The Abbreviated Pundit Round-up is a regular feature at Daily Kos.
It is vital that the networks send science/health reporters and not just political reporters to WH briefings. Don't have enough of them? Hire them. Fire the political shills you have on retainer if you need the money. It's a win-win for America.
The biggest challenge to America’s coronavirus response? Trump.
President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States has so far been a disaster….
Yet Trump insists the problem is under control and that he’s doing a fantastic job.
Ask yourself this simple question: Is the WH preparing you for this? My contention is that it is not. In fact, it’s clear from these stories that Trump has totally screwed this up.
BREAKING: By a 20-point margin, Americans say TrumpÃ¢Â�Â�s handling of the Coronavirus makes them less likely to vote for him.https://t.co/TCyz7frXKx— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) March 5, 2020
‘Doomed from the Start.’ Experts Say the Trump Administration’s Coronavirus Response Was Never Going to Work
“We have contained this. I won’t say airtight but pretty close to airtight,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in a television interview on Feb. 25, echoing Trump’s tweeted declaration that the virus was “very much under control” in the United States.
But it wasn’t, and the administration’s rosy messaging was fundamentally at odds with a growing cacophony of alarm bells inside and outside the U.S. government. Since January, epidemiologists, former U.S. public health officials and experts have been warning, publicly and privately, that the administration’s insistence that containment was—and should remain—the primary way to confront an emerging infectious disease was a grave mistake.
In congressional testimony, in medical webcasts and in private discussions with health officials, they warned that the unique features of this flu-like virus made it impossible to control, and that the administration must use any time that containment measures might buy to prepare the country for an inevitable outbreak. The administration was using all its resources to blockade the doors, they warned, but the enemy was likely already in the house.
US grocery chain, Trader Joes is the first company to temporarily change its sick leave policy in light of the Coronavirus. To encourage workers to stay home when ill, all employees regardless of tenure & full-time or part-time status will be paid for their time off. #Health #HR— Mark C. Crowley (@MarkCCrowley) March 6, 2020
The Trump administration’s greatest obstacle to sending a clear message on coronavirus may be Trump himself
As leading public health experts from across the government have tried to provide clear and consistent information about the deadly coronavirus, they have found their messages undercut, drowned out and muddled by President Trump’s push to downplay the outbreak with a mix of optimism, bombast and pseudoscience.
Speaking almost daily to the public about an outbreak that has spread across states and rocked the markets, Trump has promoted his opinions and at times contradicted the public health experts tasked with keeping Americans safe.
The president has repeatedly misstated the number of Americans who have tested positive for the virus and claimed it would “miraculously” disappear in the spring. He has given a false timeline for the development of a vaccine, publicly questioned whether vaccinations for the flu could be used to treat the novel coronavirus and dismissed the World Health Organization’s coronavirus death rate estimate, substituting a much lower figure and citing a “hunch.”
it might be a good idea to have Pence back off and let Birx, Fauci and CDC do the talking it might be life saving https://t.co/LGdUT7fusQ— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) March 6, 2020
Politicians Are The Last People Americans Want Fighting Coronavirus
It all starts with trust — something politicians just don’t have. On the list of people and groups Americans trust, politicians are right down at the bottom, lower even than journalists. Even among the most trusting Americans, only 46 percent have any confidence our elected officials will make decisions in our best interest. Americans’ trust in government itself is at its lowest point since we started systematically measuring it. Only one-fifth of us trust the federal government to do the right thing.
And trust — in politicians and the government they represent — turns out to be a pretty important part of effectively responding to an epidemic. For example, in a 2006 survey that came out after the SARS epidemic, Blendon and his colleagues found that Americans were less likely to trust their government to tell them accurate information about an outbreak than citizens of Hong Kong, Singapore or Taiwan — and that those lower trust scores were correlated with less support for wearing face masks, getting a vaccine or agreeing to have their temperature taken before they enter a public building.
Nurses Said They Can't Protect Themselves And Hospitals Are Unprepared For Coronavirus, Survey Reports https://t.co/IKnDfcqSe8 via @skbaer— Virginia Hughes (@virginiahughes) March 5, 2020
Trump’s latest coronavirus lies have a galling subtext
Why is it falling to House Democrats to do this?
As experts tell CNN’s John Harwood, Trump is shirking on a basic presidential responsibility to inform the American people. And this could have serious consequences.
Now, none of this necessarily casts doubt on the hard work that administration professionals are doing to manage the crisis. Indeed, if anything, by misleading the public, Trump is surely making this task harder for his own health officials. He’s putting out misinformation that requires correction by them.
Democrats are trying to pick up the slack. But on top of all this, by telling his supporters — millions of Americans — that everything Democrats say is about damaging him, Trump is also telling them not to believe any such correctives.
This was completely and totally predictable. In fact, I predicted it. Bloomberg:
U.S. to Miss Rollout Goal This Week on Virus Tests, Senators Say
The Trump administration won’t be able to meet its promised timeline of having a million coronavirus tests available by the end of the week, senators said after a briefing Thursday from health officials.
“There won’t be a million people to get a test by the end of the week,” Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida said. “It’s way smaller than that. And still, at this point, it’s still through public health departments.”…
The Trump administration has come under criticism for the test-kit shortage, which local public health officials have said hampers their ability to survey the U.S. population for the virus.
“Our single greatest challenge is the lack of fast federal action to increase testing capacity -- without that, we cannot beat this epidemic back,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement Thursday as he announced two additional cases diagnosed in the city.
Ã¢Â�Â�The truth is a better antidote to fear.Ã¢Â�Â� https://t.co/vdRjoCfmnv— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) March 5, 2020
Trump’s coronavirus musings put scientists on edge
The president’s habit of favoring his own judgments over those of the experts is vastly complicating efforts to fight the outbreak.
“Well, I think the 3.4 percent is really a false number. Now, and this is just my hunch, and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this,” Trump said, going on to peg the real figure as “way under 1 percent.”
Public health experts have noted the WHO’s estimate may change as more is learned about the spread of the virus; thousands of non-fatal cases likely have gone undetected. But while the death rate may dip below 3.4 percent, everything that’s known so far suggests it won’t plummet to a level that’s not alarming. And it’s already hitting some populations, like the elderly, disproportionately hard.
I sense a theme here.
A good q, answered:
.@DrMikeRyan adds that itÃ¢Â�Â�s clear animals donÃ¢Â�Â�t play big role in spreading #covid19, but that there often areisolated cases of animals being infected with new pathogens. "This is not an unusual or unprecedented finding. It happens regularly with emerging diseases"— Kai Kupferschmidt (@kakape) March 5, 2020
Speaking of pets:
Bailey only did what every reporter at these events thinks about doing. WE ARE ALL BAILEY. #solidarity Ã°Â�Â�Â� https://t.co/7epFYBqjQo— Meg Kinnard (@MegKinnardAP) March 5, 2020
From AP, horrible job on an important topic:
A disconnect between Trump and health officials on virus
Whom to believe on the coronavirus threat — the president saying one thing or the public health officials standing beside him and saying something a little different?
President Donald Trump’s breezy talk Tuesday of a virus that’s “got the world aflutter” contrasts with the gravity and caution conveyed by federal scientists as Americans look to the government not just for reassurance, but for realism.
Public-health leaders are walking a fine line in laying out the facts without angering a president who speaks in rosier tones than they do about a contagion that’s infected more than 100 people from coast to coast.
This is not a ‘both sides’ topic. Whom to believe??????
A shift like this in such a short period of time makes sense when the electorate wants to move on from the primary and focus on beating Trump. Nonetheless, truly unprecedented in our politics. pic.twitter.com/6fxUCzSQBE— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) March 5, 2020
COVID-19 Isn’t As Deadly As We Think
Don’t hoard masks and food. Figure out how to help seniors and the immunosuppressed stay healthy.
Allow me to be the bearer of good news. These frightening numbers are unlikely to hold. The true case fatality rate, known as CFR, of this virus is likely to be far lower than current reports suggest. Even some lower estimates, such as the 1 percent death rate recently mentioned by the directors of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, likely substantially overstate the case….
But the most straightforward and compelling evidence that the true case fatality rate of SARS-CoV-2 is well under 1 percent comes not from statistical trends and methodological massage, but from data from the Diamond Princess cruise outbreak and subsequent quarantine off the coast of Japan.
A quarantined boat is an ideal—if unfortunate—natural laboratory to study a virus. Many variables normally impossible to control are controlled. We know that all but one patient boarded the boat without the virus. We know that the other passengers were healthy enough to travel. We know their whereabouts and exposures. While the numbers coming out of China are scary, we don’t know how many of those patients were already ill for other reasons. How many were already hospitalized for another life-threatening illness and then caught the virus? How many were completely healthy, caught the virus, and developed a critical illness? In the real world, we just don’t know.
Again, all these numbers and stats are the early exit polls of coronavirus. They’re interesting, important and probably wrong.
Completely understand how hard it must be to pull the plug on something like this. But this seems really ill-advised. https://t.co/8INgIPZti7— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) March 5, 2020
Tough decisions ahead.
Warren in call with her campaign staff: Campaigns "are a reflection of the people who work on them. ... I am so proud of how you all fought this fight alongside me: you fought it with empathy and kindness and generosity Ã¢Â�Â� and of course, with enormous passion and grit."— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) March 5, 2020
Molly Jong-Fast/Daily Beast:
With Warren, The Dream of a Female President Dies Again
Hopes were high last year, with so many well-qualified female candidates. Now we’re down to one, and she’s on her way out. What happened?
There were so many astonishingly brilliant female candidates. There were four accomplished senators, or three in Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Kirsten Gillibrand. The fourth, Kamala Harris, was new to the Senate but had been a prosecutor and had already shown great promise. Surely one of them, or all of them, had what it took.
By last July, I was pretty sure that Elizabeth Warren and her “plan for that” would snag the nomination. But as the fall dragged on, Warren started to lose momentum. By November, she was down by 6 points, instead of up by 6 as she had been in September. The selfie lines were no longer cutting it. It seemed as if the Democratic base no longer wanted “systemic change in this country” or if they wanted it, they wanted it from Bernie Sanders and not from Warren.
And then they started dropping out. First was Gillibrand in August and even though I didn’t think I liked her, I realized after the following Gillibrand-less debate that she actually added a lot to the conversation, especially about childcare. In December, Harris dropped out, and I was kind of heartbroken, but we still had two women in the race.
By January, the “woman can’t win” story dropped. It wasn’t entirely clear who leaked the story of Sanders telling Warren that a woman couldn’t win the presidency, but many of Sanders’ supporters blamed Warren. Then came the snake emojis, which some Sanders supporters used to express their displeasure at what they considered to be a double cross from Bernie’s closest progressive allies. Things got real heated real fast between the two.
Warren's support was even more ideologically concentrated at the very liberal end than Bernie's, but it is demographically closer to those groups that have recently moved toward Biden: more suburban, white, & educated & more women. Both have some opening to draw her supporters.— Matt Grossmann (@MattGrossmann) March 5, 2020
Respect to every Elizabeth Warren voter and advocate. She didn’t just represent women, she hired them. The best person doesn’t always win.
The most progressive thing a committed progressive can do is win. Ideology without power, plans without the ability to implement is just wishful thinking. To produce change we must win.— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) March 5, 2020
unlock achievement: 3rd and final form of boss defeated https://t.co/w7kvxCHy90— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) March 5, 2020
Of course, with Bibi there is a 4th form.
The impeachment of Andrew Johnson in February 1868 failed to remove him from office; the Senate acquitted him in May. But his unfitness for office was so clearly exposed that he failed to win re-election. In fact, he couldnÃ¢Â�Â�t even get the Democratic Party to nominate him. https://t.co/jjlBFRG89q— David Priess (@DavidPriess) March 5, 2020
Truth, Lies, and the Nonsense Trump-Biden-Ukraine False Equivalency
One of these guys was pressuring Ukraine to help him out in an election. The other was pressuring Ukraine to end corruption. They are not the same.
But despite the frustrating reality, the only way to combat or change this cycle is to disrupt it. So consider this is a humble attempt to do just that and provide some clarity to those of you who are too busy to bathe in the minutiae of the Ukranian prosecutor’s office and might be susceptible to throwing up your hands and placing a pox on both their houses.
(1) Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, did take consulting work for a Ukrainian oil company, Burisma, that was under investigation by a Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, for the work under the prior Russian-allied regime. This is where the true part of the Trump disinformation comes to an end.
(2) The problem was that Shokin actively stood in the way of international investigations that the U.S. and other democratic reformers were pursuing.
(3) Vice President Biden, U.S. diplomats, and our E.U. allies all called on the prosecutor to be fired so the corrupt oligarchs could be investigated MORE AGGRESSIVELY. This includes the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine calling out by name Mykola Zlochevsky, the oligarch who ran the company Hunter Biden worked for, as someone this prosecutor was letting off the hook.
(4) Donald Trump was allegedly pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate a domestic political foe on a bogus conspiracy for personal gain. Joe Biden was pressuring the Ukrainian government to root out corruption in their own country and bring about democratic reforms.
(5) For the kids in the back:
PRESSURING A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT TO INTERFERE ON YOUR BEHALF IN DOMESTIC ELECTIONS = VERY BAD.
PRESSURING A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT TO INVESTIGATE CROOKS = GOOD.
Two things that explain why '20's Dem electorate became more pragmatic & less "revolutionary:" 1) In rural WWC areas, '16 Sanders voters who defected to Trump are...still w/ Trump, not Sanders 2) In upscale burbs, many '16 Kasich/Rubio voters are now...Dem/Biden primary voters— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) March 5, 2020
Isn’t there an “eats your face on live TV” party? Oh yeah… it’s leopards.
.@maggiekb1: "ThereÃ¢Â�Â�s probably not enough money in the world to make people vote for you if one of your competitors eats your face on live TV." https://t.co/odC9O9FxRY— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) March 5, 2020
Read all of this:
Growing up, my family only talked revolutionary politics. I didn't go to school until age 12 so I didn't know about political parties. (I swear this is true) I thought "Democrats" was a religion. My grandma would pop u in the mouth if you said anything bad about a Dem. Here's why— michaelharriot (@michaelharriot) March 6, 2020
A lot of them don't even care about Biden's relationship with Obama, as some people claim. He has another 40-year relationship that is more important: That D" beside his name. To them, that's the "establishment" they trust. They all they got— michaelharriot (@michaelharriot) March 6, 2020
And a final unity message:
Trump does not have enough support to get reelected. His only path is disunity among the voters who oppose him. The election is a toss up even if they don't get on the same page. But if they do get on the same page, it may not even be close: https://t.co/6eLUqIjVNO— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) March 5, 2020
Much more on Elizabeth Warren tomorrow (Saturday), featuring mostly women’s voices.