Trump Disbanding Coronavirus Task Force To Spend More Time Piling Up Corpses
Appleton, Wisconsin. Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Springdale, Arkansas. Passaic, New Jersey. Pick one and imagine if all its residents — all of them — were killed in the space of a few weeks. Those are all cities with populations around 70,000, which is how many people are confirmed to have died in the space of a few weeks in the United States from COVID-19. The real number is likely much higher.
Columbia, South Carolina. Savannah, Georgia. Pasadena, California. New Haven, Connecticut. Those are all cities with populations near 134,000, which is the current University of Washington projection of US deaths by August, a projection that was kicked upward on Monday. How many more times will they have to adjust it upward?
Around 2,000 Americans are dying per day right this second. According to a leaked internal Trump administration document, that number will probably be around 3,000 per day by June, or approximately one 9/11 per day.
So of course, Maggie Haberman is reporting that the Trump administration is probably going to disband the White House coronavirus task force. That old thing? Who needs it! Probably gone by Memorial Day. You know, just in time for the official Trump-branded summer of Every Day Is MAGA 9/11!
A top adviser to Vice President Mike Pence who has helped oversee the task force, Olivia Troye, has told senior officials involved in the task force to expect the group to wind down within weeks, a notice echoed by other top White House officials. While the task force met Tuesday at the White House, Monday's meeting was canceled, and a Saturday session, a staple of recent months, was never held. [...]
A senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal deliberations, said the task force will be winding down as the White House moves toward Phase One of Mr. Trump's plan to "open up" the country. The focus now will be on therapeutics, vaccine development and testing, the official said.
Pandemic over! Let's move on to the "open up" phase, which is about ... therapeutics, vaccine development and testing? Which are some of the main components of what they should have been working on in the first place? Huh OK. Believe that shit when we see it.
And of course, it's pretty hard to "open up" the economy when people are dying too fast to participate in "economy." Oh well, details!
It's not like this is going to weaken the Trump administration response to coronavirus, because for that to happen, there would have to have been a federal response in the first place. Instead it's been one million competing "task forces," all populated by know-nothing jackoffs, and the effort has been largely led within the administration by the prince of the know-nothing jackoffs, Jared Kushner.
Meanwhile, the actual medical experts — what few of them there are — were forced to create their own doctors group, to insulate themselves from the "voodoo" of the larger operation, and we are using the word "operation" loosely.
Don't worry, though! The Times reports that Jared's extra special exciting first prize blue ribbon panel corona group will likely soldier on! You know, in case you were worried the Trump administration wouldn't have a chance to personally kill you before this is all over.
Trump didn't go to the coronavirus task force meetings much anyway, and when he did, he wasted time musing about how cool it'd be to have his own Rush Limbaugh Coronavirus radio program in the afternoons.
And as the Washington Post reported this weekend, the rest of Trump's contributions to the coronavirus fight have pretty much just been him being obsessed with his favorite malaria drug, Hydroxybonermagic 3000, which has now been shown in studies to hurt people with coronavirus, sometimes causing actual death. Long block quote, because LOL, but read the whole thing:
Hydroxychloroquine became a presidential obsession. He asked about it in meetings — "What's the hold up?" he would complain — and repeatedly asked Food and Drug Administration commissioner Stephen Hahn if he was moving as quickly as possible to approve it, officials said. [...]
Trump at times went to extreme lengths to promote hydroxychloroquine. Keith Frankel, a vitamins executive who occasionally socializes with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., said the president asked him to call California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on his cellphone and try to make a deal for the nation's largest state to buy millions of tablets of hydroxychloroquine from an Indian manufacturer. Frankel said he got Newsom's phone number from Trump. [...]
Trump embraced hydroxychloroquine, as well as azithromycin, as "one of the biggest game-changers in the history of medicine." In the weeks that followed, however, the dangers became more clear. A Veterans Affairs study released April 21 found that covid-19 patients who were treated with hydroxychloroquine were more likely to die than those who were not. Three days later, the FDA warned that doctors should not use the drug to treat covid-19 patients outside a hospital or clinical trial because of reports of "serious heart rhythm problems."
Although Trump stopped touting the drug publicly, privately he maintained his support for hydroxychloroquine and got upset with government officials presenting studies or bringing him evidence of its risks or failings, encouraging them to have a more positive outlook, aides said.
That is some Stable Genius right there.
As we said, for it to matter that Trump is quietly going to disband the White House coronavirus task force by Memorial Day, there would have to have been some sort of actual federal pandemic response in the first place, aside from ... whatever this shit is. And the administration would have to be supporting its medical experts, instead of letting its state-media organs call Dr. Anthony Fauci an "elderly power-drunk epidemiologist" and run wild with conspiracy theories about how he made coronavirus in a lab in North Carolina with Hillary Clinton. (Or something. We can't keep all their conspiracy theories straight, they are all fucking DSM-V material.)
And it would be cool if they hadn't de-balled the CDC.
Or if Trump hadn't Friday fired Christi Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, because Trump was mad she put together a "dossier" that collected information about "severe" hospital shortages of PPE and coronavirus tests.
Know what would be real neat? If America didn't have a president who thought maybe it might be a cool idea to cure coronavirus by injecting everybody with sunlight-scented Clorox.
Jay Rosen concisely explained the Trump administration coronavirus "plan" at PressThink:
The plan is to have no plan, to let daily deaths between one and three thousand become a normal thing, and then to create massive confusion about who is responsible [...]
"The plan is to have no plan" is not a strategy, really. Nor would I call it a policy. It has a kind of logic to it, but this is different from saying it has a design— or a designer. Meaning: I do not want to be too conspiratorial about this. To wing it without a plan is merely the best this government can do, given who heads the table. The manufacture of confusion is just the ruins of Trump's personality meeting the powers of the presidency. There is no genius there, only a damaged human being playing havoc with our lives.
We'd add that the gamble here seems to be that Trump is just hoping and praying that more deaths happen among people who didn't vote for him than among people who did.
So if 3,000 Americans die per day between now and the election, and the election is 185 days away, that's ... Oklahoma City. Or Albuquerque. Or Vegas.
That's how many.
RIP White House coronavirus task force, long live the White House coronavirus task force, there never was a motherfucking coronavirus task force, the end.
HAPPY NICE TIME YAY IT IS YOUR OPEN THREAD!
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