COVID-19: St. Patty’s Day

Ken AshfordEbola/Zika/COVID-19 Viruses, Right Wing and Inept Media, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

He’s at it early. I like how he thinks calling governors “failing” means “working very well with”.

It is also voting day in 4 state primaries, including Ohio and Arizona. Biden is expected to win big and further his quest to be presumptive nominee.

Dow tarted off optimistic at opening but it is down 200 points at 10 a.m. It is now about where it was on the day Trump took office.

UPDATE: It turned up about 1000, and then slid down 500 points during a Trump press conference. At the moment (3:00 pm) it is up 816 points… to just over 21,000.

There’s a reason that Republicans have been very, very slow to recognize that we are in a crisis. They may not be realizing it even now because they’ve been convinced by their president and his Fox Greek Chorus that it’s a plot to destroy their Dear Leader.

But it appears that Trump and Fox may have decided their plan to stick their fingers in their ears and sing “lalalala” wasn’t working:

Fox News personalities such as Sean Hannity and Laura In­graham accused the news media of whipping up “mass hysteria” and being “panic pushers.” Fox Business host Trish Regan called the alleged media-Democratic alliance “yet another attempt to impeach the president.”

But that was then.

With Trump’s declaration on Friday that the virus constitutes a national emergency, the tone on Fox News has quickly shifted.

On his program on Friday, Hannity — the most watched figure on cable news — lauded the president’s handling of what the host is now, belatedly, referring to as a “crisis.”

“Tonight, we are witnessing what will be a massive paradigm shift in the future of disease control and prevention,” he said. “A bold, new precedent is being set, the world will once again benefit greatly from America’s leadership. . . . The federal government, state governments, private businesses, top hospitals all coming together, under the president’s leadership, to stem the tide of the coronavirus.”


Just a week ago, Hannity shrugged at the pandemic. “So far in the United States, there’s been around 30 deaths, most of which came from one nursing home in the state of Washington,” he said last Tuesday. “Healthy people, generally, 99 percent recover very fast, even if they contract it.”

By way of comparison, he added: “Twenty-six people were shot in Chicago alone over the weekend. I doubt you heard about it. You notice there’s no widespread hysteria about violence in Chicago. And this has gone on for years and years. By the way, Democratic-run cities, we see a lot of that.”

Ingraham, whose program follows Hannity’s, also seems to have had a fast-dawning recognition that the social and economic dislocation of the virus was more than just a Democratic talking point wielded against the president.

In late February, Ingraham called Democrats the “pandemic party” and displayed photos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) alongside enlarged images of coronavirus molecules. “How sick that these people seem almost happiest when Americans are hurting,” she said.


Her advice: “We need to take care of our seniors. If you’re an elderly person or have a serious underlying condition, avoid tight, closed places, a lot of people, don’t take a cruise maybe. Everyone else wash your hands, use good judgment about your daily activities. Yeah, pragmatic thinking, especially if you’ve been overseas recently in one of the hardest-hit areas.”

In fact, health experts have repeatedly said that everyone, not just “seniors” or the chronically ill, should avoid contact with other people, a strategy known as “social distancing.” Their advice extends to people everywhere, not just those who recently traveled abroad. (On Friday, Ingraham tweeted that it was a “great time to fly if not in at-risk population!” The tweet was later deleted.)

By Wednesday, after Trump announced a travel ban on people from the European Union, Ingraham had started calling the pandemic “this dangerous health crisis.” She characterized warnings issued by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases head Anthony S. Fauci about the potential spread of the disease as “sobering and scary to hear.”

There are more examples in the full article — about Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo and Trish Regan whose show was canceled after she claimed the virus was a Democratic plot.

This has been a stunning illustration of the destructive nature of Fox News and its symbiotic relationship with this grotesque fun-house mirror of a presidency. It has taken them two full months to realize that they were actually hurting their Dear Leader and killing their own audience with this nonsense.

At least one reasonable Fox person may have influenced Trump. Trending Politics reported:

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is quite literally taking matters into his own hands to warn about the coronavirus.

Carlson reportedly drove to Mar-a-Lago to warn President Donald Trump that the coronavirus outbreak is a massive threat.

The New York Times reports that the Fox News host has been pleading with Trump to take the COVID-19 pandemic more seriously.

“Last Saturday, Mr. Carlson drove from his residence in Florida to Mar-a-Lago, the president’s Florida resort, and spoke directly with Mr. Trump about the virus, according to a person with knowledge of their conversation,” reports the Times.

Axios also reports that Carlson was one of “a number of informal Trump advisers” who “emphasized to the president that this was not the flu and urged him to act fast.”

Locally —

Trump is REALLY gaslighting now:

Mismanagement continues:

But governors seem to be picking up the slack:

Also, the Trump administration expressed support on Tuesday for sending direct cash payments to Americans in the next two weeks as part of a massive economic stimulus package that is taking shape in Washington, something the White House hopes could stanch the economic free fall caused by the coronavirus.

“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Tuesday. “And I mean now, in the next two weeks.”

The cash payment idea, which originated in Congress, is part of a roughly $850 billion stimulus plan that the White House is trying to push into law as soon as possible. It could become one of the largest federal emergency fiscal packages ever assembled.

I don’t imagine that mailing everyone a thousand dollars will do any harm, but it seems like a pretty inefficient way of doing things. It would be better to use that $300 billion to target the people and businesses most affected by government mandated measures like restaurant closures, social distancing, and so forth. If those people feel confident that there’s a strong bipartisan commitment to making their income whole for at least the next several months—or close to it—they’ll continue to spend normally. Families that aren’t affected as much will most likely adapt and simply spend their income on different things instead of cutting back.

Amazon is prioritizing the stocking and shipping of high-demand household necessities from its warehouses, including groceries, baby products, health and medical supplies, beauty and personal care items, pet supplies, and industrial and household items amid the coronavirus outbreak, as reported by CNBC. What does this mean in practice? Not too much is likely to change if your order consists of household basics, but the online retail giant’s decisions mark a big change for e-sellers.

Oh, this is a nice recap of the week that was:

And Trump… just now… trying to be a war president: