Liveblogging Donald Trump's 'Our Friend The Coronavirus' Book Report
We're getting set for special coverage of Donald Trump's big press conference on the US response to the coronavirus, which he announced this morning in a tweet that whined about how the media and Democrats are blowing this very minor inconvenience out of proportion to hurt the stock market and hurt his chances for reelection, because that's exactly how his brain works.
Remember? Remember how he misspelled the virus and it's still up all these hours later?
The presser, to feature officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is supposed to get underway at 6:30 Eastern, after Trump has attended a briefing on the virus, what the public health system is doing about it, and, presumably, why he can't actually fire the virus.
Let's check in on some of today's developments!
The New York Times reported this morning that Trump, who's just going nuts over the stock market losses due to worries about economic disruptions that could result from the epidemic, was considering appointing a "coronavirus czar" to take care of everything so Trump won't have to think about it anymore. Later in the day, a White House spokesperson denied Trump was considering any such thing. But Trump is very certain this is all nothing, because it would be more convenient if he could just focus on the important things like yelling about Hillary Clinton's emails some more.
Contradicting some government experts who see the coronavirus threat as only beginning, [Trump] is still convinced that, like the flu, the new coronavirus will dissipate with warmer, more humid weather.
A new case of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, has been confirmed in the USA, bringing the total number to 60. It's a good round number and it should not be allowed to increase.
Congresswoman Donna Shalala, who served as Bill Clinton's secretary of Health and Human Services, said today on MSNBC that Donald Trump shouldn't be allowed anywhere near tonight's briefing, because just as he doesn't read, he also does not science. Leave it to the CDC and the World Health Organization, please!
This is an anti-science administration. The last person the American people trust is the president of the United States talking about science.
If you haven't bookmarked the CDC's coronavirus information page, you probably should, huh?
We should be getting started any minute now, unless Trump had a screaming fit during his briefing. Here's a livestream!
6:30 He's gonna start late, isn't he?
6:37: Oh, here we go. Trump starts by offering thoughts and prayers for the victims of a mass shooting in Milwaukee. Trump is very proud that he cut off flights from China, and anyone who criticized that (like virtually all public health experts) should be ashamed of themselves.
Everyone is getting better, and we have the best experts.
6:40: Trump says there are "fifteen" people who have covid-19, which what the hell is he talking about? That was the original number, before the decision to bring back two planeloads of Americans from that cruise ship.
6:44: Well there's one question answered: this is not a carefully-scripted teleprompter speech. He's reading from notes, improvising, winging it. And don't you worry, more people die of flu. You know, flu? You got your flu shot?
A lot of people don't know that "the flu in our country kills from 29,000 people to 69,000 people a year. That was shocking to me." And also that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. He sometimes got the flu, but got better, because he was very tough.
6:47: Mike Pence takes over, and actually reads his script as written, Donald Trump is the best leader and he has been on top of this from the start. Thank you Jesus for Donald Trump.
6:52: HHS Secretary Alex Azar sticks to the "sixteen" cases line, and what the hell are these people trying to pull?
6:55: Oh, we missed this: Pence is now in charge of Coronavirus, but he's not a czar. Got it.
6:57: CDC's principal deputy director, Anne Schuchat, assures us that the government is completely ready for any challenge, and you should wash your hands. That's actually good advice!
6:58: Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, says that while a vaccine for the virus is being developed as quickly as possible, it will take time, and a functioning vaccine won't be tested and ready to go until around a year and a half from now. Adds that the coronavirus may become a seasonally recurring problem, and so if it does, there should be a vaccine.
7:03: Trump downplays the CDC doc, Nancy Messonnier, who said it's "inevitable" the virus will spread and interrupt everyday life for Americans. And fucking MSNBC drops the Q & A.
7:05: Trump is sure the stock market dropped because investors saw the Democratic debate last night, which would really be an impressive feat since the Dow's biggest drops were Monday and Tuesday. Oh, and also maybe fears of the virus. Weirdly, he doesn't repeat this morning's claim that it was all media-induced panic.
7:10: Trump explains that while the government will be buying plenty of supplies like masks and stuff, he hopes it won't be necessary. And as for travel plans, Americans don't need to travel abroad, they can stay here, because America is a great place to visit.
Nothing to worry about folks. You know, Amity means FRIENDSHIP.
7:12: Democratic critics of Trump's response to the outbreak are terrible people who don't know what they're talking about. Nancy Pelosi should shut up and clean up San Francisco, which she has somehow ruined although she technically is in the US government, not the city government.
He also says Pelosi and Chuck Schumer should be ashamed of themselves for insulting the great doctors standing behind him, too.
7:15: Trump again insists the market is down because investors are scared of Democrats destroying the Second Amendment, but just wait until he's reelected and stocks will boom!
7:17: Trump says that laying off the government's entire chain of command for dealing with pandemic disease was just good business sense, because you don't need a lot of people on payroll when they're not needed. He can hire 'em back if he needs. Good lord this man.
7:20: You know what's really bad for the GDP? Boeing. And the GM strike, months ago. Also, the Fed. Obama had zero interest, why not me? Don't worry, everything will be great.
7:22: Trump agrees with Rush Limbaugh: coronavirus is no big, and Donald Trump's enemies are exaggerating its seriousness to hurt him. But you can trust the CDC, even though Nancy Messonnier is conspicuously not at this event.
7:26: Be like Donald Trump: wash your hands all the time, and don't hug him like this one guy who was all feverish definitely did. Also, Trump says this is far different from the Ebola outbreak he panicked about, because this is like the flu, and also Ebola was far worse. (More Americans have covid-19 than ever had Ebola.)
Also, "This is a much different problem than Ebola. Ebola, you disintegrated. Especially at the beginning." But coronavirus, it's just a flu. (Not spoken: Ebola is from Africa, be afraid, be afraid, be afraid.)
7:28: If he has to, Trump will ban travel from other countries, but not yet. Also he loves Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, a great man.
7:30: A reporter points out that the death rate from covid-19 is lower than from flu, but Trump says we don't know that yet. (The reporter is right).
7:32: Trump might investigate price gouging on medical supplies, if people say it's happening. (It's happening). Also China wants to stop this too, and that's the end.
That was not as horrible as I feared. Trump clearly has no idea what he's talking about -- it's the flu, but the flu is actually worse, and the economy is fine, and only "fifteen" Americans are infected, despite all the government agencies saying it's 60. But that total includes people repatriated by the State Department from Wuhan, China (3) and from that cruise ship (42) so if you artificially exclude them, it's just 15. Isn't THAT a cute trick!
Stay healthy, kids. Wash your hands, get that flu shot (no good against coronavirus, but worth doing for its own sake), and eat beets. They don't do anything to fight viruses, but yum, beets!
You should also send some money to Yr Wonkette, your source for reliable, fact-checked snark!
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.