It’s another morning of plague coverage on the Sunday shows with several new regulars set to appear to discuss the progress of COVID-19. Anthony Fauci and Scott Gottlieb are booked, of course; both will chat with “Face the Nation” about whether the curve is being flattened rapidly enough (spoiler: no) and whether the country remains on track to begin reopening for business in May (spoiler: no). Gottlieb in particular has been beating the drum lately about how badly we need an effective therapeutic drug to put a dent in the epidemic. That’s the only thing that’ll get people back to work soon-ish. He’ll update the country on whether there are any promising leads besides hydroxychloroquine.
An interesting and unusual guest this morning is Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte, who’ll chat with “Meet the Press” about the growing evidence that Italy’s avalanche of infections is finally beginning to slow. Surgeon General Jerome Adams will also speak with “Meet the Press” (and “Fox News Sunday”) about the new CDC guidance regarding wearing homemade masks in public to reduce the risk of transmission by asymptomatic carriers. He’ll be questioned about this already infamous tweet from February 29:
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!
They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020
Wanting doctors and nurses to have easy access to surgical masks was and is understandable. Lying to the public about the efficacy of masks in reducing infection rates in order to guarantee access isn’t. Presumably Adams will claim that no one knew when he sent that tweet how many asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic patients were spreading the disease.
A guest who’s in for an even hotter grilling than Adams is Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who’ll talk with “This Week” and “State of the Union” about military readiness in the age of coronavirus. Both shows are going to play the footage of sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt raucously cheering for now-fired Capt. Brett Crozier after his letter about a COVID-19 outbreak onboard went public and made the Navy scramble to address the problem. Esper will need to justify the firing *and* assure the hosts that the Pentagon was urgently addressing the outbreak even before the letter leaked. He’ll also be asked about the heat he’s taking on all sides for the Defense Department’s slowish and decentralized response to the crisis.
if none of that grabs you, Bill Gates will talk to “Fox News Sunday” about his nifty new plan to begin early mass manufacture of seven different COVID-19 vaccine candidates so that whichever vaccine performs best in trials can be rolled out immediately across the United States. That’ll cost billions but it’s billions well spent. And Joe Biden will be on “This Week” to remind Americans that, yes, he’s still running for president even though you don’t see him much anymore. The full line-up is at the AP.