Three Things: Racist Redirects as GOP Clings to Its Brand

[Check the byline, thanks!/~Rayne]

No news on the family front with regard to COVID-19 — at least with my family. No news is good news here.

I feel so very sorry for the New Jersey family which lost three of its family members * to COVID-19 this week. It was a blessing to the matriarch she didn’t know she lost her two oldest children; the heartbreak on top of the virus would have been torture beyond human ken.

None of this had to happen, either. Not a lick of it.

And it’s really only just beginning.

~ 3 ~

Let’s get this out of the way: Donald Trump is a racist jerk. He can’t read anything but inch-high print prepared for his ease; he had to go out of his way to make absolutely certain that he referred to COVID-19 as “Chinese.”

This is wholly intentional, deliberate as hell.

The fact COVID-19 emerged from China to become pandemic was sheer dumb luck. Spare us the racist bullshit talking down about eating unfamiliar animals and wet markets.

For Christ’s sake people here in the U.S. eat road kill and celebrate those animals with a festival.

They eat organ meats, blood sausages from across their many ethnic heritages, and they do odd-looking things with products made of proteins extracted from cartilage.

Americans and all the cultures from which they emerged have their own relationships with animals which have spawned biological crises over millennia. Just read Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel.

It was simply a crap shoot this pandemic originated in China and not from a hantavirus in the American Southwest, or a flavivirus from South America or Africa. Chances are good we may yet see another emergent threat like a virulent Zika as the climate continues to warm.

Americans don’t have room to criticize. Their president being a racist moron to China about a crappy draw of luck is just plain stupid.

So is his and his party’s escalation of tension with the other largest economy in the world which both owns a lot of our debt. It’s incredibly shortsighted to bash the country which has been incredibly generous with research data based on their harrowing national experience with COVID-19.

I can’t begin to imagine how bad off the U.S. and other countries fighting COVID-19 would be if China hadn’t shared genomic and epidemiological data with the world.

We would not only be as far behind as we are because this administration felt winning re-election was more important than doing its job. We would have had to do much of the genomic and epidemiological research ourselves, on the fly, while our country’s health was in meltdown.

One need only look at how little research material has been published by other countries during this epidemic for comparison. They, too, have relied on China’s research.

Or look at how we continue to rely on China to do human testing – likely cutting corners on human experimentation ethics – just so Americans can obtain the benefit of a successful drug therapy while an American company reaps benefits.

No one of Asian ethnicity and heritage should have to put up with the hate unleashed by that slack-assed racist in the White House and the team of inept and bigoted enablers who are propping him up.

We may have legitimate concerns with China about supply chain integrity and intellectual property theft, but it’s on the U.S. that this is an issue to begin with. Outsourcing so much of what should be critical infrastructure is our own fault.

And failing to act in a responsible timely manner to a pandemic threat is solely that of the racist scumbag at the podium.

~ 2 ~

Speaking of failing to respond to pandemic threat…

If Senator Richard Burr knew by February 13 — when he sold $1.6 million worth of stock — that COVID-19 posed a potential national emergency, who else did and did nothing?

By “did nothing” I mean the way Burr lied to our faces and said, “the United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus,” a day before he voted to acquit Trump and six days before he sold his stock.

Think back to the earliest time you heard about the viral illness in China. Do remember when you first heard or read about it?

I do. I had just read about two high-profile deaths from pneumonia in middle and late December. A Chinese actress died, noted in Chinese media. She wasn’t known well to the U.S. so no mention here had been made. Only days later, right around Christmas, a young ESPN anchor also died of an odd pneumonia. This time there was news in the U.S. about his passing.

A week later on New Year’s Eve there was a report in English-language Chinese media about an odd cluster of pneumonia-like illness in Wuhan, China. My awareness of pneumonia had been heightened by the two high-profile deaths so close together.

If I could see a cluster of pneumonia in China by New Year’s Day, you know somebody within the U.S. intelligence community saw it even earlier.

We know now that the Senate Intelligence Committee chair had been briefed, based on a recording made of a meeting Burr had with large-ticket donors. Who else holding elected or appointed office were also briefed by intelligence and then refused to do the right thing to protect the American public?

Now you know why there’s been a full court press from the White House through the GOP congressional caucus to the right-wing media and punditry pushing racist invective against China about the pandemic.

It’s to distract and redirect the public’s attention away from the GOP’s wholesale betrayal of the American public and its allies while COVID-19 ramped up into a pandemic.

By the middle of summer thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of American lives will be lost because Richard Burr and others as yet unnamed helped Donald Trump fuck us over for their own venal aims.

Trump and the GOP had absolutely no intention of doing anything about COVID-19, which explains why Trump has only mentioned but still not used the Defense Production Act to ensure health care workers have adequate personal protection equipment. Crafters across the country are sewing homemade masks of irregular specifications right now to make up the shortfall while health care workers scavenge hardware supplies for mashed-up PPE.

Can’t help wonder how much PPE that $1.6 million would buy.

Or how much the profits from Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s stock sale would buy, or Sen. James Inhofe’s or Sen. Ron Johnson’s stock sale profits. (Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s household also recently liquidated stock but her press secretary said it was in a blind trust with the rest of her assets.)

Loeffler’s financial moves are egregious not only because of profit taking on inside information not shared with the public and then lying directly to the public on camera about the country’s condition. She then acquired stock in a business specializing in remote work, and her spouse is the chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange. There’s absolutely NO excuse for not having her assets in a blind trust to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, particularly because of her spouse’s role. But I guess when you’re worth half a billion dollars you just don’t give a shit about annoying little details like ethics.

~ 1 ~

In previous posts I’ve discussed the different drugs being studied as potential therapies for COVID-19. This is an extremely important point which must be emphasized: all drugs, whether antivirals or monoclonal antibodies or anti-inflammatory meds are subjects of study. Some are being used off-label as last ditch efforts.

By off-label I mean they are NOT approved by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective for treatment of COVID-19 infections.

We are relying on off-label medications applied by doctors in desperate conditions in China and Italy on patients who are in dire shape to tell us about their effectiveness. We are literally relying on human experimentation without a consistent ethical framework

Yesterday’s presser with Trump was a disaster not only because of his racist bullshit aimed at China, but because he fucked up and discussed off-label drug therapies. He should have left that all together to the Center for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration.

His half-assed, poorly-framed remarks about an anti-malarial drug set off a run on black market chloroquine in Nigeria. The drug had been removed from the Nigerian market more than a decade ago because of the risks it poses to patients. It’s quite likely people will die because of misplaced trust in Trump’s words about this drug.

Two antivirals, lopinavir and ritonavir, used as a cocktail in a study in China failed to perform as needed against COVID-19. A study announcing these unfortunate results was published just Wednesday in  the New England Journal of Medicine. (Yet another example of Chinese researchers providing a benefit to the U.S. and the world, I’ll point out. Can only wonder what happened to the subjects of the test.)

And another antiviral discussed here before, remdesivir, is still under study, and still poses an unexamined conflict of interest for at least one person in the Trump administration.

The media did not catch how bad Trump’s remarks on drugs were — that hack Chris Cillizza offers an example, failing to mention the gross and dangerous errors about these medications in his list of fail.

Trump’s words and deeds, likely the output of his inept team including his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his pet Nazi Stephen Miller, are going to kill more people here and abroad on top of COVID-19. Given Miller’s history with this administration, this may be the desired result.

~ 0 ~

* I started writing this post Thursday mid-day. Before I finished it a fourth family member died.

Meanwhile, in neighboring New York, Gov. Cuomo doesn’t want a “shelter in place” order because it sounds too much like nuclear war and might scare people.

New York City is a COVID-19 hot spot rapidly become an American Wuhan cell. More people are likely to die there of COVID-19 than died during 9/11, and we changed our society dramatically out of fear of another such event. New Yorkers and the rest of the U.S. whose banking is centered in NYC need more than Cuomo’s personal concerns about a turn of phrase.

But as I said earlier, none of this had to happen, either. Not a lick of it. It makes the ongoing daily failures even more ridiculous because most are unforced errors. Much of the daily fail could be so easily stopped if Trump just shut up and left handling COVID-19 to ethical professionals.

This is an open thread.

178 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    I fucking hate that this current corrupt GOP congressional caucus makes George “All right, you’ve covered your ass” Bush look good.

    • orionATL says:

      “… Burr lied to our faces and said, “the United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus,” a day before he voted to acquit Trump and six days before he sold his stock…”

      not that it likely would have been necessary, but do you suppose the whitehouse, short of time until nov. election, did some serious oppo research on “their” republican senators like burr or collins (and definitely including moscow mitch and his lady), and then blackmailed any that were wavering about allowing witnesses (the key operational step before voting for acquital)?

      • Rayne says:

        I don’t know that the White House didn’t promise to restrain the DOJ from prosecuting false statements and any other unlawful activities related to trading on non-public information. I’d bet on this form of a bribe — yet more quid pro quos.

  2. Ken Muldrew says:

    Do not trust any remarks from public officials who praise Trump. This is the sign that they have entered into an agreement to mislead in order to obtain some benefit. The converse is not necessarily true (i.e. those who don’t praise Trump may still be incompetent) but obeisance to Trump is a reliable tell for identifying hacks who cannot be trusted.

    • P J Evans says:

      Some of them may be doing it so they can keep their jobs – like Fauci and probably Birx. Better them speakign truth, even with praise to “dear leader”, than the GOP-T lying.

    • Duke says:


      Just to keep things in the proper frame. The orange clown is getting all the Governors to socially anchor us locally while he work the closure of international borders here and abroad.

      Watch closely how all your rights are being quarantined while the incompetence provides cover for the ongoing cover up.

      Follow Barr and DOJ

  3. John Paul Jones says:

    A study of a related drug, hydroxycloroquine sounds promising.

    [FYI, link edited to remove tracking. Let’s also use the full citation as requested in the study:

    Gautret et al. (2020) Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of
    COVID‐19: results of an open‐label non‐randomized clinical trial. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents – In Press 17 March 2020 – DOI : 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.105949

    thanks! /~Rayne]

    • orionATL says:

      jp jones –


      a very well reported study with what seems valuable info to impart to the research and medical communities. very small, so needs replicating on at least somewhat larger samples, but docs and patients might be happy to try on cases headed for the junk yard.


      1. re the 3 persons in a family dead of covid-19. might be genes involved.

      “… The cause of failure for hydroxychloroquine treatment should be investigated by testing the isolated SARS-CoV-2 strains of the non-respondents and analyzing their genome, and by analyzing the host factors that may be associated with the metabolism of hydroxychloroquine. The existence of hydroxychloroquine failure in two patients (mother and son) is more suggestive of the last mechanism of resistance….”

      2. length of covid patients under treatment vs mean duration of viral shedding (from china):

      “… We show here that hydroxychloroquine is efficient in clearing viral nasopharyngeal carriage of SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 patients in only three to six days, in most patients. A significant difference was observed between hydroxychloroquine-treated patients and controls starting even on day3 post-inclusion. These results are of great importance because a recent paper has shown that the mean duration of viral shedding in patients suffering from COVID19 in China was 20 days (even 37 days for the longest duration) [19] …”

      3. importantly, one patient who was negative at the end of the medicine teatment phase redeveloped covid. see p. 11. all patients in the sample initially were tracked and reported, importantly for all 20 of the treatments.

      4. use as a protection for medical workers:
      Further works are also warranted to determine if these compounds could be useful as chemoprophylaxis to prevent the transmission of the virus, especially for healthcare workers …”

      • orionATL says:

        one fascinating possibility that i believe is mentioned here is that this covid-19 treatment might end being generally applicable to a variety of viral infections affecting the lungs and heart, at least. my layman’s notion is that viral infections are difficult to treat where extensive research has not been done, e. g., aids.

        • ducktree says:

          This would not be the first occasion of Pharma rummaging around the attic and declaring, “hey, mebbe we could try ~this~ one?!”

          https: //

      • Frank Probst says:

        Could be genetic. Might just be bad luck. Could be several other things, or an interaction of several other things. With one family, it’s hard to say. We’d need a bunch of families like this to draw any firm conclusions from. China is pretty sophisticated when it comes to genetics, so I’d expect early data on the genetics of increased or decreased risk of infection–and severity of infection–to come from them. South Korea would be next, since they had a high volume of cases and appear to be capable of doing testing for COVID-19. Iceland, of all places, has programs to screen both symptomatic cases and their contacts (at their clinical testing center) and asymptomatic individuals with no suspicion of disease (at deCode Genetics, which also has genomic data on a huge chunk of the adult Icelandic population). See here for details about their program:

        • orionATL says:

          thanks. good points. more data is needed and not just data loaded with confirmed covid but whole pop. typ3 data.

          i understand that iceland takes pride in having had a complete genetic map of all its inhabitants (~350k) for some years now.

        • cavenewt says:

          “Could be genetic…”

          Whenever I see that phrase, I also wonder if it could be a shared lifestyle.

          This 1996 paper about ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is often the lethal follow-on to viral infections like COVID-19) is be an example of that. Linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat that we have been encouraged to eat for heart health for at least 40 years, is the primary kind of fat in vegetable oil, as opposed to animal fats which are primarily saturated.

          “Increases in unsaturated serum acyl chain ratios differentiate between healthy and seriously iII patients, and identify those patients likely to develop ARDS”.

          That is, the more linoleic acid you have as free fatty acids in your bloodstream, relative to sat fats, the more likely you are to develop ARDS. Which carries a high risk of death.

      • Rayne says:

        I still don’t understand why azithromycin figured into this let alone the sketchy, thin nature of the study.

        Reads more like a method of selling Pfizer’s Zithromax, the brand under which azithromycin is sold. Wonder if there’s an impending change to licensing of the drug or its patent?

        • Frank Probst says:

          It’s already available as a generic. I think most people will have heard of it under the trade name “Z pack”, which some doctors may write as a “dispense as written” medication (meaning the pharmacy can’t swap it out with the generic), because it’s literally easier to write the prescription on your prescription pad. A “Z pack” comes as a package with a specific number of pills at specific dose, with specific instructions on how to take the pills, so you don’t have to write all that out on the prescription. (Yes, it really is that stupid.)

        • Frank Probst says:

          Azithromycin is definitely a head-scratcher. There will probably be a lot of prescriptions written for it as a result of this report, but this one doesn’t concern me that much. Azithromycin fairly safe, and there are a bunch of other drugs that can be used in its place, so if it ends up “selling out”, it won’t be too big of a deal.

        • Rayne says:

          My kid had a reaction to azithromycin. My other kid took it when they got sick just about the time Flint’s water cut over — we don’t know if their long-term health problems are related to one/other/both. Not crazy about it for this reason, also doesn’t make any sense to me to add an antibiotic with an antiviral in a hospital setting.

        • Frank Probst says:

          Good reasons to distrust it. I should have added, “but you can still have a nasty allergic reaction to it.” I think I too often forget that “safe” is often not all that safe. I think of penicillin as “safe”, even though it’s got a laundry list of potential side effects, including death.

        • Kick the darkess says:

          Think the French study linked above said used it to block secondary bacterial infections. But quick run through PubMed says azithromycin also has anti-inflammatory properties, maybe some value in treating asthma. so that would seem to suggest some possibility for synergy with chloroquine. Interesting in that while azithromycin targets ribosome/protein synthesis for antibiotic activity it apparently has a different target (NF-kB) to block inflammation.

        • Rayne says:

          It did refer to secondary infections. Sure, nosocomial infections are a thing. But it seems like an AR-15 when a handgun is necessary, and there surely must be other methods to target NF-kB inflammation with fewer potential side effects — like plant polyphenols? I’ve seen quercetin in particular mentioned as both a plant phenolic and a zinc ionophore

        • Frank Probst says:

          Pneumonia is one of the first things that came to mind when I was thinking of “uses for azithromycin”, tbh, but I agree that it’s generally a much stronger drug that’s needed. I think one of the big benefits it has is that it’s easy to switch from an IV dose to an oral dose, so when you’re trying to transition a patient from IV meds to oral meds (so that you can send them home), you don’t have to spend an extra day tweaking the dosage.

        • Rayne says:

          True. I worry, though, that we’ll create new problems. We don’t know what the anti-malarials will do to gut flora as it is, and azithromycin will DEFINITELY kill off biome. There will be a secondary effect which won’t be linked to treatment for quite a while after, as we’re finding in my kid’s case post-Flint.

        • Frank Probst says:

          I’m sorry you’re having to deal with that. I can’t imagine what it’s been like.

          Yeah, the azithromycin will kill off both gut flora (setting you up for a C diff infection) and vaginal flora (setting you up for a vaginal infection). And like you said, I don’t think we have much of a clue as to what that’ll do in combo with hydroxychloroquine.
          I haven’t heard any logical (or even illogical) reasons from my peers about why they’re using it here.

          My guess is that it’s part of a “throw everything at it and see what sticks” strategy. And it could be coming from the infectious disease docs who have experience with SARS and MERS, or it could be coming from the intensive care docs who see a lot of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). I’ll post it if I hear anything rhyme or reason to it.

        • Eureka says:

          and there’s no way hospitals+ would be able to afford/get supply for the mass-co-administration of Florastor and the like to try to head it off, either, as is often done with antibiotic use (should this ?? azithromycin business really take off). Besides that probiotics might be dangerous with an unfamiliar pathogen/treatment complex.

          Sorry to hear of your kid’s troubles.

        • Kick the darkess says:

          Cycling back through. Sorry for any confusion. I see now there’s AZ showing up in two contexts, the French study and what was prescribed for your kid. I was referring French study. Why they’d would use AZ instead of something else for their patients don’t know. In addition to comments below, might add its going to be broad spectrum if you want to make sure you carpet bomb whatever is out there. But yeah it can wipe your guts out pretty good. That was certainly the case for my brother in law; had a really bad experience with it. The thrust of the comment was sometimes get a happy accident with drugs. French study certainly does not have the numbers to prove that but if projections for what our ER’s are going to look like in about a week are correct we could use a magic bullet.

  4. harpie says:

    YAY! on the [no news] good family news, Rayne!

    wrt: sewing, this is from Claire McCaskill” 1
    2:27 AM · Mar 20, 2020

    From my daughter in law who’s a RN in CO:
    Our hospital has actually set up SEWING stations throughout the building to make masks/gowns out of sterile wrap that’s used in the OR – it’s set up assembly line style with cutting stations & sewing machine stations.

    It’s infuriating, but also…makes me think of home-ec class so many years ago.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Hospitals in Mike Pence’s Indiana are begging for those sewn-at-home masks. The article below includes a CDC-approved pattern and instructions. Hospitals will apparently sterilize them themselves. Gotta be better than rewearing the same mask, with the occasional bleach wash and overnight dry.

      The federal government ain’t no shipping clerk. Shipping Clerk should be Trump’s new nickname, as in the shipping clerk from Butch Cassidy, who kept repeating that he worked for E.H. Harriman of the Union Pacific RR. Trump used it as an epithet for something he neither values nor knows how to do. It serves as a stand-in for every skill and every person of merit or talent.

      Unlike the states, the feds do have the power to nationalize and cajole industries into making things needed in case of national emergency. Apart from world wars one and two, this is the biggest emergency since the flu pandemic of 1918-19.

      GM, for example, made bombers during WWII – which was very profitable – at a site between Ann Arbor and Metro Airport. It’s already offered to retool a facility to make ventilators. Pity that Trump’s little mind and hands can’t grasp anything more useful than a tube of orange makeup.

  5. harpie says:

    So, Thom Tillis thinks he can save his seat ass by attacking Burr:
    11:20 AM · Mar 20, 2020
    I wonder who sicced the news outlets on Burr…
    11:42 AM · Mar 20, 2020

    Easier to shiv Burr than to address Trump’s catastrophic mishandling of the crisis.
    Potential insider trading is easier to comprehend and more manageable to condemn than a clumsiness and carelessness so vast in scale that it may lead to thousands of deaths.

    Agree with the first part…not with the clumsy/careless part.
    I BELIEVE the Trump Administration’s response to the crisis upon US is MALICIOUS and DELIBERATE.

  6. jamie mack says:

    Let’s say experimental antiviral, or the anti-IL6 monoclonal antibody, prove clinically useful.
    How much material will be needed? And how quickly can it be manufactured?
    A rapid increase in production of materials like these is difficult-to-impossible. And much of this manufacturing capacity is outside the US.
    I don’t want to downplay the importance of looking for possible cures.
    But to be realistic, limited supplies of anything that works will be sequestered for treatment of those with wealth and power.

    • Rayne says:

      Yup. All that. This is why I am also very worried about the conflict(s) of interest angle. Are superwealthy setting up a treatment for themselves alone, using our government to access human experimentation in another country?

      It’s the stuff of horror movies.

    • bmaz says:

      And, also, how can you get it widely distributed currently, even if you could make it? The happy talk from the Executive branch is just insane.

      • Rayne says:

        I wouldn’t be surprised if what appears as “happy talk” to us designed to prop up his approval rating with the general public, is really a form of market advice to people who know some of what’s going on out of public view, potentially boosting specific stock values.

      • Frank Probst says:

        I wouldn’t speculate on how long it’ll take a drug to get to market even you told me how quickly 10 other first world countries were able to get the drug to market. We STILL don’t have the testing capacity that we should have had very early on.

    • BobCon says:

      The other risk is that production of other critical drugs is curtailed to ramp up Coronavirus drugs.

      We really need public health experts deciding how to allocate resources — we can’t assume a horrible influenza strain isn’t lurking and let politicians freaking out about coronavirus make the call about diverting money, labs and expertise. They may well shut down important resources for a very marginal benefit to anti-coronavirus efforts.

    • PBlazing says:

      Also, one of the drugs being reviewed as a potential Covid-19 treatment, hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), is used by the majority of lupus patients. A run on this drug, before production can be ramped up, could jeopardize availability for those who already need it.

    • Jenny says:

      PBS American Experience “Influenza 1918”

      In September of 1918, soldiers at an army base near Boston suddenly began to die. The cause of death was identified as influenza, but it was unlike any strain ever seen. As the killer virus spread across the country, hospitals overfilled, death carts roamed the streets and helpless city officials dug mass graves. It was the worst epidemic in American history, killing over 600,000 — until it disappeared as mysteriously as it had begun.

  7. Flatulus says:

    I want to suggest that we tap the financial resources of the Sacklers and the rest of our Oxicontin-pushing ilk. Time for these mofo’s to pay up.

  8. harpie says:

    On 1/24/20 there was a Senate Health Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee briefing for all senators with top administration health officials regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak that was first detected in Wuhan, China.

    The Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions [HELP] Chair and Ranking Member put out a joint statement.
    [Most committees have a Chairman’s website and a Ranking Member’s website, which is ridiculous…each one puts out their own news/spin…anyway, this one was a joint statement.]

    Chairman Lamar Alexander, Press
    Ranking member Patty Murray, Press
    [Patty Murray represents WASHINGTON STATE…epicenter of the original outbreak, and whose governor INSLEE Trump has called a “snake”.]

    The Dems put out these four statements on this topic before the next statement from the Reps on 2/25/20:

    1] 1/27/20 [Dem] Murray, Democrats Press Health Department for Updates on Novel Coronavirus, Call for Continuing Robust, Science-Driven Response [They note: There are currently 5 confirmed U.S. cases of the novel coronavirus]

    1/31/20 HHS Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency in the United States.

    2] 2/3/20 [Dem] Senator Murray, Representative Kilmer Lead Bipartisan, Bicameral Letter of 48 Lawmakers from States with Confirmed Novel Coronavirus Cases Urging CDC to Distribute Rapid Diagnostic Tests to State and Local Health Officials, Prioritize States with Confirmed Cases

    2/5/20 Total cases >5
    SENATE: 52 Senators voted to ACQUIT Trump of IMPEACHMENT charges

    2/7/20 Total cases >5
    BURR: In a Feb. 7 opinion piece for Fox News, Burr and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) wrote that the U.S. “is better prepared than ever before” to deal with a health crisis like the coronavirus”

    3] 2/7/20 [Dem] Amidst Coronavirus Outbreak, Peters, Leahy, Murray and Menendez Press Trump Administration to Fully Fund Pandemic Preparedness and Response Efforts

    2/11/20 LOEFFLER tweets:
    1:19 PM · Feb 11, 2020

    There’s no denying that @POTUS’s economy is on fire, bringing more jobs & opportunity for all Georgians & Americans: Wages are up // 7.3 million jobs added since 2016 // 3.6% unemployment rate // Dow Jones hits record high // We can’t let the Left stop this economic boom.

    4] 2/13/20 [Dem] Murray, Warren, Senate Colleagues Urge National Security Advisor to Appoint a Senior Global Health Security Expert as U.S. and Global Threat from Coronavirus Grows

    [2/13/ 20 is also the day BURR sold his stock.]

    • harpie says:

      2/15/20 Total Cases >14 [See 2/25 Alexander statement]

      1Rep] 2/25/20 Total cases >14
      This is the first Rep. statement since the 1/24 JOINT statement.
      [Rep] Alexander: Trump Administration, State and Local Health Systems Doing Their Job to Help Protect Americans Against Coronavirus

      […] The Administration is doing an excellent job of keeping Americans safe so far—10 days ago there were 14 infections and today there are 14 infections, plus the 39 Americans that were brought back from China and Japan, mostly from the cruise ship. […]

      2/26/20 Total cases > 014
      TRUMP: Within a couple of days, is going to be down to zero. [VIDEO]

      2/27/20 Total cases > 014
      BURR: [to a private audience]:

      There’s one thing I can tell you about this: it is much more aggressive in it’s transmission than anything we have seen in recent history. It’s probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.

      TRUMP: [VIDEO here: via Aaron Rupar

      It’s going to disappear, one day, it’s like a miracle it will disappear, and from our shores, you know, it could get worse before it gets better, it could maybe go away. We’ll see what happens. Nobody really knows.

      5] 2/27/20 [Dem] Murray to Trump: Replace Pence with Public Health Expert

      6] 2/28/20 [Dem] Senators Murray, Peters Question Why Trump Administration Ignored Public Health Experts In Transport of People Infected with Coronavirus

    • harpie says:

      3/1/20 Total cases > 014
      TRUMP: Everything is really under control.
      [Also early March: TRUMP tries to buy German scientists/work]

      7] 3/2/20 Total cases >100
      [Dem] CORONAVIRUS: Murray, Democrats Ask DeVos How She Plans to Protect Students, Teachers, School Staff

      8] 3/2/20 Total cases >100
      [Dem] CORONAVIRUS: Murray, Democrats Ask Scalia How He Plans to Protect Workers

      2Rep] 3/3/20 Total cases >100
      [Rep] Alexander: Respected Professionals With Decades of Experience Give Americans the Facts About Coronavirus

      […] Today, there are reports of over 100 cases, and there have been six deaths, in the United States. And in addition to the human suffering the virus is causing, it is disrupting the global economy. […]

      9] 3/3/20 Total cases >100
      [Dem] CORONAVIRUS: At Hearing, Murray Presses Public Health Officials on Administration Response to Coronavirus Senator Murray:

      “To put it simply, if someone at the White House or in this Administration is actually in charge of responding to the coronavirus, it would be news to anyone in my state.”

      R3] 3/4/20 Total cases >100
      [Rep] Alexander: Congress Acting Quickly to Fight Coronavirus

      10] 3/4/20 Total cases >100
      [Dem] Murray, Wyden, Democrats to Azar: Trump Administration’s Health Care Sabotage Undermines Coronavirus Response

      3/7/20 Total cases > 100 < 500
      TRUMP: I’m not concerned

    • harpie says:

      3/10/20 Total cases > 1,000
      TRUMP: It will go away

      3/10/20 Total cases >1000
      LOEFFLER tweets:
      7:24 PM · Mar 10, 2020

      Concerned about #coronavirus? Remember this:
      The consumer is strong, the economy is strong, & jobs are growing, which puts us in the best economic position to tackle #COVID19 & keep Americans safe.
      Update following meeting with @realdonaldtrump, @VP, & @StevenMnuchin1: [VIDEO]

  9. Lex says:

    $1.6M would buy 16M surgical masks from the Texas company that’s currently ramping up production and sells them at $5 for a box of 50. They currently only sell to hospitals and are requiring a 5 year contract because the last time this happened, all the new customers left as soon as the crisis was over to buy Chinese masks for $1/50.

    • Rayne says:

      I think requiring a five-year contract is bullshit. The challenge for companies retooling for additional production is just that, retooling. In a national crisis like this companies like this should be permitted to write down or receive a grant for retooling. Barring that they should publish what their retooling costs are so that hospitals can cooperatively agree to split the retooling costs and then buy as need requires.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Exactly. Who gets a five-year purchase commitment today? If Wal-Mart gave one to a supplier, you can bet the purchase price would leave virtually no room for profit, and the price would still go down every year, meaning the supplier would work its ass off for no profit.

        As Rayne says, pay X amount up-front for tooling up, then pay market for amounts purchased. Extend short-term contracts. Get audit rights if the expenditure exceeds a modest floor. Demanding a five-year purchase commitment is an indirect form of price gouging. Screw that and the supplier who rode in on it.

    • orionATL says:

      according to the story i read a couple of weeks ago, the owner said these machines that make a whole mask at once cost $1 million smakers per each. at $5 per, that would require selling 200k masks, not counting labor and shipping and fixed costs, and these days the major shippers don’t seem to give any breaks (at least to ordinary folk) for light weight.

      • orionATL says:

        got timed out, dammit.

        actually, this sounds like exactly the kind of deal i might offer if i really did not want to do any more business on somebody’s sudden demand – “if you got to have it, buddy, you are going to have to pay a lot or pay for a long time. i could care less.”

  10. Bobby Gladd says:

    In case there’s any interest and/or questions, I’m all over the COVID19 “testing kits” issue at

    Stay safe and well. Latest Hopkins tracking data show aggregate global mortality rate continuing to notch up, now ~4.2%. If ours turns out HALF that, with a third of the population eventually infected, well, do the arithmetic.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    One thing’s for sure. Trump and his GOP will be working to implement a long-established wish list of neoliberal “must haves.” Their proposals will only superficially help anyone else. Mostly, it will damage them further, while making them pick up the tab for things like tax cuts for the rich.

    I would be especially suspicious that Trump and McConnell will slip in to important legislation legal immunities and tax subsidies for businesses, using the argument that they’re necessary to get people to cooperate quickly. Horse puckey, but it distracts an easily distracted MSM, which avoids critical thinking in the first place.

  12. vicks says:

    I’ve gotten a bit emotional twice now.
    Once when I called to see how late my favorite nursery was open only to be told 6PM and then until further notice.
    I rushed over and “had a moment” with a few of the staff; most will be losing their jobs but all wanted to hear about how my seedlings were doing, help me pick out grass seed and talk about the latest weapon against the Japanese beetle which in more innocent times, was what about all that was on my list of “things I actively hated.”
    The second time was last night, when partway through watching Brian Williams cover the story of Burr and Loeffler I started shaking with an emotion I can’t even describe, it was “how dare they” anger mixed with real fear.
    I turned off the tv before the segment finished, and sat with the information I just heard for a couple of minutes.
    Clear as a bell it came to me.
    They knew.
    They don’t care.
    Everyone they didn’t “tell” could be decimated
    They knew that, and didn’t care.
    It takes a while for people to cash out large and small fortunes, how lucky for them we have a president with a similar mindset, a president willing to shamelessly drag his feet in order to get his own ducks in a row,
    Soon, because of what they have done they could have even MORE power, millions will be newly vulnerable millions could very well be at their mercy.
    I don’t do vulnerable.
    I am working hard to figure out ways to keep my small business afloat and get paychecks to my employees until this thing peaks and we have a better idea of what is in store for the future.
    Once I get my ducks in a row I am going to spend every waking minute figuring out ways for others to do the same.
    I am going to start with my favorite nursery and some of the service companies my company has partnered with for years.
    What works for them may work for others and I will share what we learn.
    I know the gal that does my hair isn’t real good about advocating for herself, if, as they promise there is going to be help available I’m going to make sure she gets every penny of it. I am going to help her come up with ways to sell product online. Her clients adore her, of course they will buy from her instead of Amazon.
    i’m not much of a ‘believer” but I WILL buy into the fact that we are being tested.
    God, the universe whatever, sent us Donald Trump, that SHOULD have been enough to whip us into shape, but clearly we needed a plague as well.
    It’s time for all of us to take this as a challenge, a golden opportunity to see what we are made of,
    IMO the rewards will be beyond our wildest dreams.

  13. Rugger9 says:

    I understand the rem-drug can only be given in an IV, plus chloroquinone is restricted to a seven day course of treatment with many restrictions and China discovered a lethal dose is double the standard one. It is clear that the WH is trying very hard to continue the happy talk, and what was Ivanka doing at the press conference anyhow (they panned to her at the beginning)? I thought Jared Kushner was the supersecret task force leader from which we have heard nothing.

    Other than that the atrocities in the presser today are well covered elsewhere.

    On Burr and Loeffler and Ron Johnson and Inhofe, this activity is precisely why the STOCK Act was passed several years ago, and do not think for a minute that some “puts” weren’t issued by the WH staff.

    • Rugger9 says:

      DiFi was said by Trump to be one of the Senators engaged in insider training even though no outlet appears to have her name anywhere. She can sue for that.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Where is this reported? If there was a blind trust then she cannot direct its activities (otherwise it wouldn’t be blind) and would not have had the opportunity to profit, unlike GOP Sens Loeffler (hubby runs NYSE), Burr, Inhofe, Hoeven, RoJo did.

        • Rayne says:

          Feinstein’s been in the Senate since 1992; there’ve been numerous complaints she and her spouse have benefited from her role in office. This is definitely NOT one of those occasions.

          Loeffler is the absolute worst given her spouse’s job — both she and her spouse knew going into this that her assets should be in a blind trust but no.

        • orionATL says:


          loeffler, governor kemp’s pick in trump”s face, is a corporate boss and multi-millionaress. she spent 16 years (2002-2018) at the firm intercontinental exhange (ICE) which her husband owns. then she moved to bakkt, a crytocurrency firm in 2018.

          in case you did not recognize the bland name, ICE owns the new york stock exchange and a bunch of others.

          miss wiki explains:

          “… Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is an American company that owns exchanges for financial and commodity markets, and operates 12 regulated exchanges and marketplaces. This includes ICE futures exchanges in the United States, Canada and Europe, the Liffe futures exchanges in Europe, the New York Stock Exchange, equity options exchanges and OTC energy, credit and equity markets.

          Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. Public company. FoundedMay 11, 2000; 19 years ago. FounderJeffrey Sprecher. Headquarters Atlanta, Georgia United States. Jeffrey Sprecher (Chairman and CEO). Charles Vice (Vice Chairman). Benjamin Jackson (President)ProductsClearing.

          Exchange Listing
          Financial DataRevenue US$ 6.54 billion (2019). Operating income US$ 2.67 billion (2019). Net income US$ 1.96 billion (2019). Total assets US$ 94.49 billion (2019). Total equity US$ 17.29 billion (2019).

          ICE also owns and operates 6 central clearing houses: ICE Clear U.S., ICE Clear Europe, ICE Clear Singapore, ICE Clear Credit, ICE Clear Netherlands and ICE NGX. ICE has offices in Atlanta, New York, London, Chicago, Bedford, Houston, Winnipeg, Amsterdam, Calgary, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Tel Aviv and Singapore…. ”


          this guy, thru his senator wife, could help the party mucho. maybe this is why those republican senators felt free to do a wee bit of insidero trading.

          loeffler says she will spend $20 million to get elected. she’s definitely not going to need much money from the party coffers, only from rich leeches and those true-believing small time suckers who give to pacs.

        • Rayne says:

          THERE’S A LINK IN MY POST. Take the time to read it, for crying out loud. Her press secretary was asked about it.

          EDIT: Here, I’ll make it easy for you.

          (Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s household also recently liquidated stock but her press secretary said it was in a blind trust with the rest of her assets.)

          I made a special effort to look for that last night when her name came up, made sure to put in my post so that there wouldn’t be “reportedly claiming” stuff in threads. Pick up your game, Bobby.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Show me where DiFi directed the actions of the BLIND trust and I can agree with the smear, however, the GOP five (so far) did direct the stock transactions and that’s what makes this different.

          Charlie Davis at has all the credibility of the WSJ editorial page.

        • Bardi says:

          “Charlie Davis at has all the credibility of the WSJ editorial page.”

          The WSJ editorial page was described to me as the missing cartoon section found in most newspapers. This from a well-known financial executive.

        • Vicks says:

          This is easy.
          What were these people telling the public before, during and after they did their buying and selling?
          I don’t know the date of Feinstein’s sale but she has had 28 press releases on Covid-19 since January.
          All show a sense of urgency and demanded more work, more help, and/or more information.

          All I saw was dangerous trump-a-ganda from the other two ass-h*les.
          How about that Kudlow fella telling people it was a good time to buy on the dips?
          Are we supposed to believe he had no clue the danger this country was about to step into?
          It sucks that these people are privy to inside information and if they trade on that information, no question it’s a crime and they should lose big when they get caught.
          It turns from a crime into a freaking sin when someone with inside information feels strongly enough about it to sell off millions to protect what’s theirs and steers the people they have sworn an oath to protect off a cliff.
          I’m willing to bet that some hard working reporters are going to be giving us more names shortly.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Where was her involvement reported? She’s married to Richard Blum and we in CA would not be surprised to hear this, but as I noted above, I haven’t see her name anywhere except for when Trump called it out today at the presser and no GOPs. However Senator Hoeven (R-ND) makes it 5- (maybe) 1. Not even Raw Story has it.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Keep in mind that the link is to a twitter message from Charlie Davis at, hardly an objective source. So, while applaud Rayne for doing some research (and she is also correct about our opinions on DiFi, the only reason she’s stayed in office is that the GOP kept running foaming RWNJ against her), let’s also understand that only Trump picked up on this.

    • PieIsDamnGood says:

      Conspiracy theory time – Ivanka is the one mixing his drugs before these pressers and she’s got the cocktail wrong the last couple times. Gotta see them in action to refine them

      • Rayne says:

        I buy that theory. Somebody’s keeping the tangerine dotard’s stuffing together and I doubt it’s Kushner or Miller.

      • Rugger9 says:

        That’s why I was wondering why she was there. Recall how she was trying to join in at the summits (and getting snubbed by the actual leaders) and maybe she is Trump’s version of Edith Wilson.

  14. Pajaro says:

    Well, my son’s COVID19 test was negative, a result he is skeptical about. He’s had all the symptoms I’ve seen described, still has a few today. He lately noted shortness of breath, said changing a pillow case winded him so bad he had to sit down. And he is young (<30), fit normally pretty healthy. Said today is first day this week he woke without a sore throat. His temperature is down. Still coughing. He is getting gradually better. Dr. won't do a followup. I don't know if that is CDC or local guidance.

    • Rayne says:

      Oh wow. Symptoms sure sound like COVID-19 to me. I hope he’ll get a chance to test for COVID-19 antibodies when such a test is ready.

      • Pajaro says:

        Yes, that is what I said. He also told me something new, his mom had traveled to India in late January, and came back coughing and with same symptoms as his. She got over it, but took a while. Little confidence in the test precision at this point.

    • Frank Probst says:

      That degree of shortness of breath is pretty severe, and it sounds like it’s more recent than the other symptoms. You may want to think about suggesting a trip to the ER.

      • Pajaro says:

        He brought it up a few days ago, but not with details. Agree that is something to check out. Advised he do so. 8day+ sore throat, unproductive cough, fatigue, temp of 100.5, diarrhea, shortness of breath…fits the described symptoms. That his mom, whom he sees, went to India in Jan and returned with similar, and that he was in Seattle a month ago gives pause. I don’t know what test was used, private lab, but be good to know the frequency of false negatives for procedure. Shame there are too few tests available to retest given all this. His symptoms are diminishing, lately. I hope that continues. Even if positive he can’t do any more; already self-quarantined, no other treatments available. It is really a sorry state of affairs, and our government had opportunity to watch and learn from China and wasted 2.5 months and counting on an all-out effort to protect its citizens. Worse yet, discounting the threat and lying about capability. A lot of people in the US are going to die needlessly, and they just don’t care.

    • gerontar says:

      One troubling aspect to me is the possible low testing sensitivity (is the test positive in people with the disease?). The current tests vary with some being as low as 60% depending on the timing of testing during the course of illness, nature of the collection procedure, and other factors. The obvious point is that a negative test does not totally rule out the illness.

    • cavenewt says:

      Most people think lab tests are 100% accurate. They aren’t. Depending on the test, there are varying degrees of accuracy. But I do believe PCR tests are more accurate than antibody tests, although that may vary by the disease in question.

      • Frank Probst says:

        A BIG factor here is how good of a sample you get to do the testing on. My understanding is that you need a pretty good nasal swab for the RT-PCR to be all that reliable.

  15. punaise says:

    Semantic nuance is far from a priority, but shelter in place is actually a misnomer, currently, but nevertheless it is a convenient shortcut term to describe stay-at-home-indefinitely-except-for-essential-errands:

    The current confusion over “shelter in place” is an excellent, if frustrating, example. As it is traditionally used, shelter in place has an intuitively obvious definition: “Shelter in place means finding a safe location indoors and staying there until you are given an ‘all clear’ or told to evacuate,” notes Yale University’s website. The two most common situations in which shelter-in-place orders are given are probably during tornadoes and active-shooter events. What both those events have in common is (1) there is an imminent threat to people’s lives unless they stay exactly where they are, and (2) authorities can accurately state when the threat has dissipated and it is okay to leave. “Shelter in place” feels designed to have a certain visceral urgency to it, because that’s what it needs during those circumstances: If you leave your basement or the classroom where you’re hunkered down, you could be killed immediately.

    • Rayne says:

      I think certain phrases are going to acquire new meanings. As “shelter in place” now has a meaning defined by California’s state government and it’s the biggest of the states’ in terms of economy, their meaning is probably going to stick.

      Might have something to do with the governors in question. I’d rather Newsom defined it than Cuomo, who still can’t see a New Wuhan is developing on his watch in his backyard. I’m surprised Wall Street hasn’t done the math on what it could do to its presence in NYC.

      • punaise says:

        Newsom has been rock solid in this, doing what he has to do, communicating with urgency.

        punaise jr. lives in Brooklyn and is now (OK, fine:~) sheltering in place. His partner had a touch of flu-like symptoms but has improved – she is self-quarantined of course.

        • punaise says:

          Thanks, Ravne. Not sure they’re out of the woods just yet: partner may well have been exposed to coranavirus – she has (had) a lot of interaction with the public in her job and activism / campaign outreach.

      • mass interest says:

        Learned today that the wealthy are returning to Nantucket earlier then usual this year. According to a long-time year-round resident, they’re cleaning out Stop ‘n Shop and buying up gas.

    • Frank Probst says:

      I’m in Houston, and I immediately thought of it as a “sit tight” order for a hurricane. (As opposed to “evacuate”, which I just think of as “run like hell, preferably before everyone else gets out of work”.)

    • heddalee says:

      Semantic nuance seems still to be a priority. Portland’s mayor and Oregon’s governor gave a press conference tonight that could be boiled down to: “We disagree about what the phrase ‘shelter in place’ means, and so we’re unable to take action. We’ll let you know when we sort it out.” They parsed what ‘shelter in place’ means, noted that they are unable to agree, and adjourned.

    • Rayne says:

      Love Spocko but I think his ideas are unworkable in this case. Chinese Americans are keeping a wide berth from Trump, and Chinese who are near him have very specific aims which have nothing to do with helping the U.S.

      I’d rather see former presidential candidate Andrew Yang get Joe Biden’s back loudly and make a point of racism being detrimental to getting shit done effectively.

      • punaise says:

        yeah, I don’t see Doral Country Club getting commandeered any time soon…
        Good point re Yang.

      • vvv says:

        Maybe Elaine Cho will step up. Well, anything could happen.

        ht tps://

  16. DrFunguy says:

    On the plus side my partners covid test came back negative fwiw and she continues to improve and hasn’t had the breathing difficulties so I doubt she had it.
    On the negative, our (truly amazing and compassionate) family doctor, recently returned from foreign travel, tested negative, and in self-isolation, has pneumonia… of course we imagine the worst but hope for the best.
    We continue to self isolate here as we have an 83 y-old housemate to protect.
    Wondering whether we’ll get the supplies necessary to grow plants on contract for this year and next in our wee nursery. It may seem a small thing but we’re trying to do our part for our regions food security, climate change, sustainable agriculture and so forth and we will likely lose a lot of ground due to the plague.
    On the other hand, I am still fairly healthy, so there’s that.
    Stay home, take precautions and I wish you all good health.

    • P J Evans says:

      He should get the same COLA as people on Social Security do: it was 1.5% for this year, when food and rent have gone up 4%.

  17. Pete T says:

    Kind of accidentally came across a YouTube channel that is kind of interesting. Here are two videos that explain in understandable terms the role coloquin plays in a possible viral treatment. It’s really about getting Zinc+2 inside the cell to disrupt the RNA replication process:

    Just for anyone to follow up and comment on. If herd immunity is achieved at 80% of a population with immunity acquired by disease recovery or vaccine then consider that Italy is now running at about .8% infected population.

    And now please follow bmaz twitter thread on greatest live albums of all time. Perhaps he will make that a thread here with top live track linked to the thread.

  18. Frank Probst says:

    I think the reason the docs kept correcting Trump on the “chloroquine has been FDA-approved for COVID-19” line is that most doctors are going to know that you can use chloroquine as an FDA-approved medication to prevent malaria, so they may conclude that it must be medication that prevents COVID-19, too. Prescriptions that are written for this usage could potentially be filled, since prescriptions don’t have a have a “reason for prescribing” section on them. A good pharmacist might catch this, but many of them are overwhelmed right now, and since we’ve got a lot of people returning to the US from abroad (Welcome home, Peace Corps participants! You’re all fired!), it’s not something that’s TOO strange to be prescribing. Some places will also let doctors write prescriptions for themselves, and if you’re getting overwhelmed at work and have little to no suitable PPE, you could potentially write a prescription for it for yourself, with the same outcome: A healthy person ends up taking chloroquine for no reason. And chloroquine can be a have a lot of very nasty side-effects. It’s not something you want to be taking if you don’t have to be.

    • Ken Muldrew says:

      My recollection is that it was effective against SARS in cell culture. I don’t remember at all whether it was used clinically and, if so, whether it was effective.
      I’m not a virologist, though, and I’ve been out of the lab for 10 years, so I may be completely off base here.

  19. timbo says:

    Cuomo is a fool. I wonder what that bozo will do if the Federal government doesn’t come up with renters rent payment relief tout suite?

    A cousin of mine was relating how the NYC schools had parent meetings today to try to get all the kids and parents there oriented to all the online resources that online teaching will require over the next few months. At one school, it turned into a “sudden assembly” as almost a thousand parents and kids stood in line waiting to meet with teachers one-on-one. The Administrators at the school had to talk with the assembled parents and kids for two hours about how this was all going to go down. Some of the parents were pretty angry at the situation, and there are significant numbers of children who are living now in homeless situations already, with no steady access to wifi, etc. “More safety personnel were required to be sent from district HQ to the school…” Folks were recording the angry shouting that was going on all the while… Libraries are closed. Where to parents who don’t have reliable wifi at home go to get their kids educated? This is separate from the lunch and breakfast programs that many kids are already dependent on.

    So, let’s think now what happens when those parents who do have access to wifi currently but are going to be evicted if they can’t pay their rent at the end of this month… what about those without kids who are facing evictions because their job has given them “unpaid off time” instead of officially letting them go? This is a densely populated area, maybe some of the densest in the United States. What’s the plan look like for April? May? More stupid indecision from Cuomo?

    I’m in California, thankfully, where we have a smarter governor, and where we’ve been taking action quicker across the board when it comes to keeping society functioning at some calmer pace. NYC is a tinderbox.

    I have limited bandwidth at the moment so I also don’t know what’s happening in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington DC. Are they as badly served there too as the political vacuum that Cuomo seems to represent? Certainly the Trump Gang doesn’t seem to have done more than tell states that “You’re on your own” when it comes to making the right calls before we have social unrest. It’s coming in “bigly” if fools like Trump and Cuomo quality folks are calling the shots in other places around the country… what happens to millions of American families on the edge when grandma is gone? What is the social network for so many of us when livelihood’s are destroyed because of looting and fire? This is where leadership around the country is failing us right now. What’s the plan to keep this stuff stable?

    More money to relieve the liquidity markets will not solve this. More fools on TV saying they’re afraid of socialist solutions won’t fix the growing fissures we’re just starting to taste on Day 123 since Patient 0.

    • Eureka says:

      To answer your question about Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf has done an excellent job but gets no “national MSM” credit, the media apparently being interested in PA only as a (now-ish) swing-voting state for election purposes. Before the “shelter in place” orders elsewhere, Wolf ordered “mandated closures” in focal counties, which quickly rolled into shutting down the state (different labels, same policies). His decisions will save lives, though now they are getting to the point where some businesses labeled as “non-essential” may have to be reconsidered as “essential” and allowed to reopen because disrupted supply chains will impact coronavirus response / unintended consequences (first time in recent decades anything like this has been attempted).

      Also, while local cable company expanded free wifi due to school closures, there were still enough kids in Philadelphia without access that the schools there have ceased online teaching — period — so as not to exacerbate the disparities.

      (And as far as comparisons of big-city mayors go, Phila Mayor Kenny has been (?was) a laggard much like DeBlasio; the Gov has had to basically step-wise get him into a public stance of compliance/ curve flattening at each stage. e.g. Gov. starts county shut downs, mayor says it’s great to go out to eat/support local restaurants. Mayor initially refused to shut down daycares in city (contra rest of state); next day or so gov got that taken care of. Etc.)

      • Bri2k says:

        A fellow Keystoner here and I concur about Gov. Wolf. His actions and leadership stack up well in comparison to others in the U.S. although this is an admittedly low bar.

        In addition, here in the Paris of Appalachia, my town of Three Rivers, Mayor Peduto has been more proactive than his opposite numbers in other parts of the country.

        Pittsburgh and Allegheny county as a whole are preparing to get hit hard. All non-essential business have been ordered closed and even those that remain open are on limited hours.

        All city depts are only responding in-person for cases of immediate endangerment. Did someone break in or steal your car? Call 911 and maybe they’ll write down your complaint somewhere.

        Strauss & Howe in their book Generations wrote at length about an unraveling. While this may have been going on for some time, it’s certainly picking up with terrifying speed, especially in my town.

        • Eureka says:

          Nice to hear from you and about what’s going on in your neck of the woods (though I get snippets in the news — like new carry licenses were suspended here and there because of the run on gun sales, with ~reduced personnel — it’s not the same as a real person summing the state of affairs). I saw the PA National Guard is helping to set up/run some new testing sites today in each our areas, for symptomatic or exposed first responders/ front liners and symptomatic 65+ folks. I thought finally with a smidge more testing that that was why the numbers were going up, but Health Secretary Levine said today that the continued exponential rise is because of new infections, not increased testing. Not at all heartening news since they’ve done hardly any tests [like 3k+, pathetic for any state, much less a (~5th-most) populous one].

          In Plague County (similarly pleased with the leadership), the lockdown feels like forever (only ~ a week and a half, but time moves so oddly FAST-slow lately) and I feel like I have no sense of social life in the community. The cases are shaking out here to be avg (arithmetic mean) ~ 47y, with a left-shifted (younger) normal distribution of an age range 1-95. Lots of _30s_, _40s_, 50s folks [the bar graphs were looking stuttered/ irregular only day/s ago still].

          Best of grace, fortitude, and luck to you and yours and ours — all of us.

  20. Fran of the North says:

    D1 has reported in from DC that she and her seriously immuno-compromised husband have both been tested in the past 48 hrs. She is a health worker, and is supposedly going to get results within 24 hours in order to get her back on the job if negative. Hubby was tested 2 days ago and should have results in 5-6 days. I’m as positive as possible given the circumstances. Stay strong in these difficult times.

    Peace, Fran

    • Fran of the North says:

      D1 reports that she tested negative. No word on SIL yet, but with his limited mobility/outside exposure odds are better that he will be negative as well.

      • Eureka says:

        Hey Fran, thanks for the update but I am sure they will be worried — with cause — the whole while with the constant exposures. Best wishes and hope all goes well — E

        PS: I set up a decontamination space at home for my frontliner — as others have reported doing on the news/twitters — hopefully D1 and SIL have done the same at their place. I’m using simple cardboard boxes open to the air, as shallow as possible (but to keep the dog out) — one for shoes, other for laundry.

        • Eureka says:

          ^ plus the large lawn-and-leaf paper bags for laundry (for optimal balance of containment and air circulation) (which then goes to super heated cycle because no guarantee soap bubbles get at all of it). Good luck, all.

  21. Molly Pitcher says:

    Trying to catch the attention of Frank Probst, punaise and pajaro, there are 4 companies who right now have home tests for Covid19. The stories just came out today. I think this could be an option for your children. There are shortcomings in do it yourself, but in the absence of the ability to get a Dr/hospital applied test, it might help.

    • Pajaro says:

      Thanks Molly, I emailed one of the links to my son. Yesterday suggested he go to ER. The kits sound a bit iffy, no test on reliability. Think it would be lest costly for him to drive to nearby state that has drive-through testing, see if can get one. I don’t know if that is possible, may be restricted to residents.

      • Pajaro says:

        Son reports today he is feeling better. I deluged him this AM with texts asking how he was, he was sleeping in.

  22. Molly Pitcher says:

    Also, Frank, this is from today’s Johns Hopkins daily Covid19 news letter:

    SEROLOGICAL TESTING As diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection ramps up in the United States, many questions remain regarding the number of cases and asymptomatic infections that are going undetected, both in the United States and around the world. The PCR tests currently used to diagnose COVID-19 patients are effective at identifying active infections by detecting virus currently present in the specimens, but they are not able to determine whether an individual was previously infected after the patient has recovered. For this, serological tests are needed. Serological tests identify the presence of antibodies, which were generated as a result of prior infection. A study published on March 18 (pre-print) describes the development and initial testing of an ELISA serological test by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in collaboration with colleagues from multiple international institutions. Based on tests using human samples from both uninfected individuals and recovered COVID-19 patients, their preliminary findings indicate that the new serological test can effectively detect the target antibodies. Additionally, the researchers note that the test “do[es] not require handling of infectious virus” and that production is “amenable to scaling,” which could allow for rapid production in order to conduct larger population surveys.

    At yesterday’s White House briefing, Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator, reported that that approximately 10-11% of all SARS-CoV-2 tests in the United States have positive results, potentially indicating that the majority of individuals with COVID-19 symptoms have other diseases (eg, seasonal influenza). But additional information is still required to understand the number of mild cases or asymptomatic infections in the community, particularly as they may not have warranted testing or even sought care. Serological testing, using products such as the test discussed above, could allow broader surveys to be conducted to more accurately characterize the scale of the pandemic, and the infection fatality ratio as well as screen individuals (e.g., healthcare workers) to identify those with immunity to the virus.

    • Frank Probst says:

      This is pretty much legit. There are a LOT of groups working to develop tests for antibodies to the COVID-19, for exactly these reasons. This is the type of testing that was done early on in the HIV/AIDS epidemic, so there are a lot of clinical labs out there that can do the test. Once they’ve got it working reasonably well, I’d expect widespread testing with this kind of test. On the research side, it’s going to help us determine whether or not antibody levels wane over time, which would suggest that you don’t develop permanent immunity to the virus (which would be BAD).

  23. Bri2k says:

    Thank you for this post, Rayne and heartiest best wishes for the health of you & yours and all the emptywheelers.

    A very close friend of mine near Seattle is of Chinese-Korean heritage so yes, this racism has very real effects on the ground negatively impacting real people. My friend has experienced it repeatedly.

    Fortunately, he’s of above-average height and usually wears black so people don’t often confront him. He says when he’s out in public and sees people behaving badly around him, all he has to do is cough and they all clear out. A silver lining of sorts.

    The greed, lies, incompetence and outright ignorance will kill, and more than it normally does. Make no mistake.

    My town is preparing for an absolute gut-punch. They announced yesterday police will only respond to calls where there’s violence or immediate endangerment.

    Meanwhile, some of my less well-informed friends near Renton are expressing shock that the liquor stores have closed here. Um, buddy, it’s so bad your own local hospital has put out a public appeal for people to sew masks for them.

    Viruses don’t care how much money you make, what facts you accept nor how you vote.

    If you’re not angry and deeply concerned, you’re simply not paying attention.

    Please take care of yourselves and remember, we’re all in this together.

    • harpie says:

      Sincerely wishing you and yours well, Bri2k.

      This is from this morning:
      12:11 AM · Mar 21, 2020

      Surveymonkey currently more helpful on PPE than the federal government [link]

      The link is to the MAYOR of SEATTLE [I think that’s eastern time]:
      8:17 PM · Mar 20, 2020

      @CityofSeattle needs
      unused N95 masks
      P100 surgical masks
      disposable gloves
      disposable gowns
      eye wear and face shields
      If you have any of these supplies to donate, fill out this survey: [link]
      Mobile phone Call 425-681-6798 for large companies

      People and places ALL OVER THE COUNTRY
      have to SCRAMBLE volunteers and donations
      BECAUSE of the

      • harpie says:

        After their two week quarantine, these
        might be able to HELP in THIS 3rd world country:
        9:48 PM · Mar 20, 2020

        In other times, the firing of the entire peace corps
        with no benefits, no place for them to shelter, no protection at all-
        would have been a national scandal. Now it’ll barely register on this crazy Friday. [WaPo link]

        The Peace Corps isn’t just bringing home 7,300 volunteers because of the coronavirus. It’s firing them.
        March 20, 2020 at 2:53 p.m.

        • Bri2k says:

          Thank you harpie. I’m so angry I don’t have words.

          And here I thought I was seeing red last week when it came out Trump was still making decisions based on his pocketbook.

          Anyone trying to make a buck out of this is an out-and-out vampire. Back in the days before we figured out how to farm, people that sacrifice the good of the tribe for selfish reasons were removed via means more harsh than any electorial college.

          While it’s an oldie, Lou Reed’s “There Is No Time” sums it up nicely:

          Please take care. As Doc Brown said, “This is some serious shit!”

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Nice cover story. But things like the Peace Corps will have been on the neoliberals’ Do Not Resuscitate list for some time.

          They loathe any use of their tax money, most of which they don’t pay, to support anything that does not directly support, immunize, or subsidize them – or physically protect their property.

          They loathe any model of personal or govermental behavior that contradicts their elevation of John Galt to godhood. People volunteering to help other people? Little brown furriners? At goverment expense? You can feel the apoplexy surging from Randolph and Mortimer’s Heritage Club.

          Mirowski and Klein were not making the motto: Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste. It accurately describes neoliberal thinking and priorities.

          Imagine what even this administration could get done if its few sentient employees focused on the problem instead of implementing their neoliberal wish list. But if they did, they would see wingnut welfare dry up like the Imperial Valley.

  24. harpie says:

    U.S. intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic
    March 20, 2020 at 8:10 p.m.

    […] Intelligence agencies “have been warning on this since January,” said a U.S. official who had access to intelligence reporting that was disseminated to members of Congress and their staffs as well as to officials in the Trump administration, and who, along with others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive information.

    “Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were — they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it,” this official said.

    “The system was blinking red.” […]

  25. Blueride27 says:

    Has anyone read the Washington post article about the intelligence on covid 19? Trump was more worried about bringing flavored vape juice back on the market.

  26. Tom says:

    Now we know how the Martians felt at the end of H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds” as they were felled by man’s “microscopic allies” to which the invaders had no biological defenses. In the present situation, however, our allies have turned against us and though humanity will survive, we will likely have some collective PTSD symptoms for years to come. The videos of a deserted Times Square, the empty streets of Rome, and other similar scenes will be hard to forget and we may never feel entirely at ease with the return to normality when it comes. As Wells’ narrator describes in the closing pages of his 1897 novel:

    “I must confess the stress and danger of the time have left an abiding sense of doubt and insecurity in my mind. I sit in my study writing by lamplight , and suddenly I … feel the house behind and about me empty and desolate…. I go to London and see the busy multitudes in Fleet Street and the Strand, and it comes to my mind that they are but the ghosts of the past, haunting the streets that I have seen silent and wretched, going to and fro, phantasms in a dead city, the mockery of life in a galvanized body.”

    At the same time, Wells’ narrator also sees reason for optimism: “It may be that in the larger design of the universe this invasion from Mars [read COVID-19 pandemic] is not without its ultimate benefit for men; it has robbed us of that serene confidence in the future which is the most fruitful source of decadence, the gifts to human science it has brought are enormous, and it has done much to promote the conception of the commonweal of mankind.” Let’s hope that in our case Life will imitate Art.

    • cavenewt says:

      I’ve been bringing up War of the Worlds for weeks now. But I see the Martian tripods as being analogous to Trump, and hoping that the humble microbe will bring down this ruthless invader.

  27. Rapier says:

    I’m surprised I’ve seen no comment that I have seen yet, how the UK and the US were the only governments in the world who chose, or wanted to. allowing the virus to rage so it would be over fast and limit the economic impact. According to their theory anyway. I suppose Australia would have chosen the same but the seasonal factor has delayed the spread there.

    Which speaks to my idea that ‘conservatism’ as practiced in the English speaking world is specifically cultural, and racial. If one accepts that between them the UK and the US have been the dominant global powers for nearly 400 years then the corona virus will act as an historical marker of their decline. The rest of the world looks on in horror and bemusement that clowns lead these nations,pretty much over a cliff. Which not coincidentally has a gigantic economic/monetary component. The American like the British empire was only partly about ‘race’ it was equally or more so about money and finance. The centrality of their banks and monetary systems integral to the empires.

    That I propose is over.

  28. harpie says:

    A prescription from DOCTOR DONALD:
    10:13 AM · Mar 21, 2020

    HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine. The FDA has moved mountains – Thank You! Hopefully they will BOTH (H works better with A, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents)….. / ….be put in use IMMEDIATELY. PEOPLE ARE DYING, MOVE FAST, and GOD BLESS EVERYONE!

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Thank you very much for this. I worry that information like this is off the radar of the medical community in the trenches, because they are so slammed and will be even more so in the near future.

      I think that makes it important for the public to keep as informed as possible to be able to advocate for themselves or others.

    • errant aesthete says:

      I didn’t have time to find a suitable spot in this thread for this, but felt it a worthy read. Out of New Orleans today, Saturday, March 21, 2020.

      HEAD: A Medical Worker Describes Terrifying Lung Failure From COVID-19 — Even in His Young Patients

      SUBHEAD: “It first struck me how different it was when I saw my first coronavirus patient go bad. I was like, Holy shit, this is not the flu. Watching this relatively young guy, gasping for air, pink frothy secretions coming out of his tube.”–terrifying-lung-failure-from-covid19-even-in-his-young-patients

  29. Eureka says:

    ~~ dashing in breathlessly with only good news I’ve seen all day~~

    CBS is re-airing 80s NCAA championship games. Now on: 1982, Georgetown v NC.

    At this point I steal our friend Jaango’s tagline: Need I say more? (That’s Ewing & Jordan, folks– )

    ETA: oh, no– landed in the comment pokey! Not sure what I did…

    • Eureka says:

      Heh: Trump presser ruined the whole damn thing, great game vanished due to propagandist’s need to slake his rally withdrawal. Oh welz.

  30. cavenewt says:

    Thanks for mentioning Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel. For those who are interested, he produced two sequels:

    Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed (2005)
    Upheaval : Turning Points for Nations in Crisis (2019)

  31. Eureka says:

    A most apropos video of Elizabeth Warren from 2018 (intro, loosely glossed: ~ imagine you had an app that would tell you when to buy or sell stock…well MOC get/have that info/power):

    ATTN:: “Instead of using their insider knowledge about the coronavirus to profit in the stock market, politicians should inform the public. [video]”

  32. harpie says:

    March Madness in the time of Coronavirus:

    CBS is playing reruns of certain NCAA March Madness championship games from the past. I haven’t gotten around to watching any of them yet, but I greatly enjoyed reading Charles Pierce live tweeting one today! [He’s not threading his tweets :-( ] He was actually AT that game in 1983 and this is all kind of time warp-y.
    He also has a little anecdote about Elizabeth Warren, who was also AT that game, and whom he wrote about AT the time in the Boston Globe:
    3:15 PM · Mar 21, 2020

    Apropos of the 1983 NCAA championship game, now showing on CBS. From a Globe piece I wrote about the senator.

    “Finally, one of the burlier gentlemen in Warren’s section inquired why she was so passionate about the Rockets. Warren explained her background in Houston. /1

    He then determined to quiz her on her bona fides.
    Who was the coach of that team, he asked her.
    Guy V. Lewis, she answered.
    What was his trademark, he asked her.
    He carried around a checkered towel, she answered.” /2
    “That team” was the Phi Slama Jama’s. /3

  33. harpie says:

    Nigeria Has Chloroquine Poisonings After Trump Praised Drug
    March 21, 2020, 10:51 AM // Updated on March 21, 2020, 11:42 AM

    […] Health officials are warning Nigerians against self-medicating after demand for the drug surged in Lagos, a city that’s home to 20 million people. Two people were hospitalized in Lagos for chloroquine overdoses, Oreoluwa Finnih, senior health assistant to the governor of Lagos, said in an interview. […]

  34. P J Evans says:

    OT: Mark Desaulnier, who fell land broke a rib, is now in critical condition. Not from the virus – the report is the fracture was “traumatic”.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Desaulnier was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia, casue by the broken ribs puncturing his lungs.

  35. orionATL says:

    lessons learned, sort of.

    there are no magic solutions.
    there is no fairy godmother.
    but wait, what pollyanna potus says –

    oh, nuts:

    pulmonary hypotension
    azythromycin Azithromycin: (Major) Avoid coadministration of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. Hydroxychloroquine increases the QT interval and should not be administered with other drugs known to prolong the QT interval. Ventricular arrhythmias and torsade de pointes (TdP) have been reported with the use of hydroxychloroquine. There have been case reports of QT prolongation and TdP with the use of azithromycin in postmarketing reports. 

    you gotta take some risks i guess.

    [Edited to take up less scrolling. Please keep mobile users in mind./~Rayne]

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