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AP Reporter Goes on Uncharacteristic Rant Accusing Trump of Treating Coronavirus Like Bad News in a Tabloid Column

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White House correspondent Jonathan Lemire unloaded on President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

The Associated Press reporter usually remains reserved on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” even when offering criticism of the president, but Lemire blasted Trump’s leadership during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It’s caused great frustration from those at the front lines, the mayors and governors across the nation,” Lemire said, addressing the lack of specifics regarding personal protective equipment for medical workers. “Yesterday, as I said, the FEMA head couldn’t say how many masks are being shipped.”

The president has been reluctant to fully invoke the Defense Production Act, Lemire said, because he thinks it’s a socialist policy — although Republican and Democratic governors alike are begging him to push out ventilators and masks.

“Governors and mayors across the nation are asking him to do so,” Lemire said. “There’s a suggestion by some that he is not wanting to fully lean into this because he wants to point the finger elsewhere if the efforts fail. If he doesn’t fully enact it we see him repeatedly shift the onus to the states to come up with these items that they need.”

“We also know this, part of what’s hampering the issue, why there aren’t the details, partially why that he can’t — the administration hasn’t been able to level with the American public is that his advisors are sometimes afraid to level with him,” Lemire said. “The president is looking through this still with a glass, with rosy glasses, believing this will be over sooner than later, dismissing science health experts, sometimes in meetings, when aides come and suggest, ‘Hey, this is dire, and we’re trying to present to you a realistic sense of how long this can take and how bad it will get’ — he doesn’t want to hear it.”

“He is someone who his whole life has asserted his own sense of reality,” Lemire added. “He creates his own truth. That doesn’t work in this situation, and it may have worked with Page Six and some of the gossip pages and worked to a degree during the campaign, it is not going to work here. That is what alarms so many people in Washington and across the nation.”

Lemire said the president’s late-night tweet shows he still doesn’t understand the depth of this crisis and how long it might last.

“I will point to his tweet last night, late last night, he tweeted, ‘We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself, at the end of the 15-day period we’ll make a decision which way to go,’” Lemire said, “which lines up with what we’re starting to hear around him, the belief that he feels these draconian measures to restrict the economy may do more harm than good, even though that flies in the face of the health experts and he’s going to be looking to push to a return it to a normal society far sooner than any health expert or doctor would want.”

 

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Confirmed US Coronavirus-Related Deaths Surge – Double in Just Two Days

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The number of confirmed coronavirus-related deaths in the United States has doubled in just two days, The Washington Post reported Saturday evening. The number of people who have died from COVID-19 now stands at 2000.

It was just over one month ago when President Donald Trump told the American people there were just 15 cases and “within days” the number would drop to “close to zero.”

Trump on that day said: “that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”

“It took about a month from the first confirmed death for the United States to record 1,000,” the Post adds. “That toll has risen rapidly as officials have been warning the worst is yet to come.”

EARLIER: Trump’s Chilling Re-Election Calculus Is to Focus on Economy Instead of Lives Says Former Administration Official: Report

 

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The National Security Council Gave Trump a 69-Page Pandemic Plan Three Years Ago — He Ignored It

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On Wednesday, Politico reported the details of a 69-page pandemic response playbook given to President Donald Trump’s team by the National Security Council, outlining key steps the federal government should take to coordinate a response and contain the crisis — and revealed how the White House was catastrophically late to implement the plan’s major suggestions at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Trump administration, state officials and even individual hospital workers are now racing against each other to get the necessary masks, gloves and other safety equipment to fight coronavirus — a scramble that hospitals and doctors say has come too late and left them at risk,” wrote Dan Diamond and Nahal Toolsi. “But according to a previously unrevealed White House playbook, the government should’ve begun a federal-wide effort to procure that personal protective equipment at least two months ago.”

The report continued: “‘Is there sufficient personal protective equipment for healthcare workers who are providing medical care?’ the playbook instructs its readers, as one early decision that officials should address when facing a potential pandemic. ‘If YES: What are the triggers to signal exhaustion of supplies? Are additional supplies available? If NO: Should the Strategic National Stockpile release PPE to states?’”

This playbook, which was devised in 2016 in the wake of the government’s attempts to contain Ebola just years before, reportedly “also stresses the significant responsibility facing the White House to contain risks of potential pandemics, a stark contrast with the Trump administration’s delays in deploying an all-of-government response and President Donald Trump’s recent signals that he might roll back public health recommendations.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services maintained this plan was never formally adopted and said, “The HHS COVID-19 response was informed by more recent plans such as the foundation of the National Biodefense Strategy (2018), Biological Incident Annex (2017), and panCAP (2018) among other key plans provided by the CDC, White House Task Force, FEMA, and other key federal departments and agencies.”

Nonetheless, according to Politico, the existence of the plan undercuts Trump’s narrative that the coronavirus disaster was unforeseeable: “Trump’s aides were told to expect a potential pandemic, ranging from a tabletop exercise that the outgoing Obama administration prepared for the president’s incoming aides to a ‘Crimson Contagion’ scenario that health officials undertook just last year and modeled out potential risks of a global infectious disease threat. Trump’s deputies also have said that their coronavirus response relies on a federal playbook, specifically referring to a strategy laid out by the Centers for Disease Control.”

“It is not clear if the administration’s failure to follow the NSC playbook was the result of an oversight or a deliberate decision to follow a different course,” continued the report.

You can read more here.

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Trump Will Be a ‘One-Man Death Panel’ if He Sends People Back to Work Amid Pandemic: Medical Experts

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President Donald Trump’s stated desire to get America back up and running by Easter despite the continued threat from the coronavirus pandemic is running into a wall of criticism from medical experts.

In interviews with the New York Times, several medical experts said that pushing Americans to return to work in the middle of a pandemic would make the spread of the disease vastly worse than it is right now.

“The virus will surge, many will fall ill and there will be more deaths,” Dr. William Schaffner, a preventive medicine expert at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tells the Times of Trump’s push to ease social distancing restrictions.

“Nobody voted in Donald Trump thinking he would become a ‘one-man death panel’ empowered to dispense with American lives like cannon fodder,” Amir Attaran, a professor of law and medicine at the University of Ottawa, tells the paper. “It would be political suicide for him and murder for many others.”

Dr. Peter Rabinowitz, the acting director of the University of Washington MetaCenter for Pandemic Disease Preparedness, similarly tells the Times that there are no shortcuts in dealing with the virus.

“The lesson from China is that aggressive measures to reduce the spread of the virus, continued for two months, have led to a reduction in new cases,” he says.

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