Donald J. Trump Has Failed In His Response To Coronavirus (Covid-19) - Page 8
By Priscilla Alvarez, CNNWashington (CNN) The nation's hospitals are dealing with "severe" and "widespread" shortages of needed medical supplies, hampering the ability to test and respond to the coronavirus pandemic adequately and protect medical staff, according to a new report from a government inspector general. The findings by the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services describe a dire situation for front-line doctors and medical staff as cases mount in hospitals. The assessment, the first internal government look at the response, was based on interviews from March 23-27 with administrators from more than 300 hospitals across 46 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. The report provides an accounting of the shortages faced by hospitals nationwide in trying to obtain equipment for staff and patients, including the avenues some hospitals turned to to acquire those items, like online retailers and paint stores. It also details the challenges hospitals faced in trying to keep up with testing demands and the inconsistent guidance that caused confusion. The report is not a review of the Health and Human Service Department's response to the coronavirus outbreak and acknowledges the pandemic is "fast-moving, as are the efforts to address it." "Since our interviews, some hospital challenges may have worsened and others may have improved," the report states. Still, multiple media reports have revealed the obstacles before hospitals in trying to protect their own staff, while also treating an onslaught of patients. Among those obstacles has been the lack of testing. According to the HHS IG report, the shortage of testing supplies, coupled with delays in results, led to patients staying in beds longer, staff using personal protective equipment that they may not have needed to use, and staff possibly exposing themselves to patients with the virus without knowing. Hospitals reported waiting seven days or longer for test results, the HHS IG found. One hospital said 24 hours would usually be considered an extensive wait time for virus testing. "An administrator at another hospital noted that the sooner the hospital knows whether patients are negative, the faster it can move them to a lower level of care that consumes fewer resources," the report reads. "As one administrator put it, 'sitting with 60 patients with presumed positives in our hospital isn't healthy for anybody.'"
By Sohail Al-Jamea, Patrick Gleason, Savanna Smith - Associated PressAfter the first alarms sounded in early January that an outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China might ignite a global pandemic, the Trump administration squandered nearly two months that could have been used to bolster the federal stockpile of critically needed medical supplies and equipment. A review of federal purchasing contracts by The Associated Press shows federal agencies largely waited until mid-March to begin placing bulk orders of N95 respirator masks, mechanical ventilators and other equipment needed by front-line health care workers. By that time, hospitals in several states were treating thousands of infected patients without adequate equipment and were pleading for shipments from the Strategic National Stockpile. That federal cache of supplies was created more than 20 years ago to help bridge gaps in the medical and pharmaceutical supply chains during a national emergency. Now, three months into the crisis, that stockpile is nearly drained just as the numbers of patients needing critical care is surging. Some state and local officials report receiving broken ventilators and decade-old dry-rotted masks.
The surgeon general says states need to be “Rosie the Riveter” as the country prepares for a crisis resembling World War II.By NOLAN D. MCCASKILL and ALICE MIRANDA OLLSTEINThe federal government’s top public health spokesman invoked World War II as the U.S. heads into a new, deadlier phase of the coronavirus pandemic, warning in interviews on Sunday that this is a “Pearl Harbor moment.” Surgeon General Jerome Adams also told states that are still pleading for medical equipment and aid that they have to “be Rosie the Riveter” — a cultural icon whose “We Can Do It!” slogan became a symbol of the American war effort — and “do your part.” “The next week is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment. It’s going to be our 9/11 moment,” Adams told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It’s going to be the hardest moment for many Americans in their entire lives, and we really need to understand that if we want to flatten that curve and get through to the other side, everyone needs to do their part.” He made strikingly similar remarks on “Fox News Sunday.” Republican and Democratic governors alike pushed back, saying the Trump administration had failed to mount the kind of national coordinated response needed to address the crisis and that shortages of tests, ventilators and protective equipment for physicians persisted. “This is ludicrous,” said Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, a Democrat. “The surgeon general referred to Pearl Harbor. Can you imagine if Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, ‘We’ll be right behind you, Connecticut. Good luck building those battleships?’” Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, one of the areas of the South hit hardest by the virus, said the state’s medical resources wuld be overwhelmed in less than a week without an influx of federal aid.
By Sarah Westwood, CNN(CNN) The US surgeon general said this week is going to be the "hardest and the saddest" for "most Americans' lives," describing the upcoming grim period of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States as a "Pearl Harbor moment" and a "9/11 moment." "This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it's not going to be localized, it's going to be happening all over the country and I want America to understand that," Vice Admiral Jerome Adams said on "Fox News Sunday." Adams continued: "I want Americans to understand that as hard as this week is going to be, there is a light at the end of the tunnel." Officials are warning the next two weeks will be crucial in the fight to stop the spread of the virus. Early Sunday, the nationwide death toll had gone up to at least 8,503 people, with at least 312,245 infected, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. While speaking at Saturday's coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, President Donald Trump said that this week and next will probably be the toughest in the fight against coronavirus and that "there will be a lot of death.""This will be probably the toughest week between this week and next week, and there will be a lot of death, unfortunately, but a lot less death than if this wasn't done but there will be death," Trump said. On Sunday, Adams said his message to the governors who have not yet issued stay-at-home orders would be to consider even just a temporary shutdown. "If you can't give us a month, give us a week ... give us what you can," Adams said.
By Jim Acosta and Kaitlan Collins, CNN(CNN) There was a heated disagreement in the Situation Room this weekend over the efficacy of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine -- but multiple sources say it was mostly one-sided, as President Donald Trump's top trade adviser Peter Navarro feuded with other officials over the drug's unproven effectiveness to treat coronavirus. The debate is not a new one inside the coronavirus task force -- and medical experts have repeatedly explained to the President that there is a risk in enthusiastically touting hydroxychloroquine in case the drug doesn't ultimately work to combat the virus. But other aides and outside advisers have sided with Trump, including Navarro, who is still not a formal part of the task force but has wedged himself into the meetings. Axios first reported on the disagreement inside the White House about the drug. While discussing the latest on hydroxychloroquine this weekend, an exasperated Navarro lashed out at Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the advisers who has urged caution about the drug, a person familiar with the meeting told CNN. Navarro had brought a stack of paperwork with him into the Situation Room on the drug, arguing it was proof that it could work to treat coronavirus, which Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, disagreed with because it was not data. "What are you talking about?" Fauci asked -- a question that set Navarro off. He became indignant, and at one point, accused Fauci of opposing Trump's travel restrictions on China, which confused many in the room, given Fauci was one of the initial few to agree with Trump on the move, the source said.
BEHIND THE CURTAINThe president can’t stop talking about an unproven COVID-19 treatment—the same one the oft-criticized TV doctor keeps pushing and pushing.By Lachlan Cartwright, Asawin SuebsaengAs the global pandemic and a staggering economic crisis swells, Dr. Mehmet Oz, the controversial celebrity doctor, has been advising senior Trump administration officials on coronavirus-related matters. Oz has even caught President Donald Trump’s attention with the celebrity doctor’s numerous appearances on the president’s favorite TV channel, The Daily Beast has learned. In the past couple of weeks, Trump began hearing more and more about and watching Oz, now a Fox News regular, discuss hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug that Trump aggressively touted as a coronavirus treatment, much to the dismay of various medical experts and scientists. Over these two weeks, the president had specifically made a point of telling aides that he was interested in what Oz had to say and that he wished to speak to the much-maligned television personality, according to two people familiar with the president’s requests. It is unclear if Trump has spoken on the phone with Oz lately, as he told aides that he wished to do so. But Trump has told officials that it would be “a good idea” if they talked to Oz, one of the sources added. Top administration officials, including Trump’s administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma, have privately spoken to Oz in recent days to discuss the virus and his views on the possible treatment, three sources said. The New York Times first reported that Oz had been in touch with the Trump team. Oz seemed to confirm his level of access to the administration during an interview with Fox & Friends hosts last week, saying an “astute question” that co-host Brian Kilmeade asked the other day “on this show” actually inspired him to contact Verma about using the Medicare and Medicaid national data to compare coronavirus infection rates in patients already prescribed hydroxychloroquine versus patients who are not taking the drug. “It's a rough-and-tumble study, but she’s agreeing to do it, or look into it, anyway,” Oz claimed.Remember this, the worst doctors (by far) are celebrity doctors. If you see their names, or read about them in the newspapers, stay away!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2014
A timeline of Trump promises and predictions on coronavirus -- and how they stack up against the factsBy Tara Subramaniam, Holmes Lybrand, Christopher Hickey and Victoria Fleischer, CNNWashington (CNN) It's been almost a month since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic. In that time, the virus has swept across the US, which has gone from having just a few outbreaks to now leading the world in infections. Throughout, the Trump administration has issued a series of promises, predictions and proclamations as it has tried to calm the American people and give the impression the virus is under control. But on topics ranging from testing, to treatments, to the critical supplies that health workers need, reality has continued to fall short of President Donald Trump's rhetoric. While this is a fluid situation, with facts changing every day, here's a look back at some of the promises and predictions the President has made and how they stack up against reality as of Sunday April 5.
By William FeuerA since-fired Navy captain’s plea for help with a coronavirus outbreak on his vessel “was terrible,” President Donald Trump said Saturday. The officer, Capt. Brett Crozier of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, wrote a letter earlier this week to military leadership asking for help with a coronavirus outbreak on the warship. The letter, which was dated March 30, was sent via nonsecure unclassified email and also outside the chain of command. It leaked to the media. “I thought it was terrible what he did, to write a letter. This isn’t a class on literature. This is a captain of a massive ship that’s nuclear-powered,” Trump said at a news briefing Saturday evening. “The letter was a five-page letter from a captain, and the letter was all over the place. That’s not appropriate. I don’t think that’s appropriate.” In the four-page letter, which was first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Crozier described a worsening coronavirus outbreak aboard the warship, a temporary home to more than 4,000 crew members. More than 100 people on the ship were infected at the time. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors,” Crozier wrote in the letter. “The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating.” The outbreak occurred after a completed port call to Da Nang, Vietnam earlier in March. Fifteen days after leaving Vietnam, three sailors from the USS Roosevelt tested positive for the virus. The infections were the first reports of coronavirus on a military vessel at sea. - Captain Brett Crozier put his crew that is what any good commander would do. Trump will never put anyone first except himself that is not what a good leaderdoes.
Trump Administration Used Venezuela Anti-Drug Operation to Distract from Coronavirus Crisis at Home, Officials SayBy Tom O'Connor AND Naveed JamaliPresident Donald Trump's plan for cracking down on drug traffickers near Venezuela in an apparent attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus was a mission developed months ago to pressure President Nicolás Maduro and had nothing to do with mitigating the disease, senior U.S. officials told Newsweek. Wednesday's announcement, they said, was instead a move to deflect criticism about the administration's mishandling of the outbreak at home. The president's plans to boost anti-drug trade measures date back at least to December, with discussions beginning among military personnel in January, according to a senior Pentagon official. On February 1, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Army General Mark Milley directed U.S. Southern Command to start designing the operation, and SOUTHCOM commander Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller began evaluating the course of action on February 6, as documents seen by Newsweek showed. "This wasn't supposed to be put in the public until May," the senior Pentagon official who was familiar with the operation told Newsweek. "POTUS is using the operation to attempt to redirect attention." At a daily briefing held Wednesday by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Trump, flanked by Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other officials, announced an ambitious, multinational counternarcotics operation involving warships and aircraft of the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard to the Caribbean in order "to protect the American people from the deadly scourge of illegal narcotics," he said. "We must not let the drug cartels exploit the pandemic to threaten American lives," the president added. Esper echoed the commander-in-chief: "As nations around the world shift their focus inward to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, many criminal organizations are attempting to capitalize on the crisis." By Friday, the White House shifted its messaging. Rather than saying the mission was intended to stop traffickers from exploiting the pandemic, an official linked it to stopping the proliferation of the disease. "Transnational Criminal Organizations and traffickers are seeking to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing their illicit trade activity, which can contribute to the spread of the virus among diverse groups of people and across vast distances," a senior administration official told Newsweek. Multiple senior U.S. officials who spoke to Newsweek on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the effort expressed "shock" at this conflation. The senior Pentagon official told Newsweek that the Venezuelan counternarcotics operation "has nothing to do with the virus."
Jared Kushner has become a key gatekeeper for help tackling Covid-19 and that’s a big problem, critics sayby Tom McCarthyThe twist of fate that has cast Jared Kushner as a would-be savior in the greatest public health crisis to confront the United States in a century is a dramatic one. The moment of national peril has been compared to September 11. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said coronavirus was her country’s greatest challenge since the second world war. As the leader of the federal government effort to distribute emergency equipment to the states, Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, has mostly shied from the public stage, but he now is working in history’s spotlight. His vast responsibilities include weighing requests from governors for aid and coordinating with private companies to obtain medical equipment, work he carries out from a special post created for him inside the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where his team is called “the Slim Suit crowd” for their distinctive tailoring, the New York Times has reported. Kushner’s team was credited with coordinating a planeload of medical supplies that arrived in the US from China last week. But some of those familiar with Kushner’s record at the White House and in his prior professional life question why the government’s response to the coronavirus threat is being run by the president’s 39-year-old son-in-law. “It scares the hell out of me,” said David Pepper, the chair of the Ohio Democratic party, who offered bipartisan words of praise for the crisis response of his state’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine. “Kushner has terrible judgment, and I don’t remember a decision he’s been involved with that hasn’t just been bad – they’ve been horrible. And the idea that everything has to go through the very flawed judgment of Jared Kushner is downright scary, and I believe at this point is costing American lives.” Early this year, Kushner reportedly advised Donald Trump that the coronavirus was not that dangerous – more a threat to public confidence, and the markets, than to public health. Trump stuck with that message for six tragic weeks, between the confirmation of the first US case and a belated federal decision to speed the development of test kits. And it was Kushner who helped write a disastrous Trump Oval Office speech on 12 March announcing a European travel ban that sent markets into a tailspin and travelers crowding into airports. It was Kushner who solicited help from the father of the fashion model Karlie Kloss, his sister-in-law, to ask a Facebook group of doctors what should be done about the virus. Pepper expressed concern that when a governor calls the White House, she has to talk to Kushner, who then decides, apparently unilaterally, what the state really needs.‘He runs a shadow taskforce’In a rare appearance in the White House briefing room Thursday, Kushner said some governors did not have precise knowledge of their state’s inventory of ventilators and delivered a lecture on the art of management. “The way the federal government is trying to allocate is, they’re trying to make sure you have your data right,” Kushner said. “Don’t ask us for things when you don’t know what you have in your own state, just because you’re scared. “What a lot of the voters are seeing now is that when you elect somebody to be a mayor or governor or president, you’re trying to think about who will be a competent manager during the time of crisis,” he continued. “This is a time of crisis and you’re seeing certain people are better managers than others.”
By D'Angelo GoreMore than once, President Donald Trump has falsely claimed that the federal stockpile of emergency medicine and supplies he inherited from his predecessor was an “empty shelf.” While the government does not publicize all of the contents of the repository, at the time Trump took office, the Strategic National Stockpile, as it is formally known, reportedly contained vast amounts of materials that state and local health officials could use during an emergency, including vaccines, antiviral drugs, ventilators and protective gear for doctors and nurses. “The SNS was definitely not an empty shell,” Dr. Tara O’Toole, a former homeland security official during the Obama administration who is now executive vice president at the nonprofit strategic investment firm In-Q-Tel, told us in an email. At least three times in the past week, however, Trump has sought to blame former President Barack Obama’s administration for the current state of the stockpile, which has been unable to meet the demand for additional supplies expected to be needed to treat people with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, or to protect the doctors and nurses caring for those patients. During a White House coronavirus task force briefing on March 26, in which Trump mentioned the number of respirators, face shields and ventilators that had so far been distributed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the president said: “We took over an empty shelf. We took over a very depleted place, in a lot of ways.” When a reporter asked him about that claim during another briefing the following day, Trump again said he inherited “an empty shelf” that he had to refill. And he continued to use that inaccurate description on March 30, during an interview with the hosts of “Fox & Friends.” “We started off with an empty shelf,” he said, adding, “We didn’t have very much in terms of medical product … and we built something really good.”Strategic National StockpileThe Strategic National Stockpile was created in 1999, and, as of April 2, was described on a Department of Health and Human Services website as “the nation’s largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.” (That description was later altered to say, “The Strategic National Stockpile’s role is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies.” The change was made after Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner, said on April 2: “The notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile. It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.” Some interpreted Kushner’s remarks to mean the federal stockpile was not meant to be used by states, which would be false. But, in context, Kushner said the federal government is trying to “make informed data-driven decisions, both on ventilators, masks, any other supply we can get, to make sure it’s going to the people who need them.”) Most of the materials in the stockpile are stored in large warehouses around the country, and where those warehouses are located, and exactly what’s in them, is not publicly disclosed. But NPR science correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce was allowed to visit one facility in June 2016 — only months before Trump was inaugurated in January 2017. In her article about the warehouse she toured, she described the shelves as being the opposite of bare. “A big American flag hangs from the ceiling, and shelves packed with stuff stand so tall that looking up makes me dizzy,” Greenfieldboyce wrote.
The US has been accused of redirecting 200,000 Germany-bound masks for its own use, in a move condemned as "modern piracy".The local government in Berlin said the shipment of US-made masks was "confiscated" in Bangkok. The FFP2 masks, which were ordered by Berlin's police force, did not reach their destination, it said. Andreas Geisel, Berlin's interior minister, said the masks were presumably diverted to the US. The US company that makes the masks, 3M, has been prohibited from exporting its medical products to other countries under a Korean-War-era law invoked by President Donald Trump. On Friday, Mr Trump said he was using the Defence Production Act to demand that US firms provide more medical supplies to meet domestic demand. "We need these items immediately for domestic use. We have to have them," Mr Trump said at the daily Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the White House. He said US authorities had taken custody of nearly 200,000 N95 respirators, 130,000 surgical masks and 600,000 gloves. He did not say where they were taken into US hands. Mr Geisel said the diversion of masks from Berlin amounted to an "act of modern piracy", urging the Trump administration to adhere to international trading rules. "This is not how you deal with transatlantic partners," the minister said. "Even in times of global crisis, there should be no wild-west methods."A 'treasure hunt' for masksMr Geisel's comments echo the sentiments of other European officials, who have complained about the buying and diversion practices of the US. In France, for example, regional leaders say they are struggling to secure medical supplies as American buyers outbid them. The president of the Île-de-France region, Valérie Pécresse, compared the scramble for masks to a "treasure hunt".
Some questioned whether an acrimonious letter from U.S. President Donald Trump to the senator from coronavirus-stricken New York was real.By Bethania PalmaIn early April 2020, social media users shared images in disbelief of what appeared to be a letter from Republican U.S. President Donald Trump to Democratic U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York. Here’s an example of a query, posted to Twitter, with the user’s name cropped out for privacy. The letter, dated April 2, 2020, is indeed real and was posted to WhiteHouse.gov. Signed by Trump, the letter is an expression of the acrimony between Trump and legislators from New York, a state that has been ravaged by the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus disease pandemic. Trump and the Democratic leadership of that state had been trading accusations, with political leaders of the Empire State accusing the Trump administration of failing to mount an adequate federal response and provide desperately needed medical equipment as the death toll rises. Trump’s letter to Schumer appeared to blame the shortage of supplies, like diagnostic tests, protective gear for medical workers, and ventilators, on impeachment proceedings against Trump. He was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives in December 2019 and acquitted by the Senate in early February 2020. The letter reads, in part: If you spent less time on your ridiculous impeachment hoax, which went haplessly on forever and ended up going nowhere (except increasing my poll numbers), and instead focused on helping the people of New York, then New York would not have been so completely unprepared for the “invisible enemy.” No wonder AOC [U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and others are thinking about running against you in the primary. If they did, they would likely win. Trump’s letter was in response to a letter that Schumer sent him the same day. Schumer’s letter urged Trump to use the full authority of the so-called Defense Protection Act to close the gap in equipment shortfalls as the virus swept across the country and to prevent states from being forced to bid against each other in order to acquire medical supplies and protective equipment. The letter also implored Trump to designate a senior military official to oversee production of supplies and accused the Trump administration of “tardiness and inadequacy” in its response. - Once again, Trump blames others for his mistakes, while refusing to do the his job as president of the United States.
By Paul French, for CNN(CNN) When the novel coronavirus pandemic hit Asia, people across the region were quick to wear masks, with some places like Taiwan and the Philippines even making them mandatory in certain scenarios. But in the West, mask adoption has been far slower, with England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, for example, going so far as to claim mask-wearing is unnecessary. Yet it hasn't always been the case that mask-wearing is an Asian proclivity. It certainly wasn't during the influenza pandemic of 1918, which lasted from January 1918 to December 1920, and infected one-third of the world's population, or about 500 million people, leading to about 50 million deaths -- about half a million of which were in the United States. There are many parallels between the two pandemics. While origin theories about the 1918 virus still abound, it was assigned a country specific name: the Spanish Flu. Globalization facilitated its spread as soldiers fighting in World War I took the flu around the globe. Then as now, warehouses were repurposed into quarantine hospitals. And an ocean liner with infected patients became a talking point. But one notable difference is that it was the United States which led the world in mask wearing. In October 1918, as San Francisco received the pandemic's second wave, hospitals began reporting a rise in the number of infected patients. On October 24, 1918, the city's elected legislative body, the board of Supervisors of San Francisco, realizing that drastic action needed to be taken with over 4,000 cases recorded, unanimously passed the Influenza Mask Ordinance. The wearing of face masks in public became mandatory on US soil for the first time.Adoption of masksAfter San Francisco made masks mandatory in public, an awareness campaign began. The city's mayor, along with members of the Board of Health, endorsed a Red Cross publicity blitz which told the public: "Wear a Mask and Save Your Life! A Mask is 99% Proof Against Influenza." Songs were written about mask wearing, including one ditty that featured the lyrics: "Obey the laws, and wear the gauze. Protect your jaws from septic paws."
By Franco OrdoñezJared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, criticized governors Thursday, saying they don't have a handle on their own supplies of masks and ventilators needed to combat the coronavirus outbreak. In a rare appearance in the White House briefing room, Kushner urged governors and some senators to be more resourceful in their own states instead of looking first to the federal government for help. "What a lot of the voters are seeing now is that when you elect somebody to be a mayor or governor or president, you're trying to think about who will be a competent manager during the time of crisis," he said. "This is a time of crisis, and you're seeing certain people are better managers than others." Kushner, a real estate executive with no public health expertise, generally works behind scenes at the White House. So, critics have been curious about his role in the administration's efforts to confront the coronavirus pandemic. He has emerged with a central role working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to oversee the distribution of vital medical supplies to hospital and healthcare providers. On Thursday, he explained that President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence came to him looking for new ideas and "outside of the box" thinking. But his lack of experience has drawn scrutiny, especially when he referred to the national stockpile of medical supplies as "our stockpile." "The notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile," he said. "It's not supposed to be states' stockpiles that they then use."
By Zachary Cohen and Ryan Browne, CNN(CNN) Sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier cheered for Capt. Brett Crozier as he disembarked the ship for the last time, an overwhelming show of support for their leader who was relieved of his command after issuing a stark warning about a coronavirus outbreak onboard. New video obtained by CNN shows a large crowd gathered to give Crozier a warm and loud send off, clapping and chanting his name as he left the ship. It was a clear expression of appreciation for their former commander who was removed for what the acting Navy Secretary called "poor judgment." "Today at my direction the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Captain Brett Crozier, was relieved of command by carrier strike group commander Rear Admiral Stewart Baker," acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly announced on Thursday. The decision came days after Crozier wrote a memo warning Navy leadership that decisive action was needed to save the lives of the ship's crew. "We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors," it read, three US defense officials confirmed to CNN. News of Crozier's removal comes after a US defense official told CNN Friday morning that 137 sailors from the Roosevelt have tested positive for the virus, representing more than 10% of all cases across the US military.
CHECK THE TAPEThe Trump administration itself has dipped into the federal reserves to help states in need despite Kushner’s claim it is not meant for state use.By Erin Banco - National Security Reporter, Hunter Woodall - Politics ReporterPresident Donald Trump’s top adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner insisted on Thursday that the government had not built up a national stockpile of medical equipment for states to use during threats like the coronavirus since those states have strategic reserves of their own. The remark drew raised eyebrows from experts, considering presidents have dispersed supplies from the national strategic stockpiles for use by states dozens of times over the last twenty years. In fact, the Trump administration itself has dipped into the federal reserves to help states in need. Most notably, in 2017, the administration used the stockpile to send materials such as beds and medical equipment to states ravaged by Hurricane Harvey. That Kushner either didn’t recall this or had deliberately glossed over it sparked additional questions about Kushner’s suitability to play a leading role in the administration’s response to the coronavirus threat. “He doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about. He has no idea,” said Gen. Russel Honore, a retired military general who helped direct the response on the ground during Hurricane Katrina. “He must have remembered something from some slide or some speech. But that’s why people created the national strategic stockpile in the first place. It’s for those days when we can’t predict what we need. What I see is a total misunderstanding by the White House that they have a responsibility to help maintain the stockpile and help states.”
NewsroomCNN's Anderson Cooper speaks to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) about White House senior adviser Jared Kushner's recent comments on the strategic national medical stockpile. Source: CNN
By Daniel Dale, CNNWashington (CNN)The website of the Strategic National Stockpile was edited on Friday to soften language about how the stockpile is supposed to be used by states -- a day after media outlets reported that the original version contradicted a claim by senior White House official Jared Kushner. Kushner, President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, said at Thursday's coronavirus briefing that states themselves have medical equipment stockpiled -- and argued that "the notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile; it's not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use." Journalists and others quickly pointed out that the federal stockpile's own website made clear Kushner was wrong. As of early Friday morning, the stockpile's home page had read: "Strategic National Stockpile is the nation's largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out. When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency. Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats, this repository contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously." These sentences were gone as of Friday afternoon. In their place were new sentences that emphasized that the stockpile is meant as a temporary backup for states' own supplies. The revised page reads: "The Strategic National Stockpile's role is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies. Many states have products stockpiled, as well. The supplies, medicines, and devices for life-saving care contained in the stockpile can be used as a short-term stopgap buffer when the immediate supply of adequate amounts of these materials may not be immediately available." The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), which manages the stockpile, would not comment on the record. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a spokesperson said that the edit had been in the works before Kushner's remarks. "This is language we have been using in responding to inquiries for weeks now. ASPR first began working to update the website text a week ago to more clearly explain to state and local agencies and members of the public the role of the SNS," the spokesperson said. Jeremy Konyndyk, who served under former President Barack Obama as director of the US Agency for International Development's Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, told CNN before the edit that the original home page "could not be a more literal refutation of Jared's claim." He called the edit "absolutely Orwellian." Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado sent a letter to the inspector general of Health and Human Services on Thursday requesting an investigation into "mismanagement being reported" about the stockpile's supply of ventilators. Gardner told Politico that the letter was not a response to Kushner's comment, but he also questioned the comment. "I don't know what Kushner was talking about, what he meant," Gardner said to Politico, noting that "the stockpile is for the country," including states.
The pandemic is highlighting all of the president’s worst impulses.By Daniel W. DreznerIn January, when Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar first tried to brief President Trump about the coronavirus threat, the president got distracted and wanted to talk about vaping instead. That same month, Trump told a CNBC reporter that he was not worried about a pandemic; by March, he was claiming, “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” After declaring a national emergency, Trump fumed about the images of empty airports and grounded planes on television. He has publicly compared his poll numbers with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s. He has responded to anodyne questions from reporters by saying they are “nasty” and demanding that journalists “be nice.” In other words, not even a crisis as massive as the novel coronavirus has stopped the president from behaving like a cranky toddler. Trump’s toddler traits have significantly hampered America’s response to the pandemic. They aren’t new, either. In the first three years of his term, I’ve collected 1,300 instances when a Trump staffer, subordinate or ally — in other words, someone with a rooting interest in the success of Trump’s presidency — nonetheless described him the way most of us might describe a petulant 2-year-old. Trump offers the greatest example of pervasive developmental delay in American political history. The elevation of a toddler to the Oval Office intersected with a trend that predates Trump and has made the problem worse: the increasing agglomeration of power in the hands of the president. In the half-century since Watergate, presidents from both sides of the aisle have beaten back formal and informal constraints. They have resisted congressional oversight, cowed judges into submission and disciplined bureaucrats into obeying their every whim. Increasing political polarization has facilitated presidential power grabs by enervating congressional oversight, increasing the political loyalty of Cabinet officers, and eroding the norms and unwritten rules of the presidency.
By Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck, CNNWashington (CNN) Two top administration officials last year listed the threat of a pandemic as an issue that greatly worried them, undercutting President Donald Trump's repeated claims that the coronavirus pandemic was an unforeseen problem. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Tim Morrison, then a special assistant to the President and senior director for weapons of mass destruction and biodefense on the National Security Council, made the comments at the BioDefense Summit in April 2019. "Of course, the thing that people ask: 'What keeps you most up at night in the biodefense world?' Pandemic flu, of course. I think everyone in this room probably shares that concern," Azar said, before listing off efforts to mitigate the impact of flu outbreaks. The Trump administration is facing scrutiny over its preparations for the coronavirus pandemic and its slow response to provide states and cities assistance in testing kits and personal protective equipment. The 2019 summit, hosted by the assistant secretary for preparedness and response in the Department of Health and Human Services to "discuss and solicit input on implementing the National Biodefense Strategy," offers insights into early awareness of the potential for a pandemic threat. Transcripts of Azar's and Morrison's comments at the summit, which have not been previously reported on, are available on the HHS website. President Donald Trump has repeatedly said no one predicted a pandemic crisis like the one caused by coronavirus. "Nobody knew there'd be a pandemic or an epidemic of this proportion," Trump said March 19 in comments in the Rose Garden. "Nobody has ever seen anything like this before." The crisis is "an unforeseen problem" that "came out of nowhere," Trump said on March 6. "We're having to fix a problem that, four weeks ago, nobody ever thought would be a problem," he said on March 11. "It's something that nobody expected," he said again on March 14. "Nobody would have ever thought a thing like this could have happened," he added on March 26th. The White House defended the President's comments in a statement, saying he had shown a "great commitment" to global health security.
NewsroomCNN's Anderson Cooper speaks to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) about White House senior adviser Jared Kushner's recent comments on the strategic national medical stockpile. Source: CNN
By Nicholas Wu - USA TODAYWASHINGTON – White House senior advisor Jared Kushner made a rare appearance during Thursday's coronavirus task force briefing, an appearance that drew backlash when he referred to the national stockpile of medical supplies as "our stockpile" and not one belonging to states. Kushner, the president's son-in-law who doesn't often make public appearances, says he has been serving on the coronavirus task force at the direction of Vice President Mike Pence. When asked about data showing states' need for equipment, Kushner said, "The notion of the federal stockpile is that it's supposed to be our stockpile. It's not supposed to be states' stockpiles that they then use." He then referred to criticism from governors who say the government has not provided needed medical supplies. "When you have governors saying that the federal government hasn't given them what they need, I would encourage you to ask them, have you looked within your state to make sure you haven't been able to find the resources?" he continued. Critics pounced on Kushner's comments. "We are the UNITED STATES of America. The federal stockpile is reserved for all Americans living in our states, not just federal employees. Get it?" Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., replied. "Does anyone know any federal Americans? Where do they live? How many are there? Are they nice? Why do they need some much protective gear and ventilators," quipped Joe Lockhart, former press secretary for President Bill Clinton. Former White House ethics chief Walter Shaub pointed out that the website of the Strategic National Stockpile points to its potential use by state and local governments. "It is for the American people...as the federal government's OWN strategic national stockpile website assures us!" he wrote. Trump has been on the defensive about what some governors and mayors have called a slow delivery of supplies to combat the coronavirus pandemic. In a series of tweets Thursday, the president said, "Massive amounts of medical supplies, even hospitals and medical centers, are being delivered directly to states and hospitals by the Federal Government. Some have insatiable appetites & are never satisfied (politics?). Remember, we are a backup for them." State and local governments have voiced concerns about shortages of personal protective equipment for health care workers like masks and gowns.
NYC Hospital Chief Calls U.S. Navy Ship's Coronavirus Relief Efforts 'a Joke' as Hundreds of Beds Lay Empty Amid CrisisBy Soo KimThe relief effort of the U.S.N.S. Comfort, a hospital ship deployed to receive patients with conditions other than COVID-19 to create more beds at New York City hospitals for virus patients, has come under criticism following delays in admitting patients. The ship, equipped with 1,000 hospital beds and 1,200 medical workers, has reportedly only taken 20 patients aboard since it began operations on April 1, with hundreds of beds on the ship remaining unused. But various military protocols and other red tape, including nearly 49 medical conditions other than the COVID-19 virus that disqualify a patient from being admitted onto the ship (such as those in need of obstetric or pediatric care), have reportedly caused major roadblocks in providing the relief the city's hospitals need, The New York Times reported. "The process continues and we are honestly looking forward to seeing a significant increase in patients being transferred to the Comfort," Capt. Patrick Amersbach, of the U.S.N.S. Comfort, told reporters on Thursday. The U.S.N.S. Mercy, which docked in Los Angeles with the mission last Friday and is equipped with 800 medical staff, has treated a total of 15 patients, five of whom have been discharged, the ship's commanding officer Capt. John Rotruck said. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy, Elizabeth Baker, said "We're bringing [patients] on as fast as we can bring them on." Neither ship accepts walk-in patients. All patients must be evaluated at local hospitals first and be tested for the virus before being allowed to board the ships, which adds to the delay in the process of getting patients aboard the ships. Michael Dowling, the president and chief executive officer of Northwell Health, New York's largest hospital system, told the Times, "If I'm blunt about it, it's a joke. Everyone can say, 'Thank you for putting up these wonderful places and opening up these cavernous halls.' But we're in a crisis here, we're in a battlefield."
Inside the White House’s effort to create a projected death tollBy William Wan, Josh Dawsey, Ashley Parker and Joel AchenbachLeading disease forecasters, whose research the White House used to conclude 100,000 to 240,000 people will die nationwide from the coronavirus, were mystified when they saw the administration’s projection this week. The experts said they don’t challenge the numbers’ validity but that they don’t know how the White House arrived at them. White House officials have refused to explain how they generated the figure — a death toll bigger than the United States suffered in the Vietnam War or the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They have not provided the underlying data so others can assess its reliability or provided long-term strategies to lower that death count. Some of President Trump’s top advisers have expressed doubts about the estimate, according to three White House officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. There have been fierce debates inside the White House about its accuracy. At a task force meeting this week, according to two officials with direct knowledge of it, Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told others there are too many variables at play in the pandemic to make the models reliable: “I’ve looked at all the models. I’ve spent a lot of time on the models. They don’t tell you anything. You can’t really rely upon models.” Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the vice president’s office have similarly voiced doubts about the projections’ accuracy, the three officials said.
Trump’s son-in-law has no business running the coronavirus response.By Michelle GoldbergReporting on the White House’s herky-jerky coronavirus response, Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman has a quotation from Jared Kushner that should make all Americans, and particularly all New Yorkers, dizzy with terror. According to Sherman, when New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said that the state would need 30,000 ventilators at the apex of the coronavirus outbreak, Kushner decided that Cuomo was being alarmist. “I have all this data about I.C.U. capacity,” Kushner reportedly said. “I’m doing my own projections, and I’ve gotten a lot smarter about this. New York doesn’t need all the ventilators.” (Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top expert on infectious diseases, has said he trusts Cuomo’s estimate.) Even now, it’s hard to believe that someone with as little expertise as Kushner could be so arrogant, but he said something similar on Thursday, when he made his debut at the White House’s daily coronavirus briefing: “People who have requests for different products and supplies, a lot of them are doing it based on projections which are not the realistic projections.” Kushner has succeeded at exactly three things in his life. He was born to the right parents, married well and learned how to influence his father-in-law. Most of his other endeavors — his biggest real estate deal, his foray into newspaper ownership, his attempt to broker a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians — have been failures. Undeterred, he has now arrogated to himself a major role in fighting the epochal health crisis that’s brought America to its knees. “Behind the scenes, Kushner takes charge of coronavirus response,” said a Politico headline on Wednesday. This is dilettantism raised to the level of sociopathy. The journalist Andrea Bernstein looked closely at Kushner’s business record for her recent book “American Oligarchs: The Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power,” speaking to people on all sides of his real estate deals as well as those who worked with him at The New York Observer, the weekly newspaper he bought in 2006. Kushner, Bernstein told me, “really sees himself as a disrupter.” Again and again, she said, people who’d dealt with Kushner told her that whatever he did, he “believed he could do it better than anybody else, and he had supreme confidence in his own abilities and his own judgment even when he didn’t know what he was talking about.”
By Lloyd GreenTrump’s adviser bragged of his own wisdom and reportedly told the president that Cuomo was being ‘alarmist’ Jared Kushner is not a guy to turn to for sound political advice. Most recently, he reportedly told the president that Andrew Cuomo, New York’s governor, was being “alarmist” after he announced that his state required 30,000 ventilators to help get through the pandemic. To add insult to injury, Kushner also bragged of his own wisdom and told those assembled that Cuomo was wrong. According to Vanity Fair, Kushner declared: “I have all this data about ICU capacity. I’m doing my own projections, and I’ve gotten a lot smarter about this. New York doesn’t need all the ventilators.” The princeling has helped place American lives and bodies on the line. New York’s hospitals have become combat zones, its morgues and funeral homes look like abattoirs. Meanwhile, the US is locked down and the administration is projecting up to a quarter-million dead even if everything goes right. American carnage is now. We may witness more deaths in months than its troops suffered in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam after years of fighting. When Mike Pence compares the US to Italy, we have a problem whose glaring scars will be felt long after Donald Trump leaves office. Coronavirus won’t be disappearing in a matter of days despite the president’s earlier assurances. Trump ignored the intelligence community and his national security staff, and now we must pay a collective price.
By Philip Rucker and Robert CostaIn the three weeks since declaring the novel coronavirus outbreak a national emergency, President Trump has delivered a dizzying array of rhetorical contortions, sowed confusion and repeatedly sought to cast blame on others. History has never known a crisis response as strong as his own, Trump says — yet the self-described wartime president claims he is merely backup. He has faulted governors for acting too slowly and, as he did Thursday, has accused overwhelmed state and hospital officials of complaining too much and of hoarding supplies. America is winning its war with the coronavirus, the president says — yet the death toll rises still, and in the best-case scenario more Americans will die than in the wars in Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq combined. The economy is the strongest ever and will rebound in no time, he says — yet stock markets have cratered and in the past two weeks a record 10 million people filed for unemployment insurance. As Trump has sought to remake his public image from that of a skeptic of the pandemic’s danger to a savior forestalling catastrophe and protecting hundreds of thousands of people from a vicious contagion, he also has distorted the truth, making edits and creating illusions at many turns. Trump’s machinations have a dogged showman’s quality, using his omnipresence at daily White House news conferences — which sometimes stretch two hours or more and are broadcast to millions — to try to erase memories from his two months of playing down the crisis. He sometimes scolds reporters who question his version of events. The result is chaotic. Leaders from Maine to Oregon and from Dayton, Ohio, to Austin say their constituents are whipsawed by the contradictory messages emanating each day from the presidential lectern, which exacerbates efforts on the ground to enforce social distancing and mitigate the spread of the virus. “People are confused about whether this is really serious. People are confused about how long this may last,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler (D) said in an interview. “We’re trying to get as much containment as we can by limiting the number of physical interactions taking place, but they’re hearing it’s not a big deal, it’s going to be over soon, and getting community buy-in becomes a harder thing to achieve.” In Trump’s pinballing statements, Americans have been subjected to a parade of claims and musings about medicine, a topic about which past presidents have avoided speculating in deference to the Food and Drug Administration’s official role addressing safety and efficacy matters. “He at times just says whatever comes to mind, or tweets, then someone on TV is saying the opposite,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said in a recent interview. “It’s critically important that the message is straightforward and fact-based for the public.”
“It’s a joke,” said a top hospital executive, whose facilities are packed with coronavirus patients.By Michael SchwirtzSuch were the expectations for the Navy hospital ship U.S.N.S. Comfort that when it chugged into New York Harbor this week, throngs of people, momentarily forgetting the strictures of social distancing, crammed together along Manhattan’s west side to catch a glimpse. On Thursday, though, the huge white vessel, which officials had promised would bring succor to a city on the brink, sat mostly empty, infuriating executives at local hospitals. The ship’s 1,000 beds are largely unused, its 1,200-member crew mostly idle. Only 20 patients had been transferred to the ship, officials said, even as New York hospitals struggled to find space for the thousands infected with the coronavirus. Another Navy hospital ship, the U.S.N.S. Mercy, docked in Los Angeles, has had a total of 15 patients, officials said. “If I’m blunt about it, it’s a joke,” said Michael Dowling, the head of Northwell Health, New York’s largest hospital system. “Everyone can say, ‘Thank you for putting up these wonderful places and opening up these cavernous halls.’ But we’re in a crisis here, we’re in a battlefield.” The Comfort was sent to New York to relieve pressure on city hospitals by treating people with ailments other than Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. President Trump left a nine-day sequester in the White House last week to travel to Norfolk, Va., to personally see off the ship as it set sail for New York, saying it would play a “critical role.” The ship’s arrival on Monday was cheered as one of the few bright moments in a grim time for the city. But the reality has been different. A tangle of military protocols and bureaucratic hurdles has prevented the Comfort from accepting many patients at all. On top of its strict rules preventing people infected with the virus from coming on board, the Navy is also refusing to treat a host of other conditions. Guidelines disseminated to hospitals included a list of 49 medical conditions that would exclude a patient from admittance to the ship. Ambulances cannot take patients directly to the Comfort; they must first deliver patients to a city hospital for a lengthy evaluation — including a test for the virus — and then pick them up again for transport to the ship. At a morning briefing on Thursday, officials said three patients had been moved to the Comfort. After The New York Times published an article with that number, Elizabeth Baker, a spokeswoman for the Navy, said the number had increased to 20 by late in the day. “We’re bringing them on as fast as we can bring them on,” she said. Hospital leaders said they were exasperated by the delays.
By Jonathan ChaitAt his coronavirus press briefing yesterday, Fox News correspondent John Roberts asked President Trump about his 2018 decision to eliminate the National Security Council’s pandemic-response office. Trump lashed out, “You know that’s a false story, what you just said is a false story … You shouldn’t be repeating a story you know is false,” accusing Roberts of “working for CNN.” (The charge of committing legitimate journalism is the most serious Trump could think to hurl at a Fox News employee.) The story is not false. Trump did eliminate the job of coordinating a national pandemic response. And the strongest evidence of the damage he did is that this job is now being performed by Jared Kushner. In May 2018, the top White House official who was focused on pandemic response departed the White House. “The top White House official responsible for leading the U.S. response in the event of a deadly pandemic has left the administration, and the global health security team he oversaw has been disbanded,” reported the Washington Post at the time. Trump and his allies — including then-NSC director John Bolton, who undertook the ill-fated move — have since tried to muddy the waters about these moves, emphasizing the fact that they merely reorganized the National Security Council rather than bluntly firing everybody involved in pandemic response. It is true that they kept some global-health officials onboard. But one purpose of the reorganization was to deemphasize pandemic response in favor of other priorities. Nobody bothered to deny this at the time. “In a world of limited resources, you have to pick and choose,” an administration official explained to the Post in its 2018 story. “We lost a little bit of the leadership, but the expertise remains.” The pandemic-response office was created in order to give the issue high-level attention. Trump’s team downgraded the office because they thought it needed less attention. In a world of limited resources, you have to pick and choose, and they chose issues other than pandemic response.The NSC’s remaining global-health staff did sound the alarm about the coronavirus early on, but its warnings did not register with high-level officials. Bolton’s supporters have tried to paint this as a vindication of his reorganization. See, the NSC was still on top of the pandemic! But the fear wasn’t that nobody in the administration would be aware of the next pandemic. It was that the people who would be aware wouldn’t have the leverage and stature within the White House to get pandemic response slotted to the top of the president’s priorities until it was too late. And that is exactly what happened.
By Savannah Behrmann - USA TODAYWASHINGTON – President Donald Trump warned against "witch hunts" during the coronavirus pandemic after Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she will create a bipartisan House Select Committee to track the federal response to the outbreak.The committee, which will be chaired by Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., will have the power to issue subpoenas. The panel will focus on accountability, transparency, and oversight of the federal coronavirus response, hoping to also include supervision to the $2 trillion stimulus package. Trump did not name Pelosi or the new committee specifically during a White House press briefing on Thursday, but the rhetoric echoed past complaints about other accountability measures, including former special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation and the House impeachment proceedings, which he demeaned as "scams," "witch hunts" and "hoaxes." "This is not the time for politics," Trump said. "Endless partisan investigations – here we go again – have already done extraordinary damage to our country in recent years. You see what happens. It's witch hunt after witch hunt after witch hunt, and in the end the people doing the witch hunt have been losing, and they've been losing by a lot." "It’s not any time for witch hunts, it's time to get this enemy defeated," he continued. "Conducting these partisan investigations in the middle of a pandemic is a really big waste of vital resources, time, attention, and we want to fight for American lives, not waste time and build up my poll numbers. Because that's all their doing because everyone knows it's ridiculous." During a phone call with reporters Thursday, Pelosi said she hopes the committee will be bipartisan and said of the White House: "We hope there would be cooperation. This is not an investigation of the administration. Things are just so new and the rest, and we want to make sure there aren't exploiters out there... where there’s money, there is also frequently mischief."
By John Fritze, Jayne O'Donnell - USA TODAYWASHINGTON – Nearly a week after invoking his powers under a Korean War-era law to compel General Motors to manufacture ventilators for coronavirus, President Donald Trump’s administration has not formally ordered any of the machines, USA TODAY has learned. As governors warn of severe shortages of ventilators, Trump has been hesitant to use his wartime powers to force companies to ramp up production under the Defense Production Act, arguing that such an order amounts to a takeover of private industry. But Trump said Friday he would use the act to require General Motors to make ventilators after what he described as a dispute with the company over supply and pricing. Three administration officials speaking on the condition of anonymity told USA TODAY that the government is still exploring its options and has not yet placed an order under the Defense Production Act for any of the machines. The Federal Emergency Management Agency "continues to work within its authorities to coordinate with the private sector," an agency spokesperson who declined to be identified said when asked about the lack of an order to GM. Federal agencies are "in the process of reviewing these delegated authorities," the person said. General Motors declined to answer questions about Trump's use of the DPA but said in a statement it was "moving forward to build as many ventilators as we can as fast as we can." The White House declined to comment. The revelation that the administration has not yet ordered ventilators under the Defense Production Act from GM comes as Trump Thursday announced a fresh request to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to use the act for several other companies, including General Electric, Hill-Rom Holdings, Medtronic, ResMed, Royal Philips, and Vyaire Medical. But the latest order provided no more detail on how the government would compel those companies to make ventilators than the order targeted at General Motors. The order also did not clarify how many ventilators it is requesting.
CNNHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi tells CNN's Anderson Cooper that President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "should not try to hide behind an excuse" in response to the suggestion from both the President and the Kentucky Republican that impeachment distracted the US government from the growing coronavirus crisis.
President Trump’s son-in-law has become a central player in the White House effort to curb the pandemic. But critics say he is part of the problem.By Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Noah WeilandWASHINGTON — Peter T. Gaynor, the federal government’s top emergency manager, was about to go on television last week to announce that he would use wartime production powers to ensure the manufacture of about 60,000 desperately needed coronavirus test kits. With minutes until the camera went live, though, he still had to let the White House know. The person he hurriedly called: Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who endorsed an announcement that surprised many officials. Among those unaware that Mr. Kushner had agreed to the use of the special powers? President Trump. At one of the most perilous moments in modern American history, Mr. Kushner is trying in a disjointed White House to marshal the forces of government for the war his father-in-law says he is waging. A real estate developer with none of the medical expertise of a public health official nor the mobilization experience of a general, Mr. Kushner has nonetheless become a key player in the response to the pandemic. Because of his unique status, he has made himself the point of contact for many agency officials who know that he can force action and issue decisions without going to the president. But while Mr. Kushner and his allies say that he has brought more order to the process, the government’s response remains fragmented and behind the curve. Some officials said Mr. Kushner had mainly added another layer of confusion to that response, while taking credit for changes already in progress and failing to deliver on promised improvements. He promoted a nationwide screening website and a widespread network of drive-through testing sites. Neither materialized. He claimed to have helped narrow the rift between his father-in-law and General Motors in a presidential blowup over ventilator production, one administration official said, but the White House is still struggling to procure enough ventilators and other medical equipment. Perhaps most critically, neither Mr. Kushner nor anyone else can control a president who offers the public radically different messages depending on the day or even the hour, complicating the White House’s effort to get ahead of the crisis. One moment Mr. Trump is talking about reopening the country by Easter, the next he is warning of more than 100,000 deaths. In the afternoon, he threatens to quarantine tens of millions of people in the northeast, then in the evening he backs down.
Trump Replaced White House Pandemic-Response Team With Jared Kushner
By Jonathan Chait
At his coronavirus press briefing yesterday, Fox News correspondent John Roberts asked President Trump about his 2018 decision to eliminate the National Security Council’s pandemic-response office. Trump lashed out, “You know that’s a false story, what you just said is a false story … You shouldn’t be repeating a story you know is false,” accusing Roberts of “working for CNN.” (The charge of committing legitimate journalism is the most serious Trump could think to hurl at a Fox News employee.) The story is not false. Trump did eliminate the job of coordinating a national pandemic response. And the strongest evidence of the damage he did is that this job is now being performed by Jared Kushner. In May 2018, the top White House official who was focused on pandemic response departed the White House. “The top White House official responsible for leading the U.S. response in the event of a deadly pandemic has left the administration, and the global health security team he oversaw has been disbanded,” reported the Washington Post at the time. Trump and his allies — including then-NSC director John Bolton, who undertook the ill-fated move — have since tried to muddy the waters about these moves, emphasizing the fact that they merely reorganized the National Security Council rather than bluntly firing everybody involved in pandemic response. It is true that they kept some global-health officials onboard. But one purpose of the reorganization was to deemphasize pandemic response in favor of other priorities. Nobody bothered to deny this at the time. “In a world of limited resources, you have to pick and choose,” an administration official explained to the Post in its 2018 story. “We lost a little bit of the leadership, but the expertise remains.” The pandemic-response office was created in order to give the issue high-level attention. Trump’s team downgraded the office because they thought it needed less attention. In a world of limited resources, you have to pick and choose, and they chose issues other than pandemic response. The NSC’s remaining global-health staff did sound the alarm about the coronavirus early on, but its warnings did not register with high-level officials. Bolton’s supporters have tried to paint this as a vindication of his reorganization. See, the NSC was still on top of the pandemic! But the fear wasn’t that nobody in the administration would be aware of the next pandemic. It was that the people who would be aware wouldn’t have the leverage and stature within the White House to get pandemic response slotted to the top of the president’s priorities until it was too late. And that is exactly what happened.
By Maegan Vazquez, CNNWashington (CNN) The White House announced Thursday that President Donald Trump is invoking the Defense Production Act to clear up supply-chain issues encountered in the manufacturing of ventilators. "Today, I have issued an order under the Defense Production Act to more fully ensure that domestic manufacturers can produce ventilators needed to save American lives," Trump said in a statement. Thursday's order comes amid increased fears of ventilator shortages around the country. The use of these lifesaving medical devices has skyrocketed among critical coronavirus patients. The order, the statement said, will help domestic manufacturers "secure the supplies they need to build ventilators needed to defeat the virus." The President also said the move "will save lives by removing obstacles in the supply chain that threaten the rapid production of ventilators." The order, which came in the form of a presidential memorandum, directs the supply of materials to make ventilators to six companies: General Electric Co., Hill-Rom Holdings Inc., Medtronic Public Limited Co., ResMed Inc., Royal Philips N.V. and Vyaire Medical Inc. It also directs acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to "use any and all authority available under the Act to facilitate the supply of materials" to these companies. A spokesperson for General Electric said the company welcomes "efforts by the administration to address supply chain constraints and help the industry in its mission to produce as many ventilators as possible for clinicians on the front lines treating COVID-19 patients." - Trump first invoked the act in March about three weeks ago but did not actually use it. How much equipment could have been made, and how many lives could have been saved if he had used it when he first implemented it?
The president was aware of the danger from the coronavirus – but a lack of leadership has created an emergency of epic proportionsby Ed Pilkington and Tom McCarthy in New YorkWhen the definitive history of the coronavirus pandemic is written, the date 20 January 2020 is certain to feature prominently. It was on that day that a 35-year-old man in Washington state, recently returned from visiting family in Wuhan in China, became the first person in the US to be diagnosed with the virus. On the very same day, 5,000 miles away in Asia, the first confirmed case of Covid-19 was reported in South Korea. The confluence was striking, but there the similarities ended. In the two months since that fateful day, the responses to coronavirus displayed by the US and South Korea have been polar opposites. One country acted swiftly and aggressively to detect and isolate the virus, and by doing so has largely contained the crisis. The other country dithered and procrastinated, became mired in chaos and confusion, was distracted by the individual whims of its leader, and is now confronted by a health emergency of daunting proportions. Within a week of its first confirmed case, South Korea’s disease control agency had summoned 20 private companies to the medical equivalent of a war-planning summit and told them to develop a test for the virus at lightning speed. A week after that, the first diagnostic test was approved and went into battle, identifying infected individuals who could then be quarantined to halt the advance of the disease. Some 357,896 tests later, the country has more or less won the coronavirus war. On Friday only 91 new cases were reported in a country of more than 50 million. The US response tells a different story. Two days after the first diagnosis in Washington state, Donald Trump went on air on CNBC and bragged: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming from China. It’s going to be just fine.” ‘A fiasco of incredible proportions’ A week after that, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion article by two former top health policy officials within the Trump administration under the headline Act Now to Prevent an American Epidemic. Luciana Borio and Scott Gottlieb laid out a menu of what had to be done instantly to avert a massive health disaster. Top of their to-do list: work with private industry to develop an “easy-to-use, rapid diagnostic test” – in other words, just what South Korea was doing. It was not until 29 February, more than a month after the Journal article and almost six weeks after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country that the Trump administration put that advice into practice. Laboratories and hospitals would finally be allowed to conduct their own Covid-19 tests to speed up the process. Those missing four to six weeks are likely to go down in the definitive history as a cautionary tale of the potentially devastating consequences of failed political leadership. Today, 86,012 cases have been confirmed across the US, pushing the nation to the top of the world’s coronavirus league table – above even China. More than a quarter of those cases are in New York City, now a global center of the coronavirus pandemic, with New Orleans also raising alarm. Nationally, 1,301 people have died. Most worryingly, the curve of cases continues to rise precipitously, with no sign of the plateau that has spared South Korea. “The US response will be studied for generations as a textbook example of a disastrous, failed effort,” Ron Klain, who spearheaded the fight against Ebola in 2014, told a Georgetown university panel recently. “What’s happened in Washington has been a fiasco of incredible proportions.” Jeremy Konyndyk, who led the US government’s response to international disasters at USAid from 2013 to 2017, frames the past six weeks in strikingly similar terms. He told the Guardian: “We are witnessing in the United States one of the greatest failures of basic governance and basic leadership in modern times.” In Konyndyk’s analysis, the White House had all the information it needed by the end of January to act decisively. Instead, Trump repeatedly played down the severity of the threat, blaming China for what he called the “Chinese virus” and insisting falsely that his partial travel bans on China and Europe were all it would take to contain the crisis.‘The CDC was caught flat-footed’If Trump’s travel ban did nothing else, it staved off to some degree the advent of the virus in the US, buying a little time. Which makes the lack of decisive action all the more curious. “We didn’t use that time optimally, especially in the case of testing,” said William Schaffner, an infectious diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University medical center. “We have been playing reluctant catch-up throughout.” As Schaffner sees it, the stuttering provision of mass testing “put us behind the eight-ball” right at the start. “It did not permit us, and still doesn’t permit us, to define the extent of the virus in this country.”
MSNBCLess than one month ago, Trump was downplaying the threat of the coronavirus despite what the president is saying now. Jonathan Lemire reacts.
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large(CNN) President Donald Trump is rapidly seeking to rewrite the history of the coronavirus pandemic and his administration's reaction to it, even as its scale continues to escalate rapidly in the United States as more and more tests for it are conducted. At his now-daily press briefing on Thursday, Trump went into overdrive as he attempts to deflect any and all blame for the current crisis gripping not just America but the world. Let's go through some of the specifics of what Trump said -- and why they don't comport with established facts.1) "We were prepared. The only thing we were not prepared for was the media. The media doesn't acknowledge that." Trump here is trying to use his favorite playbook -- the media isn't treating me fairly -- to explain away any/all criticism that his administration was not properly prepared for the virus coming to America. But we know, because Vice President Mike Pence told us, that there were not enough coronavirus tests available to meet the need. Trump himself also spent much of the late winter/early spring downplaying the risk that coronavirus posed to the public -- including suggesting with no medical proof that the virus would lessen when temperatures warmed. "Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away," he said at a campaign rally in February. By early March, when infectious disease experts were recommending that drastic social distancing policies needed to be put in place to slow the spread of the virus, Trump was still referring to it as essentially a flu. "It's very mild," he told Sean Hannity in early March.2) "It would have been much better if we had known about this a number of months earlier. It could have been contained to that one area in China where it started. And certainly the world is paying a big price for what they did." This is part of Trump's attempt to rebrand the coronavirus as the "China virus," putting the blame for it squarely on the Chinese -- and throwing it a bit of xenophobia while he's at it! Unfortunately, the facts simply don't back up Trump's claim that he (and America more generally) didn't know about the virus until recently. As The New York Times' David Leonhardt has so devastatingly demonstrated, Trump was being asked about coronavirus as far back as late January. Asked whether he was worried about the possibility of coronavirus becoming a pandemic, he replied: "No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It's going to be just fine." Later that month, in a speech in Michigan, Trump said this: "We have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment -- five. And those people are all recuperating successfully."
After Sen. Mitch McConnell suggested the government's response to the initial coronavirus outbreak was in part distracted by the president's impeachment, rebuttal memes started flying.By Dan EvonU.S. President Donald Trump and the federal government have been widely criticized for what detractors described as their slow response to the COVID-19 coronavirus disease pandemic. As of this writing, the U.S. is still facing shortages of critical medical supplies such as masks and personal protective equipment (PPE). On March 31, 2020, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argued that the government might have been too distracted by impeachment proceedings to focus on the impending pandemic. McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that the outbreak “came up while we were tied down on the impeachment trial. And I think it diverted the attention of the government, because everything every day was all about impeachment.” Shortly after McConnell made these remarks, a number of op-eds were published refuting this claim. Trump even responded, saying, “I don’t think I would have done any better had I not been impeached.” On social media, people started sharing a list that supposedly showed all the times Trump had golfed or held rallies after being warned about an impending pandemic, arguing that if Trump had time for leisure activities and political rallies during his impeachment, then he had time to deal with disaster response: The timeline in this tweet is generally correct. Trump was officially impeached on Dec. 19, 2019. It’s not clear exactly when Trump was first alerted about the possibility of a pandemic. The Washington Post reported that U.S. Intelligence officials were warning the president about the potential scale of the coronavirus outbreak as early as January. While we don’t know a specific date, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first alert for U.S. clinicians to be “on the look-out for patients with respiratory symptoms and a history of travel to Wuhan, China” on Jan. 8, 2020. About a month after that on Feb. 5, Trump’s impeachment trial ended when the Senate voted not to convict. Before, during, and after the impeachment trial — and after the CDC issued its first warnings — Trump held political rallies and attended several golf outings.
CNN, MSNBC Cut Away From Trump's Coronavirus Briefing As Americans Call for End to Continuous CoverageBy Chantal Da SilvaAt least two major broadcasters, CNN and MSNBC, pulled away from coverage of a White House coronavirus task force briefing on Wednesday after it began with the announcement of an "enhanced counter-narcotics operation" in the Pacific Ocean & Caribbean Sea aimed at combating the threat of drug traffickers seeking to exploit the current situation. Addressing reporters, President Donald Trump began the the announcement by telling reporters that "as governments and nations focus on the coronavirus, there's a growing threat that cartels, criminals, terrorists, and other malign actors will try to exploit the situation for their own gain." "We must not let that happen," Trump said. "We will never let that happen." As Trump later fielded questions from journalists on the new development, CNN pulled away from the briefing with Wolf Blitzer telling viewers: "Alright, we're going to continue to monitor this briefing and see if they get back to the issue of the coronavirus. "That's what we're primarily interested in right now given the horrible numbers that we've been told over the past couple of days: maybe 100,000, maybe as many as 240,000 Americans in the coming weeks and months may wind up dead as a result of this virus." Bringing on fellow CNN anchor John King to weigh in, Blitzer then accused the Trump administration of "obviously trying to shift the focus, at least partially right now, with this new counter-narcotics program." King appeared to agree, saying: "It is remarkable Wolf, and some would say shameless. This is a coronavirus task force briefing. The country is in the middle of a pandemic. Americans are afraid. They are tuning into these briefings to try to get information from the White House." "Amen, amen, amen and congratulations if the United States military and the Justice Department are doing a better job keeping cocaine and other illicit drugs from getting into the country. Good for them and congratulations," King said. "You can schedule an event at the Pentagon, at the Justice Department or in the White House briefing room if you think it's that big of a deal, but call it what it is. Say, 'we have a major announcement on the war on drugs.' Instead, they walk off the coronavirus task force meeting and the president's trying to have a bit of a political statement here." "It's a big policy move. And again, let's hope they're right and this is successful and they're keeping drugs out of the United States of America. Good for them for doing that. We should applaud that success. But that's not what this briefing was scheduled for," King said. CNN pulls out of the president's coronavirus briefing and John King blasts Trump for pulling a bait-and-switch to use the presser to announce a war on drugs:"It is remarkable, and some would say shameless... thatâ€™s not what this briefing was scheduled for." pic.twitter.com/dxyfcETRpj— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) April 1, 2020MSNBC also made an editorial decision to turn away from the briefing, with host Chuck Todd saying: "First of all, we know those briefings have a tendency to veer in a lot of different directions. Not all of them are informative or relevant in the midst of this crisis. So we will listen as the President talks. And we will make sure we give you a fact check and putting what he says in context on the other side.
The dangerous disconnect between Trump's rhetoric and the reality for potential coronavirus treatmentsBy Marshall CohenWashington (CNN) There is a glaring messaging gap between President Donald Trump and top public health officials regarding medicines being used to treat coronavirus. While Trump touts them as miracle drugs that are on the brink of saving lives, experts are cautiously waiting for scientific evidence. This dynamic has played out over the past few weeks, and was on full display again during the White House briefing on Tuesday. Trump said the drugs might be a "total game-changer" and implied that good news from clinical trials was just days away, only to be corrected by the nation's top infectious disease expert, who steered clear of glowing superlatives and said the research will take months, "at very best." The medicines -- chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine -- have been used for decades to fight malaria. But this week, the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization for doctors to use them to treat Covid-19 in hospitalized patients. This was the first step in getting millions of pills to the states, though hospitals have been using the drugs for coronavirus without explicit government approval for weeks. Even in making this landmark announcement, the Department of Health and Human Services simultaneously gave a tempered assessment of the potential benefits. A press release said, "anecdotal reports suggest that these drugs may offer some benefit" in coronavirus patients, but "clinical trials are needed to provide scientific evidence that these treatments are effective." That tone is entirely different from what the President has been saying at daily briefings. Millions of stuck-at-home Americans watched him claim that the drugs have "tremendous promise" and "could be a game changer," and that they are "very effective" and "can be taken safely." Trump went even further on Tuesday, falsely suggesting that the drugs have already been proven safe. "Very powerful drug, but it's been out there for a long time," he said at the daily White House coronavirus briefing. "So, it's tested in the sense that you know it doesn't kill you." Doctors say he's wrong, and that comments like these could have deadly consequences. A man in Arizona died after ingesting a form of chloroquine used to treat aquariums. There have been at least three overdoses in Nigeria as well. There are reports of hoarding by doctors and shortages, where people with lupus and other diseases who also use the drugs can't get them. "As the dose of chloroquine goes up, it goes from being safe and effective to highly toxic, quickly," said Dr. Christopher Plowe, a renowned malaria expert at the Duke Global Health Institute. "It's very easy to overdose on chloroquine. You get above the ceiling of safety pretty quickly. There are some very serious risks here. There's quite a bit to lose, including your life."
Trump administration sent protective medical gear to China while he minimized the virus threat to USOpinion by Dean Obeidallah(CNN) Our doctors and nurses are in desperate need of masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves from contracting the coronavirus while treating those who are ill. Some of them are trying to find it on eBay while others are pleading for help on social media. The situation is so dire one New Jersey doctor described it as "sending medical professionals like lambs to the slaughterhouse." Concerns about a dwindling supply of PPE are not new. Back on February 7, the World Health Organization sounded alarm bells about "the limited stock of PPE," noting demand was 100 times higher than normal for this equipment. Yet the same day as the WHO warning, the Trump administration announced that it was transporting to China nearly 17.8 tons (more than 35,000 pounds) of "masks, gowns, gauze, respirators, and other vital materials." As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted in the press release announcing this shipment, "These donations are a testament to the generosity of the American people." Americans indeed are a generous people. We want to help those in need. And at the time these medical supplies were shipped, more than 28,000 people in China were infected with nearly 600 deaths attributed to the virus. But how could Trump allow tons of vital medical equipment Americans to be transported to another country in February if, as he has claimed since January, he fully understood the risk the United States was facing from the virus. As a reminder, the first known case of coronavirus case on US soil was confirmed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on January 21, 2020. The next day, Trump was asked about the virus while attending the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. CNBC anchor Joe Kernen asked the President: "The CDC has identified a case of coronavirus in Washington state ... have you been briefed by the CDC?" to which Trump responded, "I have." Kernen continued, "Are there worries about a pandemic at this point?" Trump declared: "No. Not at all. And — we're — we have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It's — going to be just fine." Trump again on January 30 assured Americans he understood the threat posed by the virus and was prepared, stating, "We have it very well under control," adding, "We're working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it's going to have a very good ending for us ... that I can assure you." On February 5, US lawmakers were pressing the Trump administration on its preparedness for a possible widespread coronavirus outbreak in the US, with some slamming the administration's failure to communicate with the states about how the White House would be addressing it.
Critics have questioned the wisdom of exporting to China medical supplies that would soon be vitally needed in the U.S.by David MikkelsonThe U.S. facilitated the sending of nearly 17.8 tons of donated medical supplies to China to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus in early 2020. During the COVID-19 coronavirus disease pandemic in March 2020, social media users began sharing a tweet ostensibly posted by U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) that castigated U.S. President Donald Trump for supposedly having sent 18 tons of personal protective equipment (PPE) to China while ignoring warnings and calling COVID-19 concerns a “hoax.” Readers wanted to know both if Waters had actually tweeted those words, and whether the content of that tweet was true:Trump, you incompetent idiot! You sent 18 tons of PPE to China early but ignored warnings & called COVID19 concerns a hoax. You've endangered doctors, nurses, aids, orderlies, & janitors – all risking their lives to save ours. Pray 4 forgiveness for the harm that you're causing!— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) March 30, 2020It is also true that on Feb. 7, 2020, while critics contended that the Trump administration was doing relatively little to prepare for the coming pandemic in the U.S., the State Department announced it had facilitated “the transportation of nearly 17.8 tons of donated medical supplies to the Chinese people, including masks, gowns, gauze, respirators, and other vital materials” in order to help “contain and combat the novel coronavirus”:
CNN's Jim Acosta asks President Donald Trump if experts would anticipate the models looking different if Trump's administration would have taken action sooner to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Source: CNN
by Frank E. LockwoodHis seat was empty for an hour Thursday evening. It was vacant, as well, during two 45-minute stretches on Wednesday. In a text, a Cotton spokesman said the senator Thursday had "stepped out of the trial briefly to advise the administration on coronavirus developments." Wednesday's absences were for the same reason, the spokesman said in a subsequent text. The lawmaker from Dardanelle has branded the impeachment a "sham." The coronavirus, on the other hand, is "the biggest and the most important story in the world," he told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during its hearing Thursday morning. "This coronavirus is a catastrophe on the scale of Chernobyl for China. But actually, it's probably worse than Chernobyl, which was localized in its effect. The coronavirus could result in a global pandemic," he warned military officials and colleagues. Chernobyl was a 1986 nuclear plant disaster in Ukraine. Throughout the day, Cotton was tweeting about the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, and has sickened thousands. "MESSAGE TO ALL AMERICANS IN CHINA: Get out -- now. Contact our embassy or consulates if you need help," a 3:14 p.m. tweet urged. "As a defensive measure, we must shut down commercial air travel between the United States and China," a 5:01 p.m. tweet advised. "As an offensive measure, we need a Manhattan Project level effort to work with our best research scientists and laboratories to develop a vaccine as quickly as possible." The warnings and updates -- more than a dozen of them -- continued into the evening. "As I've said for a week: 'Do NOT travel to China. If you're in China, GET OUT. Contact our embassy or consulates if you need help," a 9:26 p.m. tweet stated. Another tweet welcomed news that the World Health Organization had designated the outbreak a "global health emergency," calling it a week overdue. Thursday night, the U.S. State Department also sounded the alarm, urging Americans not to travel to China. In addition to the warnings, Cotton has also condemned China's handling of the crisis, accusing Beijing of dishonesty. "China admits to 6,000 cases of coronavirus. China is LYING!," he tweeted Wednesday. "The real number is likely many times greater, and probably growing fast." - Trump claims no one knew about the coronavirus even after Trump was repeatable told by our intelligence agencies and Sen. Tom Cotton back in January 2020. Trump’s lies and lack of action has killed Americans.
Pence seeks to blame CDC and China for any delay in US coronavirus response -- not Trump's initial failure to face realityBy Betsy Klein, Kevin Liptak and Maegan Vazquez, CNN(CNN) Vice President Mike Pence sought to cast blame on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and China Wednesday when asked why the US was so late in understanding the enormity of the coronavirus pandemic. "I will be very candid with you and say that in mid-January the CDC was still assessing that the risk of the coronavirus to the American people was low. The very first case, which was someone who had been in China -- in late January around the 20th day of January," Pence told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. Pence continued: "The reality is that we could've been better off if China had been more forthcoming." "The reality is that China's been more transparent with respect to the coronavirus than certainly they were for other infectious diseases over the last 15 years," he said. "But what appears evident now is long before the world learned in December, China was dealing with this, maybe as much as a month earlier than that." A White House coronavirus task force spokesman denied that Pence was casting blame on the CDC's response efforts. "The CDC has been a major contributor to the Task Force and the whole-of-government response to the coronavirus outbreak. Vice President Pence has never cast blame on the CDC or any agency involved in the response efforts, and that did not change today," coronavirus task force spokesperson Devin O'Malley said in a statement to CNN. US health officials from the CDC took active steps starting in January to prepare for the outbreak as information trickled out of China. Members of Trump's Cabinet also got involved and started briefing lawmakers. While public health officials and medical experts raised the alarm, Trump downplayed their concerns and injected controversial and unproven theories into the conversation. In the course of two months, President Donald Trump has dramatically shifted his tone and level of optimism about the spread of novel coronavirus and its impact on the economy. At the coronavirus briefing on February 26, for example, Trump said all of the following: "This is a flu. This is like a flu"; "Now, you treat this like a flu"; "It's a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we'll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner." As recently as the second week of March, Trump was an advocate of facing the virus without taking drastic measures to address it. Just four days ago, on March 27, he said that you can call the coronavirus "a flu," or a virus or a germ.
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large(CNN) On Tuesday, President Donald Trump seemed to get it. He stood in front of his coronavirus task force and, in somber terms, told the public that the next two weeks would see more illness and more death. He acknowledged that the death toll, if America keeps to its current social distancing guidelines, will likely fall somewhere between 100,000 and 240,000 dead Americans. "Our country is in the midst of a great national trial unlike any it has ever faced before," Trump said. Which, well, it's about time. The truth here is that everything Trump said on Tuesday about the spread and dangers -- and even the number of dead -- has been known publicly for weeks. The only leader who failed to acknowledge it was, well, the President. Consider that 23 days ago, Trump sent out this tweet to his 70+ million followers: "So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!" Even when he sent that tweet, scientists and infectious disease experts were telling anyone who would listen that this was NOT the flu -- its mortality rate was far higher, we had no herd immunity to it and there was no vaccine. Trump didn't want to believe that. So he decided it was wrong. And through his words and actions -- whether his tweets and public statements downplaying the threat or his administration's too-slow reaction to the lack of adequate testing -- Trump's decisions helped get us to this bad place. Now, to be clear: This is not to lay blame for the coronavirus at Trump's feet. This was -- and is -- a virus that had never before been transmitted to humans. There is no vaccine. Governments around the world are struggling with combating it and protecting their citizens even as I write. But there is NO question that Trump's downplaying of the virus in these critical last few weeks has played a role in the fact that we are now faced with the blunt reality of significantly more deaths of Americans from coronavirus than died in the Vietnam War (58,220).
By Heidi GlennA day after issuing a stay-at-home directive to Maryland residents, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said he and other governors are still "not satisfied" with federal assistance in response to the coronavirus crisis. Hogan, who is also the chair of National Governors Association, issued the directive on Monday as did leaders in nearby Virginia and Washington, D.C., to combat an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the mid-Atlantic region. Hogan spoke to NPR's Rachel Martin about President Trump's claim that there's no longer a lack of coronavirus testing kits and about the governor's own efforts in his state which, as of March 31, has 1,661 confirmed cases and 18 deaths.How is Maryland preparing to help residents who test positive for COVID-19?There's nobody in America that's prepared. And we've been working very hard on that for more than three weeks. We have a hospital surge plan, which we're in the process of [implementing]. ... We're trying to ramp up 70 percent increase in our hospital bed capacity; we've now opened, with the help of FEMA and our Maryland National Guard, a field hospital in the Baltimore convention center. We're opening closed hospitals. ... We've added already 2,400 additional hospital beds across the state but we're working to add a total of 6,000. With respect to the personal protective equipment and masks and ventilators and all of those things that your hearing about: Every single state in America has a shortage. ... We've been pushing these things at the federal level but there are simply not enough of them.
By Philip Rucker and William WanPresident Trump and the physicians advising the federal pandemic response on Tuesday delivered a bleak outlook for the novel coronavirus’s spread across the country, predicting a best-case scenario of 100,000 to 240,000 fatalities in the United States and summoning all Americans to make additional sacrifices to slow the spread. Trump adopted a newly somber and sedate tone — and contradicted many of his own previous assessments of the virus — as he instructed Americans to continue social distancing, school closures and other mitigation efforts for an additional 30 days and to think of the choices they make as matters of life and death. Trump and his coronavirus task force members said that community mitigation practices in place for the past 15 days have worked and that extending them is essential. The mathematical modeling the White House presented suggests doing so could save hundreds of thousands of lives. Without community mitigation, the models predict, 1.5 million to 2.2 million Americans could die of covid-19, the disease the virus causes, though no time frames or other details were provided for the figures.
By Meg Kelly, Sarah Cahlan and Elyse Samuels“We have it totally under control.”— President Trump, in an interview, on Jan. 22“We're in great shape in our country. We have 11, and the 11 are getting better. ”— Trump, in remarks, on Feb. 10“You may ask about the coronavirus, which is very well under control in our country.”— Trump, in a news conference, on Feb. 25“It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”— Trump, in remarks, on Feb. 27“Anybody that needs a test, gets a test. They’re there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful.”— Trump, in remarks at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, March 6When the first U.S. case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed, President Trump assured the American people that the situation was “totally under control.” Cabinet officials, the vice president and the president repeated that refrain throughout February. By the end of that month, as global financial markets and the American public started to quiver, Trump held firm: “You may ask about the coronavirus, which is very well under control in our country.” With the clarity of hindsight, it is obvious the situation was very much not under control. In reality, a lack of testing gave a false picture of how many people across the country were infected. Through government documents, testimony, news reports and interviews, The Fact Checker video team has reconstructed events that left the government blind to the virus’s spread, and examined how those errors opened the door for 11 confirmed cases to balloon to more than 100,000 in less than six weeks.The FactsThe novel coronavirus was first detected in early December in Wuhan, China. Chinese officials reported the pneumonia-like disease to the World Health Organization (WHO) at the end of December, but neglected to mention growing evidence that the virus could spread by human-to-human transmission through airborne droplets. Despite the alarm bells and increased intelligence briefings, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar struggled to get Trump’s attention for weeks.January: Make the testOne of the first things that any government needs to track and manage any disease’s spread is the ability to test for it. Because covid-19 is a disease caused by a novel strain of coronavirus, that meant developing a new test.https://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/evangelical-pastor-reopens-university-12-students-display-covid-19-symptoms-81401413985Jerry Falwell Jr. reopens Liberty University., 12 students display COVID-19 symptomsLast week, Jerry Falwell Jr. ordered his students and staff back to Liberty University. Now, at least 12 students are showing coronavirus-like symptoms.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Tuesday there was no evidence that a drug touted by U.S. President Donald Trump as a potential miracle cure against COVID-19 was effective against the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Trump had said that hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, could be among “the biggest game changers in the history of medicine” for its potential effects against COVID-19. “The efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19 patients has to date not been proved,” a spokesman for the European Commission said on Tuesday, relaying an internal opinion from the European Medicine Agency. The spokesman said there was also no evidence either of the positive effects of chloroquine, another malaria drug, which is also being tested for its possible use against COVID-19. The U.S. Health and Human Services on Thursday listed hydroxychloroquine as a protected medical resource after Trump signed an executive order to prevent its hoarding and price gouging.
By Chantal Da SilvaMore than 120,000 people have signed a petition calling on news broadcasters to stop providing live coverage of the White House's briefings on the coronavirus outbreak. Accusing President Donald Trump of using each briefing as a "live campaign rally," the petition, which has been published on MoveOn.org, asks CNN, ABC, CBS NBC, NPR and Fox News to consider whether it is necessary to livestream the COVID-19 press conferences in full. "President Trump is blatantly using the news organizations' extensive, live coverage to freely campaign for a second term," the petition claims. "It is wrong and dangerous to provide so much unfettered airtime to someone who is happily, shamelessly spreading terrible, damaging misinformation that is already costing fellow Americans their lives." Rather than broadcasting live coverage of the White House's COVID-19 briefings, the MoveOn petition asks broadcasters to monitor the briefings instead "and have your anchors and correspondents quickly share appropriately edited valuable accurate parts." The "valuable accurate parts," the petition states would be the statements coming "from medical experts." Cutting out Trump's own comments, the petition asserts, would "leave the President's insults, false braggadocio and outright lies on the editing room floor, where they belong." "Please stop covering the President's daily live campaign rally (thinly disguised as a coronavirus 'news conference')," the petition implores. "There is no need to do so." In the days since the petition was launched, it has quickly garnered support, gaining tens of thousands of signatures since three days ago, when it had just 10.
By Nicholas Wu - USA TODAYMaryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, said Tuesday on NPR's Morning Edition that President Donald Trump was incorrect in saying coronavirus testing problems had been resolved. "Yeah, that's just not true. I mean I know that they've taken some steps to create new tests, but they're not actually produced and distributed out to the states." Hogan said, when host Rachel Martin asked him about Trump's assertions. "No state has enough testing." In a coronavirus task force briefing Monday, Trump said America's coronavirus testing was better "than any country in the world." "We have done more tests, by far, than any country in the world, by far. Our testing is also better than any country in the world," Trump said on Monday. "We have built an incredible system to the fact we have now done more tests than any other country in the world and now the technology is really booming," Trump said.
By Chris Boyette and Caroline Kelly, CNN(CNN) Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday that the federal government sent the wrong type of medical masks in a shipment that his state recently received. Pritzker, a Democrat, said at a news conference that the White House told him the state would receive 300,000 N95 masks from the federal government. The N95 respirator mask is what doctors wear when treating individuals infected with a virus. Instead, what Illinois received were surgical masks, which are not considered respiratory protection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are not totally effective in preventing coronavirus transmission. "My team is sorting through the shipment of 300,000 N95 masks the White House personally told me would be sent to our state, and while we do not have a final count on this yet, I can say with certainty that what they sent were not the N95 masks that were promised but instead were surgical masks, which is not what we asked for," he said at the news conference. "I can't emphasize enough how much we need the federal government to step up and amplify the size of their (personal protective equipment) deliveries to Illinois and, frankly, across the nation," Pritzker added. The news comes as President Donald Trump has clashed with Democratic governors, who are navigating the deepening public health crisis in their states. The governors are at the same time confronting the President's demand for public praise and appreciation amid widespread criticism of the federal government's missteps in supplying testing and protective equipment. Demonstrating their famously hot and cold work relationship, Trump accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week of requesting, and then improperly storing, too many ventilators as New York City and state struggle to keep up with the virus.
Fareed Zakaria, GPSCNN's Fareed Zakaria gives his take on why the US has struggled to mount an effective response to the coronavirus pandemic. Source: CNN
PRAY THE VIRUS AWAYAs the public scrambles for info on the virus, these religious leaders have claimed they can solve it themselves—with one even claiming he’ll cure the entire state of Florida.By William Bredderman, Will SommerSeveral prominent pastors tied to Donald Trump have claimed to have the power to cure the coronavirus through prayer, hyping up religious miracle cures amid the pandemic. While many Americans have turned to prayer as the coronavirus death toll mounts, these religious leaders have gone much further, promising that they can physically cure the disease. As the public scrambles for information on the illness, these religious leaders have claimed they can solve it themselves—with one even claiming he’ll cure the entire state of Florida. Texas minister Kenneth Copeland, who visited the White House in 2018 for a dinner for evangelical leaders, claims to have a novel delivery method for a coronavirus cure: television screens. Appearing on the Victory Channel, which his church operates, Copeland claimed on March 12 to heal coronavirus-infected viewers who touched their TVs. “Put your hand on that television set,” Copeland told his viewers. “Hallelujah. Thank you, Lord Jesus. He received your healing.” A few days later, he said God had told him the pandemic would soon be over, as Christians praying all over the country had “overwhelmed it.” While Christians would save the country, he said, it was the president’s critics who “opened the door” to the pandemic with their “displays of hate” that had interfered with “divine protection.” Copeland isn’t the only Trump-supporting pastor promoting the idea that the coronavirus can be healed through religion.
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUEThe president has presented an overly rosy picture about how the fight against the virus is going. A new poll suggests the public isn’t buying it.By Sam SteinA clear majority of the American public, including self-identified Republicans, do not believe the disinformation that President Donald Trump keeps pushing around the spread of coronavirus. And even members of the president’s own party are skeptical of his argument that getting the country back to work needs to be as prioritized as public safety measures. A new survey conducted by Ipsos exclusively for The Daily Beast provides some of the clearest evidence to date that the president’s attempts to paint a rosy picture about the coronavirus’ spread throughout the country are not resonating beyond a small segment of the populace with a small exception for those who say they’re getting their information from Fox News. A full 73 percent of respondents, including 75 percent of Republicans, said that it was not true that “anyone who wants to get tested [for the virus] can get tested.” Just 17 percent said it was true. Only 20 percent of the public, and just 25 percent of Republicans, said that they believed a vaccine will be available soon. Forty-two percent said that was false and 38 percent said they did not know. Fifty-one percent of respondents, including a plurality or Republicans (46 percent), said it was false that the virus would go away on its own in warm weather, while just 13 percent said that was true. And 61 percent of respondents said that they believed COVID-19 was more deadly than the flu; with 22 percent saying it was about the same and 11 percent saying they believed it was less deadly. The question that seemed to generate the most confusion was on whether the Federal Drug Administration had “approved anti-malaria drugs to treat the virus.” But even then, 45 percent of respondents correctly identified that statement as false, 22 percent said it was true and 33 percent said they did not know.
By Taryn Luna, Rong-Gong Lin IIGov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday said the federal government sent Los Angeles County 170 ventilators that arrived “not working,” and now a Silicon Valley company is fixing the equipment amid the coronavirus outbreak. California and other states have been stocking up on ventilators in anticipation of a shortage at hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Newsom said he learned about the problem with the federal government’s ventilators when he visited Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Friday. “Rather than lamenting about it, rather than complaining about it, rather than pointing fingers, rather than generating headlines in order to generate more stress and anxiety, we got a car and a truck,” Newsom said. Bloom Energy is fixing them, he tweeted Saturday. “And we had those 170 brought here to this facility at 8 a.m. this morning, and they are quite literally working on those ventilators right now,” Newsom said. The governor said the ventilators came from the national stockpile, a supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services. Mechanical ventilators are essential to treating patients critically ill with COVID-19. The virus officially called SARS-CoV-2 can infect the lungs and cause people to be unable to breathe properly; it can also cause inflammation in the lungs. Fluid can leak into lung tissues and can drown some of the lung’s tiny air sacs, preventing them from delivering oxygen to the blood. Those who are critically ill from the coronavirus infection can suffer from respiratory failure, sepsis and multiple organ failure. The Times reported last week that federal officials have known for years there was a shortage of ventilators nationally to deal with such an pandemic.
Donald Trump arrives to speak the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House last Saturday. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty ImagesThe president was aware of the danger from the coronavirus – but a lack of leadership has created an emergency of epic proportionsby Ed Pilkington and Tom McCarthy in New YorkWhen the definitive history of the coronavirus pandemic is written, the date 20 January 2020 is certain to feature prominently. It was on that day that a 35-year-old man in Washington state, recently returned from visiting family in Wuhan in China, became the first person in the US to be diagnosed with the virus. On the very same day, 5,000 miles away in Asia, the first confirmed case of Covid-19 was reported in South Korea. The confluence was striking, but there the similarities ended. In the two months since that fateful day, the responses to coronavirus displayed by the US and South Korea have been polar opposites. One country acted swiftly and aggressively to detect and isolate the virus, and by doing so has largely contained the crisis. The other country dithered and procrastinated, became mired in chaos and confusion, was distracted by the individual whims of its leader, and is now confronted by a health emergency of daunting proportions. Within a week of its first confirmed case, South Korea’s disease control agency had summoned 20 private companies to the medical equivalent of a war-planning summit and told them to develop a test for the virus at lightning speed. A week after that, the first diagnostic test was approved and went into battle, identifying infected individuals who could then be quarantined to halt the advance of the disease. Some 357,896 tests later, the country has more or less won the coronavirus war. On Friday only 91 new cases were reported in a country of more than 50 million. The US response tells a different story. Two days after the first diagnosis in Washington state, Donald Trump went on air on CNBC and bragged: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming from China. It’s going to be just fine.”‘A fiasco of incredible proportions’A week after that, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion article by two former top health policy officials within the Trump administration under the headline Act Now to Prevent an American Epidemic. Luciana Borio and Scott Gottlieb laid out a menu of what had to be done instantly to avert a massive health disaster. Top of their to-do list: work with private industry to develop an “easy-to-use, rapid diagnostic test” – in other words, just what South Korea was doing. It was not until 29 February, more than a month after the Journal article and almost six weeks after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country that the Trump administration put that advice into practice. Laboratories and hospitals would finally be allowed to conduct their own Covid-19 tests to speed up the process. Today, 86,012 cases have been confirmed in the US, pushing the nation to the top of the world’s coronavirus league table. Those missing four to six weeks are likely to go down in the definitive history as a cautionary tale of the potentially devastating consequences of failed political leadership. Today, 86,012 cases have been confirmed across the US, pushing the nation to the top of the world’s coronavirus league table – above even China. More than a quarter of those cases are in New York City, now a global center of the coronavirus pandemic, with New Orleans also raising alarm. Nationally, 1,301 people have died. Most worryingly, the curve of cases continues to rise precipitously, with no sign of the plateau that has spared South Korea. “The US response will be studied for generations as a textbook example of a disastrous, failed effort,” Ron Klain, who spearheaded the fight against Ebola in 2014, told a Georgetown university panel recently. “What’s happened in Washington has been a fiasco of incredible proportions.”
First Infant with COVID-19 in U.S. Dies, Rhode Island Searches for New Yorkers in Hiding, and Trump Backtracks on N.Y. QuarantineBy Khaleda RahmanThe death toll from the coronavirus in the U.S. has soared past 2,000, as the number of confirmed cases rose to almost 125,000, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has the most confirmed cases of coronavirus in the world after surpassing Italy and China. New York is the worst-hit state, with more than 53,000 cases and 790 deaths as of Sunday morning.Trump backtracks after Cuomo blasts idea for quarantining hotspotsAs President Donald Trump traveled to Norfolk, Virginia, to see off a U.S. Navy hospital ship bound for New York City, he tweeted that he was considering a quarantine for three states, including New York. "I am giving consideration to a QUARANTINE of developing "hot spots", New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly," he wrote. But Trump backed away from the idea after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo branded it tantamount to a "federal declaration of war."On the recommendation of the White House CoronaVirus Task Force, and upon consultation with the Governorâ€™s of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, I have asked the @CDCgov to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2020Instead, Trump announced he had reached a decision after consulting with the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the governors of the three states. He said he had directed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a "strong Travel Advisory." He added, "A quarantine will not be necessary." The CDC said in a news release on Saturday that it was urging residents of the three states to refrain from nonessential domestic travel for 14 days, effective immediately, "due to extensive community transmission of COVID -19 in the area." Cuomo, who has criticized the federal government's response to the pandemic as his state became the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., told CNN on Saturday that the idea of quarantining the three states was "preposterous." He added that he believed it would be illegal and would spark "economic chaos."
Public health experts have criticized the idea of instituting statewide quarantines in “hot spots” like New York.By KAMRAN RAHMANThe White House Coronavirus Task Force unanimously shunned President Donald Trump’s suggestion of a quarantine in the New York City area, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday. The president “did very seriously consider” the idea of locking down the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday.” But Trump was dissuaded after a meeting with the task force led by Vice President Mike Pence. “The president wanted to consider all the options. He was obviously concerned what was going on with New York,” said Mnuchin, who is a member of the task force. “He spoke to the task force, he spoke to the governors, and he was comfortable that people would take this advisory very seriously and would not travel.” The president had floated the idea of a short-term quarantine on Saturday. But he retreated later, instead tweeting that “a full quarantine will not be necessary” and, instead, embraced a new travel advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All three of the states mentioned in the CDC’s advisory already have issued their own travel restrictions. Public health experts have criticized the idea of instituting statewide quarantines in “hot spots” like New York, warning the U.S. is past trying to contain the virus to geographic regions.
By Chandelis Duster, CNNWashington (CNN) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday criticized President Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying "his denial at the beginning was deadly" and that as he "fiddles, people are dying." "We should be taking every precaution. What the President, his denial at the beginning was deadly," Pelosi said in an exclusive interview with CNN's Jake Tapper. Pelosi added, "As the President fiddles, people are dying. We just have to take every precaution." After the number of reported coronavirus deaths in the US doubled to more than 2,000 within two days, officials are advising residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut not to travel domestically.
Conservatives, business groups and politicians urge president to get economy going as outbreak continuesBy Victoria BekiempisAs Donald Trump has pushed his shock policy reversal to try to soon get many Americans to go back to work, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, he has been supported by a wide array of rightwing figures, business groups and conservative politicians. Some of those conservatives have taken the president’s concerns over the dire health of the US economy a step further – suggesting that the inevitable deaths of many people to the virus might be an acceptable cost of doing business in the face of a shocking economic collapse that saw more than 3 million new people register for unemployment. “My message: let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living, let’s be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves,” Dan Patrick, the Texas lieutenant governor, said last week on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show. “Don’t sacrifice the country,” Patrick continued. Patrick even suggested many older Americans would happily risk their lives for the sake of the economy. “No one reached out to me and said: ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’” Patrick also said. “And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in. That doesn’t make me noble or brave or anything like that, I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me.” The extreme rightwing media figure Glenn Beck shared the sentiment. “I would rather have my children stay home and all of us who are over 50 go in and keep this economy going and working, even if we all get sick, I would rather die than kill the country. ’Cause it’s not the economy that’s dying, it’s the country,” Beck said on an episode of his program on Blaze TV. The Republican Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson also questioned whether the economic impact of physical distancing was worth it, appearing to rate the coronavirus threat as less than fatal car accidents. “We don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways. It’s a risk we accept so we can move about. We don’t shut down our economies because tens of thousands of people die from the common flu.” Johnson also said “getting coronavirus is not a death sentence except for maybe no more than 3.4% of our population, [and] I think probably far less”.
by Avatar Teresa TimmerCalifornia Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin Christopher NewsomCalifornia Gov. Newsom declares statewide moratorium on evictions for renters hit by coronavirus Disneyland and Disney Globe shut until finally further notice States brace for huge budget gaps in coronavirus economic downturn Extra (D) stated Saturday that 170 ventilators shipped by the federal authorities to help his state react to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus were “not functioning” when they arrived. Newsom produced the remarks in the course of a press convention in which he famous that the quantity of coronavirus individuals in intense care models had doubled considering the fact that Friday, according to The Los Angeles Moments. Newsom explained that the stockpile of ventilators had been sent to Los Angeles County by the Office of Wellbeing and Human Companies (HHS). He mentioned that a organization named Bloom Energy was repairing the gear. “Rather than lamenting about it, alternatively than complaining about it, fairly than pointing fingers, fairly than producing headlines in buy to produce more worry and stress, we bought a automobile and a truck,” Newsom claimed right after touring Bloom Energy’s ventilator refurbishing web-site in Sunnyvale, Calif. “And we experienced individuals 170 introduced right here to this facility at 8 a.m. this morning, and they are pretty basically doing work on individuals ventilators proper now.” HHS did not instantly return a request for comment from The Hill. Newsom mentioned that he to start with uncovered of the challenges with the ventilators right after traveling to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti very last 7 days. The governor’s office environment claimed in a statement Saturday that California had 7,500 ventilators during its hospital techniques before the COVID-19 outbreak. The point out has included extra than 4,200 because, while about 1,000 have desired to be preset. Bloom Electrical power was expected to refurbish around 200 ventilators by Saturday, and the defective ventilators Los Angeles County received are set to be returned to by Monday, Newsom extra.
By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN(CNN) President Donald Trump said Saturday that he's considering a short-term quarantine of "hot spots" in parts of the tri-state area — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — where cases of coronavirus continue to rise. "We're thinking about certain things. Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it's a hotspot. ... We might not have to do it, but there's a possibility that sometime today we'll do a quarantine, short-term, two weeks on New York. Probably New Jersey, certain parts of Connecticut," he told reporters as he departed the White House. "I'd rather not do it, but we may need it," said the President, who was on his way to Norfolk Naval Station for the sendoff of a Navy hospital ship to New York. He later tweeted, "I am giving consideration to a QUARANTINE of developing 'hot spots', New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly." New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he spoke with Trump on Saturday morning, but that the two had not discussed a quarantine. "I don't even know what that means. I don't know how that could be legally enforceable," the Democratic governor said during in a news conference in Albany. "And from a medical point view, I don't know what you would be accomplishing." "But I can tell you, I don't even like the sound of it," he added. Trump, however, said that possible quarantine would be "enforceable" and "restrict travel" from those parts of the tri-state area. He also said any quarantine wouldn't affect truckers from outside the New York area. "Restrict travel, because they're having problems down in Florida, a lot of New Yorkers going down. We don't want that," he said. Florida's governor had mandated a 14-day self-quarantine or isolation period for travelers coming to Florida from airports in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
By Suzanne SmalleyWASHINGTON — Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, says that Trump administration officials declined an offer of early congressional funding assistance that he and other senators made on Feb. 5 during a meeting to discuss the coronavirus. The officials, including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, said they “didn’t need emergency funding, that they would be able to handle it within existing appropriations,” Murphy recalled in an interview with Yahoo News’ “Skullduggery” podcast. “What an awful, horrible catastrophic mistake that was,” Murphy said. On Feb. 5, Murphy tweeted: “Just left the Administration briefing on Coronavirus. Bottom line: they aren't taking this seriously enough. Notably, no request for ANY emergency funding, which is a big mistake. Local health systems need supplies, training, screening staff etc. And they need it now.” Murphy told Yahoo News that the funding he and other congressional leaders wanted to allocate nearly two months ago would have paid for essential preventative measures, including hiring local screening and testing staff, researching a vaccine and treatments and the stockpiling of needed medical supplies. “The consequences of that in Connecticut is that we're going to test less people today than we tested yesterday,” Murphy told “Skullduggery” hosts Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman. “And that means that there are lots of people who are positive who are not going to know it, who are then going to be in contact with other people, who are going to spread the disease.”
Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN(CNN) As America became the epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump downplayed the escalating national crisis. His comments at Thursday's afternoon briefing underscored the growing duality of the fight: While the President is telling a tale of great successes, of a government powerfully mobilizing, front-line health care workers are facing gruesome scenes in hospitals in a growing number of hot spots. Later, ignoring traditional codes of the presidency at a time of trial, the President lashed out in a TV interview at Democratic governors channeling appeals from overwhelmed health care workers in their home states as Covid-19 exacts an increasing toll. And he appeared set on contradicting the advice of one of his top task force members, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who told CNN that only the virus can set the timeline for reopening the country. All the evidence of the virus's advance, seen in rising death tolls and infection figures, suggests the situation is getting worse and that normal life could be weeks or months away. Once, Trump minimized the looming impact of the crisis. Now his assessments conflict with the reality of its deadly march. On Thursday, a day that saw more reported deaths from Covid-19 than ever before in the United States -- Trump bizarrely turned the focus to what he said was a far lower mortality rate than he had expected. A week ago, there were a total of 8,800 confirmed infections in the United States and 149 deaths. On Thursday, that figure reached more than 82,000 with nearly 1,200 deaths. Were those figures the result of a hurricane or a terrorist attack, their human toll would be more obvious, and it would be more difficult for the President to spin the situation. But as people die unseen in hospital wards and emergency rooms, the emotional impact of the accelerating tragedy is less obvious than it would be during a natural disaster. Still, the weight of the data is beginning to tell its own story. The US overtook China on Thursday as the nation with the most confirmed infections. Yet in a White House news conference, Trump expressed hopes that the nightmare would not last "much longer."
Trump says he told Pence not to call governors who aren’t ‘appreciative’ of White House coronavirus effortsBy Christina Wilkie, Kevin BreuningerPresident Donald Trump said Friday that he instructed Vice President Mike Pence not to reach out to governors who aren’t “appreciative” of his administration’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus in their states. “If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump said of those state leaders. “I think they should be appreciative. Because you know what? When they’re not appreciative to me, they’re not appreciative to the Army Corps [of Engineers], they’re not appreciative to FEMA. It’s not right,” Trump told reporters at a daily press briefing at the White House. The president mentioned Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, both Democrats who have been critical of the White House’s actions to combat the deadly pandemic. Trump said that Pence “calls all the governors. And I tell him, I’m a different type of person, and I say, ’Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington. You’re wasting your time with him.” “Don’t call the woman in Michigan. It doesn’t make any difference what happens,” Trump also said he told Pence, who leads the U.S. response to the coronavirus.
The president excoriated General Motors and its CEO, Mary Barra, in a tweet for not moving quickly enough to produce needed ventilators.By Dartunorro ClarkPresident Donald Trump invoked the rarely used Defense Production Act on Friday to order the Department of Health and Human Services to compel General Motors to manufacturer ventilators hours after he sharply criticized the company for slow-walking production. "Our negotiations with GM regarding its ability to supply ventilators have been productive, but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course," Trump said in a statement. "GM was wasting time. Today’s action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives." Trump, in a tweet on Friday, excoriated General Motors and its CEO, Mary Barra, for not moving quickly enough to produce needed ventilators amid the coronavirus pandemic and wanting “top dollar” for the contract. “As usual with ‘this’ General Motors, things just never seem to work out,” Trump tweeted. “They said they were going to give us 40,000 much needed Ventilators, ‘very quickly’. Now they are saying it will only be 6000, in late April, and they want top dollar. Always a mess with Mary B. Invoke ‘P.’” Trump himself has been criticized for not quickly invoking his authority to use the act as the nation's hospitals and health care facilities are in dire need of critical medical supplies. He announced he would use the act this month, but did not invoke it until Friday.
By Lori RobertsonPresident Donald Trump and coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said the United States had done more testing for COVID-19 infections in eight days than South Korea had done in eight weeks, but that ignores the fact that South Korea has a much smaller population. On a per-capita basis, the U.S. lags behind the Asian country, and other nations. We also found the raw numbers show the U.S. testing totals for the eight-day period were still a bit lower, but close, to South Korea’s eight-week figures. In addition, Trump has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. test is “better” or “the best test,” but there is no evidence to support that.South Korea and the Importance of TestingSouth Korea has been held up as a relative success story in containing the coronavirus outbreak, due in part to an extensive, and early, testing program. The daily growth in new cases dropped off considerably in early March after spiking in late February. In other words, South Korea, so far, appears to have begun flattening the curve, which is the much-talked-about goal of social distancing efforts in the United States. Both countries reported their first confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the same time, on Jan. 20 and 21. But South Korea ramped up its testing program sooner, and, therefore, was able to identify and isolate cases early in the pandemic. Testing a higher proportion of the population has given the country a greater capacity to control the total spread of the disease. Around Feb. 19, South Korea first began reporting daily spikes in confirmed cases, while the U.S. was a few weeks behind that. The curve of confirmed cases for the U.S. is still on the rise, as the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine interactive tracking map of the worldwide outbreak shows.
Opinion by Jeffrey Sachs(CNN) On Thursday, we hit a grim watershed. The US overtook Italy and China as the country with the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases. This is a dire crisis and an extraordinary failure of President Donald Trump. Americans are suffering and dying because the Trump administration failed to act quickly and decisively to prevent the virus' spread. The US has now seen about 1,195 deaths and the number is rising rapidly. On Thursday, the US saw an increase of more than 15,000 cases in one day -- a shocking surge that can be explained by both the spread of the virus and increased testing after weeks of shortages -- pushing the total number of confirmed cases over 82,000. China, in comparison, has reported 81,285 cases. Trump bears direct responsibility for America's unpreparedness and failed response to the epidemic. Since Trump came into office, he has systematically taken apart our protective public health system. The pandemic unit at the National Security Council was dismantled in 2018 under his watch. Trump slashed the CDC's epidemic control teams in 39 countries, including China. And when the epidemic hit, Trump ignored it, downplayed it, and made repeated false claims. Even now, he spouts vulgar nonsense about restarting the economy by Easter when public health experts say the threat is going to persist for far longer. Trump is profoundly culpable, but he is not the only reason for America's dismal situation in the face of this epidemic. Our for-profit health care system rakes in money on disease, not on health. Instead, we have a system that works for the rich, instead of a public health system for all Americans that readily anticipates and controls new pathogens through testing, contact tracing, and quarantine.
By J. Edward Moreno and Lauren VellaThe White House this week batted down a recommendation from health officials that elderly people and those who are “physically fragile” not fly on commercial airplanes, an unnamed official with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The AP reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) submitted a plan this week with the recommendation as a way to control the spread of the virus. However, administration officials reportedly ordered that particular provision of the plan be removed, according to the federal official. The Trump administration has since then suggested that those who are most susceptible to the virus not travel but, according the news source, has “stopped short of stronger guidance” laid out by the CDC. The official in question spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to speak about the matter. The federal official’s revelation comes as the disease continues to spread across the country, with cases now confirmed in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The news also comes as Vice President Pence on Saturday spoke after meeting with representatives from the cruise ship industry, a section of the travel industry that has been in the news most recently due to the outbreak. The vice president was assigned as leader of the administration’s coronavirus task force and is in charge of messaging and media relations concerning the status of the virus response. Pence reportedly "narrowed" his focus when he spoke about precautions for certain populations, noting that "older people with serious health problems" should "practice common sense and avoid activities including traveling on a cruise line."
Aggressive screening might have helped contain the coronavirus in the United States. But technical flaws, regulatory hurdles and lapses in leadership let it spread undetected for weeks.By Michael D. Shear, Abby Goodnough, Sheila Kaplan, Sheri Fink, Katie Thomas and Noah WeilandWASHINGTON — Early on, the dozen federal officials charged with defending America against the coronavirus gathered day after day in the White House Situation Room, consumed by crises. They grappled with how to evacuate the United States consulate in Wuhan, China, ban Chinese travelers and extract Americans from the Diamond Princess and other cruise ships. The members of the coronavirus task force typically devoted only five or 10 minutes, often at the end of contentious meetings, to talk about testing, several participants recalled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, its leaders assured the others, had developed a diagnostic model that would be rolled out quickly as a first step. But as the deadly virus spread from China with ferocity across the United States between late January and early March, large-scale testing of people who might have been infected did not happen — because of technical flaws, regulatory hurdles, business-as-usual bureaucracies and lack of leadership at multiple levels, according to interviews with more than 50 current and former public health officials, administration officials, senior scientists and company executives. The result was a lost month, when the world’s richest country — armed with some of the most highly trained scientists and infectious disease specialists — squandered its best chance of containing the virus’s spread. Instead, Americans were left largely blind to the scale of a looming public health catastrophe. The absence of robust screening until it was “far too late” revealed failures across the government, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, the former C.D.C. director. Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins, said the Trump administration had “incredibly limited” views of the pathogen’s potential impact. Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said the lapse enabled “exponential growth of cases.” And Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a top government scientist involved in the fight against the virus, told members of Congress that the early inability to test was “a failing” of the administration’s response to a deadly, global pandemic. “Why,” he asked later in a magazine interview, “were we not able to mobilize on a broader scale?”
The president brushed off COVID-19 for months, and it’s going to cost Americans their livesBy Ryan BortPresident Trump wants Americans to believe he’s taking the coronavirus seriously. “This is a pandemic,” he told reporters on Tuesday, his tone more grave than when he had addressed the virus previously. “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic … I’ve always viewed it as very serious.” This is, of course, a lie. For weeks, the president brushed off the threat of COVID-19, which in turn led Fox News and Republican lawmakers to downplay its severity, which in turn emboldened countless Americans to disregard prescriptions from public health officials to slow the spread of the virus. In the end, the president’s decision to treat the outbreak like a typical piece of news-cycle fodder could cost an untold number of Americans their lives and cast millions more into economic ruin. It’s true that there’s only so much the administration could have done. The problem is that it didn’t even do that. In an effort to counter Trump’s attempts to rewrite history, we’ve put together a timeline of his repeated dismissals of the threat of the virus, all of which came as the domestic and international health community were calling for action.January 22nd: Trump is asked about the coronavirus at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Days earlier the first case of the coronavirus was detected in the U.S., in a man who had returned to Seattle from a trip to China earlier in January. “No, not at all. We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control,” Trump told CNBC. “It’s going to be just fine.”Trump asked in January about whether or not he’s worried about a pandemic: “No. Not at all. And we’re — we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s, uh, gonna be just fine.” pic.twitter.com/LTxpV4tdF0— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) March 16, 2020January 30th: Trump addresses the coronavirus during a speech on trade in Michigan. The same day, the World Health Organization classified COVID-19 as an international health emergency. “We think we have it very well under control,” Trump said. “We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five — and those people are all recuperating successfully. But we’re working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for us.” “Hopefully it won’t be as bad as some people think it could be,” he added.February 10th: Trump says the coronavirus will be gone by the end of the spring while speaking with reporters in the White House. “Now, the virus that we’re talking about having to do — you know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat, as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April. We’re in great shape, though. We have 12 cases, 11 cases, and many of them are in good shape now.” Days later, Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield estimates the “virus is probably with us beyond this season and beyond this year.”February 14th: Despite Redfield saying the coronavirus will be in the U.S. beyond 2020, Trump continues to push the idea that it will be gone in a matter of weeks. “There’s a theory that, in April, when it gets warm, historically, that has been able to kill the virus,” he said while speaking to the National Border Patrol Council. “So we don’t know yet. We’re not sure yet. But that’s around the corner.”February 23rd: Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn: “We have it very much under control in this country.”
Amid criticism of his coronavirus strategy, Trump is defending his choices and maintaining that “we did the right thing.”By Sean CollinsAmid concerns that the US government response to the global coronavirus threat has been underwhelming, President Donald Trump minimized concerns over the novel virus while praising his decision-making and attacking his enemies over the illness at a Tuesday press conference during a state visit to India. The novel coronavirus — and Covid-19, the disease it causes — “is very well under control in our country,” Trump told reporters, adding, “We have very few people with it, and the people that have it are in all cases [doing well], I have not heard anything other [than that].” He went on to claim, “We’re really down to probably 10, most of the people are outside of danger right now.”Trump on coronavirus: "We're really down to probably about 10 [cases]." (More than two dozen Americans had the illness as of yesterday.) pic.twitter.com/pZHkrG9FlT— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 25, 2020It is possible that as president of the United States, Trump has access to some Covid-19 information that isn’t publicly available — although he did say Tuesday he hasn’t “been seeing too much of [Covid-19] news” because his India trip has “been all-encompassing” — but the statistic he cited is at odds with data collected by researchers at Johns Hopkins, which finds there are 53 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the US. Trump also claimed — without offering evidence — that Americans need not be overly concerned by Covid-19 because everyone will soon be protected from the novel virus. “Now they have it, they have studied it, they know very much, in fact, we’re very close to a vaccine,” Trump said. Scientists are certainly hard at work on one: Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization announced Sunday that it has begun production on a test vaccine, and scientists in the US and elsewhere are continuing their vaccine research. But as the Icahn School of Medicine’s Fatima Amanat and Florian Krammer note, going from testing a vaccine to having one that is available for use can take anywhere from six to 18 months, if not longer. So, despite what the president said, we really aren’t yet “close” to a vaccine.
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