California Dem: I'd be tempted to kick Trump Jr's ass for saying Democrats want coronavirus to spread

Via the Free Beacon, it’s heartening to see both sides keeping their cool as we face this unprecedented crisis together.


“I can assure you that there’s not a Democrat or Republican in Congress that wants anybody to be sick,” Garamendi said in the part of the clip that was clipped out. “It would be extremely reassuring if a temporary armistice were called in the cold war between the White House and congressional Democrats,” Peggy Noonan wrote today. “If the virus is as serious as I think it is, no one will look back kindly on anyone who acted small.” Is she kidding? In this era? A few months from now we’ll all be debating whether red states or blue states are more awesome based on which have the lower death toll from COVID-19.

Can we not at least join hands As A People and lament the incompetence of our CDC? They seem to have missed an early opportunity to detect and possibly arrest community spread of the disease while it’s gaining momentum:

As the highly infectious coronavirus jumped from China to country after country in January and February, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lost valuable weeks that could have been used to track its possible spread in the United States because it insisted upon devising its own test.

The federal agency shunned the World Health Organization test guidelines used by other countries and set out to create a more complicated test of its own that could identify a range of similar viruses. But when it was sent to labs across the country in the first week of February, it didn’t work as expected. The CDC test correctly identified COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. But in all but a handful of state labs, it falsely flagged the presence of the other viruses in harmless samples

“We’re weeks behind because we had this problem,” said Scott Becker, chief executive officer of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, which represents 100 state and local public laboratories. “We’re usually up-front and center and ready.”


The CDC updated its directions on how to use the test two days ago — but labs in New York are reportedly still seeing some false positives. They’re so desperate that they sought and received permission from the FDA to develop their own genetic tests for COVID-19, an unprecedented step according to BuzzFeed. Meanwhile, elsewhere in New York:

At JFK Airport, jetlagged passengers typically in a rush to clear immigration are now appalled by a lack of screening, especially compared to procedures in the countries they just left.

Yet, the students [returning from Florence, Italy] told CBS2’s Christina Fan they weren’t asked a single question about potential symptoms once they landed in New York City.

“We didn’t even get checked. Like we’re used to being in Florence where you get your temperature checked. Here they didn’t do anything, which is kind of crazy,” Ferrara said. “Considering, like, how much the cases have spread so fast, like, they should definitely be taking more precautions here.”

Right now the U.S. is only screening passengers from China, never mind that the news has been overflowing this week with stories of the virus spreading in Italy and Iran. It might not even matter, said one doctor to CBS: If the virus can be transmitted while people are asymptomatic, which appears to be the case, screening passengers won’t prevent infected people from entering the U.S.

Which is true. But certainly it would prevent some from entering, the ones who are symptomatic. Why the hell haven’t the screening guidelines been updated?


This morning on Fox, Chris Wallace claimed that the stock market dive of the past two days means Trump’s attempt to calm people with Wednesday night’s press briefing didn’t do the trick. That’s true, but that’s due less to Trump — for the moment — than to the cold reality that any reassuring talk was destined to be overwhelmed by dire reports like this. The market’s down partly due to panic selling but partly too because of legitimate fears of supply-chain disruptions, the knock-on effects of many thousands of people potentially having to miss work, a steep decline in demand for businesses that depend on large public gatherings, and so on. Evidence that there’s a “Trump effect” would be if there’d been good news lately in containing the disease but no one outside his own base believed him when he announced it because he’s too prone to happy talk to serve his own selfish political interests.

But there is no good news right now. All we’ve learned this week is that even a salesman as successful as Trump can’t convince the public to remain optimistic during the scariest pandemic in decades.

A senior U.S. health official told lawmakers that the coronavirus that is spreading globally is unlikely to disappear next year and that many more cases should be expected in the United States, according to a source who attended a briefing on Friday.

Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases, also told House of Representatives members in a closed briefing that the United States currently does not have enough coronavirus testing resources.


The latest news this afternoon is that the White House is huddling to discuss emergency measures to combat coronavirus. Wait, sorry — I mean emergency measures to combat the economic fallout from coronavirus, like a rate cut or a tax cut. If there’s a “Trump effect” to this week’s panic I think it stems from things like that: He positively radiates the sense that his primary concern in all this is propping up the market, seemingly not realizing (a) how callous that seems to the average person under the circumstances and (b) that by focusing on the economy so intently it creates a suspicion that he’s not focusing intently enough on stopping the virus. Which, ironically, will spook the markets even further, creating a downward spiral in which he grows increasingly frantic for economic stimulus before Election Day while investors grow increasingly frantic that he doesn’t have his priorities in order and thus the contagion will be even worse than feared. He’s always been obsessed with ratings and he’s treated the Dow as his ultimate validation throughout his presidency, the supreme proof that he’s a success no matter what his critics say. I don’t know how he’ll cope with it tanking. Probably he’ll rant about Jerome Powell on Twitter a lot while the coronavirus death toll climbs.

Here’s a … not great clip from Fox this morning for the “laugh or cry?” file.


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