Nel's New Day

March 29, 2020

The Ugliness of COVID-19

So much news pours in about the novel coronavirus that I’m providing only short summaries of news articles with sources for more detailed information. Considering the approach of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to the health crisis, deciding between “the bad” and “the ugly” is difficult. One ugly today is that DDT’s has his 13th White House briefing today after a hiatus yesterday when he spoke on the hospital ship USS Comfort. Tomorrow is supposedly the end of his “15 days of quarantine”–and maybe his daily campaign rallies.

The Good:

The FDA approved emergency use of a new coronavirus test that delivers positive results in 5 minutes and negative results in 13 minutes. It should be ready next week. About the size of a toaster, the portable unit can supposedly be set up anywhere from a physician’s office to an urgent care clinic.

A council representing more than 800,000 doctors wrote DDT to reverse his demand that businesses reopen on Easter because it jeopardizes health and puts hospitals into worse chaos in the fight against coronavirus.

Twitter temporarily suspended the account of Rudy Giuliani after DDT’s personal lawyer tweeted misinformation about coronavirus.

The Bad:

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. expert on infectious disease, told the nation to be prepared because COVID-19 may come back in “cycles.” He warned that COVID-19 could infect millions of people in the U.S. with over 100,000 deaths. Doctors say the disease is much worse the second time around.

Where did the spring-breakers in Florida go after the beaches closed? This map shows their locations—and areas of new COVID-19 infections. 

The G-7 won’t sign a joint statement because DDT insists on referring to COVID-19 as the “Wuhan virus” in official documents

Weeks after downplaying the virus and saying he was still “shaking hands with everyone,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested positive for the virus.

Almost 300 people died and over 1,000 sickened from swallowing methanol in Iran as one of the fake remedies spread through social media in the country. 

The Kennedy Center received $25 million from the stimulus bill, but the Center’s president, Deborah Rutter, told 96 musicians that their last paycheck would be this week. They will no longer have healthcare after the end of May if the center is still closed, and performances are suspended until May 10. The organization also has an endowment of almost $100 million, which could operate the Center for ten months in the worst scenario. Rutter said she was suspending her $1.2 million salary until after the crisis.

Media sources such as Newsweek are using outdated statistics for COVID-19 cases and deaths. This source is up to date for world statistics.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis banned a reporter from his briefings because she asked for social distancing at the gatherings.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) changed the stimulus bill so that big restaurant and hotel chains will get over half the money originally designated for truly small restaurants.  

Deborah Birx, a supposed expert on DDT’s coronavirus task force, praised his abilities:

“He’s so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data. I think his ability to analyze and integrate data that comes out of his long history in business has really been a real benefit…. He understands the importance of the granularity.”

She also downplayed the importance of ventilators. After his annoyance with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the real expert, DDT largely replaced him with Birx.    

The Ugly:

DDT has been calling evangelical leaders and telling them to forget coronavirus and pray for his reelection instead.

DDT is blackmailing governors who badly need supplies to fight the virus. He wants “them to be appreciative.” If not, he insults them and refuses supplies to them. Medical supply vendors told Michigan Gov. Gretchen Witmer that they were told not to send her supplies after she had contracts with them. Asked it this is true, DDT said that Witmer “is a new governor who has not been pleasant. We don’t like to see the complaints.” He continued:

“Pence] calls all the governors…. I say Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington, you’re wasting your time with him. Don’t call the woman in Michigan. If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call.”

At today’s press briefing, DDT told reporters that he didn’t tell Pence not to call some of the governors and accused hospitals of lying about how many masks they need for the pandemic. When NPR’s reporter Yamiche Alcindor asked DDT about telling Sean Hannity on the air that hospitals didn’t need the equipment that they needed, DDT told her to “be nice” and not be “threatening.” Pressed for an answer, DDT had a White House staffer take Alcindor’s microphone. [Left: Life-saving mask.]

In his tweets today, DDT bragged several times about his high TV ratings for the briefings.

DDT’s “America First” is gone. After blaming President Obama for the shortage of hospital supplies and equipment, DDT shortchanged U.S. medical facilities by sending 17.8 tons of badly needed medical assistance for people with COVID-19 to China in early February. The evidence of this “generous” action comes from a State Department press release.

Furious because CNN and MSNBC cut away for the last part of DDT’s ramblings at last Monday’s press briefing before going back to the Q&A session with reporters, DDT threw a tantrum. During that briefing, DDT again recommended the use of chloroquine that killed at least one person sickened four others. 

A study of 30 patients in China shows that hydroxychloroquine is no more effective than conventional care: 13 of 15 patients given the drug tested negative after a week while 14 of 15 patients without the drug tested negative. Standard treatment included bed rest, oxygen inhalation, anti-viral drugs such as lopinavir and ritonavir, and antibiotics when necessary. Of the patients given hydroxychloroquine, one progressed to severe disease and four developed diarrhea and possible liver damage compared to three with conventional treatment.

Conservative billionaire and co-founder of Home Depot Bernard Marcus is pushing hydroxchoroquine as a cure for the virus. A shortage of the drug nationwide has been caused by hoarding doctors. The FDA stated that fatal heart problems are the drug’s possible side effect. Marcus’ group has lobbied for deferral of taxes for both 2019 and 2020.

DHS added gun dealers, ranges, and manufacturers to its list of essential businesses after a gun group wrote DHS.

The mystery of missing ventilators has been solved. Jared Kushner has been in charge for over two weeks and kept canceling orders because ventilators are expensive. Hospitals are putting up to four people on a ventilator suitable for only one person. Kushner, who told DDT that the coronavirus isn’t serious, is in charge of the pandemic in the U.S. DDT failed to use the Defense Production Act to provide necessary supplies to healthcare workers because businesses objected. He keeps saying that states are lying about not having enough supplies. He even said that he’s already invoked the law, and FEMA director had to correct him.

Approving $4.5 trillion to bail out corporations, DDT fought paying $1 billion for 80,000 ventilators. At last Friday’s brief briefing, Jonathan Karl asked DDT about the availability of ventilators. DDT responded, “Don’t be a cutie pie!” and changed the subject, bragging about what a good job he’s doing with the health crisis.

The Catholic-based Peace Health St. Joseph Medical Center fired emergency physician Dr. Ming Lee because he said the hospital was too sluggish in fighting coronavirus. The hospital objected to Lin, who trained in New York and worked there during the 9/11 crisis, obtaining needed supplies for patients. As of Friday, Washington state had 3,723 reported cases of COVID-19 and 175 deaths. The first case in Lin’s county on March 10 grew to 92 cases and four deaths. 

DDT’s communications with billionaires were behind his hope to “have the country opened up” and “get people back to work” by Easter during a worsening pandemic. At today’s press conference, DDT said the peak, and explained that was the highest point of COVID-19 in the U.S., would be two weeks from today. That’s Easter. When Hong Kong tried DDT’s system of opening the country, the second wave of COVID-19 almost doubled the confirmed cases in a week, many of them from overseas.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said she would have called off the deadly Mardi Gras celebrations a month ago if the federal government had announced the dangers of coronavirus.

Hobby Lobby, the company that helped the Supreme Court turn back women’s reproductive care a century, will keep stores open because God told the owner’s wife three words: “Guide, Guard and Groom.” (God will “groom” people to be better.) She said that everyone should pray.

The Ugliest:

This analysis shows how DDT ignored the danger of COVID-19 from the first recognized death in late December until March 16, making the progress of the disease far more rapid in the U.S. And another one.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg in coronavirus news.

On March 29, the limited testing in the U.S. revealed 142,178 cases, an additional 16,799 from the day before, and 2,484 deaths. The world has 722,196 confirmed cases and 33,976 deaths.

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