Nel's New Day

March 15, 2020

Covid-19: DDT Prays, Concentrates on Businesses While Cases Grow

Evangelical Christians are providing dangerous disinformation about the covid-19 epidemic. On Fox & Friends, Jerry Falwell Jr, head of Liberty University, accused DDT’s enemies, listing the media as among them, of wrongly giving information about the virus and its spread. He also blamed the disease on totalitarian regimes such as North Korea. (Falwell is also urging western Virginia counties to leave the state and join West Virginia, saving them from Democrats, in a movement called “Vaxit.” Even highly conservative Strom Thurmond used the word “traitorous” for telling a county to secede from a state.) When a parent questioned the wisdom of Falwell keeping the university open during the healthcare crisis, Falwell called him a “dummy.” Jonathan Shuttlesworth, the co-founder of Revival Today TV, called coronavirus prevention measures the work of the devil and said that only “sissies” and “pansies” use hand sanitizer or wash their hands to prevent the virus’ spread.

Having failed to block covid-19 in the U.S., Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has declared today as a day of prayer for all the people afflicted through his ignorance and his desire to minimize problems during his ploy for reelection this fall. Last week, he gave a tone-deaf speech that declared a travel ban from 26 European nations that didn’t have his businesses. By Saturday, he gave in to include the UK and Ireland where numbers of infections and deaths are growing faster than in the U.S.—at this time.

DDT, who has avoided press briefings like the plague, has had three of them in three days. Today’s comments bragged about the prime rate lowered to 0.0 percent, destroying people’s savings, in his attempt to save the stock market for his reelection campaign. He also commented about how his actions result in “more buying than at Christmas,” priding himself on the consumerism. He failed to point out that the buying is done for hoarding because of the extreme fear in the U.S. and that buying will shrink when people use the supplies that they are collecting. He left VP Mike Pence to make a few comments, such as the risk of contacting covid-19 is “extremely low,” and take questions.

DDT’s travel ban, which was corrected to exempt U.S. residents, created a panic among people in Europe with huge crowds by inadequate staffing to process them when they arrived in the U.S. before tonight’s deadline. One person tweeted:  

“Confirmed cases in Illinois more than doubled between Friday and Saturday. Inbound travelers are stuck at O’Hare for six-hour waits.”

Acting DHS director Chad Wolf tweeted that he’s working to “expedite the process” but “the health and safety of the American public is first & foremost.” People exposed to covid-19 in the airport will still be regarded as not infected until later.

Hospital leaders report that DDT’s rolling back some regulations in his “national emergency” declaration won’t help their serious shortage of supplies and risk to workers, especially with a prediction of 1.9 million ICU admissions within the next few months. The U.S. health system has approximately 100,000 ICU beds. This problem could be somewhat alleviated through rental of hotels or other arrangements, but that would require federal funding for hospitals to keep operating. DDT has refused, however, to meet with hospital leaders to discuss their issues while DDT meets with retail and financial CEOs.

Emergency medical providers also lacked guidance; CDC waited almost four weeks after the World Health Organization announced the outbreak in China and over two weeks after confirmation of the first known U.S. case to give the responders guidance. The 20,000 emergency medical service agencies in the U.S. vary greatly in oversight and assets; about one-third of them depend on volunteers. 

Public pressure finally pushed DDT into taking the covid-19 test after he wandered around shaking hands with many people and is known to spend hours with people who have tested positive. DDT said he took the test “because the press is going crazy.” After over two months, the White House has decided to take the temperature of people “in close contact” with DDT and VP Mike Pence.  

DDT attacks CDC, Fed Reserve, President Obama, Joe Biden, and others for the disaster that he created, but his obsession with personal ratings led him to brag that his handling of the health crisis has a “78% Approval Rating, the highest on record.” That number came from an RNC mailing to donors

On Saturday, he bragged about Friday’s stock market having the largest increase in history but didn’t mention that the day before had the biggest drop in 30 years. Friday also had the biggest one-day U.S. increase in new covid-19 cases—almost 500. Without widespread testing in the U.S., the figures show an increase of cases from 89 to 2,131 in only two weeks.

The CDC is woefully behind in tracking statistics about cases and deaths from covid-19 so many people turned to a website from Johns Hopkins University. Russia hackers now use the site to spread password-stealing malware by advertising a digital coronavirus infection kit, and Chinese hackers, known as Vicious Panda, trick people into sharing sensitive personal information with a fake document supposedly from the Mongolian Health Ministry.

Even my favorite website for statistics has indicated it suffered cyber attacks and has taken action to stop these malicious acts. As of early evening, it has indicated 3,752 cases and 68 deaths in the United States. Another, more specific, website was developed by 17-year-old Avi Schiffmann, a high school junior on Mercer Island. His site trails the one above by just a few numbers. He developed his site in late December when fewer than 1,000 cases of covid-19 existed. The website updates about every minute through “web scraping” from the websites that he has entered. To make the information more positive, he also includes the number of people who are recovering. The site has about 35 million viewers with only 60 percent from the U.S.   

Conservative voters claim that they want to elect someone who runs the government like a business. They got DDT. David Atkins wrote:

“At every step of the way, Trump and the conservative media have treated the coronavirus as a PR problem, a political problem, and a business problem. They have tried to downplay the severity of the disease, tell people to continue life like everything is normal, continue flying and going on cruise lines, and boost the markets however possible. Friday’s bizarre press conference was little more than an infomercial for some of the top health-related businesses in the Dow Jones average, with a parade of CEOs talking about their commitment to doing vague somethings about the pandemic right before the closing bell. It worked, at least for now: the Dow surged as a result of the upbeat corporate presentation. For weeks now the administration has slow-played testing under the theory that lower reported numbers would somehow look better and magically change the actual reality on the ground until the problem went away.

“Like so much of modern American business culture, the ethic here is short-sighted and self-serving at best, and cruel, callous, and malevolent at worst. Today’s fast-moving capital markets are explicitly designed to be reactive rather than proactive, and every incentive built into them is to push for growth at all costs. Problems are meant to be pushed to the side and out of sight so the good times can keep rolling at the top; inconvenient costs are externalized and socialized on the backs of workers, the impoverished, and the environment. In the best of times, this dynamic creates massive inequalities and injustices that the market doesn’t notice, because the victims most affected are insignificant to—and go unnoticed by—the invisible hand. In the worst of times, however, it utterly hobbles a society’s ability to respond to crises that require active management before they can be directly felt in the marketplace.”

For decades, Republicans have swept problems under the rug, including the trillions of dollars that George W. Bush’s war cost. At the same time, they push against solutions for the future such as a Green New Deal, universal healthcare or even a pandemic response office. The incompetence became worse with DDT’s insistence on hiring only ignorant loyalists, his refusal to learn, and his pathological lying.

An example of this lying is his false claim that Google has 1,700 engineers quickly working on a website to help people figure out if they need testing and give them information about where to get the test, the “stores” for testing “in virtually every location.” Part of his long spiel was an attack on the Affordable Care Act website. Google said it is NOT building a website, and another company of 400 people is in “early stages of development” of building a covid-19 website nothing like DDT’s description and only for the Bay Area.  

With good reason, 53 percent of U.S. voters worry that someone in their immediate family might catch covid-19, and 60 percent think the worst is yet to come in the U.S. Over 40 percent believe the virus will change their day-to-day lives. Only 30 percent of Republicans, however, plan to avoid gatherings.

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