000 or more deaths, DDT will be forced to again change his goalposts in under three weeks. DDT said:

“The testing and the masks and all of the things, we solved every problem. We solved it quickly. It’s been really spectacular. So, yeah, I don’t think anybody has done a better job with testing, with ventilator, with all of the things that we’ve done. And death totals, our numbers per million people are really very, very strong. We’re very proud of the job we’ve done.”

DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner joined him in crowing about the “success” of COVID-19 on the day that the economy contracted (aka dropped) by 4.8 percent in the first quarter with much worse results predicted for the second. May 1, the confirmed cases are 1,131,452 and deaths, 65,776. A prediction of deaths two days ago was 73,000, a total possibly reached in the first week of May. Kushner said on Fox & Friends:

“The federal government rose to the challenge, and this is a great success story. And I think that that’s really, you know, what needs to be told.”

The White House Gift Shop is selling commemorative coin for only $125 to demonstrate DDT’s only “success” during his first term. Another coin in the collection has DDT’s face. Advertising states the coin “symbolizes the genius level thinking & proven successes of President Donald J. Trump.” DDT’s campaign also plans to advertise COVID-19 with a red face mask

Afraid of what Dr. Anthony Fauci knows, DDT is blocking him from testifying before an Appropriations Committee about the administration’s response to the pandemic now. Maybe another time.

The federal government believes that the death rate will continue to be “really very, very strong”: it has ordered over 100,000 more body bags—the biggest order on April 21, the day after DDT said the COVID-19 death toll might not be over 50,000 or 60,000 people. At the same time, FEMA opened bidding for 200 rented 53-feet refrigerated trailers throughout the country. Each one would be 3,600 cubic feet; a human body is 1.76 cubic feet. Although Republicans follow DDT’s lead in saying that COVID-19 is no worse than the annual flu, the U.S. doesn’t normally have bodies lying around in U-Haul trucks; rent large numbers of refrigerated truck trailers; and order hundreds of thousands of body bags in a few months for one disease. 

A requirement for opening up businesses and states is extensive testing. Contravening DDT’s claim that “testing is not going to be a problem at all,” FEMA and HHS listed these problems:

“Limited number of diagnostic supplies. Limited capacity of test facilities. Limited trained response personnel to administer the tests. Unknown epidemiological information regarding COVID-19. Access to testing sites by underserved areas and at-risk populations. Effective vaccines and therapeutics will not be available in sufficient quantities to meet the need. PPE is required by [medical countermeasures] developers and manufacturers.”

Tuesday, DDT said that the U.S. can carry out 5 million tests a day, but Brett Giroir, the federal testing official, said current technology doesn’t allow that number. In the U.S., a total of five million people have been tested since March 21—40 days. When the Senate returns to Washington, D.C. in a couple of days, there aren’t enough tests for those 100 people.

DDT refuses to tell where his administration sends supplies for the COVID-19 response and permits six multi-billion medical supply companies receiving taxpayer money to block the data. Also secret is information about financial terms with these companies that reported over $2 billion in profits last year. The White House has also ordered all resource request forms from state, local, and private-sector officials to be routed though the White House.

Maryland first lady Yumi Hogan (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

The federal government is still stealing supplies ordered by state and local governments, but in one case it failed. DDT was furious with Maryland’s governor Larry Hogan who finalized a purchase of 500,000 test kits from South Korea because DDT believes that all COVID-19 belong to him. Yumi Hogan, the governor’s wife who was born in South Korea, used her native language to negotiate the sale of the kits to Maryland. The Hogans and members of the state National Guard met the chartered 777 Korean Air flight at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to take the kits and lock them up in an undisclosed place where the Guard is still watching over them. Larry Hogan said: 

“The administration made it clear over and over again they want the states to take the lead, …, and that’s exactly what we did.”

The federal government succeeded in hijacking one million N95 masks for firefighters in a Florida program to test people in their homes if they cannot get to drive-through testing. The company told them that the federal government took them, according to Frank Rollason, director of Emergency Management for Miami-Dade County. FEMA denied that they had seized any PPE from hospitals, states, or local governments but then said they seize the supplies “from individual bad actors and businesses hoarding PPE.” Yes, and from governments.

While DDT constantly denies that hospitals have any supplies shortages, Richard Stone, in charge of the VA healthcare, admitted that the country’s largest health-care system has a serious shortage because masks and other supplies were diverted to what Jared Kushner calls “our stockpile.” FEMA ordered vendors to send the masks to them instead of the VA. After VA Secretary Robert Wilkie begged, FEMA gave VA ten percent of their order so that employees working with COVID-19 could have more than one mask a day.

ProPublica has an in-depth piece on VA’s effort to find six million N95 respirators, the dissolving of a $34.5 million deal to get them to the VA hospitals, and the deaths of 20 VA staff from COVID-19 without the masks. The company given the procurement contract was inexperienced, and the VA agreed to a 350 percent markup for the costs of the masks. This contract wasn’t an isolated instance: DDT’s administration has paid $5.1 billion in no-bid contracts for COVID-19 supplies. Yet the VA has awarded most large contracts to little-known vendors for orders in which local, state, and federal agencies bid against each other. The end of the exposé:

“On the up side, the VA paid no money to [the company promising to procure masks for the VA] …

“As of [April 29], more than 2,200 VA employees had tested positive for COVID-19.”

New York wasn’t as fortunate. Based on advice from the White House coronavirus task force, the state paid an electrical engineer in Silicon Valley, Yaron Oren-Pines, $69 million for ventilators but never received them. Oren-Pines had tweeted the task force he could make the ventilators for $47,656 apiece—at least three times the going price for ventilators.

DDT blamed Sweden’s large mortality rate for no “lock-down. Late last month, he called on states to “liberate” its resident by lifting shelter-in-place and said he would not continue that recommendation in the U.S.

According to DDT, however, the people who go to Michigan to force their way into the capital with assault rifles and without masks, who violate the social distancing policy and scream at law enforcement, are “very good people.” As satirist Andy Borowitz wrote In “Michigan Governor Arrogantly Forcing Residents to Remain Alive,” satirist Andy Borowitz wrote:

“In a blistering takedown, Attorney General William Barr said the governor was ‘depriving Michiganders of their constitutionally enshrined right to die before their time.’”

The protests came the day after a Michigan court ruled that stay-at-home directives do not violate residents’ constitutional rights. In Kentucky, COVID-19 cases spiked after a week of protests.

 It’s Election Year, and DDT’s blame game goes on while he does nothing to contain the coronavirus.

DDT also declares he will retaliate against China for deliberately creating COVID-19 in a lab, something that U.S. intelligence agencies said did not happen after an investigation. Nevertheless, DDT believes the conspiracy theory and sent his agents to find “proof.” Under DDT’s orders, U.S. officials are exploring demands of financial compensation from China or considering not paying back debts to them. DDT also considers stripping China of “sovereign immunity” so that the U.S. government and virus victims can sue China, an action that might be illegal or require congressional approval. This threat came after DDT’s accusation that President Obama was responsible for “broken tests” for a virus that wasn’t discovered three years after DDT was elected.

DDT wants to go to Arizona this coming week. No doubt he’ll be back to rallying.

April 25, 2020

DDT: Week 170 – Press Briefing Disappears, Wisconsin Voters Sicken, USPS Attacked

The biggest news of the week may be that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) called off his press briefing (campaign rally) today after his huge debacle of two days ago when he recommended that people inject their bodies with bleach as a COVID-19 treatment. Even the ultra-conservative Breitbart website admitted its lie that DDT hadn’t made this statement. The correction was rather limp: Breitbart stated that the commentary should have been “Opinion” rather than “Fact Checking” because “nobody in their right mind would think that Trump was literally suggesting that people should inject disinfectant into their bodies.” Breitbart is right about that statement in describing the “right mind” of those who still follow DDT.

Today was the first time that DDT held no rally since Easter, 13 days ago. Since March, DDT has droned inane comments on television each afternoon, in “briefings” up to three hours long, praising himself and his administration before ending with insulting and attacking reporters who ask for information. Yesterday’s event was 22 minutes long with no questions for the press. The announcement calling off the event came three hours and 11 minutes after it was scheduled. Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany (sometimes called “Not Ivanka” because of their resemblance) said that canceling a briefing is DDT’s decision, but she believes “the president is at his best when he’s speaking directly to the American people.” Evidently he’s really worse than his briefings. https://www.theguardian.com/us-Shortly after the cancelation, DDT’s angrily tweeted about his rallies, “Not worth the time & effort.” Previously, DDT’s advisers told him to stop appearing at briefings except for special announcements, but he said he was continuing because of good television ratings.

In past briefings, DDT either pressured doctors to lie at briefings to say that he was right about recommendations for drugs, stopping shelter-in-place programs, and predictions of re-occurrences of the virus or flat-out contradicted what medical experts said. For example, he badgered Dr. Deborah Birx to say that the virus “might not come back at all.” Earlier, he had pushed Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC director, to repudiate the “possibility that the assault of the virus on the U.S. next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through.” Redfield, however, said that he had been “accurately quoted in The Washington Post.” Dr. Anthony Fauci contradicted DDT, telling reporters that he is “convinced” that “there will be coronavirus in the fall.”

While DDT is killing people through stupidity and inaction, conservative judges on the Wisconsin and U.S. supreme courts may also be responsible for infecting people with COVID-19. On April 7, they agreed with GOP lawmakers to force an in-person vote at the Wisconsin primary, yet hid from the virus as people were disenfranchised if they didn’t go to the polls. Milwaukee has identified at least 40 positive coronavirus cases linked to in-person voting. The city closed down 175 of its 180 polling locations for the day, and 19,000 people vote in person, giving an average of 3,800 people at each of the open five locations in lines that stretched around the block. The Milwaukee Common Council voted unanimously last Tuesday to create a program under which all of the city’s approximately 300,000 registered voters would receive an application for an absentee ballot in the mail. The “SafeVote” program also provides voters with a postage-paid return envelope so they can participate in the fall election.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision changing Wisconsin’s voting rules the day before the election was even anonymous, but the four dissenters came out publicly to object to the ruling. Unsigned rulings are usually for uncontroversial, unanimous rulings; previously the high court had contended that anonymity weakens accountability for decisions and shield contentious rulings written by unwritten justices. A legal scholar wrote that past per curiam cases have been “so easily resolvable, so lacking in complexity or disagreement among the justices, that it requires only a brief forthright opinion that any member of the Court could draft.” Still unknown is who wrote the majority opinion in the Wisconsin case although Brett Kavanaugh first received the case. The same lack of courage from the high court may be used in the future for the opinions regarding abortions, gun stores, and religious services connected to stay-at-home and business closure orders.

DDT and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin are compounding the voting issue even more with their blackmailing the United States Post Office (USPS). Disaster bill #3 last month authorized a $10 billion loan to USPS, but Mnuchin rejected the bailout to gain control of the agency to the Treasury Department. Mnuchin wants to select the postmaster general (now the responsibility of a five-member board) and review other hiring decisions at senior levels, lower USPS employee wages and benefits, remove their ability to negotiate through their union, and raise package rates. DDT threatened to withhold all COVID-19 relief funding unless package shipping prices are raised four-fold—maybe five times.

USPS financial problems come from a 2006 congressional mandate requires the agencies to fund retirees’ health benefits through 2056—36 years from now. Retirement benefits must be prepaid for 75 years.

No other federal agency is required to turn a profit. Even so, the USPS had gradually paid down $15 billion of debt to $12 billion until the pandemic, when it went up $2.4 billion to $14.4 billion. Airlines get at least $25 billion, and large businesses, under the guise of small businesses, are receiving billions of dollars more.

Despite the quarantine, USPS has continued to deliver the mail, and 1,219 workers of 630,00 employees tested positive for COVID-19, with 44 of them dying.

The USPS has promised to deliver absentee and mail-in ballots “even if no postage has been affixed or it the postage is insufficient.”

The USPS delivers a letter for $.55, much less than the $25 or $30 cost from UPS or FedEx.

The USPS is overwhelmingly viewed favorably with majorities believing it does a good or excellent job.

The only piece of USPS increasing in mail volume, the package business, is also the only USPS profitability in recent years; its $22.8 billion in 2019 was one-third of the agency’s revenue. Higher rates would put costs above those charged by UPS and FedEx, perhaps causing the USPS to lose all that business. 

Higher prices on packages would hurt people most in rural areas because they count on USPS for essential package deliveries such as medicines. They would also pay the most without the USPS, more than people in urban areas.

DDT’s biggest beef with the USPS is the fact that his arch enemy, owner of the Washington Post Jeff Bezos, also owns Amazon and has a shipping contract with the USPS. DDT frequently calls the WaPo “fake news” after it reported unfavorable information during his campaign and presidency. Using donations as a consideration, USPS employees prefer DDT as president—at least until they get fired. Amazon will survive with DDT’s ideas, but the U.S. Post Office may not.

More big news came this week from some states’ rolling back the shelter-in-place, frequently without valid statistics. Meat plants, especially in states such as South Dakota and Iowa lacking any shelter-in-place orders, are the newest and worst hot zones for the virus. Employees in other states hide problems with infections. Employees at the Wisconsin Smithfield meat plant, facing an outbreak, say managers hid the growing number of infections and pressured workers to avoid quarantine measures.

Some governors may face a lose-lose debacle with “opening” their states, especially by doing it without the input and against the wishes of their own medical and emergency management staff. Georgia’s GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, eager to please DDT, is reopening gyms, tattoo parlors, hair salons, and bowling alleys reopen but got thrown under DDT’s bus a couple of days later when DDT, pressed by his pandemic task force, criticized him for the opening. Two days before DDT said he “strongly” disagreed with the move, he had called Kemp a “capable man who knows what he’s doing.”

DDT skipped disapproval of opening gyms after a call from billionaire owner Stephen Ross of Equinox Sports Clubs, a big DDT donor and massive fundraiser. Gyms—places with people close together, sweating, coughing and sneezing, breathing heavily, snorting droplets on everyone else, and touching everything, all of them indoors. DDT made his recommendation on opening gyms the day after a telephone call with 16 business leaders including Ross and Bahram Akradi, chief executive of health club chain Life Time.

A few poll results from the past week: 

  • 80 percent: strict shelter-in-place measures are worth it in order to protect people and limit the spread of coronavirus.
  • 51 percent: “the worst is yet to come” when it comes to the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
  • 23 percent: the number with a high level of trust in DDT’s information about COVID-19.
  • 60 percent: DDT isn’t listening to health experts enough.

On April 25, the U.S. has 960,896 confirmed COVID-19 cases, almost one-third in the world, and 54,265 deaths, over one-fourth of those in the world, as well as countless others who weren’t tested, another 15-percent increase in deaths during the past three days. World wide, confirmed cases are almost three million and over 200,000 deaths.

April 24, 2020

Killing: From Drugs to Bleach

The inaction of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and his suggestion that people take deadly, unrecommended drugs without authentic medical advice has killed tens of thousands of people during the past two months because of DDT’s incompetency and selfishness. In protest, “funeral processions” drive by his hotels in both New York and Washington, D.C., and people drop off home-made body bags as a symbol of his refusal to protect the people of the United States.  Yesterday, he hit a new low in ignorance and stupidity at his press briefing (aka campaign rally).

DO NOT TAKE DDT’S ADVICE! By now, most people have probably heard about his yesterday’s recommendation that people get injections of disinfectant (the Clorox cure?) and beam ultraviolet light “inside the body” (maybe by cracking ribs?) or looking straight at the light (like DDT did with the sun before the eclipse). [Note: he’s not the only idiot. Before a fraud was stopped, people bought “miracle” UV “sanitizer” lights from Facebook from ads promising “a proven impact on COVID-19” and the “most effective way to kill viruses” from Facebook. In March, the World Health Organization warned that “UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.”]

Today, DDT claimed that his comment was “sarcastic” but not until he was defended by conservative media and officials. This video of reactions from Dr. Deborah Birx to DDT’s statements prove no sarcasm in the deadly recommendation. The White House even had to issue a correction to its false transcript after the first one read Birx agreeing “that is a treatment” to DDT’s question, “Deborah, have you ever heard of that? The heat and the light, relative to certain viruses, yes, but relative to this virus?” The new transcript reads, “Not as a treatment.”

About DDT’s recommendation for an injection into the lungs with Lysol or another disinfectant, Breitbart lied:

“Trump was speaking generally about new information about sunlight, heat, and disinfectant killing the virus. Trump used the word ‘inject,’ but what he meant was using a process—which he left ‘medical doctors to define—in which patients’ lungs might be cleared of the virus, given new knowledge about its response to light and other factors.”

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins gave an excellent putdown of the conservative spin:

“So after there was criticism from the doctors, and as you [anchor Brianna Keilar] noted, Lysol had to put out a statement saying not to pursue this route, the White House put out a statement saying that reporters were taking the president out of context, and he said that people should consult with doctors before pursuing treatment. What that statement did not say was that the president was being sarcastic, which is now what he was arguing as he did in the Oval Office not long ago.

“I was in the room. The president was not asking that question to reporters, he was turning to the officials to his right, Dr. Birx and this official from the DHS about, it works on surfaces and in the air, and the president suggested that doctors should look into this, noting that he himself was not a doctor so we should note that as well.”

DDT needed a new plan for curing COVID-19 after his “game-changer” drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, were solidly debunked. Because of his stock ownership and donor demands, DDT touted a drug, currently prescribed for lupus, malaria, and rheumatoid arthritis, as the miracle treatment for the virus.  On March 18, the German drug manufacturer Bayer offered millions of doses of a chloroquine drug called Resochin to the U.S. The FDA ignored its own safeguards about taking the drugs from an uninspected plan in Karachi (Pakistan), and Bayer announced it was “working with appropriate agencies on an Emergency Use Authorization for the drug’s use in the U.S.,” and Fox started promoting the drug. Three days later, DDT made his first reference to hydroxychloroquine during his campaign rally, citing its “very, very encouraging early results. And we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately.”

While people sickened and died from coronavirus, DDT used his daily campaign rallies to press people to use chloroquine, even those who weren’t sick. On March 24, the government’s top clinicians and scientists at HHS recommended its use in only controlled, hospital-based clinical trials because of “potential risks.” Yet 11 days later, Brett Giroir, HHS assistant secretary for health, emailed a group “to flood Ny and NJ with [chloroquine] treatment courses… Millions per week?”

Four weeks after Giroir’s email, DDT fired Rick Bright, head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a small HHS agency with private scientific ventures to create vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics. Bright said that the reason was his opposition “to fund potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections.” DDT’s political appointees exerted great pressure on career health officials, and they sought the help of billionaire Larry Ellison, founder of technology company, to build an app tracking responses to experimental treatments and make chloroquine drugs available through pharmacies with no plan for physician oversight or monitoring. By late March, FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to allow chloroquine drugs from the Strategic National Stockpile to be administered to hospitalized COVID-19 patients who could not access clinical trials.

Since the onset of DDT’s propaganda, studies and other reports have cast gloom on the success of chloroquine for COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health issued guidelines about “insufficient clinical data to recommend either for or against using chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19.” The agency cautioned careful monitoring for adverse effects, including cardiac risks. Two Maine licensing boards governing Maine doctors warn that prescribing DDT’s touted drugs for themselves or for family members is considered “unprofessional conduct.” The tipping point was a study of 368 patients at veterans’ hospitals: 28 percent of patients treated with hydroxychloroquine died compared with 11 percent of those who didn’t take the medication. (The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to continue use of the drug despite the warning that it doesn’t work and could cause deadly side effects.)

Today, the FDA warned consumers against taking hydroxychloroquine outside a hospital or formal clinical trial because of deaths and poisonings although it is still recommended as prescribed for approved reasons. The peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association also released a new study reporting that researchers cut short a study testing chloroquine as a potential treatment for Covid-19 over safety concerns, citing a “primary outcome” of death. Nearly two dozen patients died, and some developed irregular heart rates after taking daily doses of the drug.

A new study shows that Sean Hannity may also be responsible for spreading COVID-19. Fox consistently downplayed the danger of coronavirus until the middle of March when DDT seemed to catch on to the potential infections and deaths. Economists Leonardo Bursztyn, Aakaash Rao, Christopher Roth, and David Yanagizawa-Drott used data from Fox network programming in February and early March when Hannity’s show ignored or downplayed the virus while Tucker Carlson warned viewers about the disease’s risk in another prime-time Fox show. Hannity viewers were more likely than Carlson viewers to ignore social distancing rules and had higher local rates of infection and death—“approximately 30 percent more cases on March 14 and 21 percent more deaths on March 18.”

The study’s rigorous findings support wide research that media consumption and Fox viewership has a powerful effect on individual behavior. A survey of 1,045 Republicans 55 and older indicated that Hannity watchers “changed their behavior five days later than viewers of other shows [while] viewers of Tucker Carlson Tonight changed their behavior three days earlier than viewers of other shows.” Greater Hannity viewership also meant more virus cases and more deaths, but the relationship weakened after Hannity’s reference of the disease’s danger in mid-March. The researchers know that the findings must be taken with caution, but general research finds that the virus response has been greatly affect by partisan attitudes: Republicans are far less likely to practice social distancing than Democrats. Fox also has a great influence on politic behavior, and television affects people’s decisions about health.

One source of the Clorox Cure may be a letter from Mark Grenon, leader of Florida’a profit-making Genesis II Church of Health & Healing in which he wrote that lethal industrial bleach can be a “miracle cure” for the virus. Grenon’s “church” is the largest producer and distributor of chlorine dioxide bleach as a “miracle cure” in the U.S. that he brands MMS, “miracle mineral solution.” He also fraudulently claims that his product can cure 99 percent of all illnesses including HIV/AIDS and cancer as well as autism. His prescription—DON’T DO THIS!—is for anyone, including children to mix three to six drops of bleach in water and drink it. Grenon said that 30 of his supporters had also written DDT about the cure and posted on his Facebook page that he had sent his MMS to the White House: “Lord help others to see the Truth!” Former GOP presidential candidate has also promoted MMS on his online TV show. DDT’s FDA has obtained a federal court order banning Genesis II from selling “an unproven and potentially harmful treatment for Covid-19.” Last summer, the FDA issued a warning that drinking MMS can lead to death. “What do you have to lose?”

As more negative studies about hydroxychloroquine are published, DDT refuses to address problems about his drug of choice for COVID-19 treatment. “I don’t know of the report,” he said. When asked yesterday, the day that he suggested disinfectant injections, about why he no longer promotes his favorite drug, he said, “I haven’t at all.” But he has. Today, he abruptly left the press briefing before reporters could ask any question.

DDT may lose his daily campaign rallies if his advisers have their way with changing the format. He gets bad press from his combative approach toward reporters, and yesterday’s disaster may have been the last straw. Today’s presentation had no health experts. When two reporters were told to change seats at the press briefings, putting the CNN reporter farther back, the reporters refused. Tomorrow will tell.

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