Trump continues to ignore the COVID-19 crisis, trying pathetically to divert attention with cranes, weights reminding us of the Python 16 tons, and trucks.
WaPo’s Philip Bump addresses how Taskforce head, Pence frames the data assembled to fit the administrative message, suggesting that diverting CDC data to HHS would do the same information distortion as the US accuses several countries and the WHO.
Experts think you can effectively keep the rate of new cases from growing if you’re seeing no more than 10 percent of tests return positive. To stamp out the virus, testing rates need to be closer to 3 percent, allowing the tracking of those who were in contact with the infected person.
Pence’s use of 10 percent as the threshold helps mask how much worse things have gotten. If we use a lower threshold of 5 percent — still above the level needed to suppress the outbreak — the state-level picture is much worse.
We are now seeing more deaths per day than we did when Pence wrote. As the White House seeks to undercut coronavirus task force member Anthony S. Fauci’s pessimistic view of the pandemic because of his having been optimistic or incorrect early in the outbreak, Pence’s presentation of where the numbers were headed have consistently been shown to be wildly wrong.
It’s harder to judge other claims Pence made, including about testing capacity (which seems to be wavering) and the availability of personal protective equipment. We can, however, judge Pence’s conclusion in his piece.
“The media has tried to scare the American people every step of the way, and these grim predictions of a second wave are no different,” he wrote. “The truth is, whatever the media says, our whole-of-America approach has been a success. We’ve slowed the spread, we’ve cared for the most vulnerable, we’ve saved lives, and we’ve created a solid foundation for whatever challenges we may face in the future. That’s a cause for celebration, not the media’s fearmongering.”
You may assess that claim for yourself.
71,000 new cases of coronavirus were reported in the US on Thursday
There’s no point in sugar-coating this. The U.S. response to the Covid-19 pandemic is a raging dumpster fire.
Where a number of countries in Asia and Europe have managed to dampen spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to the point where they can consider returning to a semblance of normalcy — friends from Paris just emailed me pictures from their Sicilian vacation — many international borders remain closed to Americans.
The website Covidexitstrategy.org has updated its previously tri-colored U.S. map, which showed states as either green, signifying they are trending better; yellow, making progress; or red, trending poorly. A fourth designation, called “bruised red,” signals states with uncontrolled spread; criteria for this category includes hospitals nearing capacity both in terms of overall beds and ICU space. Already 17 states are wearing bruised red.
The virus suppression gains earned through the painful societal shutdowns of March, April, and May — the flattened epidemiological curves — have been squandered in many parts of the country, dejected public health experts agree. A vaccine for the masses is still months away. What can be done?
With more than six months’ worth of experience with Covid-19, the world has good evidence about what works to suppress spread of the virus. All levels of government should be urging people to take those steps, said Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins.
“If leaders from this point forward spoke with the same messages, consistently, clearly, without division, they likely have the power to change the views of many who have been less convinced of the right things to do because of conflicting, confusing messages they have been hearing,” he said.
Leaders should also practice what they preach — masks in public, avoiding large gatherings — and be guided by science, Inglesby said.