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Cooch image by Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons license 2.0

Stock markets have been dropping due to fears that the Covid-19 coronavirus could become a global pandemic, so Donald Trump took a little time away from hugging a fellow authoritarian leader in India yesterday to reassure a worried nation that everything's perfectly all right. We're fine. We're all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?

Just to reinforce Trump's insistence that all is well, (acting) Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli, AKA perennial Wonkette favorite Saint Cooch Nobortions, a member of Trump's coronavirus task force -- really -- took to Twitter to ask why he couldn't see a non-governmental website about the outbreak.

See? Everything's just fine! TOP MEN.


Cuccinelli returned to the matter a little later to complain that the Johns Hopkins map was hidden behind a "paywall," and isn't THAT a scummy thing for an important source of information to do?

That led a whole BUNCH of people to chime in and point out that as a top government official who's directly involved in the Covid-19 response, maybe Cuccinelli could ask someone in the government for the information he needs, instead of going to a university website.

Maybe he just doesn't trust the Deep State -- but then, why would he trust the Hopkins map, either, since some of those epidemiologists probably voted for Hillary? At least he didn't go the Limbaugh route and explain the virus is, like hurricanes, merely a Deep State plot.

Do we really need to say that while previously-known coronaviruses can cause (along with rhinovirus) the common cold, Covid-19 is not the cold? Hence the name "novel coronavirus," not that it only affects literate people. And the influenza virus is a whole 'nother thing. And no, rhinos aren't involved either.

(Updated to reflect that flu is not caused by a coronavirus.)

Right around the time Cuccinelli was complaining about a "paywall" that didn't exist, the folks at Johns Hopkins explained — twice! — that heavy traffic had knocked the site offline for a while and that they were working on it.

For the heck of it, we left off part of the URL for the site, and got what we assume Cuccinelli and others saw while the site was borked:

So now let us assign some blame, shall we? 1: Yeah, the team at Johns Hopkins's Center for Systems Science and Engineering should have had a clearer error screen instead of a "please sign in to your account" widget. So we can kind of forgive Cuccinelli for assuming he was looking at a "paywall." BUT 2: DUDE YOU ARE IN GOVERNMENT AND YOU'RE NOT HELPING BY GOING TO TWITTER FOR TECH SUPPORT.

Also, this seems like a good time to remind y'all that the entire administration is making up its coronavirus response as it goes along. It certainly doesn't help that, as Foreign Policy reports — in a story that is subject to a two-free-articles-per-month paywall — in 2018 Trump gutted much of the public health infrastructure that's supposed to manage disease outbreaks, because who needs big government? In 2018, he literally got rid of the person at the National Security Council who is supposed to be the point person on things like this! And just hasn't filled the position!

But even Ken Cuccinelli ought to know that despite threats of budget cuts, the CDC is still kind of a thing. And maybe you don't want to further give the impression that no one in the administration knows what they're doing?

Probably just as well you keep that out in front, though. Might encourage people to wash their hands more. That Fox News dipshit is on his own.

[Politico / Ken Cuccinelli on Twitter / Newsweek / Foreign Policy / CDC / Photoshoop source:Johns Hopkins CSSE and Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons license 2.0]

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Doktor Zoom

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.

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