In normal times the Sunday shows would be chest-deep in the 2020 primaries this morning. We don’t live in normal times so instead the top story is coronavirus, with NIH’s Anthony Fauci scheduled to discuss the near-certainty of a major epidemic on “Meet the Press” and “Fox News Sunday.” This won’t be a basic informational update from him either. He’s going to be grilled on the many CDC failures that allowed the virus to gain a foothold here despite the early warning from China. Why are we still having problems testing comprehensively when other first-world countries in harm’s way, like South Korea, are on top of it? Why did the feds limit screening to patients who’d recently traveled abroad (or were in direct contact with someone who did) even after community spread here was evident? Why weren’t more public labs prepared to deal with an influx of cases?
More than anything else, I’m interested in his tone this morning, especially after Trump’s bizarrely sanguine appearance at the CDC on Friday. What are we really looking at here in terms of the extent of the contagion and likely fatalities? What’s the probability that this thing spreads too quickly for hospitals to be able to treat everyone who needs treatment? Is it 50 percent or more like 100? Fauci’s not going to want to panic the public but he’s not going to spew nonsense about the virus being “relatively contained” either.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams will also be on this morning to talk COVID-19. He’s booked on “Face the Nation” and “State of the Union.” And yes, of course there’s some 2020 chitchat too. Bernie Sanders will talk with “This Week,” “Meet the Press,” “State of the Union,” and “Fox News Sunday” to try to halt the other contagion that’s been in the news lately, Joementum. Sanders desperately needs a good showing on Tuesday to make this a long race, especially in Michigan. If he gets swamped again, the pressure will ramp up on him to quit. Especially since, with coronavirus circulating, the more we can avoid unnecessary gatherings at rallies and polling precincts, the better. The full line-up is at the AP.