Trump’s Confidence Destroying News Conference on the Coronavirus

Trump’s Confidence Destroying News Conference on the Coronavirus

One day after the CDC news conference assuring us that the Coronavirus was unstoppable and would attack the US, Trump finally gave us a real News Conference trying to insure us that the Coronavirus is under control in the US.  After watching Rachel Maddow afterward, it turns out that it was a total failure.

Trump seemed to assure us that there were only 15 cases of those who caught it in the US, of which 8 were cured and at home, and only 5 left uncured, which would soon also be reduced, and 1 in the hospital. The problem was, he did not count the 42 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which he now said that we were obliged to bring home.  That was to make up for his anger at including the 14 who had tested positive for the virus.  Nor did he count the simultaneously news announced person from Solano County near the Bay Area who is the first US case not directly linked to China.  The total is now 60 in the US, including three from China.

Nassau County, NY, now has 83 people under self quarantine.  One US soldier in South Korea with the Coronavirus has now isolated US bases there, and canceled joint exercises.  South Korea now has 1200 cases, which increased by 300 today.  Dr. Christopher Mores on Maddow’s show said that each infected person in China infects 2-3 more.  Two days ago the NY Times said that there were 6,700 returnees from China under self quarantine in California, and 800 in Washington state.  The LA Times now says that that is 8,400 since Feb. 3.

Update, 2/28:  there are now about 9400 who have flown back to the US through LA or San Francisco.   A second California case is a lady from San Jose.  California has now been given 1200 test kits.  They expect several medical workers to come down with the Coronavirus from the Vacaville, Solano County patient, and are watching dozens of her contacts.

The kicker was that Trump was supposed to introduce Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), as head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, but just a minute before, he chose VP Mike Pence to head the task force, without informing Mr. Azar.  Mr. Azar is very conflicted in the first place, as a former pharmaceutical lobbyist and drug company executive, who seems to have done nothing to reduce drug prices over three years.  The task force will meet daily.

When Pence was Governor of Indiana in 2015, he delayed distributing needles in treating HIV, leading to an outbreak in one county.  He also shut down the Planned Parenthood which was the only place in the state to get HIV testing.  In 2001, he incorrectly stated that 9 out of 10 smokers do not die from smoking.  With Pence, the Truth is fighting religion, politics, and the necessity of pushing Trump’s rosy re-election fantasies.  Update:  well that turned out to be prescient:  Pence is now the controller (censor and whitewasher) of all messaging on the Coronavirus by the entire administration.  I wonder if Trump will keep blocking Congress from all testimony and documents on this?

Somebody thanked the health care workers.  Pence was supposedly chosen since he helped battle a previous outbreak as Governor of Indiana.

Funding seems to be at $2.5 billion, although Republicans proposed $4 billion, and Democrats $8.5 billion.  

Trump informed us what supposedly nobody knew, that there are between 25,000 to 69,000 flu deaths a year.  Yet he did not announce any new program to fight this, other than to wash your hands, and stay at home if sick.  I don’t think he even urged people to get flu shots.  He also didn’t mention the 40,000 dependably killed every year by guns.  He did mention five more killed today by a gunman in Wisconsin.

Trump excused dropping all of the committees set up to handle the Ebola attack, saying he didn’t like keep on people who weren’t needed.  He said that he could rehire them if needed.  The problem is, they were needed throughout the last month since the Covid-19 was first discovered.

Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC, advised Schools to dust off their plans, advised the public to prepare, cover their coughs, wash hands, and stay home when sick.  No announced programs for which they were to be given the $2.5 billion, hence, no planning.

Dr. Tony Fauci of the NIH estimated the time to develop a vaccine:  put into trials in 2 months; 45 people in a trial for 2 months to see if it is safe; and 300 or more people in efficacy for 6 (?) months.  So it won’t be ready for a year to a year and a half.  This might be useful if the virus has a yearly recurrence.  (Usually, clinical trials have four stages, and take many years.)  (However, the flu virus vaccine has to be renewed every year, since it morphs, is hit and miss, and is not a complete preventative.). They also will be testing several therapeutics, such as antiviral drugs.  (The Chinese are also doing this.)

The program has four parts:

  1. Expanding surveillance
  2. Aiding State and Local governments
  3. Therapeutics and Vaccines
  4. Procuring gear and masks.

According to the LA Times, the patient in Solano California had to wait four days before the CDC would allow her to be tested.  After a week from her admission, the result finally came back positive.  Testing kits and labs are apparently not widely distributed.

Trump obviously gave the news conference to halt the drop in the market, and then blamed it on Democratic Presidential candidates.  He also had to throw in unkind words for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.  Hardly Presidential.  

Upon reflection, the response is, as feared, slip shod.  Whatever they have been cooking up over the past month just relies on Schools, State, and local governments to carry out their own plans.  They are being fought on all these levels for trying to put a quarantine facility in a dense Costa Mesa neighborhood.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in 2020 Election, 2020 Primaries, Affairs of State, China, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Donald Trump, Health Care, NIH, VP Pence, White House. Bookmark the permalink.

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