Trump Acknowledges First Coronavirus Death While Still Insisting It's All A Hoax
Health officials in Washington State are reporting that they have the first confirmed death from coronavirus in the United States.
Right now, there have been 67 confirmed cases of the illness in the US, with Washington, California and Oregon all reporting new cases this week. Around the world, it's getting even worse. Italy is up to 29 deaths and 1000 infections. Iran announced 205 new infections in the last 24 hours. Luckily for both of those countries, they have some form of universal health care.
Last night, President Donald Trump held a rally in South Carolina (of course) where he suggested that the coronavirus itself was only as bad as a regular flu, and also some kind of liberal media hoax.
"The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. They're politicizing it," he said. "They don't have any clue. They can't even count their votes in Iowa. No, they can't. They can't count their votes. One of my people came up to me and said, 'Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.' That did not work out too well. They could not do it. They tried the impeachment hoax."
Then Trump called the coronavirus "their new hoax."
Saturday, during a press conference, he noted that while someone has died of the virus, he does not regret calling it a "hoax" and then tried to explain what he meant by "hoax." Poorly.
On Saturday, Trump said he doesn't think coronavirus itself is a "hoax," but the criticism is. Asked if he regretted calling it a hoax during Friday's rally, Trump said he didn't.
"Hoax referring to the action that they take to try and pin this on somebody," the President explained. "I'm not talking about what's happening here, I'm talking about what they're doing."
Trump called it the "continuation of the hoax," and mentioned the Russia investigation and his impeachment.
"I don't like it when they are criticizing these people and I don't like it," he said. "That's the hoax I'm talking about."
We are two years out from a vaccine, and the Trump administration is currently saying that when that happens, they will refuse to even cap the price on it to make sure it is "affordable." They're certainly not going to subsidize it. Sure, they'll spend $2 billion on a freaking Space Force, but they'll let a virus wipe out half the country if it means saving a few bucks.
Look. I know that government subsidized health care is a contentious issue right now. I know that not a lot of people are on board with it! But if this keeps getting worse, we're not really going to have a choice. Affordable isn't going to be enough here — it will need to be entirely subsidized if it is going to be at all effective. Subsidizing that vaccine and subsidizing testing for the virus early on are going to be the least expensive options in the long run.
Sure. If you are a really terrible person, you may be thinking "Well, if they can't afford the vaccine, that's not my problem! I worked hard for my vaccine money!" — but, you know, with a communicable disease like that, it actually is everyone's problem. Herd immunity works by making sure everyone is vaccinated, because the vaccine won't work for everyone, and because immuno-compromised people likely will not be able to take it. So it's not just a "Oh, well, it'll just be the poors" kind of situation. Even if you are a terrible and completely selfish person, it does not make sense for you to not want this vaccine subsidized once it's on the market. Because you could be one of the people the vaccine doesn't work for.
Getting Trump out of office so that someone who actually gives a shit about other human beings can take over the reins here is now, frankly, a safety issue for all of us.
But in the meantime, wash your damn hands!
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse