WTF Community

🤮 Coronavirus (Community Thread)

(David Bythewood) #21

Okay, first, there IS no vaccine any time in the near future.


The Trump administration says the coronavirus vaccine might not be affordable for all Americans

Coronavirus lays bare all the pathologies of the Trump administration

Acting deputy secretary of DHS, arch-nativist Ken Cuccinell, a top member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, asked Twitter for help accessing map of the virus

Trump’s DHS head has a brutal exchange on coronavirus — courtesy of a GOP senator

The Department of Homeland Security is coordinating the U.S. government’s response to the increasing threat of the novel coronavirus. The agency has also been under the control of acting head Chad Wolf for more than four months, with no full-time replacement selected.

And Wolf’s testimony Tuesday morning wasn’t exactly confidence-inspiring — particularly for one GOP senator.

Appearing in front of a Senate appropriations subcommittee, Wolf was on the receiving end of a brutal line of questioning from Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.). Throughout the exchange, Wolf struggled to produce basic facts and projections about the disease. Perhaps most strikingly, the hearing came at a time of heightened fears about the disease, with the stock market plunging over new estimates about its spread into the United States. It’s a moment in which you’d expect such things to be top of mind for someone in Wolf’s position.

Wolf got started on the wrong foot almost immediately, when Kennedy asked him how many cases of the coronavirus there were in the United States. Wolf stated there were 14 but was uncertain about how many cases had been repatriated back to the United States from cruise ships, placing the number at “20- or 30-some-odd.”

Asked how many DHS was anticipating, Wolf didn’t have an answer and suggested this was the Department of Health and Human Services’ territory. “We do anticipate the number will grow; I don’t have an exact figure for you, though,” Wolf said.

“You’re head of Homeland Security, and your job is to keep us safe,” Kennedy responded, asking him again what the estimates might be. Wolf talked around the question, which led Kennedy to say, “Don’t you think you ought to check on that, as the head of Homeland Security?”

“We will,” Wolf responded. He referred to a task force that is working on that issue.

“I’m all for committees and task forces,” Kennedy said. “I think you ought to know that answer.”

Things didn’t get much better from there.

Kennedy then asked Wolf how the coronavirus was transmitted, to which Wolf responded that there were “a variety of ways” including “human to human.” That, though, wasn’t what Kennedy was asking; he was asking how it was transmitted between humans.

“How is it transmitted?” Kennedy cut in, making clear he wanted specifics.

“A variety of different ways,” Wolf again responded.

“Tell me what they are,” Kennedy quizzed him, clearly skeptical that Wolf knew the answer.

When Wolf again referred to “human-to-human” transmissions, Kennedy cut in. “Well, obviously human to human,” Kennedy said. “How?”

Wolf could muster only that it was “being in the same vicinity” and “physical contact.”

Kennedy then sought to compare mortality rates for the coronavirus — which is about 2 percent — and for influenza “over the last 10 years in America.” Wolf, who was clearly on his heels, responded somewhat haltingly that the flu was “also right around that percentage, as well” — referring to the 2 percent.

“You sure of that?” Kennedy asked.

“Yes, sir,” Wolf said.

The mortality rate for influenza in the United States is significantly lower than that — only around 0.1 percent, according to the CDC, with some differences depending on how you define an influenza-related death. In other words, while about 1 in 50 people are dying from the coronavirus, only about 1 in 1,000 Americans die of the flu. Wolf may have been referring to the worldwide flu mortality rate, which is indeed significantly higher than in the United States. He began answering the question as Kennedy was saying “America.”

It was more of the same from there. Kennedy asked whether we have enough respirators, and Wolf again wasn’t totally sure. “To my knowledge, we do.” Kennedy responded the committee had been told that wasn’t the case. Wolf seemed to think Kennedy was asking only about equipment for DHS officials and not the broader public.

A similar exchange occurred on masks. Wolf then tried to push back, noting Kennedy was asking him about “a number of medical questions.”

“I’m asking you questions because you’re the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security,” Kennedy shot back, “and you’re supposed to keep us safe. And you need to know the answers to these questions.”

Kennedy then asked when a vaccine for the disease might be ready, and Wolf said “several months.” Kennedy again said that conflicted with what the committee had been told elsewhere.

“Your numbers aren’t the same as CDC’s,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy concluded by again begging Wolf to have answers to these questions. But as Wolf tried to respond, Kennedy was apparently finished with the whole thing, and he instead yielded his time back.

The scene was jarring, but it wasn’t without precedent from Kennedy. The Louisiana senator has occasionally sent a message to the Trump administration by lighting into the president’s judicial picks — including in 2017 and last year. He also told administration officials during a hearing on the opioid crisis two months ago, “I don’t speak B.S.

Tuesday was particularly striking, though, given who Wolf is. President Trump has left acting officials in charge of major departments and in other Cabinet-level jobs for months and months without picking successors that people like Kennedy would vote to confirm. The downside of that is the people in charge haven’t been vetted as closely for situations such as a potential outbreak of a disease. (DHS has actually been under acting control for more than 10 months now.)

Whether any one of Kennedy’s individual questions was fair or not, Wolf’s exchange with Kennedy suggested someone who was wasn’t terribly plugged in to what’s going on. That’s not a great sign.

As coronavirus fear grips Wall Street, the White House moves decisively to protect Trump from germs

Behind our sluggish response to coronavirus, an unnecessary battle over funding



I wouldn’t wish that on anyone but that would really bring new meaning to “where we go one, we go all.”

(David Bythewood) #23

The right hand doesn’t know who the left hand is shooting.

Fears grow of a coronavirus pandemic as markets stumble again; Japan shuts schools

2 studies of coronavirus patients suggest the disease’s incubation period could be longer than the standard quarantine period of 14 days

Public health experts warn Trump’s history of lying about crises is a ‘real problem’ as he downplays coronavirus and contradicts the CDC


…well, I get your drift. No one really wants to bring harm essentially…BUT we could hope that they see that he is NOT WELL.

Wonder if ‘they’ think the same for non-MAGA believers???!!!

(David Bythewood) #25

Of course Azar is behind the “the vaccine may not be affordable for all” statement.

Michael McAuliff takes a look at Alex Azar, pharmaceutical lobbyist, former drug company executive, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and opponent of the ACA, the man who wants to charge for a #coronavirus vaccine we don’t even have yet.

(Lynn) #26

So the coronavirus might not be “all bad” after all? :roll_eyes:

(David Bythewood) #27

Note this key line:

But even when proceeding at an “emergency speed,” a vaccine would not be available for use for at least a year or 18 months


CNN - Gupta on Trump’s coronavirus claim: That’s not true


Trump makes misleading statement on risk of coronavirus.


(David Bythewood) #29


Pence Will Control All Coronavirus Messaging From Health Officials

Government health officials and scientists will have to coordinate statements with the vice president’s office, one of three people designated as the administration’s primary coronavirus official.


I just want “them” to wake up. How can anyone keep believing a liar?

And I’m willing to believe they think the same for us non-believers. :roll_eyes:

(David Bythewood) #31

Pence and the WH are clamping down on info. In that vacuum, media is bound to fill it with fear and sensationalism.

I’ve been told that there are already panicked people in some places stocking up on food and resources.

Let’s Call It Trumpvirus

If you’re feeling awful, you know who to blame.

(David Bythewood) #32

Official CDC info on the Coronavirus:

U.S. Stocks Slide Into a Correction as Virus Fears Show No Sign of Easing

Coronavirus live updates: California monitoring 8,400 people, stocks continue free fall

(David Bythewood) #33

I want to scream.

U.S. Health Workers Responding to Coronavirus Lacked Training and Protective Gear, Whistle-Blower Says

Team members were not properly trained, lacked necessary gear and moved freely around and off military bases where Americans were quarantined, a complaint says.


A little backtracking…now Pence will have under him another expert Ambassador Debbie Birx, who handled the global HIV crisis as “White House coronavirus response coordinator”, as well as Cabinet member Azar in positions of power.

In the end, President Donald Trump got a coronavirus czar — without having to call it a czar.

Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump appointed Wednesday to lead his coronavirus response, announced a global health official as the “White House coronavirus response coordinator” — installing a czar-like figure under him to guide the administration’s response to the outbreak after a protracted public dance around how to display the power of the federal bureaucracy to the American people.

The new role will put Ambassador Debbie Birx, who has served since 2014 as the U.S. government’s leader for combating HIV/AIDS globally, at the center of what now appears to be three leaders of the government response. Trump revealed in a news conference Wednesday evening that Pence would head up the administration’s management of the coronavirus, overseeing a task force nominally led by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Birx will report to Pence but serve on the task force that Azar chairs.


More than a ‘test’ for T’s competence…a nation is in need of good information.

And so, with the first case of coronavirus not tied to foreign travel being announced in California on Wednesday, Trump finds himself grappling with a crisis for which his record suggests he is particularly ill suited to respond.

Trump’s charge is to calm, rather than con, a frightened nation. But now in his fourth year in office, he lacks credibility with broad swaths of the country — the sort of safety net that many of his predecessors could fall back on in moments of crisis.

Stephen Morrison, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he directs the center’s global health work, said that while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has done “a fine job” in regularly updating the public with guidance, “the trick and the missing part is the communications at a higher level to the American public, and that’s from the president and the president’s designated surrogates.”

(David Bythewood) #36

(Matt Kiser) #37

Cross-posting from: Day 1134

(David Bythewood) #38

Welcome to the #gaslight express.

We have misspelled lies that claim Trump’s racist border closings and flight bans are helping (they’re not).


We have blaming the media for the panic and lack of leadership he is causing, not to mention the laughable claim that CNN is “far left.”


And we have totally false claims that Pence and his cadre of Trump cronies have everything under control and numbers are going down when the exact opposite is clearly happening.


(David Bythewood) #39

He’s just… so… dumb…


Why in the world would Pence cancel this? Big dollars is why.

The country’s new point man on coronavirus response, Vice President Mike Pence, is expected to travel to Florida on Friday — but not on a public health mission.

Instead, Pence is headed to the moneyed barrier island town of Longboat Key, where he’ll be the main attraction for Congressional Republicans in one of their biggest fundraisers of the year.

It’s $2,500 to get in the door and $5,000 to take a picture with the vice president, according to an invite obtained by the Tampa Bay Times . And $25,000 buys dinner with him, too.