Image of Dr. Anthony Fauci mentally disappear during the Presser.
Image of Dr. Anthony Fauci mentally disappear during the Presser.
I am sick as anything today and my head is starting to spin as I see double, so just posting these quickly to show how the GOP proposal fails to help the poor and is GOP Tax Scam Part 2.
A reasonable summary of what is coming:
Bottom Line: we have to manage this for more than 18 months.
Feel better…this is not an easy time to start feeling sick.
Take good care.
On March 6, during Trump’s cringeworthy CDC coronavirus presser (see his most egregious lies here), I couldn’t help noticing a woman standing behind the President. She really stood out because she was grinning throughout like a cat who ate the canary. I wondered, “Who is this person and what does she find so amusing about this serious topic?” Even when everyone else was wearing somber expressions, she was beaming as if she just popped a fistful of Xanax.
Her manic smirk really stuck in my mind, but I didn’t follow through and check out who she was. Well, just yesterday, a post from @Windthin gave me a feeling of déjà vu. It was about Kelly Loeffler, the Republican Senator from Georgia who’s been caught using insider trading info from a confidential Senate briefing to dump stocks before the market plunged (for convenience, I’ve posted the link again below). I thought, “That person looks really familiar. Wait! She’s the one who was blissfully smiling throughout the CDC presser!” But, of course! She’s probably humming to herself, “Hey, chumps, I dumped my stocks weeks ago right after that private briefing. Suck it!” (Check it out – she’s cued up here – just click around anywhere in the second half of the presser and note her Cheshire cat smile.)
The Senate’s newest member sold off seven figures’ worth of stock holdings in the days and weeks after a private, all-senators meeting on the novel coronavirus that subsequently hammered U.S. equities.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) reported the first sale of stock jointly owned by her and her husband on Jan. 24, the very day that her committee, the Senate Health Committee, hosted a private, all-senators briefing from administration officials, including the CDC director and Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on the coronavirus.
“Appreciate today’s briefing from the President’s top health officials on the novel coronavirus outbreak,” she tweeted about the briefing at the time.
That first transaction was a sale of stock in the company Resideo Technologies valued at between $50,001 and $100,000. The company’s stock price has fallen by more than half since then, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average overall has shed approximately 10,000 points, dropping about a third of its value.
It was the first of 29 stock transactions that Loeffler and her husband made through mid-February, all but two of which were sales. One of Loeffler’s two purchases was stock worth between $100,000 and $250,000 in Citrix, a technology company that offers teleworking software and which has seen a small bump in its stock price since Loeffler bought in as a result of coronavirus-induced market turmoil.
Loeffler’s office did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast on the transactions and whether they were prompted or informed by information shared at that late January briefing. It’s illegal for members of Congress to trade on non-public information gleaned through their official duties.
Late Thursday night, she did offer a statement, tweeting: “This is a ridiculous and baseless attack. I do not make investment decisions for my portfolio. Investment decisions are made by multiple third-party advisors without my or my husband’s knowledge or involvement.
“As confirmed in the periodic transaction report to Senate Ethics, I was informed of these purchases and sales on February 16, 2020—three weeks after they were made.”
Note: Loeffler’s statement is an outright lie. The periodic transaction report does indeed confirm that the trading occurred on the same day she received the briefing, but it in no way reveals what she did and did not know about it at the time.
In the weeks after her spate of stock trades, Loeffler sought to downplay the public-health and financial threats posed by the coronavirus.
“Democrats have dangerously and intentionally misled the American people on #Coronavirus readiness,” she tweeted on Feb. 28. “Here’s the truth: @realDonaldTrump & his administration are doing a great job working to keep Americans healthy & safe.”
“Concerned about #coronavirus?” she tweeted on March 10. “Remember this: The consumer is strong, the economy is strong, & jobs are growing, which puts us in the best economic position to tackle #COVID19 & keep Americans safe.”
Loeffler is the second known senator to sell off large stock holdings between that Jan. 24 briefing and the dramatic drop in stock-market indices over the last week. The Center for Responsive Politics reported on Thursday that Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, sold between $500,000 and $1.5 million in stock in February, shortly before markets tanked—and before Burr privately warned of the havoc that coronavirus was poised to wreak.
Burr lashed out at National Public Radio on Thursday over its report revealing those private comments in a series of tweets that did not mention his stock trades. Burr was one of just one of three senators who voted against legislation in 2012 banning so-called congressional insider trading.
As it happens, Burr and Loeffler sat next to each other on the Senate floor during the chamber’s impeachment trial in January.
Loeffler assumed office on Jan. 6 after having been appointed to the seat vacated by retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson. Between then and Jan. 23, she did not report a single stock transaction from accounts owned by her individually or by her and her husband jointly.
Between Jan. 24 and Feb. 14, by contrast, Loeffler reported selling stock jointly owned with her husband worth between $1,275,000 and $3,100,000, according to transaction reports filed with Senate ethics officials. On Feb. 14, she also purchased the Citrix stock and another $100,000 to $250,000 in technology company Oracle, which has seen its share price decline by more than 18 percent since then.
The 15 stocks that Loeffler reported selling have lost more than a third of their value, on average, since she reported offloading them. She initially reported many of the transactions as sales of stock owned by her husband. Last week she amended the filing to note that most of them were jointly owned.
The full scope of Loeffler’s portfolio and its particular holdings is not yet known. Senators are required to regularly disclose that information, but in January she requested an extension from Senate ethics officials. A full accounting of her finances will not be public until May.
When Loeffler assumed office, she immediately became the wealthiest member of Congress. The Atlanta businesswoman, whose husband is the chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, has a fortune estimated at $500 million.
From the beginning of her tenure, she has faced scrutiny over potential conflicts of interest. Her position on a Senate subcommittee that oversees futures markets “gives Kelly Loeffler a direct position in overseeing her and her husband’s financial enterprises,” Craig Holman, lobbyist for the ethics group Public Citizen, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution in February. “I find it utterly irresponsible the Senate would choose to put Loeffler on that committee, given her conflicts of interest.”
Unlike other senators, Loeffler’s finances are directly tied to her electoral fate. She has pledged to spend $20 million on her bid to hold on to her seat when she faces voters for the first time this November.
It’s crucial to know what time the coronavirus briefing occurred on January 24, the day that Loeffler dumped stocks. If the briefing was after the markets closed, that would tend to favor Loeffler’s defense that she didn’t commit insider trading. The article doesn’t give the time so I went on a hunt to find it. Finally, I was able to determine that the briefing was held very early in the morning and concluded even before the markets opened. So coming out of that meeting, Loeffler had plenty of time to sell stocks – pretty damning, considering that she had sold no stocks since assuming office on Jan 6, but starting dumping stocks on the very day she exited that briefing.
The reason the briefing was held at such an early hour was that the Senate Impeachment trial was going on at the time so the Senators needed to make their way from the briefing to the trial. As the article points out, during the trial, Loeffler sat next to another Republican Senator, Richard Burr, who also attended the briefing and is also accused of insider trading based on info learned at the briefing. I’m wondering if they plunked down next to each other at the trial and started exchanging tips on what stocks to dump. Loeffler began offloading stocks on that very Friday. Burr waited until Feb. 13 while the market was at its peak.
For confirmation that the briefing ended at 8:11 AM ET well before trading begins (at 9:30 AM), here’s a tweet thread from a C-Span reporter – he notes when the Senators are leaving the briefing. (Click on “Show This Thread,” then, in the fourth tweet, hover over “Jan. 24” to see the time.)
Wow. I am sharing that around now. That is an AMAZING catch. It puts a lot together suddenly.
Fallout…everyone gets a bit of a hit, including T 'n Co.
President Trump’s company — significantly reliant on tourism, conventions and restaurant income — has been sharply impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with at least two properties closing and three hotels laying off staff, according to people familiar with the company.
In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis ® ordered all restaurants and bars in the state to close Friday and imposed special restrictions in a few places including Palm Beach County — home of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club.
Previously, Mar-a-Lago had been partially open, offering limited sit-down service at its beachfront bistro, according to a letter sent to members.
Before that, Trump’s hotel in Las Vegas was shuttered in response to a statewide order from Nevada’s governor. It will not reopen until April 17, the hotel told customers. Some employees at the hotel have already been laid off, according to a letter one employee received.
Strange happenings in Japan.
March 20, 2020
A member of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff has tested positive for coronavirus, the White House said Friday, marking the first such infection within the top rungs of the administration.
Katie Miller, a spokeswoman for Pence, did not identified the staffer, nor did she say specifically where the individual worked. Pence is leading the administration’s coronavirus task force and has been a regular presence at the president’s side in recent weeks.
“This evening we were notified that a member of the Office of the Vice President tested positive for the Coronavirus,” Miller said in statement. “Neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence had close contact with the individual.”
P.S. Sorry for the “plain posts,” but the pretty “auto-graphics” when we post a news link are not coming up for me. I’m going to try a few things to see if it’s my computer that’s causing the issue.
Interesting Skype interview by Wolf Blitzer with one of the Congressmen who recently tested positive. It looks like he’ll be OK, but coronavirus has hit him hard – and he’s just 45 years old. (I say “just” because I wish I was 45 again ). Those cocky springbreakers should watch this and maybe they’d think twice about blowing off the guidance for social distancing.
Who else can sew? This pattern is easy, let’s do it!
“They look at the criteria — in this case it would likely be age and underlying disease conditions — and then determine that this person, though this person has a chance of survival with a ventilator, does not get one,” Ms. Sauer said.
“This is a shift to caring for the population, where you look at the whole population of people who need care and make a determination about who is most likely to survive, and you provide care to them,” she said. “Those that have a less good chance of survival — but still have a chance — you do not provide care to them, which guarantees their death.”
These maps show just how bad things can get if we don’t dig down deep and take real serious measures.
While many watched the coronavirus spread across the globe with disinterest for months, in the last week, most of us have finally realized it will disrupt our way of life. A recent analysis from Imperial College is now making some Americans, including many experts, panic. The report projects that 2.2 million people could die in the United States. But the analysis also provides reason for hope—suggesting a path forward to avoid the worst outcomes.
We can make things better; it’s not too late. But we have to be willing to act.
Let’s start with the bad news. The Imperial College response team’s report looked at the impact of measures we might take to flatten the curve, or reduce the rate at which people are becoming sick with COVID-19. If we do nothing and just let the virus run its course, the team predicts, we could see three times as many deaths as we see from cardiovascular disease each year. Further, it estimated that infections would peak in mid-June. We could expect to see about 55,000 deaths, in just one day.
Of course, we are doing something, so this outcome is unlikely to occur. We’re closing schools and businesses and committing to social (really, physical) distancing. But as the sobering charts from the analysis show, this isn’t enough. Even after we do these things, the report predicts that a significant number of infections will occur, that more people will need care than we can possibly provide in our hospitals, and that more than 1 million could die.
Why does the Imperial College team predict this for the West when things seem to be improving in Asia? Because we are taking different approaches. Asian countries have engaged in suppression; we are only engaging in mitigation.
Suppression refers to a campaign to reduce the infectivity of a pandemic, what experts call R0 (R-naught), to less than one. Unchecked, the R0 of COVID-19 is between 2 and 3, meaning that every infected person infects, on average, two to three others. An R0 less than 1 indicates that each infected person results in fewer than one new infection. When this happens, the outbreak will slowly grind to a halt.
To achieve this, we need to test many, many people, even those without symptoms. Testing will allow us to isolate the infected so they can’t infect others. We need to be vigilant, and willing to quarantine people with absolute diligence.
Because we failed to set up a testing infrastructure, we can’t check that many people. At the moment, we can’t even test everyone who is sick. Therefore, we’re attempting mitigation—accepting that the epidemic will advance but trying to reduce R0 as much as possible.
Our primary approach is social distancing—asking people to stay away from one another. This has meant closing schools, restaurants, and bars. It’s meant asking people to work from home and not meet in groups of 10 or more. Our efforts are good, temporizing measures. Impeding the growth of the infection improves the chance our health-care system will be able to keep up.
But these efforts won’t help those who are already infected. It will take up to two weeks for those infected today to show any symptoms, and some people won’t show symptoms at all. Social distancing cannot prevent these infections, as they’ve already happened. Therefore, things will appear to get worse for some time, even if what we’re doing is making things better in the long run. The outbreak will continue to progress.
But buried in the Imperial College report is reason for optimism. The analysis finds that in the do-nothing scenario, many people die and die quickly. With serious mitigation, though, many of the measures we’re taking now slow things down. By the summer, the report calculates, the number of people who become sick will eventually reduce to a trickle.
On this path, though, the real horror show will begin in the fall and crush us next winter, when COVID-19 comes back with a vengeance.
This is what happened with the flu in 1918. The spring was bad. Over the summer, the numbers of sick dwindled and created a false sense of security. Then, all hell broke loose. In late 1918, tens of millions of people died.
If a similar pattern holds for COVID-19, then while things are bad now, it may be nothing compared to what we face at the end of the year.
Because of this, some are now declaring that we might be on lockdown for the next 18 months. They see no alternative. If we go back to normal, they argue, the virus will run unchecked and tear through Americans in the fall and winter, infecting 40 to 70 percent of us, killing millions and sending tens of millions to the hospital. To prevent that, they suggest we keep the world shut down, which would destroy the economy and the fabric of society.
But all of that assumes that we can’t change, that the only two choices are millions of deaths or a wrecked society.
That’s not true. We can create a third path. We can decide to meet this challenge head-on. It is absolutely within our capacity to do so. We could develop tests that are fast, reliable, and ubiquitous. If we screen everyone, and do so regularly, we can let most people return to a more normal life. We can reopen schools and places where people gather. If we can be assured that the people who congregate aren’t infectious, they can socialize.
We can build health-care facilities that do rapid screening and care for people who are infected, apart from those who are not. This will prevent transmission from one sick person to another in hospitals and other health-care facilities. We can even commit to housing infected people apart from their healthy family members, to prevent transmission in households.
These steps alone still won’t be enough.
We will need to massively strengthen our medical infrastructure. We will need to build ventilators and add hospital beds. We will need to train and redistribute physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists to where they are most needed. We will need to focus our factories on turning out the protective equipment—masks, gloves, gowns, and so forth—to ensure we keep our health-care workforce safe. And, most importantly, we need to pour vast sums of intellectual and financial resources into developing a vaccine that would finally bring this nightmare to a close. An effective vaccine would end the pandemic and protect billions of people around the world.
All of the difficult actions we are taking now to flatten the curve aren’t just intended to slow the rate of infection to levels the health-care system can manage. They’re also meant to buy us time. They give us the space to create what we need to make a real difference.
Of course, it all depends on what we do with that time. The mood of the country has shifted in the last few weeks, from dismissal to one of fear and concern. That’s appropriate. This is a serious pandemic, and it’s still very likely that the rate of infection will overwhelm the surge capacity in some areas of the United States. There will likely be more seriously ill people than we have resources to care for, meaning that providers will have to make decisions about whom to treat, and whom not to.
They may, explicitly or implicitly, have to decide who lives and who dies.
If we commit to social distancing, however, at some point in the next few months the rate of spread will slow. We’ll be able to catch our breath. We’ll be able to ease restrictions, as some early hit countries are doing. We can move toward some semblance of normalcy.
The temptation then will be to think we have made it past the worst. We cannot give in to that temptation. That will be the time to redouble our efforts. We will need to prepare for the coming storm. We’ll need to build up our stockpiles, create strategies, and get ready.
If we choose the third course, when fall arrives, we will be ahead of a resurgence of the infection. We can keep the number of those who are exposed to a minimum, focusing our attention on those who are infected, and enacting more stringent physical distancing only when, and in locations where, that fails. We can keep schools and businesses open as much as possible, closing them quickly when suppression fails, then opening them back up again once the infected are identified and isolated. Instead of playing defense, we could play more offense.
We need to keep time on the clock, time to find a treatment or a vaccine.
The last time we faced a pandemic with this level of infectivity, that was this dangerous, for which we had no therapy or vaccine, was a 100 years ago, and it led to 50 million deaths. The coronavirus pandemic isn’t unprecedented, but it’s not anything almost anyone alive has experienced before. We, are, however, much more knowledgeable, much more coordinated, and much more capable today.
Some Americans are in denial, and others are feeling despair. Both sentiments are understandable. We all have a choice to make. We can look at the coming fire and let it burn. We can hunker down, and hope to wait it out—or we can work together to get through it with as little damage as possible. This country has faced massive threats before and risen to the challenge; we can do it again. We just need to decide to make it happen.
Best defense is a good offense. We need to establish massive testing infrastructure, ASAP! We need to start testing everyone.
Trump, or his media team, seems to be taking this seriously finally.
It would be nice if this thread he linked this morning had come from a doctor, not a CEO, but that he posted it at all is a minor miracle.
Still doesn’t make him competent.
Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday that he and his wife Karen would be tested for the coronavirus after a staff member in his office tested positive for the virus this week.
“Given the unique position that I have as vice president and as the leader of the White House coronavirus task force, both I and my wife will be tested for the coronavirus later this afternoon,” Pence said during a news conference at the White House.
His office announced Friday that one of its members tested positive for the coronavirus – the closest confirmed case to Pence that is publicly known.
Pence told reporters Saturday that his staffer who tested positive for coronavirus is “doing well.”
He reiterated neither President Donald Trump nor himself had direct contact with the staff member, and said that health authorities have traced his contacts.