It appears that we will.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) pledged Friday that he will stand in the way of passage of a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in the House today, a stimulus package that President Trump himself has vowed to sign once it makes it’s way through Congress. Massie said Friday that he will stop the Senate-approved bill from passing via voice vote in the House, which will force lawmakers to come back to Washington, D.C. for a recorded vote.
Boris Johnson is a relatively young man. He should be okay after two or three weeks. And we wish him the best. But I hope Johnson’s testing positive will be a wake up call to senior leaders of the US government.
Congress is still meeting largely business as usual. Yes, I know they’re taking some precautions. But watch the videos. It’s still largely business as usual. The President and key executive branch leaders continue with these daily press briefings in the fairly small confined space of the White House briefing room. There’s already a mini-revolt among reporters over the relative inattention to social distancing going on in those briefings. It’s being driven by the President’s hunger for his new version of political rallies. They could easily be done in the Rose Garden.
The information contained in this article is obscene. While Americans die in escalating numbers and hospitals around the country announce plans to deny care to those already seriously ill the White House is negotiating with various businesses and joint ventures over producing ventilators. Today a deal with GM and Ventec was put on hold because the White House was unsure whether it was paying too much or whether they’d be purchasing too many and left with extra ventilators there was no need for. The White House point man on this critical life and death effort is Jared Kushner. They’re trying to cut the best deal while people die. It will make you furious and it may make you cry.
I think we can say with little hesitation that for the last three weeks every day has been worse than the last. Today looks especially bad. The headline is that we now have the most COVID-19 cases in the world. That is of course a symbolic milestone. Underneath that headline are very bad numbers.
According to the most up to date numbers (Worldometers.info), the United States now has more confirmed COVID-19 cases than any other country in the world. The Johns Hopkins data center still has the US a sliver behind. But it will move ahead this evening. It is important to bear in mind that the US has a dramatically larger population than any country in Europe. On a per capita basis, almost every major country in Europe has more cases. It is nonetheless a grim milestone.
This morning the Labor Department announced 3.28 million people filed for unemployment, the largest one-week number in United States history. This is a shocking number. It beat analyst estimates by nearly one million claims. It’s four times the previous record.
Yet, the worst is certainly ahead of us.
In a time of uncertainty and fear I’m reluctant to pass on startling information based on first pass looks at statistics. But this seems sufficiently compelling and concrete to merit our attention. Here is an article from the Italian daily Corriere Della Sera. It’s written by the mayor of Nembro, a town in the northern hot zone, and health care entrepreneur, both of whom are physicists.
Here are the relevant statistics.
As the US enters the full force of the COVID-19 pandemic there are multiple levels of failure we are collectively having to confront. The most obvious stem from leadership at the top, the costs of a President who has run the country as a plaything for his own uses and sees the unfolding catastrophe through the prism of his own needs. Just today we see a new report about how the federal response at all levels has been marred by inexperienced and unqualified appointees and numerous positions that remain unfilled. The NSC devised a literal ‘playbook’ for how to handle just this sort of event in 2016. You can read it here. But the administration simply ignored it and has made many of the mistakes that manual sought to avert.
But it is also clear that certain levels of unpreparedness predate anything tied to the Trump administration. Relatedly, why is it that a series of country’s on China’s borders or nearby over the sea have managed it so much better?
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