Coronavirus Almost Gone (From Trump's Brain)
The US hit a new record Friday for new coronavirus cases in a single-day, with more than 83,000 new cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data. That beats a previous daily peak of 77,000 cases in July. Hospitalizations are also increasing, with some areas facing critical shortages of ICU beds and staff. But don't worry! Donald Trump is tired of the whole thing, and continues to say it'll go away any minute now. Just yesterday, at a rally in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Trump lied yet again about the pandemic, insisting that if we just click our heels together, everything will be fine again:
It's ending anyway. We are rounding the turn. It's ending anyway. [...] Normal life. That's what we want, right? Normal life. Normal life. We just want normal life. It's happening, very quickly.
Despite Trump's reassurances that everything is normal, stock markets around the world saw their biggest decline in a month, as the virus surged in other countries as well, probably as part of a plot to make Trump look bad. Let's take a look at just how normal everything is!
So how bad is it? Average daily cases are way up, and former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned Monday that the nation appears to be "at the cusp of what is going to be exponential spread in parts of the country." The rise in infections around the world was predicted last spring, when public health officials warned that as people spend more time indoors, the virus would spread more easily. But in the USA, that's compounded by Americans' patriotic refusal to believe in science, too.
CNBC crunched numbers on new infections from Johns Hopkins, and has this overview of the surge:
More than 20 states reported record-high numbers of average daily new cases, and cases are rising by 5% or more in 40 states, according to CNBC's analysis. Many of the states with the fastest growing outbreaks are those in the Midwest and West, which did not report many cases of the virus earlier in the pandemic. Adjusted for population, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, Montana and Idaho are reporting more average daily new cases than anywhere else in the country.
The new outbreaks are already starting to overwhelm hospital systems around the country, some of which already dealt with record hospitalizations during the summer spike.
In Texas, state officials are sending medical personnel and supplies to El Paso, where hospitals are filling up. Gov. Greg Abbott announced Sunday that the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center would be opened to expand treatment space for COVID-19 cases, with an overall capacity of up to 100 beds. El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego ordered a curfew and said the hospitals were at "a crisis stage." A report by the University of Texas at Austin warned last week that El Paso hospitals could run out of beds by November 8, and that five other parts of the state have a 25 percent chance of running out of hospital space within the next three weeks.
In Utah, the number of coronavirus cases is at new heights nearly every day, and hospital administrators are warning they may be forced to ration care within the next week or two. The administrators asked Gov. Gary Herbert to approve triage standards that, if ICU capacity is overwhelmed, would prioritize care for patients with higher chances of survival. Greg Bell, president of the Utah Hospital Association, said,
We told him, "It looks like we're going to have to request those be activated if this trend continues [...] and we see no reason why it won't."
While Utah does have plans to open a field hospital in a convention center if needed, the hospitals say the problem may not be bed space, but a shortage of trained ICU staff to care for patients. University of Utah Hospital opened an overflow ICU two weeks ago, but it's being staffed by doctors and nurses working overtime. Bell said the state's hospitals have also lost "hundreds and hundreds" of nursing staff as nurses have become ill themselves or have had to stay home to care for an infected family member. 21 counties in Utah currently require people to wear masks whenever they're around people other than their families.
In Northern Idaho, the region's only critical-care hospital, Kootenai Health in Coeur D'Alene, is already so overwhelmed that it announced last week that new patients may need to go to hospitals in Spokane, Seattle, or Portland. But this being Northern Idaho, the Panhandle Health District board nonetheless voted 4-3 Thursday night to rescind a mask mandate for the five-county region. (The two board members from Kootenai County voted to keep the mandate.) One board member, Allen Banks of Bonner County, said he believes every single positive test for COVID-19 is actually a "false positive," because he is a complete idiot who somehow ended up being elected to a health board.
"The question I'd be asking myself if I were you is: Something is making these people sick – and I'm pretty sure it's not coronavirus – so the question you should be asking is, what is making them sick?" Banks told two critical care physicians from Kootenai Health, who have been on the front lines of the pandemic and treating the sickest patients.
Guess he put those anti-American doctors in their place.
Elsewhere in Idaho, the hospital in Twin Falls announced it would no longer admit children, other than newborns, and will send all pediatric patients to Boise, 128 miles away.
On Monday, Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced the state would move from "Stage Four" of its reopening plan back to "Stage Three," which would place limits on the size of gatherings allowed to 50 people outside, and no more than 25 indoors, but otherwise doesn't limit business operations; Little has never ordered a statewide mask mandate, although several cities and district health boards have.
Elsewhere around the country, some officials are imposing new measures to limit the spread of the virus. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered temporary closures of businesses determined to be hot spots, limiting operating hours for businesses, closing state museums, and requiring restaurants and bars to be certified as following state guidelines, and to operate at 25 percent of capacity.
In South Dakota, the Oglala Sioux tribe took stronger measures, putting in place restrictions on nonessential travel on the Pine Ridge Reservation and ordering nonessential businesses closed until October 30.
In Florida, the top health official for Orange County recommended parents not hold birthday parties for their kids after a recent Sweet 16 party in Orlando resulted in 15 infections, and after a high school last month closed for two weeks when another birthday party sparked an outbreak.
Not New Measures
Meanwhile, Donald Trump on Friday mocked a reporter at the White House for wearing "the largest mask I've ever seen" during a gathering where most people went unmasked.
Also, after Chief of Staff Mark Meadows's astonishing admission Sunday that the administration isn't trying to control the virus, Joe Biden said that Trump had waved "the white flag of defeat and hope that by ignoring it, the virus would simply go away." Trump had a real zinger for Biden Monday, saying in Pennsylvania, "No, he has. He's waved the white flag on life. He doesn't leave his basement! [...] We're doing a great job."
Meadows had his own variation on the theme Monday, explaining,
The only person waving the white flag along with his white mask is Joe Biden [...] We're going to defeat the virus. We're not going to control it. We will try to contain it as best we can.
As of yet, no researchers have shown the novel coronavirus is affected in the least by sarcasm or by owning the libs.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.