Monday, March 9, 2020

Coronavirus Update for 3/9/2020: Following Botched CPAC Debut, Trump Covfefe Vaccine of Solipsistic Gibberish Failing to Contain COVID-19 Epidemic or Related Stock Market Contagion

The ornate-façade of the corner house at 21st and N Street NW, Washington, D.C., 1:46 p.m. March 6, 2020

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“Well, I just don’t think — I just don’t think that some-body is going to — without seeing something, like we saw something happening in China. As soon as they saw that happening, they essentially — not from the White House. I mean, you know, we don’t need a lab in the White House. But they saw something hap-pening.”

-- Syphilis-addled, dementia-afflicted, narcissistically solipsistic Donald Trump …

… attempting to "explain" why his White House shut down the Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense established at the National Security Council in 2016 by President Barack Obama after the 2014 Ebola outbreak in the context of the COVID-19 global epidemic.

Let's just call it the Trump "covfefe vaccine" …

For this entry, I'd like to post an update on the coronavirus (COVID-19), although I'm somewhat reluctant to go too far down that rabbit hole tonight insofar as it is occurring in the Trump era and, therefore, the increasingly disruptive epidemic is defined by the Trumpian response … Christ almighty, what a thought is that …

The Worldometer website numbers on coronavirus indicate that 110,000 cases have been reported and 3,600 deaths -- along with 62,300 recoveries. U.S. cases (updated Sunday night) has reached 545 across 34 states and the District of Columbia with 22 reported deaths.

The biggest issue -- aside from knowing how many people have the virus and will eventually contract it -- is that no one knows how many people are infected -- and, therefore, the disease's mortality.

Last week, the World Health Organization gave its first "snapshot" COVID-19 case fatality rate (CFR), i.e., the mortality rate: 3.4 percent.

This figure caused a lot of confusion, compounded, of course, by Donald Trump.

Given the easy transmissibility of COVID-19, a CFR of 3.4 percent represents a true global pandemic. Indeed, it's higher than the 2 to 3 percent rate of the legendary 1918-1919 Spanish Influenza (N1H1 virus) that killed an estimated 50 million people globally …

… and over 34 times higher than the typical 0.1 percent mortality rate of most strains of influenza, and when combined with easy airborne transmissibility mean, if left unchecked, tens of millions of deaths could occur globally next year or two.

New York Times map of known coronavirus cases.

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No one seems to know. You'll note that the World Info number gives a 6 percent mortality rate, but this is not a useful figure.

Why?

Because the 6 percent figure is based upon the sum of the number of people who (1) caught the COVID-19 virus; (2) were determined to have caught COVID-19 (presumably because they got ill); and (3) died due to COVID-19 divided by the sum of the number of people those who just met the first two conditions.

It omits, of course, how many people have gotten infected and show no symptoms (are asymptomatic) or even have gotten infected and ill but didn't know they had the coronavirus, to say nothing of people who got ill and died without anyone knowing they had it.

The 3.4 percent mortality rate led Trump to blather the following: “I think the 3.4 percent number is really a false number. Now, this is just my hunch, but based on a lot of conversations … personally, I’d say the number is way under 1 percent.”

He also suggested that people should basically just go to work. He also suggested a vaccine is mere weeks away, not 18 months away in a best-of-all-possible-worlds scenario.

This was all part of the usual incoherent gibberish and megalomaniacal ravings that come out of his pie hole -- along with wild stock market gyrations, one of which (on Wednesday) was due to optimism at Joe Biden's stellar Super Tuesday performance).


Speaking of stock market gyrations and related panic associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, I should note that there is the very real possibility of a stock market crash tomorrow -- at least a brief one -- as a result of a collapse in oil prices over the weekend. That was driven by Saudi Arabia "flooding the market" because Russia won't cut demand as a result of falling global oil demand due to the COVID-19 epidemic. See the above image of a screenshot of current CNBC headlines.

Donald Trump at real-world cartoonish visit to the CDC headquarters in Atlanta, March 6, 2020

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Of note, as shown in the image directly below from Feb 29, 2020, Trump shook hands with Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, who confirmed that he had been in direct contact with the infected man during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) (i.e., NaziCon 2020) last month (see here).

Germaphobic, solipsistic lunatic Trump shakes hands with CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp at National Harbor, Maryland, Feb 29, 2020 shortly after Schlapp had "direct contact" with a COVID-19 infected attendee.

Gee, that's too bad.

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In fact, a number of NaziCon 2020 attendees were in direct or indirect contact with infected individuals -- which is delightfully ironic given the remarks made at the event by Micko Sicko Mulvaney (see headline image directly below). For his part, Micko Sicko is now the third former Trump White House Chief of Staff (actual, acting, or imaginary).


About Trump's response -- described aptly by Ross Douthat as incompetence mixed with "solipsistic gibberish" (see below) -- this crazy man rambled the following on his Friday, March 6th visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta:

"As of right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test [can have one], that’s the important thing, and the tests are all perfect, like the letter was perfect, the transcription was perfect … ”

Yes, during his visit to the CDC to discuss his COVID-19 response, Trump brought up his call to Ukrainian President Zelensky seeking dirt on the Bidens -- the thing that got him impeached.

This is how Trump's mentally disturbed mind works.

By contrast, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is doing his usual excellent job of giving accurate and useful information -- while carefully avoiding any overt disagreements with Trump (lest Trump and his GOP cult have one of their daily manic freak outs). Meanwhile, Mike Fucking Pence is still, well, Mike Fucking Pence.

Mike Fucking Pence is ostensibly heading up the Trump White House crisis response, which tells you much of what you need to know about that response.

Ross Douthat has this New York Times op-ed piece: The Coronavirus Is Coming for Trump's Presidency. I was going to excerpt a significant portion of it, but this entry is already too long for that. Just read it.

Regarding what Douthat describes as Trump's solipsistic response, Jonathan Chait had this piece about his stock market-obsessed response to include the weirdly oversized role of White House National Economic Council Director Larry "Cokehead" Kudlow:

Excerpt:

The Trump admini-stration’s strategy on the coronavirus from the outset has focused relentlessly on the stock market, treating the virus as a partisan plot by Democrats to stoke panic. Trump has, accordingly, issued a series of optimistic and sometimes delusional assessments, in the apparent belief that he can contain the panic through sheer force of propaganda …

One might be curious why Kudlow has had such a prominent role messaging this issue. He has no expertise in epidemiology. Indeed, he has no expertise in economics, either. What he does have an expertise in is confidently issuing confident predictions on behalf of Republican politicians that may be, and usually are, completely wrong.

And since Trump still seems to regard the coronavirus as primarily a stock market problem, he needs Kudlow to go out with the French cuffs and tell Trump’s rich friends that Trump is going to keep making them rich. He urged his audience to buy stocks last week, and then the market fell, to which Kudlow replied that this time they should listen to him and buy, unless maybe they shouldn’t …

Kudlow is part of the White House Coronavirus Taskforce, which tells you even more (none of it good) about the White House response.


Above is an image of several paragraphs taken from this New York Times analysis piece by Peter Baker (link embedded): For Trump, Coronavirus Proves to Be an Enemy He Can’t Tweet Away.

Finally, I wanted to post this quote from TPM's Josh Marshall contained in this piece from last week: Trump’s Nonsense is Having Real World Impacts.

Two things I’ve picked up in conversations with readers over the last couple days, both of which point to real world impacts of the White House’s either lackadaisical or disinformational messaging on the Coronavirus.

One is elderly relatives resisting basic social distancing precautions because they’re hearing on Fox News that a lot of Coronavirus is just hype for politically interested reasons.

Another is cases where medical professionals in red states are assuming or inferring that the Corona-virus isn’t as serious as the outbreaks of H1N1 or Ebola in recent years because the preparation they’re seeing locally isn’t as extensive or urgent.

These are anecdotal examples. We can’t read too much into them.

But they do point to real world impacts of the President’s nonchalance or claims that concerns about Coronavirus are being hyped for political purposes.

In other developments, there's an attempt by the Italian government to "quarantine" much of northern Italy where the virus is rampant.

China is still reeling from the coronavirus situation, but the country's heavy-handed -- borderline brutal -- response to include quarantining 60 million people in Hubei province is working in that the virus's spread has been (according to the country's published statistics) dramatically slowed including in and around Hubei's provincial capital of Wuhan, the original "wet market" ground zero of the pandemic.

A market in Beijing during the coronavirus outbreak, early March 2020

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Here is a New York Times piece on that: China May Be Beating the Coronavirus, at a Painful Cost. Whether that "Chinese model" can be "exported" to other places in the world is an open question.


Of note, locally, there have been a number of cases (at least nine) here in the D.C. area -- including the District proper -- and I'm a bit concerned that this situation is going to impact my life directly.


Also, there's another obscenely ginormous cruise ship, the Grand Princess involving 3,500 people stranded off San Francisco as a result of coronavirus infection -- which was discovered as a result of the death of a passenger who had been on board in February while the ship was on a voyage to Hawaii.

The Grand Princess passes under the Golden Gate Bridge in a photo taken, I think, in February.

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Detection tests were helicopter dropped onto the ship last Thursday, and it was determined that 21 people were infected. Still, though, the ship is parked offshore in limbo, thus giving rise to the very real possibility that, once again, all those people will remain on the fucking boat until everyone is infected (although I believe there is a plan to get the people off the vessel).


Ultimately, manic, paranoidal, germophobic Trump can decide whether these American citizens come ashore or not -- and he made it clear that he doesn't want that because it will "make the numbers go up" … To cite a tweet from MSNBC's Chris Hayes …


Let me just say that if anything good can come out of this situation, maybe the period of these fucking 20-story, 5,000-person factory cruise ships that ply the oceans of Planet Earth spewing millions of metric tons of raw sewage shit and garbage into the water, can finally come to a merciful end. I doubt it, though. 

The Grand Princess cruise ship offshore of San Francisco, its passengers in a hellish purgatory limbo combo, 
March 7, 2020

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OK, that's all for now. Phew.

--Regulus

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