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Government Response To The Coronavirus


James Daulton

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6 hours ago, zftcg said:

I agree with you that we're facing a tough dilemma. Lots of people are going to die regardless of what we do, so we're in a bit of a "trolley problem" situation.

So how about this: Can we try? Can we mobilize all our resources into creating a reality where we have a better handle on the situation through testing, contact tracing, etc. and can more safely open up? It's like the house is on fire and we're having a debate over whether to huddle in the back room and slowly die of smoke inhalation or run into the living room where there are flames everywhere and the roof is collapsing, and it's like, hey, maybe before we run out there we try to get our hands on a fire extinguisher?

I think the conservative argument that we need to open up the economy come hell or high water is incredibly reckless, but I also think some liberals have become too passive in saying that we have to wait to open up until conditions are better. We shouldn't be waiting, we should be demanding that the government start doing more to address the situation.

There will be plenty of time later on to assess Trump's performance during the months of February and March, but his refusal to marshal resources around expanded testing is an ongoing failure that, IMO, he's not getting nearly enough grief over. It's not realistic to test all 300M Americans? Fine, tell me what number is realistic and then see if we can double that number, then double it again. Challenge companies and research institutions to dramatically expand testing capabilities. Hire people who have lost their jobs to work as contact tracers, as Massachusetts is doing. Above all, DO SOMETHING!

I don't typically watch Trump's press conferences, but from what I've seen his only comments on testing have been either to downplay its importance or lie about our capabilities. That's unacceptable. 

It's not too late to go on the offensive against the coronavirus.

 

Dr. Kim co-founded the company, Partners in Health, that is helping the state hire and train 1,000 or more contact tracers in Massachusetts at $27 per hour. Most will be fulltime jobs with good benefits. Somehow, they found the funds. Let's see how it goes.

The Florida approach to contact tracing seems patchwork from what I read a week ago.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/04/13/832027703/massachusetts-recruits-1-000-contact-tracers-to-battle-covid-19

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1 hour ago, timschochet said:

I agree with all of this. But in terms of good for the country, I think he honestly believes (if such a term can be applied to Donald Trump) that what’s good for him politically is good for the country. 

That's a narcissistic trait. It's basically thinking they'd be worse off without me. For example: "You can't handle the truth...."

Edited by Politician Spock
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28 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

Nice. I hope these researchers (and others) are able to successfully apply their skills and expertise towards a solution that will make a difference.

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7 hours ago, zoonation said:

Are you being serious?   This administration is a complete and total joke.  Just tune into the daily briefings.  Embarrassing.   

I'm pretty sure they only care about how he handles the media.  Gotta get those wins.  It's all about winning.

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13 minutes ago, Politician Spock said:

That's a narcissistic trait. It's basically thinking they'd be worse off without me. For example: "You can't handle the truth...."

The difference is that Jessep was competent. I really would trust him on that wall. I don’t trust Trump on that wall; he’s more like Captain Queeg. 

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Just now, Politician Spock said:

But would you trust Jessep to be POTUS?

In a crisis? (Civil war, Great Depression, pandemic) Probably. Otherwise never. 

Of course even in a crisis I’d prefer someone without the megalomaniac tendencies. But competence has to come first. There’s not much difference between Jessep and Patton, MacArthur, or Grant. 

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I think if I were trump I would be telling Georgia that you can’t open yet - knowing it’s the governors call.

Cases in GA are not declining so the likely increase in cases related to opening is going to look bad to the rest of the country.

GA may screw up the plan for everybody.

 

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9 hours ago, timschochet said:

I raised the NBC story as a question, but nobody seems willing to discuss the details. A couple of Trump critics here seem to believe it’s true. A couple of Trump supporters called it fake news and one asserted that the New York Times can’t be trusted, which is a comment I don’t take seriously. 

I also don’t take seriously anyone who believes that President Trump deliberately didn’t act in February because he cared more about his ratings and the stock market than he did about the health of the American people. I don’t like the man at all but that takes it too far. I think that based on what we know it sure sounds like he made a bunch of bad decisions. I don’t think he performed competently. 

Is he performing competently now? I wrote this morning that I thought he was moving in the right direction. But his press conferences are so defensive, so full of nonsense that it’s impossible to tell for sure. 

Wait, you actually think Trump cares less about his ratings and status and the stock market than he does about the public health of the American people?  Are you serious right now?

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Health Chief’s Early Missteps Set Back Coronavirus Response HHS Secretary Alex Azar waited for weeks to brief the president and oversold his agency’s progress

- A long thorough rundown of how we got here.

- Trump threatened to fire Messonnier.

 

 

On Jan. 29, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told President Trump the coronavirus epidemic was under control.

 

The U.S. government had never mounted a better interagency response to a crisis, Mr. Azar told the president in a meeting held eight days after the U.S. announced its first case, according to administration officials. At the time, the administration’s focus was on containing the virus.

When other officials asked about diagnostic testing, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, began to answer. Mr. Azar cut him off, telling the president it was “the fastest we’ve ever created a test,” the officials recalled, and that more than one million tests would be available within weeks.

That didn’t happen. The CDC began shipping tests the following week, only to discover a flaw that forced it to recall the test from state public-health laboratories. When White House advisers later in February criticized Mr. Azar for the delays caused by the recall, he lashed out at Dr. Redfield, accusing the CDC director of misleading him on the timing of a fix. “Did you lie to me?” one of the officials recalled him yelling.

Six weeks after that Jan. 29 meeting, the federal government declared a national emergency and issued guidelines that effectively closed down the country. Mr. Azar, who had been at the center of the decision-making from the outset, was eventually sidelined.

Many factors muddled the administration’s early response to the coronavirus as officials debated the severity of the threat, including comments from Mr. Trump that minimized the risk. But interviews with more than two dozen administration officials and others involved in the government’s coronavirus effort show that Mr. Azar waited for weeks to brief the president on the threat, oversold his agency’s progress in the early days and didn’t coordinate effectively across the health-care divisions under his purview. 

The ramp-up of the nation’s diagnostic testing for the disease caused by coronavirus, which many health experts regard as critical for limiting new infections and safely reopening the economy, has been slower than promised and hampered by obstacles. As of Wednesday, more than four million government and private-lab tests had been administered. The president now says states bear the primary responsibility for testing, and that the federal government plays only a supporting role.

Among other functions, Mr. Azar’s agency has oversight of serology tests that would determine whether Americans have antibodies potentially making them temporarily immune to reinfection—tests that could be essential as the U.S. looks to send people back to work.

It also oversees the distribution of $100 billion in stimulus funding to the health-care system. Many hospitals, doctors and health systems said the agency hasn’t released the funds quickly enough or prioritized the hardest-hit hospitals. An HHS spokeswoman said the secretary was following best practices and soliciting input.

In a recent interview about the coronavirus response, Mr. Azar said he and the administration “were on this from day one,” and that he had alerted the National Security Council early on to the risk. He conceded the federal government’s testing system wasn’t equipped initially to handle the disease, but, he said, “we have adapted.” He said although the administration had run into problems creating a coronavirus test, it had produced one in record time.
 

“We’re obviously going to learn lessons,” he said. “This is unprecedented.”

From the start, he said, Mr. Trump has treated the pandemic with “prescient gravity.” At the Jan. 29 meeting, he said, he had interrupted Dr. Redfield because he knew the CDC director was modest, and he wanted to brag about his work in front of the president. He denied yelling at Dr. Redfield later, saying, “That’s not my style.”

Mr. Azar’s defenders say he is being unfairly blamed by White House officials eager to cover up their own missteps.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said that HHS under Mr. Azar was “leading on a number of the president’s priorities,” including the coronavirus response. Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, praised Mr. Azar’s “partnership and collaboration” with the vice president, who took over control of the federal response from Mr. Azar in late February and heads the White House coronavirus task force.

Mr. Trump, who says he has responded to the virus aggressively, tweeted on April 12 that Mr. Azar “told me nothing until later.” He didn’t offer details on what he meant, and a White House spokesman said the president feels Mr. Azar “provided him with the most accurate and factual information we had at that time.” White House officials say there is no plan to replace Mr. Azar during a pandemic.

Still, the president last week installed a former campaign aide, Michael Caputo, to serve as assistant secretary for public affairs at HHS. The White House also appointed policy adviser Emily Newman as a liaison to HHS who will oversee the agency’s political hires. Mr. Azar has largely been sidelined over the past several weeks from discussions with the president and with the White House task force, administration officials said. He hasn’t attended the daily briefing since April 3.

Meanwhile, some in the administration view Mr. Azar as having marginalized the CDC, which hasn’t held a briefing in a month. A CDC spokesman said the agency is communicating its efforts in other ways. 

In recent weeks, some administration officials have become so concerned about the lack of agency coordination that the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council began convening his own meetings with agency leaders at HHS, including from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS.

Mr. Azar, 52 years old, served as HHS general counsel and later deputy secretary under George W. Bush, then worked as the top lobbyist for Eli Lilly & Co., an Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company. He was nominated to be HHS secretary by Mr. Trump and began serving in January 2018.

The CDC’s Dr. Redfield alerted Mr. Azar to the coronavirus threat on Jan. 3. Mr. Azar asked the National Security Council to monitor what was happening in China, but waited two weeks to brief the president on the potential severity, calling him to assure him the agency was ready to handle any cases in the U.S.

Mr. Trump dismissed coronavirus concerns as alarmist, according to those briefed on the call, and berated Mr. Azar for his handling of a ban on flavored e-cigarettes. Mr. Azar had been on thin ice with the president over that issue and his work on drug pricing, administration officials said.

Mr. Azar said in the interview that the president had never been dismissive, and Mr. Deere, the White House spokesman, said Mr. Trump took “early and unprecedented action.”

FDA chief Stephen Hahn asked HHS in January if he could start contacting diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies about possible shortages of personal protective gear and other equipment, administration officials said. He was told no. An FDA official said the agency was already conducting outreach to companies.
 

Mr. Azar told associates such calls would alarm the industry and make the administration look unprepared, people familiar with the matter said. HHS officials waited weeks to contact manufacturers about possible shortages of medical supplies, the people said.

In the interview, Mr. Azar said he pushed the FDA to get involved in supply-chain issues in January, and that HHS had started addressing the need for more personal protective gear around the same time. Today, governors and health-care officials say shortages persist for protective gear for patients and medical workers.

On Jan. 28, Mr. Azar told reporters that for the individual American, the virus “should not be an impact on their day-to-day life,” adding that the administration was taking “aggressive action.” The next day, the White House announced that Mr. Azar would lead the task force responding to coronavirus. In the task force meeting that day, he assured the president that everything was under control.

In an Oval Office meeting days later, Mr. Azar urged the president to restrict travel from China, where the virus had at that point infected nearly 12,000 people. The president agreed, and Mr. Azar announced the restrictions on Jan. 31, the same day he declared a public-health emergency.

For weeks, Mr. Azar made nearly every major administration announcement about the epidemic. He assured lawmakers all was going well and that the virus was contained.

Administration officials said they were alarmed by the absence on the task force of the FDA’s Dr. Hahn, which they said hampered coordination between the FDA and commercial labs on testing, and CMS administrator Seema Verma.

Mr. Azar dismissed those concerns, administration officials said. In the interview, Mr. Azar said the White House determined who would join the task force, and that he met with agency leaders.

In a written statement, Dr. Hahn said the FDA worked “hand-in-hand” with HHS and at no point was excluded.

Mr. Azar relied heavily on his chief of staff, Brian Harrison, who worked in the office of the deputy HHS secretary in the George W. Bush administration. Before returning to the agency in 2018, Mr. Harrison ran businesses in Texas building homes and breeding labradoodles. “I am proud of my time working in family businesses before I was recruited back to government,” Mr. Harrison said.

Mr. Azar was reluctant for weeks to involve the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which typically oversees disaster-response operations, telling associates he wanted to keep control of the response and that including FEMA would further complicate the administration’s efforts. In the interview, Mr. Azar said he invited FEMA’s participation in early February.

FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor told lawmakers on March 20 he wasn’t invited to join the White House task force until earlier that week, and that FEMA hadn’t held its first “interagency synchronization call” until that day.

“I believe in servant leadership,” Mr. Azar said in the interview. “It is core to my being to empower leaders.”

Mr. Azar’s declaration of a public-health emergency on Jan. 31 meant that any lab that wanted to develop a test had to first seek approval from the FDA. The FDA didn’t clear any labs to conduct testing until Feb. 29, nearly a month later. For weeks, HHS blocked efforts to allow other labs’ involvement because Mr. Azar wanted the CDC to make and distribute the nation’s diagnostic tests.

Mr. Azar told associates he favored the CDC making its own test, rather than importing ones distributed by the World Health Organization, because the WHO tests weren’t reliable, citing a study published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology. That study has since been retracted.

Developing a test proved more complicated than anticipated. Days after the CDC began shipping tests in the first week of February, labs began calling. The tests were giving invalid results.

Mr. Azar was incensed. An FDA official flew to CDC headquarters in Atlanta and visited the lab that had prepared the tests. The lab was a mess and it became clear the tests had likely been contaminated, said one person familiar with the matter. The CDC, which disputed that the lab was a mess, pulled back its tests, and HHS launched an investigation. The results aren’t yet available. An FDA official said the FDA expert who visited the lab determined there was a manufacturing issue.
 

In White House meetings, Mr. Azar gave no indication there was a problem with testing, administration officials said. Throughout February, Mr. Azar continued to assure the president and the rest of the task force that HHS had the situation under control, the officials said. Dr. Redfield never gave Mr. Azar a timeline for when the testing problem would be fixed, because he didn’t know what was causing the problem, one administration official said.

In the interview, Mr. Azar said the CDC typically develops tests for novel pathogens because commercial testing can take months to develop. A person close to Mr. Azar said he relied on agency leaders to give him accurate information.

Administration officials said they struggled to get information on how many tests were available and what had gone wrong with the initial test, and that Mr. Azar insisted on being involved in all conversations between the White House and the CDC.

In a briefing with senators on Feb. 5, Hawaii Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz challenged Mr. Azar on the lack of available compounds that would allow his state to complete its own testing kits. He offered to carry a test kit home in his own suitcase. Mr. Azar pushed back, according to Mr. Schatz and others in the room.

“He took it personally,” Mr. Schatz said in an interview. “Then I got irritated because you have the secretary of HHS and the leader of the task force deciding to be dismissive of what I’m reporting from the field.” 

Mr. Schatz said the two later had a more constructive conversation. An HHS official said Mr. Azar’s staff has since been in touch with Mr. Schatz’s office.

On March 6, during a visit to the CDC with Mr. Azar, the president said: “Anybody that wants a test can get a test.” That still isn’t the case. Today, the U.S. continues to lag behind other countries on tests conducted per capita.

On Feb. 25, Nancy Messonnier, a CDC official, said the agency was preparing for a potential pandemic and that community spread of the virus was likely. The stock market plunged.

At a media briefing later that day, Mr. Azar sought to quell concerns, saying the virus was “contained.”

But it was too late. A furious Mr. Trump, flying back to Washington from India, called Mr. Azar and threatened to oust Dr. Messonnier.

The next day, the president announced he was putting Vice President Pence in charge of the federal response—news Mr. Azar learned a few hours before the announcement.

Among the vice president’s first moves was to add Dr. Hahn and the CMS’s Ms. Verma to the task force. When Mr. Pence traveled to Washington state the next week to showcase the federal government’s support against the outbreak there, Mr. Azar wasn’t invited.

Since then, the president has shifted the center of the government’s response to FEMA, allowing it to access billions of dollars and mobilize personnel to aid the U.S. effort.

Mr. Azar has privately acknowledged his clipped wings. He recently snapped at a White House aide inquiring about a congressional briefing, telling the aide he was “not even really the secretary of HHS anymore,” and to ask someone else, according to administration officials. The person close to Mr. Azar said the comment would have been in the context of HHS now playing a supporting role to FEMA.

In task force meetings, Mr. Azar’s role has shrunk. Earlier this month, a handful of administration officials, including Ms. Verma and Dr. Hahn, briefed lawmakers. Mr. Azar wasn’t there.

 

 

Edited by SaintsInDome2006
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38 minutes ago, SoBeDad said:

Dr. Kim co-founded the company, Partners in Health, that is helping the state hire and train 1,000 or more contact tracers in Massachusetts at $27 per hour. Most will be fulltime jobs with good benefits. Somehow, they found the funds. Let's see how it goes.

The Florida approach to contact tracing seems patchwork from what I read a week ago.

I can attest to that first hand. After my dad tested positive, the Sarasota Dept. of Health called and tried to do some form of contact tracing. Dad started experiencing symptoms in the first week in April. But the DoH representative spent the whole call asking about the last time he had gone out to a restaurant, which had been on Mar. 16. Who were his dinner companions, what was their contact info, etc. I suppose it's theoretically possible he had incubated it for more than two weeks before getting sick, but the more likely explanation was that he had gotten it during one of his many trips to Publix in the intervening time. It was a classic example of the "streetlight effect", and while the woman was very nice and helpful, I doubt her efforts contributed in any way to the government's understanding of how the virus had spread in the community.

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11 minutes ago, timschochet said:

In a crisis? (Civil war, Great Depression, pandemic) Probably. Otherwise never. 

Of course even in a crisis I’d prefer someone without the megalomaniac tendencies. But competence has to come first. There’s not much difference between Jessep and Patton, MacArthur, or Grant. 

Just pointing out that we basically had Jessup as VP on 9/11, and it didn't turn out too well.

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4 minutes ago, The Dude said:

I think if I were trump I would be telling Georgia that you can’t open yet - knowing it’s the governors call.

Cases in GA are not declining so the likely increase in cases related to opening is going to look bad to the rest of the country.

GA may screw up the plan for everybody.

 

I don’t like this governor and he’s made a terrible decision, IMO, but Trump’s thrown him way under the bus as well. Trump encouraged this sort of thing:”liberate Michigan!”, etc. He refused to criticize the the protestors (probably because a lot of them wear MAGA hats.) Reports are that he told the governor he approved despite his claim yesterday that he didn’t. If things go badly Trump will say “blame him not me.” It’s part of his abdication of responsibility. It’s horrible and pathetic. 

Those of us who worried that Trump was going to try to be a dictator were dead wrong as this crisis has demonstrated. He likes dictators but he’s personally too frightened and too inept to be one. The responsibility terrifies him. 

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4 minutes ago, cobalt_27 said:

Wait, you actually think Trump cares less about his ratings and status and the stock market than he does about the public health of the American people?  Are you serious right now?

As I explained I think he sees them as the same. My point was that he doesn’t see it as a tradeoff in which America suffers as Trump gains in status. 

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9 hours ago, timschochet said:

I raised the NBC story as a question, but nobody seems willing to discuss the details. A couple of Trump critics here seem to believe it’s true. A couple of Trump supporters called it fake news and one asserted that the New York Times can’t be trusted, which is a comment I don’t take seriously. 

I also don’t take seriously anyone who believes that President Trump deliberately didn’t act in February because he cared more about his ratings and the stock market than he did about the health of the American people. I don’t like the man at all but that takes it too far. I think that based on what we know it sure sounds like he made a bunch of bad decisions. I don’t think he performed competently. 

Is he performing competently now? I wrote this morning that I thought he was moving in the right direction. But his press conferences are so defensive, so full of nonsense that it’s impossible to tell for sure. 

I could definitely believe that Trump was motivated by short-term concern with his own political standing, but in the end, does it really matter? Whether it was selfishness, incompetence, denial of reality or simply a case of being too gosh dern optimistic, the ultimate result is that Trump fiddled away the month of February while the virus spread throughout the country. It is the greatest abdication of leadership we've seen from the White House since at least the Buchanan Administration, and is absolutely unforgivable no matter what the explanation.

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Just now, zftcg said:

I could definitely believe that Trump was motivated by short-term concern with his own political standing, but in the end, does it really matter? Whether it was selfishness, incompetence, denial of reality or simply a case of being too gosh dern optimistic, the ultimate result is that Trump fiddled away the month of February while the virus spread throughout the country. It is the greatest abdication of leadership we've seen from the White House since at least the Buchanan Administration, and is absolutely unforgivable no matter what the explanation.

Agreed. 

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13 hours ago, timschochet said:

MSNBC is making some very serious charges against Donald Trump. Very specifically, quoting exact information they have from the New York Times, they are arguing that Trump’s decision to ignore experts on the virus during the month of February resulted in 10,000 or more needless deaths. These people’s lives would have been saved had Trump acted sooner. 

I think they were citing this article by NYT.

The ‘Red Dawn’ Emails: 8 Key Exchanges on the Faltering Response to the Coronavirus

Example - February 24:

Quote

Dr. Kadlec and other administration officials decided the next day to recommend to Mr. Trump that he publicly support the start of these mitigation efforts, such as school closings. But before they could discuss it with the president, who was returning from India, another official went public with a warning, sending the stock market down sharply and angering Mr. Trump. The meeting to brief him on the recommendation was canceled and it was three weeks before Mr. Trump would reluctantly come around to the need for mitigation.

That official was Dr. Nancy Mesonnier, whom Trump apparently threatened to fire.

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3 hours ago, timschochet said:

 

If it is an all or nothing thing the way that question is phrased even I would be in the 80% group. 

But i think the shelter in place order for WI as it exists is dumb as hell. 

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45 minutes ago, SaintsInDome2006 said:

I think they were citing this article by NYT.

The ‘Red Dawn’ Emails: 8 Key Exchanges on the Faltering Response to the Coronavirus

Example - February 24:

Quote

Dr. Kadlec and other administration officials decided the next day to recommend to Mr. Trump that he publicly support the start of these mitigation efforts, such as school closings. But before they could discuss it with the president, who was returning from India, another official went public with a warning, sending the stock market down sharply and angering Mr. Trump. The meeting to brief him on the recommendation was canceled and it was three weeks before Mr. Trump would reluctantly come around to the need for mitigation.

That official was Dr. Nancy Mesonnier, whom Trump apparently threatened to fire.

This whole situation highlights one of the core aspects of Trump's leadership style: he fires subordinates who bring him bad news, which causes his subordinates to suppress bad news, which then allows him to avoid responsibility by firing subordinates who failed to bring him bad news.

His supporters cheer this method because, in part, it creates an illusion of power and decisiveness -- Trump appears powerful by threatening to fire Mesonnier or Fauci or whoever. And that's all that really matters. The underlying crisis is just a backdrop for the reality show. Failure after failure is swept away by finding someone new to blame.

It's all designed to completely avoid responsibility and leadership while creating the appearance of being a responsible leader.

It's only a matter of time before Trump's defenders play the ultimate excuse card: "How can any of this be Trump's fault if his subordinates failed to tell him about it?"

Edited by [scooter]
added "failed to"
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10 hours ago, timschochet said:

I raised the NBC story as a question, but nobody seems willing to discuss the details. A couple of Trump critics here seem to believe it’s true. A couple of Trump supporters called it fake news and one asserted that the New York Times can’t be trusted, which is a comment I don’t take seriously. 

I also don’t take seriously anyone who believes that President Trump deliberately didn’t act in February because he cared more about his ratings and the stock market than he did about the health of the American people. I don’t like the man at all but that takes it too far. I think that based on what we know it sure sounds like he made a bunch of bad decisions. I don’t think he performed competently. 

Is he performing competently now? I wrote this morning that I thought he was moving in the right direction. But his press conferences are so defensive, so full of nonsense that it’s impossible to tell for sure. 

IMO:  Trump cost lives by being unable to comprehend this enough to take it seriously early.   I'm not saying that he was too stupid to be able to understand, but he was too focused on his reelection to give it any attention.   I said early on that I thought Trump would intuitively know that mishandling a snow storm was the quickest way for a mayor or governor to be pushed out of office.  But he didn't.   It might be a bridge too far to go with Trump is totally indifferent to the plight of American people that are now sick and dying but I do think that is fair to say that Trump's inflated sense of self importance makes him care about himself as "only I" can fix this which effectively gets us to the same point.

But to the question as to whether or not Trump is doing a good job?  How is that even a question?  Every tweet undermining someone else; every rambling press conference where experts are standing around; every petty squabble; and on and on is Trump being part of the problem and in the way of the solution.    Lives are being lost today because Trump's ego won't let him take a back seat and no matter how you want to describe it that ego takes priority over American lives.

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1 hour ago, cobalt_27 said:

Wait, you actually think Trump cares less about his ratings and status and the stock market than he does about the public health of the American people?  Are you serious right now?

I think in Trump's mind what is good for his ratings and status which includes the status of the stock market is what is best for the health of the American people.

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12 minutes ago, Bottomfeeder Sports said:

IMO:  Trump cost lives by being unable to comprehend this enough to take it seriously early.   I'm not saying that he was too stupid to be able to understand, but he was too focused on his reelection to give it any attention.   I said early on that I thought Trump would intuitively know that mishandling a snow storm was the quickest way for a mayor or governor to be pushed out of office.  But he didn't.   It might be a bridge too far to go with Trump is totally indifferent to the plight of American people that are now sick and dying but I do think that is fair to say that Trump's inflated sense of self importance makes him care about himself as "only I" can fix this which effectively gets us to the same point.

But to the question as to whether or not Trump is doing a good job?  How is that even a question?  Every tweet undermining someone else; every rambling press conference where experts are standing around; every petty squabble; and on and on is Trump being part of the problem and in the way of the solution.    Lives are being lost today because Trump's ego won't let him take a back seat and no matter how you want to describe it that ego takes priority over American lives.

yep

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10 hours ago, timschochet said:

I raised the NBC story as a question, but nobody seems willing to discuss the details. A couple of Trump critics here seem to believe it’s true. A couple of Trump supporters called it fake news and one asserted that the New York Times can’t be trusted, which is a comment I don’t take seriously. 

I also don’t take seriously anyone who believes that President Trump deliberately didn’t act in February because he cared more about his ratings and the stock market than he did about the health of the American people. I don’t like the man at all but that takes it too far. I think that based on what we know it sure sounds like he made a bunch of bad decisions. I don’t think he performed competently. 

Is he performing competently now? I wrote this morning that I thought he was moving in the right direction. But his press conferences are so defensive, so full of nonsense that it’s impossible to tell for sure. 

I don't think his lack of action was due to caring about ratings...I do think he was hesitant because of the market though.

And I do think a drop in ratings and market quickened his reaction vs other things.  It made him listen more to those who had been warning him how bad this was.

That hesitation cost this country IMO.

Is he performing competently now?  Some yes some no.  His press conferences are mostly a train wreck with 2 or so good ones sprinkled in each week.  His tweets that follow are awful and people can like it or not, but they hold the same power as the press conferences or any speech.  Many people he has put in charge are done so out of loyalty to him vs expertise.  The doctors I trust (though also understand they walk a fine line of keeping their job to try and keep people safe...a hard balancing act when dealing with what we have seen from Trump).

 

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31 minutes ago, Mr. Ham said:

Excellent article. Won’t be possible because of one man. 

I’ve been largely impressed by Pence and his rationality and display of empathy. But a long as any Federal effort requires single threading through Trump, a wartime-like, scientifically driven effort in this scale (hard to implement in 50 states discreetly,) it simply won’t get the resourcing and direction.

Trump seems to think he knows better than the virus.

The irony is that I think, in general, people overstate the importance of the bully pulpit, but I think this is one of those cases where sustained presidential attention would have a real impact. Back during the disastrous Obamacare website rollout -- hey, remember when our definition of "disaster" was a buggy website? Good times -- Obama brought in a team of experts led by Andy Slavitt and made it very clear that getting the website up and running was the top priority. It's not like he was reviewing code or conducting UX testing, but the singular message coming from the top was "get 'er done". He convened high-level meetings to assess the progress, he empowered the individuals with the experience to lead the project, and the website did eventually get fixed.

I've seen no such focus from Trump. He denies reality, he lies about progress, he picks fights, he brags about his ratings, he obsesses over silver bullets like hydroxychloroquine, he empowers self-dealing nincompoops like Jared, but what I have yet to hear him say is: Here is the daunting challenge we're facing, here's how we're going to overcome it, and here's the progress we've made to date. If that were the message coming out of the White House every day, we still might have solved the testing problem yet, but I guarantee you we'd be further along than we are now. And every day that he fails to do that is another reminder that we need to keep holding him accountable for it.

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16 minutes ago, Bottomfeeder Sports said:

I think in Trump's mind what is good for his ratings and status which includes the status of the stock market is what is best for the health of the American people.

Perhaps.  But any inclination that the health of the American people is important to him divorced from what it does for him is delusional. 

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4 hours ago, turnerj0 said:

Trump shouldn't be optimistic or pessimistic about pharmacotherapies because he shouldn't say anything about it. Ever. He does not understand it and shouldn't be commenting on it. 

That doesn't make any sense.  Does everyone have to be an expert in everything before they comment on it?

People do this all day long - comment on stuff they aren't experts on.  Even in these forums it's happening every minute of every day.

 

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14 minutes ago, BladeRunner said:

That doesn't make any sense.  Does everyone have to be an expert in everything before they comment on it?

People do this all day long - comment on stuff they aren't experts on.  Even in these forums it's happening every minute of every day.

Different people have different responsibilities.

The more influential you are, the more responsibility you have to be careful with what you say - particularly if you don't understand.

 

Comparing the president to random guys on a message board is a big part of the problem.  I would have hoped you expected more from the President...

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11 minutes ago, BladeRunner said:

That doesn't make any sense.  Does everyone have to be an expert in everything before they comment on it?

People do this all day long - comment on stuff they aren't experts on.  Even in these forums it's happening every minute of every day.

 

No everyone doesn't have to be an expert on something to comment on it. You know that isn't what I meant. But in this case the president should absolutely not be commenting because four contextual matters come into play:

1) When the subject is a treatment that potentially results in life or death for people, one should be more careful about commenting

2) The level of one's knowledge of the subject matters. In some cases one may not be an expert about a topic but might still have enough knowledge about it that their opinion is potentially worthwhile. In this case, it is clear that Trump is so completely ignorant of the subject that that threshold is not met. 

3) The nature of the comment also matters. Saying you think something might be beneficial is one thing;  actually encouraging its use, as the president did, is different and a much more serious matter.

4) Finally, the biggest one is that when someone is the President of the United States and speaking at a press conference it obviously is not the same as someone posting on a message board. 

 

 

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Once Trump is out of office next January, I would be more than happy for him to take advantage of his taxpayer-funded lifetime healthcare to hire a psychologist and explore the roots of his passivity at the beginning of this crisis. In the interim, I'm far more worried about what he's doing right now to save lives.

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I’m curious which of the regulars in here have degrees/certifications in science and health? I’m curious to know who understands the molecular, physiologic, and genetic processes we are seeing with respect to this virus. I’m not saying it is required, but if we’re being honest, science and health educated professionals are going to have a better understanding of this stuff. 
 

I myself have an official degree in zoology, over 5 years of research experience in molecular genetics, 10 years in veterinary medicine, and now 15 years in clinical pathology. 
 

I know there are others out there with even more knowledge than myself. I’d like to know who you are so that I can pay more attention to what you’re saying. 
 

 

Edited by Tom Skerritt
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6 minutes ago, zftcg said:

Once Trump is out of office next January, I would be more than happy for him to take advantage of his taxpayer-funded lifetime healthcare to hire a psychologist and explore the roots of his passivity at the beginning of this crisis. In the interim, I'm far more worried about what he's doing right now to save lives.

He’s got bigger issues to deal with if he goes to a therapist.  

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15 minutes ago, Sinn Fein said:

Comparing the president to random guys on a message board is a big part of the problem.  I would have hoped you expected more from the President...

But who is held to the higher standards?   Higher standards of truth?  Higher standards of manners?  Higher standards period? Random message board posters that post here?  Or this president?

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4 minutes ago, Tom Skerritt said:

I’m curious which of the regulars in here have degrees/certifications in science and health? I’m curious to know who understands the molecular, physiologic, and genetic processes we are seeing with respect to this virus. I’m not saying it is required, but if we’re being honest, science and health educated professionals are going to have a better understanding of this stuff. 
 

I myself have an official degree in zoology, over 5 years of research experience in molecular genetics, 10 years in veterinary medicine, and now 15 years in clinical pathology. 
 

I know there are others out there with even more knowledge than myself. I’d like to know who you are so that I can pay more attention to what you’re saying. 
 

 

I have a useless 30 year old degree in political science and 25 years of commercial real estate experience. And I post a lot on the internet. 

I’d say I’m your equal. 

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9 minutes ago, turnerj0 said:

No everyone doesn't have to be an expert on something to comment on it. You know that isn't what I meant. But in this case the president should absolutely not be commenting because four contextual matters come into play:

1) When the subject is a treatment that potentially results in life or death for people, one should be more careful about commenting

2) The level of one's knowledge of the subject matters. In some cases one may not be an expert about a topic but might still have enough knowledge about it that their opinion is potentially worthwhile. In this case, it is clear that Trump is so completely ignorant of the subject that that threshold is not met. 

3) The nature of the comment also matters. Saying you think something might be beneficial is one thing;  actually encouraging its use, as the president did, is different and a much more serious matter.

4) Finally, the biggest one is that when someone is the President of the United States and speaking at a press conference it obviously is not the same as someone posting on a message board. 

That. Equivocating the influence of the POTUS with someone on this message board is laughable. 

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7 minutes ago, Tom Skerritt said:

I’m curious which of the regulars in here have degrees/certifications in science and health? I’m curious to know who understands the molecular, physiologic, and genetic processes we are seeing with respect to this virus. I’m not saying it is required, but if we’re being honest, science and health educated professionals are going to have a better understanding of this stuff. 
 

I myself have an official degree in zoology, over 5 years of research experience in molecular genetics, 10 years in veterinary medicine, and now 15 years in clinical pathology. 
 

I know there are others out there with even more knowledge than myself. I’d like to know who you are so that I can pay more attention to what you’re saying. 
 

 

I don't mean to brag, but I've watched a lot of youtube clips. I also follow some people on twitter and watch entertainment news every night. I feel I'm qualified to tell science professionals and doctors when they're wrong.

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6 minutes ago, Bottomfeeder Sports said:

But who is held to the higher standards?   Higher standards of truth?  Higher standards of manners?  Higher standards period? Random message board posters that post here?  Or this president?

Some people here get a week off.  Our current president experiences no known consequences for literally anything he says or does.  Clearly the folks here are held to a higher standard, which is likely what you were going for.

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17 minutes ago, Tom Skerritt said:

I know there are others out there with even more knowledge than myself. I’d like to know who you are so that I can pay more attention to what you’re saying. 

 

 

I cannot think of a more qualified individual than an epidemiologist. You would think that people would want to listen to these experts, like Birx and Fauci, or christ, even Redfield  

 

Doctors, nurses, and many other healthcare professionals are the ones fighting on the frontlines for all of us. But the epidemiologists are the ones who should be directing the fight. 

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1 minute ago, timschochet said:
3 minutes ago, Amused to Death said:

I don't mean to brag, but I've watched a lot of youtube clips. I also follow some people on twitter and watch entertainment news every night. I feel I'm qualified to tell science professionals and doctors when they're wrong.

This beats out mine. 

Feel free to replace "youtube clips" and "science professionals an doctors" with "Law and Order" and "lawyers" when the subject is legal issues and court proceedings. 

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47 minutes ago, Sinn Fein said:

Different people have different responsibilities.

The more influential you are, the more responsibility you have to be careful with what you say - particularly if you don't understand.

 

Comparing the president to random guys on a message board is a big part of the problem.  I would have hoped you expected more from the President...

This!  
It’s the difference between people who understand true leadership and it’s responsibilities and those that don’t.  The same people are often the ones calling Trump an alpha too. 

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37 minutes ago, Tom Skerritt said:

I’m curious which of the regulars in here have degrees/certifications in science and health? I’m curious to know who understands the molecular, physiologic, and genetic processes we are seeing with respect to this virus. I’m not saying it is required, but if we’re being honest, science and health educated professionals are going to have a better understanding of this stuff. 
 

I myself have an official degree in zoology, over 5 years of research experience in molecular genetics, 10 years in veterinary medicine, and now 15 years in clinical pathology. 
 

I know there are others out there with even more knowledge than myself. I’d like to know who you are so that I can pay more attention to what you’re saying. 
 

 

...yeah but I did stay at a holiday inn express last night.   

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1 hour ago, zftcg said:

Once Trump is out of office next January, I would be more than happy for him to take advantage of his taxpayer-funded lifetime healthcare to hire a psychologist and explore the roots of his passivity at the beginning of this crisis. In the interim, I'm far more worried about what he's doing right now to save lives.

The more posts I see like this the more I'm hopeful that Trump will win.  You guys just haven't learned from last time.

I at least hope you're prepared for the worst so we don't have to deal with more drama.

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7 minutes ago, BladeRunner said:

The more posts I see like this the more I'm hopeful that Trump will win.  You guys just haven't learned from last time.

I at least hope you're prepared for the worst so we don't have to deal with more drama.

Oh don’t worry, if Biden wins (I’m not betting he will) they’ll be plenty of drama.  Complaining about rigged elections, fake media bias, voter fraud, etc etc etc.  And that will just be from Trump himself!  But if history follows suit he’ll have plenty of people parroting the same BS.  

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1 hour ago, Sinn Fein said:

Different people have different responsibilities.

The more influential you are, the more responsibility you have to be careful with what you say - particularly if you don't understand.

 

Comparing the president to random guys on a message board is a big part of the problem.  I would have hoped you expected more from the President...

If I have learned one thing in my life, it's that one's agenda is far more important than one's credentials. 

It may seem wild to use comic books as an example, but it illustrates (pun intended) the issue perfectly. First of all, every evil genius that the comic book hero fights is, after all, a genius. Would the evil plans of said evil genius be any more beneficial to society if the evil genius had masters degrees and doctorates, and decades of experience in the tools necessary to execute his evil plan? No! The plan is still evil regardless of the intelligence and credentials of the evil genius, and even kids can see that the plan is evil. 

Now, take away the evil part of it. What if the plan isn't evil. What if the plan is just a difference of opinion? What if in my opinion it's too early to reopen the economy, but in the opinion of someone with "credentials", it's time to do it? Do my lack of credentials means I should set my opinion aside and support him? Isn't their agenda framed by their opinion that economy is more important than lives? 

The truth is, someone with credentials could package up bull#### to look like it's the best thing since sliced bread. If kids can see through the bull#### of evil geniuses in comic books, then certainly adults, even those who waste time on fantasy football message boards, are capable of seeing through the bull#### of those with "credentials". 

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6 minutes ago, BladeRunner said:

The more posts I see like this the more I'm hopeful that Trump will win.  You guys just haven't learned from last time.

I at least hope you're prepared for the worst so we don't have to deal with more drama.

Believe me, I am prepared for the worst. I lay awake at night contemplating the possibility. I said the moment Trump won that I viewed his odds for re-election as being 50/50. Earlier this year I probably would have put them slightly higher, now I would view them as being slightly lower, but I still think it will be a close race and that there is a very good chance he could win another term.

I probably could have worded my post differently to make it clear that I wasn't presuming a Trump loss. My point was that, provided he loses this fall, I would be more than happy for him to take his own time figuring out why he screwed things up so badly back in February. But right now I don't really care. I just want him to get to work on fixing it.

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21 minutes ago, BladeRunner said:

The more posts I see like this the more I'm hopeful that Trump will win.  You guys just haven't learned from last time.

I at least hope you're prepared for the worst so we don't have to deal with more drama.

I am curious why you are "hopeful" that Trump will win?

Do you prefer the chaos that Trump sows?  What exactly has he done to garner your confidence?

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2 hours ago, Bottomfeeder Sports said:

IMO:  Trump cost lives by being unable to comprehend this enough to take it seriously early.   I'm not saying that he was too stupid to be able to understand, but he was too focused on his reelection to give it any attention.   I said early on that I thought Trump would intuitively know that mishandling a snow storm was the quickest way for a mayor or governor to be pushed out of office.  But he didn't.   It might be a bridge too far to go with Trump is totally indifferent to the plight of American people that are now sick and dying but I do think that is fair to say that Trump's inflated sense of self importance makes him care about himself as "only I" can fix this which effectively gets us to the same point.

But to the question as to whether or not Trump is doing a good job?  How is that even a question?  Every tweet undermining someone else; every rambling press conference where experts are standing around; every petty squabble; and on and on is Trump being part of the problem and in the way of the solution.    Lives are being lost today because Trump's ego won't let him take a back seat and no matter how you want to describe it that ego takes priority over American lives.

I am no fan of President Trump.  But you can say most Americans cost lives by not taking this seriously enough.. even to this day..  But yes the leadership of this country did not get a common message out of how serious it was.. But once it was out.. many just choose to ignore it!! even to this day!!

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