Fauci warned Trump, the CDC prepared a report on how states might open safely, Trump withheld the report, states opened, and a new report makes vividly clear how easy it is to get Covid in a half-empty restaurant.
Today, we introduce the new Trump Death Clock, a billboard placed in New York’s Times Square that depicts the number of deaths directly attributable to Trump indecision. We then turn to how Dr. Fauci and the CDC have tried to advise the President to delay re-opening America and how unreleased administration documents now indicate that Covid is exploding across the Nation, exactly as predicted by those fearful of not implementing social distancing practices. Lastly we examine a new report that describes how easy it is to contract Covid in a variety of social-business settings. It is an eye-opening report and could help each of you decide how best to manage the next phase of this pandemic.
Trump Death Clock Depicts Number of U.S. Deaths DIRECTLY Attributable to Trump Inaction
Stupidity, arrogance, and disregard for science have consequences. With the climate crisis, the most dire of those consequences will come in the future, but Covid consequences erupt quickly. Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki installed A “Trump Death Clock” on the roof of a Times Square building empty due to the pandemic. The clock does not reflect the total number of US deaths, but rather focuses on how many Americans will die due to one of many, many Trump mistakes, e.g., delaying mandatory social distancing and school closures by a week, initiating distancing on March 16 instead of March 9. The following 6-minute Democracy Now! interview with Jarecki outlines how he has used science, data, and current research to offer the most conservative estimate of just how much blood Trump has on his hands.
Fauci & CDC Told Us It Was Too Early to Open
Last Monday, President Trump used his press conference/political rally to announce that numbers were going down throughout America. As usual, Trump manipulated the data to project a false impression. Numbers were going down because of two factors:
- For some time, Fauci has stated that our testing system is inadequate, that we really had no idea the extent to which Covid has spread in vast parts of America and so we should not open for business; and
- NY and California, where the vast majority of cases were identified, were experiencing a reduction in case numbers, a reduction that caused the national total to remain flat.
The reality is, new cases across the rest of the country are continuing to rise. As the chart above clearly depicts, this is a nuance that any college statistics student could have gleaned.
Last week, our post “American Individualism, A Most Dangerous Myth” used two charts to depict the vast number of preventable deaths that would result from opening too early. It is worth revisiting those charts as they illustrate precisely what is now happening across America.
Recognizing that the President would not long adhere to a science and data-based strategy that did not comport with his political priorities, the CDC published a set of specific criteria for when it would be safe for states to open. With Trump’s constant hunch-based encouragement, many states never practiced shelter-in-place and social distancing with any consistency. And despite New York and California being the only states to have met the criteria, much of America is in some form of “open” right now. I think you can see where this is headed.
The CDC also prepared a 29-page report outlining how states might best slowly open. Trump has prohibited the CDC from releasing the report, depriving states of an invaluable tool for guiding their reopening by the best science available. We should not be surprised by this. From the start, Trump has largely left it to individuals to fend for themselves while providing immense relief to the corporate community.
He is also forcing states to fend for themselves. From the start of the pandemic, he refused to develop a national testing strategy or to use US buying power to consolidate purchase and distribution of PPE. Now he is withholding an invaluable aid to help states open more safely. In essence, Trump has refused to allow America to work together during the most urgent crisis we have faced since WW II.
So, while Trump continued to crow about how numbers were going down quickly across America, last week’s Tuesday blog projected what the CDC said would happen if we ignored social distancing guidelines. In too many places in America, that advice has also been ignored and now, a new report — also being withheld by the President– describes how Covid is exploding throughout the heartland of America. NBC obtained a copy of this report:
“The 10 top areas recorded surges of 72.4 percent or greater over a seven-day period compared to the previous week, according to a set of tables produced for the task force by its data and analytics unit. They include Nashville, Tennessee; Des Moines, Iowa; Amarillo, Texas; and — atop the list, with a 650 percent increase — Central City, Kentucky.”NBC News: “Unreleased White House report shows coronavirus rates spiking in heartland communities”
NBC went on to identify a second cohort of communities that, together with the top ten areas, reflect the reality that Covid has now spread from coast to coast, despite that being inconvenient for our President. And just as in NY and CA, the increases in hospitalizations and deaths follow a week of reports of increased positive tests. So now we can expect a vast spike in Americans dying across the US. NBC identified the second cohort and it is the GOP heartland.
“On a separate list of “locations to watch,” which didn’t meet the precise criteria for the first set: Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Minneapolis; Montgomery, Alabama; Columbus, Ohio; and Phoenix. The rates of new cases in Charlotte and Kansas City represented increases of more than 200 percent over the previous week, and other tables included in the data show clusters in neighboring counties that don’t form geographic areas on their own, such as Wisconsin’s Kenosha and Racine counties, which neighbor each other between Chicago and Milwaukee.”NBC News: “Unreleased White House report shows coronavirus rates spiking in heartland communities”
Recall Trump’s response to a press question about what metrics he will use to determine when America goes back to work. He pointed to his brain and said: “This is the metrics. This is the only metrics I need.” And so from the very beginning, despite having some of the world’s most respected experts, Trump has continued to use his own demented metrics to reassure and guide the nation. At the bottom of this post we rerun a video from Monday’s post, with Trump making one statement after another going back to January, and the US and World death total projected on the right of the screen. Viewing this video will reaffirm how Jarecki’s “Trump Death Clock” estimates are conservative in attributing Trump’s responsibility for the US experiencing the worst of the pandemic of any nation on earth.
Even “Safely” Opening America Exposes Us To Great Risk of Covid
Santa Fe activist Jade Gordon sent me an outstanding article by Erin Bromage, a Darthmouth University immunologist, who uses science and data to clearly depict just how easy or difficult it is to get Covid in a wide variety of social contexts. The good news is that strict social distancing is very effective. The bad news is that even opening slowly and with restrictions on the numbers of people in stores and restaurants, this virus spreads very easily and exponentially.
This article is very worth reading and sharing, as it presents the current situation very clearly. Just to illustrate the point, Bromage takes one scenario in a typical restaurant with one asymptomatic patron (A1) joined by 9 friends for a 90-minute dinner. The analysis shows that not only did four of his guests become sickened with Covid, but individuals at surrounding tables did as well.
The article goes into depth about many such situations from shopping, to dinner with friends, parties, and large meetings, weddings, and church services. Click here to read the full article.
In closing, as this post and the video below depict, Trump and his “metrics” are risking tens of thousands of lives. To date, the vast majority of those deaths have occurred in Democratic stronghold states. That is about to change and change dramatically. The Trump Death Clock will continue inexorably. Trump will, no doubt, find others to pillory for what is about to transpire, just as he has for what has already occurred. We all must do whatever we can to share posts like this. Fox News won’t tell our GOP friends, so we must.
Paul & Roxanne