World as of this morning:
And in the U.S., we have more cases than any other country:
636 in North Carolina (2 deaths); 17 in Forsyth County.
Boris Johnson – England’s PM – has tested positive.
Boris Johnson boasting about shaking hands with coronavirus patients. You could not make it up. Britain is about to learn the hard way this is not the man to lead us in a crisis.pic.twitter.com/mgg8TL8zKh— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) March 3, 2020
There is massive outrage as many are hearing President Donald Trump telling Fox News host Sean Hannity that New York City hospitals usually just have two ventilators while he mocked Governor Andrew Cuomo’s request – based on scientific models – for 30,000 to 40,000 of the life-saving units. That outrage is growing as more and more read The New York Times article revealing FEMA is refusing to place an order for ventilators fearing the price tag is too high.
“You know you go into major hospitals sometimes they’ll have two ventilators,” Trump continued. “And now, all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’ so it’s a very bad situation, we haven’t seen anything like it, but the end result is we gotta get back to work.”
On Hannity, Trump says he doesn’t believe NY Gov. Guomo actually needs the ventilators he’s asking for.— Pod Save America (@PodSaveAmerica) March 27, 2020
TRUMP: “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.” pic.twitter.com/tm6jXmPtdC
The outrage online is palpable.
Can you imagine FDR saying, during WWII, No, the price of these bullets is too high. https://t.co/jWSSi8Jl1O— Richard Stengel (@stengel) March 27, 2020
But as Trump scoffs at the idea that hospitals actually need more ventilators, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital has begun a desperate practice: sharing a ventilator between two patients. Because when Trump is providing nothing at all, half a lung is better than nothing. Maybe.
Trump’s scoffing at the idea that New York hospitals actually need thousands of additional ventilators got additional support from another member of his coronavirus task force. Incredibly, this support didn’t come from Mike Pence or Steven Mnuchin, but from actual doctor: Deborah Birx.
Speaking at the daily coronavirus-themed Trump rally on Thursday, Birx dismissed the thought that hospitals were short of either beds or ventilators, denied that a large percentage of the public would become infected, and suggested that there were “thousands” of ventilators sitting idle in New York state hospitals that could be moved to where they were needed.
With less than 1% of the United States currently infected, Birx was particularly dismissive of the idea that there would be widespread infection. “When people start talking about 20% of a population getting infected, it’s very scary but we don’t have data that matches that based on the experience,” said Birx. Except, of course, we do. The seasonal flu regularly infects 20% or more of the population in spite of a widely available vaccine, residual immunity in a large portion of the population, and a transmission rate that is much lower than that of COVID-19. There is absolutely no evidence that the infection in the United States will not spread to much more than 20% of the population, unless it’s held in check by social distancing and a greatly expanded testing program.
As if realizing that 20% might be something of a low mark, Birx’s next statement moved the bar considerably higher: “There’s no … no reality … on the ground where we can see that 60% to 70% of Americans are going to get infected in the next eight to 12 weeks,” said the White House coronavirus response coordinator. Actually, the current doubling rate of the coronavirus in the United States is between two and three days. Unchecked, the United States could top 20% in fewer than three weeks. Eight weeks to get to 60% from there would mean that things had actually improved considerably.
But long before either of those numbers would be reached, the health care system would absolutely collapse under the weight of the epidemic. There are only enough hospital beds out there in the entire nation to accommodate less than 0.3% of the population. On any given day, more than half those beds—including the ones that need ventilators—are already occupied by people fighting ordinary, non-epidemic diseases and recovering from accidents.
But Birx insisted that there are still somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 ICU beds with ventilators in New York state, outside of New York City. Birx suggested that these ventilators, and presumably the beds, should be stripped and shipped to the hot spots rather than bothering the federal government with requests for more equipment. Except taking those beds away from the remainder of the state would mean that those hospitals have absolutely no capacity to deal with coronavirus cases in their area—or even a large accident or other cause that brought in patients. What Birx is suggesting is that, rather than bolster the straining system, the system be made even more fragile in the midst of a crisis. Even then, the number of devices she is talking about are unlikely to meet the number of cases that will be present in New York in the next 48 hours, much less the next weeks and months.
Again and again, Birx dismissed questions about hospitals under strain, or large numbers of patients waiting for care, or health care workers without needed equipment. “We don’t have any evidence of that right now,” said Birx. Instead, she accused news media of “spreading fear.” She also insisted on spending much of her time talking about “19 states” where the number of cases were low.
Which is exactly what you want to hear from a doctor in a crisis: “Did you know there are some people who are not sick?”
It’s important to remember why the US has the most Covid19 cases of any country in the world.— Eli Pariser (@elipariser) March 26, 2020
We aren’t the biggest country that’s affected, or the first, or the densest, or the one with the poorest health care system.
We are the country with the least competent leader.
THIS graph is crazy:
New: Forsyth County has 24 known cases, 1/3 of which can be attributed to community spread. Good news: 6 of the patients are considered recovered. Guilford County with 31.— Lee Sanderlin (@LeeOSanderlin) March 27, 2020
Trump, meanwhile is LOSING it.
As usual with “this” General Motors, things just never seem to work out. They said they were going to give us 40,000 much needed Ventilators, “very quickly”. Now they are saying it will only be 6000, in late April, and they want top dollar. Always a mess with Mary B. Invoke “P”.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
General Motors MUST immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio, or some other plant, and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!! FORD, GET GOING ON VENTILATORS, FAST!!!!!! @GeneralMotors @Ford— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
Invoke “P” means Defense Production Act!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
We have just purchased many Ventilators from some wonderful companies. Names and numbers will be announced later today!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
Thousand of Federal Government (delivered) Ventilators found in New York storage. N.Y. must distribute NOW!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
This is, of course, blame-shifting. Trump could have invoked the Defense Production Act days ago, but refused to, saying that companies are stepping up. he lied.
In fact, Trump could invoke the DPA right NOW. And he’s not. He’s just complaining on Twitter.
The other development of the day is Republican Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who is insisting on a floor vote in the House to approve the financial assistance package. NOBODY is happy about this, even Trump, as it will mean a delay. It would also mean that Congressional representatives would have to get on planes, risking themselves to illness.
What Massie is doing here is the worst kind of stunt. He’s pretending it’s all about The Constitution, knowing full well the outcome will not change, but he’s actually just putting his colleagues, their staff, their families, and communities at serious risk. https://t.co/7sVSKddz5k— joe perticone (@JoePerticone) March 27, 2020
It is quite the statement of his character that Thomas Massie is legitimately threatening the health of his colleagues, many in their 60s or 70s even 80s, for a stunt on a bill he knows is going to pass. I hope no one forgets what he’s done here.— Brendan Buck (@BrendanBuck) March 27, 2020
There is only one thing capable of uniting Trump, Dems & House GOP leaders: hatred of #KY04 Rep. Thomas Massie (R).— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) March 27, 2020
Never knew John Kerry had such a good sense of humor! Very impressed! https://t.co/vCVNMUeY2h— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
A few conservatives back Massie, but not many:
@realDonaldTrump Mr. President. @RepThomasMassie is a good man and a solid conservative. He believes in the Constitution strongly. We won’t always agree on strategy or policy. But he doesn’t warrant this dressing down. Thomas—Hang tough brother. #CoronavirusOutbreak https://t.co/f0gydIQHTX— Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) March 27, 2020
In recent days, a growing contingent of Trump supporters have pushed the narrative that health experts are part of a deep-state plot to hurt Trump’s reelection efforts by damaging the economy and keeping the United States shut down as long as possible. Trump himself pushed this idea in the early days of the outbreak, calling warnings on coronavirus a kind of “hoax” meant to undermine him.
The notion is deeply troubling, say leading health experts, because what the country does next and how many people die depend largely on what evidence U.S. leaders and the public use to inform their decisions. Epidemiologists worry their research — intended to avert massive deaths in situations exactly like this pandemic — will be dismissed by federal leaders when it is needed most.
Massie got foiled. The House just passed the bill.
Here’s the moment:
.@RepThomasMassie: "I came here to make sure our republic doesn't die by unanimous consent in an empty chamber and I request a recorded vote."— CSPAN (@cspan) March 27, 2020
"A recorded vote is refused…The chair will count for a quorum…A quorum is present. The motion is adopted." pic.twitter.com/kCXgDwAGvR
Look it’s not possible to avoid all human contact but why did they get a bunch of people to crowd around a desk for a photo op? https://t.co/DdBlGu27va— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) March 27, 2020
I just signed the CARES Act, the single biggest economic relief package in American History – twice as large as any relief bill ever enacted. At $2.2 Trillion Dollars, this bill will deliver urgently-needed relief for our nation’s families, workers, and businesses. #CARESAct🇺🇸 https://t.co/0WnTNFZPZD— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
A month ago, Trump said: “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 27, 2020
Yesterday, he said: “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.”
What will it take to get @realdonaldtrump to listen to experts instead of his own hunches?
My hands are shaking i can’t type. A nurse at my elmhurst hospital who i don’t know just called me crying. She said they need vents but more so need doctors and also doctors who are ICU trained. She told me they cry everyday bc they know they’re gonna die. They’re begging. Please— Grace Meng (@Grace4NY) March 27, 2020
Here's a list of states Trump has declared emergencies in, with the number of positive COVID cases on the day Trump approved the declarations. MI currently has 2,856 positive cases.https://t.co/WLSO737wsA pic.twitter.com/b6VM1vZrw1— emptywheel (@emptywheel) March 27, 2020
Hours after doubting the need for 40,000 ventilators, Trump demanded 40,000 ventilators https://t.co/y7nqE4nsbE— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) March 27, 2020
ok, I'm guessing you were too lazy to watch the clip. maybe ask one of your toadies to explain it to you— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) March 27, 2020
OMG! Michigan Gov Whitmer says after Trump attacked her on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show, "They're being told not to send stuff to Michigan."— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) March 27, 2020
Michigan voters – we have an election in November! Trump doesn’t care about your safety or lives -remember! https://t.co/o0m3NI1yVy
🔥🔥🔥 from @JoeBiden after @realDonaldTrump continues to let down Michigan families:— Sean Higgins (@smhigg) March 27, 2020
“Instead of delivering cheap shots on Fox News, it’s time for Donald Trump to deliver Michigan and other states more ventilators, masks and other personal protective equipment, and test kits.” pic.twitter.com/oMQqfvC9Nk
Are we SURE you can’t indict a sitting president? pic.twitter.com/FxUK56FL18— David Waldman-1, of Yorktown LLC™ (@KagroX) March 27, 2020
NEW: NC Governor issues STAY AT HOME order for state, goes into effect Monday night #coronavirus— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) March 27, 2020
Fox Business Network’s Trish Regan is leaving the network.
In a statement provided to Mediaite Friday, the network announced, “FOX Business has parted ways with Trish Regan – we thank her for her contributions to the network over the years and wish her continued success in her future endeavors.”
Recently Regan came under scrutiny for her commentary calling the media coverage of coronavirus another “impeachment scam” trying to “destroy the president.”
A few days later the network announced her primetime show would be going on hiatus, citing demands of coronavirus coverage.