Trump Continues To Mislead On COVID-19; Markets Continue To Plummet

Ken AshfordEbola/Zika/COVID-19 Viruses, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Um, does this sounds like Trump has moved testing oversight to an agency with less expertise but will be “faster”?

Anyway, it’s not true. The FDA can issue an EUA (emergency use authority) notice allowing labs to proceed with in-vitro testing. They did it under Obama, for Zika, Ebola, and several other health emergencies. Trump made them issue a policy document because they dropped the ball on an EUA.

And lest we forget…

Yesterday, on the same day that the World Health Organization (WHO) pegged the global death rate of the novel coronavirus at 3.4 percent — a figure higher than earlier estimates — Trump went on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show and insisted it’s actually not that bad.

As cases spread across the United States (in part because of expanding testing) and states declare public health emergencies, Trump cited a “hunch” to make a case that the mortality rate is actually “a fraction of 1 percent.” He recklessly dismissed the WHO mortality rate as “really a false number,” used bogus numbers to compare the coronavirus to the much less deadly seasonal flu, and didn’t discourage people with Covid-19 (the disease caused by coronavirus) from going to work.

When the Trump administration was struggling to resolve problems with coronavirus testing kits a couple weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration sent one of its top scientists to help out.

The FDA’s director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health, Timothy Stenzel, flew to CDC headquarters in Atlanta on the weekend of Feb. 22, but he was immediately forced to wait overnight as health department officials lobbied the CDC to give him access to the agency’s campus, according to Politico. Stenzel was there specifically to work out issues with the CDC’s coronavirus test that had already hobbled more expansive screening for weeks.

The CDC told Politico Stenzel’s wait was simply a function of the fact that he arrived a day earlier than the agency had expected. “Due to CDC security requirements, he was not allowed on campus that night,” the spokesperson said.

Gee, maybe a little urgency might have helped as the minutes ticked away on preventing the spread of a virus that’s now beginning to bud nationwide. Naturally, once he gained access, Stenzel found issues such as evidence of lab contamination that may have played a role in tainting the test kits and delaying their delivery.

Ultimately, the delays resulted in a failure to administer the tests quickly to a wider group of people in order to promote early detection of the virus and perhaps prevent its spread. “CDC initially limited testing to people who had recently traveled to China or had close contact with a confirmed case and were also symptomatic,” writes Politico.

Meanwhile, it keeps rolling along.

The stock market made a sharp recovery from Tuesday’s post-rate-cut selloff. Both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped over 4% on Wednesday, boosted by big victory of former Vice President Joe Biden coming out of Super Tuesday primaries, as well as Congress’s latest $8.3 billion funding package to tackle coronavirus.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 1,173.45 points, or 4.53%, to close at 27,090.86. The S&P 500 gained 126.75 points, or 4.22%, to end at 3,130.12 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 334.00 points, or 3.85%, to close at 9,018.09.

That was its second largest points gain in history

But today, we’ve seen it drop 650 points.

[UPDATE: As of 2:30 pm, down 1000] [UPDATE: Another last 10 minute surge and it closes down 969]

UPDATE: He won’t shut up…

He closed the borders? To a virus? How did he do that?

Meanwhile, Azar is being benched from public appearances, or so it seems: