President Donald Trump once again revealed his top goal is to minimize the appearance of the extent of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. in an attempt to help his re-election chances.
On Friday Trump was forced to finally declare a national emergency, which he did not want to do, out 0f fear it would make him look weak.
Friday afternoon, Trump appeared in the Rose Garden, 30 minutes late, to announce what his administration would be doing in conjunction with the national emergency declaration.
Trump turned his focus to coronavirus testing, which he delayed early on to make it appear that coronavirus was a “hoax,” and later promising that the 15 cases would quickly become “zero,” and when those pronouncements clearly became lies, Trump repeatedly – inside the White House and in public – made clear he wanted as little testing as possible.
“Our overriding goal is to stop the spread of the virus and to help all Americans who have been impacted by this,” Trump told Americans from the Rose Garden podium Friday afternoon.
“Again, we don’t want everybody taking this test,” the President, focused on re-election, urged. “It’s totally unnecessary. This will pass through and we’re going to be even stronger for it.”
Politico’s Dan Diamond in an NPR interview documented how Trump knew early on the importance of testing but did not push for it in an effort to reduce the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Watch President Trump:
President Trump: “Our overriding goal is to stop the spread of the virus and to help all Americans who have been impacted by this. Again, we don’t want everybody taking this test. It’s totally unnecessary. This will pass.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 13, 2020
The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake notes Trump also said this during the news conference:
Trump: “Frankly, the numbers, because of the steps that have been taken, are at a level that a lot of people are surprised, especially when you compare them with other places, with far smaller populations.”
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) March 13, 2020
Trump just said Americans “shouldn’t be jumping” to get tested.
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Confirmed US Coronavirus-Related Deaths Surge – Double in Just Two Days
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.”
The National Security Council Gave Trump a 69-Page Pandemic Plan Three Years Ago — He Ignored It
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.
Trump Will Be a ‘One-Man Death Panel’ if He Sends People Back to Work Amid Pandemic: Medical Experts
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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