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Trump is Sadly the Wrong Person, in the Wrong Place, at the Wrong Time

Mr Trump actually said this today:

“We could go to certain states right now that have virtually no problem or a very small problem. We don’t have to test the entire state in the middle west, or wherever they may be. We don’t have to test the entire state. I think it’s ridiculous. We don’t have to do it,” he said during a briefing at the White House on Wednesday. “A lot of those states could go back right now, and they probably will because at some point in the not-too-distant future, certain states are going to come off the rolls.”

Medicynical Note:  I live in a state where the U.S. epidemic of coronavirus infection first landed.  My home is in a rural county.  We have two nursing homes with cases one with 38 patients (11 workers and 27 patients) the other with an unknown number of cases.  There have been four or five deaths in our county (two today).   In our state there is a testing shortage.  No one is testing the entire state, anywhere, because of a shortage of test kits.  Further aggravating the situation is that there is a shortage of everything to protect health care providers.  Masks are being hand made and donated.  They are in no way the equivalent in protection of the commercially available mask/respirators.  In parts of the country gowns and masks are being reused.  In New York today the governor announced that patient ventilators are being jury rigged for use on two victims–not ideal but there is a shortage. Imagine, this happening in the wealthiest country in the world which is the country spending more per capita on health care than anywhere else.

It’s a fact.  We were unprepared.  Mr. Trump’s hunches were disastrously wrong.  His belief that the pandemic was a false media hoax was horribly wrong.   It’s far too early to claim the outbreak is under control and decrease our social isolation and case finding.  Sadly Mr. Trump is the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

 

Maybe It Should be Called the Trump Virus

It’s fascinating that in it’s rush to blame China for not being forthcoming as the pandemic started, the Trump administration calls attention it’s own rather obvious faults.

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Medicynical Note:  Indeed the Chinese were at least unhelpful.  But we should remember that Trump did away with the U.S. government’s ability to track and respond to epidemics overseas by cutting funding to the NSC’s office dedicated to that task; by cutting funding to the CDC’s epidemic tracking teams; and by cutting funding of CDC epidemiologists assigned to the CDC in China.  That organization FYI was one of the first responders to the epidemic outbreak in Wuhan.  Trump in his wisdom (sic) crippled the U.S. capacity to participate in the early tracking and anticipate the spread to the U.S.

He always makes a big deal about stopping the flights from China an thinks, without any supporting data, that he saved thousands.  But it should be pointed out that he neglected to screen  U.S. citizens for the virus infection on their return on the last flights from China and thereby allowed entry of the virus.  He further slowed the U.S. response by publicly stating that the epidemic was a media hoax; by having the flight of fancy that it would disappear spontaneously “like a miracle.”  He did this while criminally neglecting to ready the U.S. health care system for the widely predicted onslaught of the virus. 

So while the Chinese were not forthcoming and/or totally honest our fearless leader literally fiddled around while the epidemic was building.  If he wishes to place blame he certainly should include his actions and in-actions as part of the equation. 

To my mind, our lack of preparation make it the Trump Virus.

Returning to Work Prematurely–Trump’s LaLaLand

Returning to work in two weeks will need careful planning. It not as simple as a Trumpian decree, or “hunch.” It will take careful consideration and planning and two weeks is likely way too early.

“David L. Katz of the Yale School of Medicine has a plan for when and how we should return to work. This plan has been championed by Tom Friedman and many other pundits. In essence, we should sustain the lockdown for a brief period to reduce the risk of overwhelming the health care system with severe COVID-19 cases. However, we would not stay in lockdown until the prevalence of the virus gets so low that people can congregate with minimal fear of transmission. That would cause too much economic harm. Katz argues, therefore, that only the young and healthy would return to work.* Some returned workers would become infected with the still-prevalent coronavirus. This is acceptable, on Katz’s view, because the young and healthy have only a small risk of dying from COVID-19. Conversely, the chronically ill and the elderly are at substantially higher mortality risk. Therefore, when the young and healthy return to work, we should make special provisions to protect the elderly and chronically ill. If we succeed in protecting the vulnerable from becoming infected, we will greatly reduce the morbidity and mortality of the disease. This would give us a better tradeoff, and allow us to return to work earlier and restart the economy faster at a lower cost in lives.”

Friedman quotes Katz as foreseeing only two more weeks of social distancing. Few epidemiologists regard that as sufficient. However, whether Katz is right about when to return to work is to some degree beside the point. The proposal to allow the less vulnerable young to return to work early while protecting the vulnerable is a superb idea. If it works.”

“It won’t work if the protections that we plan are ineffective or if we do not implement then in an adequate way. And if the protections fail while the virus is still prevalent, many elderly Americans will die.” (Emphasis Medicynic)

Medicynical note: as we learned in Vietnam and now in Afghanistan declaring victory prematurely without understanding the consequences leads to chaos and ultimately defeat. In Vietnam we needed helicopters to evacuate embassy staff. We are likely learning the same lesson in Afghanistan.

With the Covid-19 epidemic, prematurely abandoning the isolation strategy will expose the vulnerable in our society to life threatening risk for an indefinite time period. Two weeks to “victory” is likely way too early. But our President has the attention span of a gnat and lacks the intellectual capability to understand any data except the daily ups and downs of the DOW.

A Modest Proposal

Jonathan Swift 1729 A Modest Proposal
“I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricasee, or a ragoust. “
“I do therefore humbly offer it to publick consideration, that of the hundred and twenty thousand children, already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle, or swine, and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore, one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in sale to the persons of quality and fortune, through the kingdom, always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump, and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt, will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.”

Glenn Beck’s Modest Proposal (from the Dally Beast) [2020]
“Telling listeners of his radio show on Tuesday that he wanted to have “frank conversation” with them, Beck openly acknowledged that such action could end up killing millions of Americans, especially older ones like him.”

And

“I would rather have my children stay home and all of us who are over 50 go in and keep this economy going and working,” Beck added. “Even if we all get sick, I would rather die than kill the country. Because it’s not the economy that’s dying, it’s the country.”

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick [2020]
“Patrick, the Texas chairman of the president’s campaign, appeared on Fox News on Monday and said that he was not only ready for the country and the economy to get moving again amid the coronavirus pandemic, but also that he and other grandparents might be willing to die for that to happen.”

“My message is that let’s get back to work,” Patrick, 69, said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “Let’s get back to living. Let’s be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves, but don’t sacrifice the country.”

Medicynical Note: The modern Modest Proposal from Patrick, Beck and from our feckless President refers to sacrificing lives in order to save………the stock market (a stand-in) for the economy. Their proposal as far as I can tell is a “serious” recommendation.

Swift’s modest proposal also aimed at correcting economic problems but in Ireland in the early 18th century. “A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. The essay suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food to rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocked heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as British policy toward the Irish in general. “ (Wikipedia)

The difference between Swift and Beck, Patrick and yes Trump is that Swift’s was satire.

We erred– but we won’t ever hear it from Trump

Asleep at the wheel, playing ignorant hunches and expecting miracles, the president and his band of incompetents ignored their experts and were unprepared for the epidemic.

Medicynical note: And now our leader wants to call off the community distancing/ isolation strategy after 15 days and return America to work. Such experts as a demented Texan, a two bit second rate church affiliated private college owner and Glenn Beck think it fine to kill off the vulnerable in our society in the name of stock market prices. Now I’m not a believer but I do wonder whether the any religion’s deity or belief system would condone the notion of money having precedence over human lives. Just wondering if sacrificing the most vulnerable in our society is part the “theological” values we hear so much about? Just wondering.

I should hasten to note that I believe the people I know would not ascribe to this amoral principles

Staggering Malfeasance

“”The administration has repeatedly and systematically corroded critical parts of the CDC,” Sellers said. “This was just begging for an epidemic to hit us. It was a perfect storm of lack of preparation.””

“Sellers added: “It’s kind of incredible they are now trying to rewrite history to say we have plenty of resources when they’ve systematically targeted them. They should be held responsible by the American people as it is outrageous.””

“Donald Trump initially reacted to the onward march of coronavirus by calling it a “hoax” before then, also inaccurately, claiming that the US had completely contained the disease.”

“The president has since declared a national state of emergency but the federal response has been dogged by a severe lack of testing, a dearth of crucial medical supplies such as ventilators and false and misleading statements by Trump over the need to avoid large gatherings of people.”

Medicynical note: Sadly, this is what happens when you elect an incompetent sociopath as your leader. Yes it’s bad luck that covid-19 emerged but maybe in the end if Trump is force out of office……one way or another…..there will be a greater good. He is a cancer.

I’m not particularly enthused by the other septuagenarian candidates but I guess beggars can’t be choosers and defeating Trump is the first priority.

Trump: the Attention Span of a GNAT

In his White House coronavirus briefing, Donald Trump made clear that he wanted to lift restrictive public health measures as soon as possible, and that his major concern was the state of the US economy. He would re-open America for business in “weeks,” not months, Trump pledged, and refused to say whether he would simply ignore public health experts if they advised that restrictive measures to stop the spread of the virus needed to stay in place longer.”

Medicynical note: After 8 days of following the social distancing strategy it is apparent that the epidemic in the United States is accelerating. Deaths are doubling every 2 1/2 days. More than 100 people died today.

Yet this is the day, just one week in, that Trump showed his profound ignorance and seemed to buy into a FOX news pundit’s conclusion that the cure for the epidemic (in terms of the stock market and recession) was worse than the disease, which is in the process of killing hundreds of our citizens each day. Hundreds (over two hundred people died today)

It’s clear that Trump puts more value on stock prices than human lives……….is this an evangelical Christian value? And American value? Or simply the value of a sociopath without an ounce of empathy. He’s lost.