Trump Infects America

One man's fecklessness has gotten untold people sick.

President Donald J. Trump disembarks Marine One at Joint Base Andrews, Md. Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, and is escorted to Air Force One by U.S. Air Force personnel. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)
Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

President Trump has been taken to Walter Reed hospital, where he is expected to remain for “several days” and administered a “cocktail” of drugs, including a “promising” experimental one. While his critics have rightly chided him for his irresponsible rhetoric downplaying the virus in the months leading up to his own infection, the sheer recklessness of the days leading up to that event are shocking even by his standards.

Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey, Ashley Parker and Robert Costa detail “How the coronavirus spread in Trump’s White House.”

The ceremony in the White House Rose Garden last Saturday was a triumphal flashback to the Before Times — before public health guidelines restricted mass gatherings, before people were urged to wear masks and socially distance.

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcomed more than 150 guests as the president formally introduced Judge Amy Coney Barrett, his nominee for the Supreme Court. A handful of Republican senators were there, including Mike Lee of Utah, who hugged and mingled with guests. So was Kellyanne Conway, the recently departed senior counselor to the president, as well as the Rev. John I. Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame, who left his Indiana campus where a coronavirus outbreak had recently occurred to celebrate an alumna’s nomination.

[…]

Attendees were so confident that the contagion would not invade their seemingly safe space at the White House that, according to Jenkins, after guests tested negative that day they were instructed they no longer needed to cover their faces. The no-mask mantra applied indoors as well. Cabinet members, senators, Barrett family members and others mixed unencumbered at tightly packed, indoor receptions in the White House’s Diplomatic Room and Cabinet Room.

Five days later, that feeling of invincibility was cruelly punctured. On Thursday, counselor to the president Hope Hicks, who reported feeling symptoms during a trip with the president to Minnesota on Wednesday, tested positive for the virus. Early Friday morning, Trump announced that he and the first lady also had tested positive and had begun isolating inside the White House residence.

On Friday, Lee, Conway and Jenkins announced that they, too, had tested positive, as did Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who was at the ceremony, and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who had recently spent time with the president, including at an indoor fundraiser last week. At least three journalists who had been at White House events in the past week also reported testing positive on Friday. And White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he was bracing for additional infections among administration officials.

So, through sheer idiocy, announcing the nomination of a Supreme Court justice became a superspreader event. (Barrett herself was infected “earlier this year,” probably in association with teaching in-person at Notre Dame, but has reportedly “fully recovered.”)

Additionally, NBC‘s David K. Li reports, “11 positive coronavirus tests traced to presidential debate, Cleveland officials say.”

At least 11 positive coronavirus tests can be traced to members of the media or organizers of this week’s presidential debate in Cleveland, city and clinic officials said Friday.

[…]

“In total, at this time, we are aware of 11 cases stemming from pre-debate planning and set-up, with the majority of cases occurring among out of state residents,” the city said. “At this time, though that could change, no City residents appear to have contracted the virus as a result of this event.”

The Cleveland Clinic later Friday clarified that “the 11 people who tested positive never accessed the debate hall.”

“These individuals were either members of the media or were scheduled to work logistics/set-up in the days prior to the event,” Clinic said Friday night. “Individuals did not receive credentials or tickets to enter the debate hall until they had a negative test, and all were advised to isolate while they awaited their test results.”

[…]

Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes said she personally witnessed members of the president’s entourage declining masks from health care providers — from the Cleveland Clinic — inside the hall at Case Western Reserve University.

“I am frustrated today as I worry now about my own health and the health of so many others who were present that evening like journalists, support staff, Cleveland Clinic professionals, and many others who could have potentially been exposed,” Sykes said in a statement on Friday.

[…]

Some attendees, who wore masks Tuesday night, said they were livid when maskless spectators strolled into the hall.

Kristin Urquiza, who lost her dad to Covid-19 and was a guest of the Biden campaign on Tuesday, said she was wearing a mask — but was stunned to see no one in Trump’s entourage in a facial covering.

“But when I looked over to the right-hand side, not a single person on the Trump side, including the Trump family, Melania Trump, the Trump children, were wearing a mask,” Urquiza told MSNBC’s “Live with Ayman Mohyeldin.” “And I remember thinking to myself, and this was just when the debate stated, ‘Oh. My. Goodness. Isn’t anybody going to regulate on these people wearing a mask?’ And nobody did.”

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, said Trump’s wife entered the hall just ahead of him but he kept a safe social distance away. But he too was amazed to see so many people without masks at the debate.

“And they walk in without masks, it was really a level of arrogance you rarely see,” Ryan told MSNBC.

New York‘s Olivia Nuzzi, whose headline I shamelessly stole for this blog post, begins with this apt description:

“At the best of times, Trumpworld operates with all the strategic direction of a chicken with its head cut off,” a senior Republican official told me. “Right now, they’re operating like a chicken with its head cut off, lit on fire, and thrown off a cliff.”

Before offering this brutal assessment:

It goes without saying that this was avoidable. While it’s true that even the most cautious person could be unlucky and could contract the virus despite going to great lengths to avoid it, President Trump was, proudly, very much not that.

He has never taken this pandemic seriously, not even as his advisers warned him that he should, not even as bodies piled up in hospitals in his hometown, as the death ticker recorded hundreds and then thousands and then hundreds of thousands of dead Americans.

The world listened as the president cast doubt on the very notion that the virus was something to fear, as he undermined his own public-health officials, as he contradicted their advice with what his gut instinct told him about the science he did not understand, free-associating about sunlight and disinfectants and hydroxychloroquine. We observed the president violating the medical recommendations that his administration had offered the public. He rarely wore a face mask; he traveled needlessly, including to parts of the country where the virus was spiking; he met at close range with large groups of people, few of them wearing protective gear, either.

The most powerful man in the world is, under ordinary circumstances, also the most protected. He is guarded with snipers and bomb-sniffing dogs. Anyplace he goes, any room he’ll set foot in, is swept by security. Any person he’s expected to meet is scanned for weapons. His food is tested for contamination. He is so well cared for by doctors that they might as well be monitoring his heart’s every beat. That he is now infected by COVID-19 is a testament not to the strength of the virus, not to the failures of his White House staff, but to his carelessness. How can you protect someone who refuses to be protected?

He risked not only his own health but the health of others around him. This was true before his diagnosis. In June, he insisted on holding an indoor rally in Tulsa, which led to swelling numbers of infections in the city. At least one guest at that event, Herman Cain, would later die from the virus after spending time on a ventilator in Georgia. Trump escaped without harm, but he couldn’t help but push his luck. After his closest adviser, Hope Hicks, showed signs that she had COVID-19, forcing her to isolate on the flight back from a MAGA rally, the president and other members of his staff made the decision to travel to Bedminster, New Jersey, anyway, where he hosted a fundraiser and met with his supporters. When Hicks tested positive, she worried about others around her who might be infected, too, but the White House sought to keep that information from the public. Without Jennifer Jacobs, a dogged Bloomberg reporter who broke the story about Hicks’s illness, the world might still be in the dark about the sickness sweeping through the West Wing and the highest levels of our government. And then there are the indirect effects of the president’s actions, the ripples through society that threaten to touch each one of us. A Trump campaign volunteer who refuses to wear a face mask on principle and who believes the media has overblown the threat of the virus told me the president’s diagnosis didn’t make her nervous at all. “I don’t deny the virus is out there,” she said. “I’m just crossing my fingers and going for the herd immunity.”

We do not yet know the extent of the damage in Washington. Much of this is not a function of the strange way the virus spreads from person to person, but of the unethical way the president governs without transparency. For instance, it’s not possible to compile a complete list of people the president has come into contact with over the last two weeks because the Trump administration refuses to release visitor logs for the White House. Multiple attendees at the Rose Garden event for Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett (who herself recovered from the virus this summer), have already announced that they’ve since gotten sick. Multiple reporters in the White House press pool have tested positive for the virus today, according to the White House Correspondents’ Association. We do not yet know how many White House officials will contract it, whether the virus will rip through Capitol Hill, or how far this threatens the presidential line of succession.

The Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, and his running mate, Kamala Harris, both announced that they had tested negative for the virus today. But viewers who suffered through Tuesday’s presidential debate in Cleveland will recall watching as the president shouted at Biden across the stage, in an enclosed space, for 90 minutes. Although the Cleveland Clinic mandated that all guests within the perimeter of the debate wear face coverings, the president’s family members ignored that warning and declined to accept the masks offered to them by organizers. For months, the Biden campaign has been preoccupied with protecting him from exposure to the virus, worried not only for his health, but about the optics if he were to get sick, which would confirm the attacks Trump has hurled at him for being old and weak. His “basement campaign” has been a source of mockery from his opponents, who never acknowledge why he’s stuck at home like much of the rest of the country. But with a general election under way, the Biden campaign could not protect its candidate from exposure to the president. Not completely. We cannot yet be sure that Biden is safe or that the people around him are safe. At this point, we can’t really be sure of anything.

And so the discourse descends into chaos, with QAnon and deep-state kooks on one side and even the most intelligent and reasonable people trafficking in conspiracy theories on the other. Can you blame anyone? This is the result of five years of lies and distortions and alternative facts. With 32 days left before Election Day, whatever confidence remained in our system has been further undermined by this colossal display of idiocy. The Republic collapses not with a bang but with a million stupid decisions by the most powerful people.

She’s not wrong.

FILED UNDER: COVID-19, Donald Trump
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. grumpy realist says:

    Anyone else reminded of Poe’s Masque of the Red Death?

    24
  2. CSK says:

    Well, this is yet more evidence for my assertion that Trump was incarcerated at Walter Reed as much (if not more) to protect the public from him as to treat him for his own illness.

    9
  3. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Oh, yes.

    4
  4. mattbernius says:

    A Trump campaign volunteer who refuses to wear a face mask on principle and who believes the media has overblown the threat of the virus told me the president’s diagnosis didn’t make her nervous at all. “I don’t deny the virus is out there,” she said. “I’m just crossing my fingers and going for the herd immunity.”

    The handful of Trump supporters who still post comments here are clearly on message.

    17
  5. gVOR08 says:

    Besides the reporters, how many waitstaff and drivers and security people are going to be infected by these people, never to be named, or even counted, and without access to these Republican idiots’ platinum level socialist health care? As Olivia Nuzzi makes clear in her last paragraph, Trump has infected the country with far more than the virus.

    13
  6. Moosebreath says:

    @grumpy realist:

    “Anyone else reminded of Poe’s Masque of the Red Death?”

    It’s not producing as much good literature as The Decameron”.

    3
  7. Nightcrawler says:

    I’m not “happy.” That’s not the right word, but I don’t feel sorry for any of these awful people, just as I wouldn’t feel sorry for a drunk driver who got themselves maimed or killed, especially if they maimed and killed others on their way down.

    6
  8. Nightcrawler says:

    @mattbernius: And if that wretched woman gets infected and dies, or becomes a long-hauler, I won’t feel sorry for her, either.

    On that note, I’m not wishing death on any of these people. That would be too kind. May they all become long-haulers, significantly disabled, their lives ruined.

    I fear the prospect of becoming a long-hauler far more than I do dying of COVID-19. I know a lot of people who’ve been infected. Only one (a child) died. But many of them are long-haulers, suffering from crushing fatigue, heart issues, neurological problems, and various bizarre symptoms.

    All of them are far stronger than me. I don’t know how they go on like this. I would rather die than for that to happen to me. That’s why I’m rabidly against being vented if I get infected and decompensate. I don’t want to wake up and wish I hadn’t.

    7
  9. gVOR08 says:

    @Nightcrawler: Yeah. Trump has never cared about the tens of thousands of people who died through his negligence, but the norms say I’m supposed to care about him.

    12
  10. Min says:

    It seems Sen Ron Johnson has also tested positive for Covid.

    7
  11. Scott F. says:

    There are pictures of the attendees at the Rose Garden for Amy Coney Barrett that show a lot more Republican heavy hitters at this super-spreader event. We have seen the last of those infected there.

    2
  12. CSK says:

    @Scott F.:
    The theory being bandied about over at Lucianne.com is that Trump and all the others were infected by the president of Notre Dame.

    Anything to absolve Trump himself.

    3
  13. grumpy realist says:

    What I hope is that Donald Trump will for once in his life learn from reality hitting him in the face. I hope that he will recover, but as a sadder, wiser, more moral individual.

    I suspect that the chances of this are roughly 0.000000000000000000000001%.

    7
  14. mattbernius says:

    There have been a lot of galaxy brain tweets around this (like the dude who suggested that Biden should do the “honorable thing” and agree to delay the election for a year)… but my personal #1 was from good ‘ol reliable Jennfer Rubin:

    maybe we need a federal law making it a felony to knowingly expose someone to a deadly disease.— Jennifer 'Vote Early' Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) October 3, 2020

    If you ever wonder why the US leads the world in mass incarceration, this is a prime example. It’s also a great example of how people who normally complain about the “Nanny State” have no issues locking people up for behaviors they find personally offensive.

    12
  15. Jon says:

    @Nightcrawler:

    On that note, I’m not wishing death on any of these people. That would be too kind. May they all become long-haulers, significantly disabled, their lives ruined.

    I am right there with you. It isn’t often we get to watch the wheel of karma turn in real time.

    4
  16. dmichael says:

    Who are the “even the most intelligent and reasonable people trafficking in conspiracy theories on the other” referenced by Nuzzi? Is this some weird “both sides do it” nonsense or is she suggesting that some, including me, question the validity of anything this administration says on any subject?

    5
  17. Kathy says:

    Trump has the best super spreader events.

    14
  18. Teve says:

    @jimmfelton

    Anyway here’s Trump mocking Clinton for having pneumonia four years ago today

    linky

    9
  19. @mattbernius:

    “I’m just crossing my fingers and going for the herd immunity.”

    This such a tiresome, and quite frankly, ignorant statement given what true “herd immunity” would require (a lot of death as the virus works its way through the herd).

    14
  20. Min says:

    Just now in Twitter:

    “I just received word that I am positive for COVID-19. I want to thank all of my friends and colleagues who have reached out to ask how I was feeling in the last day or two. I will be receiving medical attention today and will keep the necessary folks apprised of my condition.”

    – Governor Christie

    They numbers keep rising.

    1
  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattbernius: maybe we need a federal law making it a felony to knowingly expose someone to a deadly disease.— Jennifer ‘Vote Early’ Rubin

    We already have such a law. It criminalizes* sex while being HIV positive. But that was aimed at those icky gay men.

    *pretty sure it’s a felony.

    7
  22. Teve says:

    @Min: i need a spreadsheet at this point.

    You know, based on the number of names we’ve heard in the last 24 hours, and the fact that many of them are elderly or morbidly obese or something, there’s a good chance at least one of those names isn’t going to make it.

    2
  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    To repeat myself from the open thread below:

    David Mowatt
    @ducklingsmith
    Having COVID was the worst experience of my life. Every moment was just the most appalling suffering and pain, fighting for breath, doubled over coughing. Please exhibit a moment of human empathy and imagine how much he may be suffering, because it fucking rules

    Yes, I am imagining how much he may be suffering, and you know what I think? “It’s not enough.” Fuck empathy for that soulless piece of norm destroying, law breaking, constitution shredding, family separating, Putin sucking, violence inciting, covid spreading, loudmouth racist trash.

    What did I miss?

    6
  24. wr says:

    I’m trying to game out how Trump campaigns if he actually does have a mild case and is back on his feet in a week or so…

    I suspect his first instinct would be to say “See? I told you it was like the flu, and I was right. I felt crappy for a couple of days, now I’m fine. Open the schools!”

    But the obvious answer to that is: You had a minor case and were cured AFTER you were helicoptered to the hospital where you were put in a private suite with a dedicated group of medical personnel giving you experimental drugs and 24 hour individualized care. What’s going to happen to the schoolteacher with mediocre health insurance when she gets sick?

    Another one (although highly unlikely) is “I now realize how terrible this virus is, and here’s a list of things we’re going to do about it starting today.” The trouble there is that brings on the obvious reply “It’s good that Trump has finally realized what everyone else in the world knew six months ago. But when the next crisis happens, can we afford to wait six months for it to affect Trump personally before he does anything about it?”

    Where can he go?

    3
  25. mattbernius says:

    Not to go full conspiracy (no one wants full conspiracy), but in the Walter Reed Press Conference, Dr. Connelly stated we are 72 hours into the President’s diagnosis with C-19. Provided that wasn’t a mispeak, he was diagnosed as positive the morning after the debate. So he was traveling an interacting with folks without a mask with a positive diagnosis — not to mention didn’t inform the debate committee and the Biden campaign that he tested positive for C-19 immediately following the debate.

    10
  26. grumpy realist says:

    @Min: Yah, I was just about to put down that Christie has just admitted he’s Covid-positive as well.

    (walks away whistling “Another One Bites The Dust”)

    (stupidity should hurt, and we’re now seeing this in spades.)

    6
  27. Mikey says:

    @mattbernius: I wouldn’t call it conspiracy so much as utter shrieking incompetent dangerous idiocy.

    6
  28. Mikey says:

    @grumpy realist:

    (stupidity should hurt, and we’re now seeing this in spades.)

    One can deny reality, but reality will always have its way in the end. Always.

    2
  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mikey: Mother Nature doesn’t like being fooled with.

    1
  30. Teve says:

    Stephen King’s response to Chris Christie was pretty perfect.

    “You’re a dipshit for not taking precautions, but I wish you well.”

    7
  31. Teve says:

    @mattbernius: if it was 72 hours ago it was Wednesday morning, then he kept up his normal schedule Wednesday and in-person fundraiser in Bedminster on Thursday, then admitted he was positive Friday.

    1
  32. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK:

    The theory being bandied about over at Lucianne.com is that Trump and all the others were infected by the president of Notre Dame.

    Papist plot?

    2
  33. Mikey says:

    My Twitter feed is full of stuff about the presser at Walter Reed, but more interesting is a quote from a WH source to the press pool after the presser had ended:

    “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

    Which apparently directly contradicts what the doctors said at the presser that had just ended.

    It’s a shit sandwich wrapped in a dumpster fire on a flaming train that has jumped the tracks and is plummeting into the abyss.

    2
  34. mattbernius says:

    @mattbernius:
    Just to be accurate, the White House did just issue a clarification on the timeline:

    A White House official clarifies Dr. Conley’s timeline. He says Conley meant to say it’s Day 3, not 72 hours in—the diagnosis was made Thursday night—and that Garibaldi meant to say it’s been two days, not 48 hours, since the Regeneron was administered on Thursday night.— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) October 3, 2020

    As always, we should take their track record into consideration.

    1
  35. Jen says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: It is also a statement that presumes reinfection is not possible after having covid once. We do not yet have that kind of definitive data.

    2
  36. Mikey says:

    I mean, like Matt Bernius upthread, I don’t want to go “full conspiracy,” but man, it looks a whole lot like they suspected Trump had COVID-19 very early in the week, possibly before the debate, and he tested positive Wednesday morning but they covered it up and he went around like shit was all normal until he couldn’t anymore.

    It’s kind of a microcosm of how the administration has dealt with the pandemic from day one: minimize, gaslight, lie, endanger America, rinse and repeat.

    3
  37. Mikey says:

    @mattbernius: I would edit my previous comment to include this as a kind of disclaimer, but the edit button has gone away again.

    Still, as you said, consider their track record.

    2
  38. mattbernius says:

    @mattbernius:
    We also have White House Chief of Staff giving interviews on background immediately after the press conference seemingly contradicting what the doctors said.

    UPDATE: Immediately after the press conference ended and before the anonymous statement was sent out, Mark Meadows briefed reporters without cameras—but he was caught on a feed asking to be off the record. pic.twitter.com/JyrhSmu1Y0— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) October 3, 2020

    The statement that was given to the press on background–most likely from Meadows (but due to the nature of background, will not be confirmed as such):

    “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

    Maybe this is the nTH dimensional parchezee we’ve been hearing so much about.

    1
  39. Mikey says:

    @mattbernius: From Matt Yglesias, on considering the track record:

    Two possibilities:

    1) Two different medical doctors misspoke about the timeline in the exact same odd way for no reason

    2) A frequently dishonest administration sent an anonymous person out to lie

    3
  40. Jen says:

    Looks like Coney Barrett’s announcement is the spreader event. Indoors and outdoors.

    A friend just referred to it as the Rose Garden Massacre, which is dark humor and also sorta funny.

    Chad Pergram, the FOX News congressional reporter says that the Senate is now out until Oct. 19.

    2
  41. mattbernius says:

    @mattbernius:
    Working with journalists in the past, I fully understand why they have to run stuff on background at times. But this, to me, is a particularly egregious examples of the way that sources can manipulate the system.

    Assuming, based on circumstantial evidence that Meadows is the source (and I think there’s enough smoke there to point to fire), this is a prime example of such manipulation. If Meadows is being honest, what he stated is a much more serious situation than what the Doctors presented. If he’s being less than honest, then he’s using the press to sow confusion (or set up a future narrative).

    Either way, given that this was done on scene and so publicly, this is what the administration wanted (either that or Meadows is about about to be shown the door… which given his history with Trump seems highly unlikely). And the press are being willing conduits either way.

    1
  42. Moosebreath says:

    @mattbernius:

    “Provided that wasn’t a mispeak, he was diagnosed as positive the morning after the debate. So he was traveling an interacting with folks without a mask with a positive diagnosis — not to mention didn’t inform the debate committee and the Biden campaign that he tested positive for C-19 immediately following the debate.”

    And those who consider themselves “pro-life” will never speak up about this.

    2
  43. reid says:

    @grumpy realist: I posted the same thing! Yes indeed.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: But as long as she’s not the one doing the dying, everything is peachy. You know, omelets, eggs, breakage, and so on…

    1
  45. Slugger says:

    Our country has a long tradition of untruthful White House news about presidential health. Grover Cleveland underwent cancer surgery in 1893, and this was kept secret. There are other examples.
    The White House can command a lot of resources, doctors, nurses, and equipment. Hospitalization means serious illness. Everything else is speculation trying to pierce a veil.
    This does show the derelict governance of the Trump administration.

    1
  46. Monala says:

    @Jen: the other jokes on Twitter are imagining this as the plot a horror movie:

    The Curse of the Notorious RBG

    They refused to honor a dying woman’s last wish. They gathered together to celebrate the success of their nefarious plan. Then the curse started getting them, one by one…

    8
  47. Min says:

    @Teve:

    This is what I’ve seen so far:

    25 COVID POSITIVE:
    1 2 President,Melania Trump
    3. Bill Stepien campaign mgr
    4. Hope Hicks
    5. Kellyanne Conway
    6. Sen.M Lee
    7. Sen.T Tillis
    8. Ronna McDaniel
    9. Notre Dame Pres. Jenkins
    10-12. 3 WH reporters
    13-23. Eleven staffers debate
    24 Sen. R Johnson
    25 Chris Christie

    2
  48. keef says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But no country has been able to stop the virus, or materially affect its spread. Just go play around with per capita statistics at the the Hopkins site to see this. Look globally and state by state in the US. The infection rate per 100,000 varies roughly between 1-3% for almost all modern countries, with a tighter grouping in the range of 1.5%-2.5%. And much of that variability is probably due to testing error, with secondary effects of population density, personal physiology etc. Consider then the low CFR of the infected and public policy simply cannot, and has not, really move the needle on deaths. Moving the needle will (and has) simply transferred some mortality to other modalities and caused tremendous unaccounted for morbidity and economic hardship.

    Interestingly, the one country that had the loosest public policy, Sweden, is all but past the cycle now.

    The CDC has estimated that the actual number of infections may actually be 30-40MM, (primarily due to the asymptomatic feature with younger people and resultant lack of testing) and that the CFR actually looks to be appx .3%, if not lower. That argues that herd immunity is closer than you say, and that the death march you imagine is only in your head. But not empirically supportable.

    On balance, rather, the “tiresome and ignorant” position seems to be yours.

    The real error that has been made, even by Sweden, is to not have focused all public policy efforts on the 70+ year old most vulnerable population, especially if housed in institutions. Now that would have moved the needle.

  49. Michael Reynolds says:

    @keef:

    But no country has been able to stop the virus, or materially affect its spread.

    USA: 22,773 cases per million residents.
    Denmark: 4,990 cases per million.

    Are you innumerate?

    18
  50. Gustopher says:

    @keef: Are you stupid or lying?

    Run along and check the numbers for New Zealand, Europe, Australia, Africa, Asia, Canada… basically about half the world.

    It hasn’t been eliminated anywhere (keeps popping back up in New Zealand, for instance), but it can be suppressed, massive outbreaks can be contained and slowly allowed to wither away, and smaller outbreaks can be contained with contact tracing — and then life can go back to 75% normal.

    So, run along and actually educate your fool self, or stop lying.

    11
  51. Gustopher says:

    Republicans have three Senators with covid, and how many in quarantine? Do we get Majority Leader Schumer for a few days?

    3
  52. Mikey says:

    @keef: I’ll give you one thing: you’re an articulate liar.

    Compare Sweden, which behaved as you seem to think appropriate, to Germany, which instituted lockdowns and distancing and a nationwide Maskenpflicht (mask requirement). Sweden’s infection rate is three times Germany’s and its death rate is five times Germany’s, even though Germany has the second oldest population in the world, behind only Japan.

    And while “reopening” has caused infections to increase in both countries, the rate of increase in Sweden is already double that of Germany.

    So it would seem the path to follow would be Germany’s, rather than Sweden’s, no? But Germany blows your horseshit argument out of the water so you pretend it doesn’t exist. Tiresome and ignorant, indeed.

    Now: off is the direction in which you should most expeditiously and immediately fuck.

    18
  53. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    We need a word for this bizarre feature of Cult45 thinking – so stupid as to be indistinguishable from dishonesty. I guess we could appropriate ‘doublethink’ from Orwell.

    4% of world population, 20% of cases, and this cretin thinks we’re doing all we can. We’ve been outperformed by Italy, FFS. Italy!

    9
  54. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Min:
    And a partridge in a pear tree.

    3
  55. grumpy realist says:

    @keef: I take it you never bothered to read the actual activity reported in Sweden? That even though there weren’t official shut-downs, there was a lot of voluntary self-segregation?

    Also take a look at the report of how Sweden did by comparison to the other Nordic countries. Sweden only looks “good” by comparison to total cock-ups like the U.S., the U.K., and Brazil.

    5
  56. Dutchgirl says:

    @Min: One or more names on this list could be added to the list confirmed COVID-19 deaths, but we will probably never know the names of the kitchen staff, cleaning staff, security, drivers, etc who will be infected and possibly die.

    4
  57. Kathy says:

    Professor Bob brier in his Great Courses series on Egypt, claimed the Egyptians never admitted to losing a battle. So in the chronicles they just kept winning battles ever closer to home.

    It may be like that regarding Trump’s health. He’s already been doing so well he needs to be hospitalized. We’ll keep hearing how healthy he is until three days past his natural death.

    1
  58. Monala says:

    Jordan Zakarin
    @jordanzakarin
    ·
    18h
    To help Donald Trump get the full COVID-19 experience, let’s make sure he loses his job and is evicted from his home next month.

    9
  59. mattbernius says:

    @keef:
    Sweetums… Pookums…

    I see you haven’t found your prince or princess or figured out how to say James Joyner’s name backwards in order for you to break the curse of coming to visit this dang website that you keep saying is really really stupid and juvenile and being compelled to post bland Trumpian talking points.

    Anyway, keef on keefing on my individual-whose-gender-isn’t-really-clear! You’ll break that curse one day.

    2
  60. Min says:

    @Mikey:

    True. We’ve seen an increase in cases again (in Germany) as soon as summer ended. However, as far as I’ve heard, Merkel is already discussing and planning with the Federal Prime Ministers what to do to to containg the new surge. New restrictions are around the corner it seems. And the traditional “Weihnachtsmärkte” (Christmas Markets) are canceled this year.

    Here in Germany, ppl still can’t believe how the US is “handling” this virus.

    5
  61. Mikey says:

    @Min: So sad. I used to visit the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuernberg when I was stationed there.

    My wife grew up there so we get to visit (not this year obviously) and even before the pandemic, there were significant expressions of wonderment at how badly things were starting to go, coupled with high levels of pity. My brother-in-law just asked how we could elect such an “absoluter Null” and what could I do besides just shrug and shake my head and say “ich habe nicht fuer ihn gestimmt.”

    1
  62. Raoul says:

    No doubt the administration has been criminally negligent; I was not on of those people who thought the debates should be cancelled but not anymore. To be placed in the same room with these monsters would be to risk your life. The debates including the VP debates need to be cancelled for safety reasons.

  63. Teve says:

    @Min: and you guys only had 2,833 new cases yesterday. Here in the US we had 51,403.

    You guys are way more on the ball than our Republican half-wits.

  64. Teve says:

    @Jen: I was listening to a doctor on a podcast a couple hours ago, and he said a couple of things that are interesting, one, we don’t know if immunity after recovery lasts longer than a few months yet, and even if it does, getting to herd immunity based on the transmissibility of this virus would mean 1-2,000,000 American deaths, just from the virus, and additional deaths because the system will be overwhelmed.

    1
  65. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    USA: 22,773 cases per million residents.
    Denmark: 4,990 cases per million.

    And Norway, at 2,638 is less than 1/8th our rate.

    I have yet to see a Trumper worth reading.

    3
  66. Raoul says:

    @keef: the number of dead is officially around 210,000 but most experts think the number is 300,ooo. If we go with the low end estimate of infections by the CDC at 30,000,000, it gives a CFR of 1%. Also it means 90% of the US has not being infected. We are quite far from herd immunity and the millions that would die to achieve such.

    3
  67. Teve says:

    @Raoul: and some coronavirus strains never confer longterm immunity. Then, you either wipe out the virus or it becomes endemic and torments you indefinitely.

    1
  68. Monala says:

    @Raoul: They could safely hold a remote VP debate.

  69. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:
    No, I don’t think the Lucianne.com cultists believe that Jenkins was involved in a Papist plot to infect Trump. It’s more that they’re desperate to absolve Trump of any responsibility whatsoever.

    2
  70. Teve says:

    The Guardian:

    Sean Patterson is not worried that Donald Trump has been hospitalized with coronavirus because he believes what the president tells him.

    “It’s a hoax. There’s no pandemic. As Trump said, how many millions die of flu?” said the 56-year-old truck driver outside the early voting station in St Joseph, Missouri – a stronghold for the president.

    But then Patterson pauses and contemplates the possibility that Trump really does have Covid-19.

    “If he’s sick, then they planted it when they tested him. It’s what they did to me when I went to hospital for my heart beating too fast. Two weeks later I got a cold,” he said. “It’s political. I don’t trust the US government at all. Who are they to mandate personal safety? I listen to Trump.”

    DURRR.

  71. Teve says:

    I’ve been all over Missouri, most recently four years ago, always on the way somewhere much better.

  72. de stijl says:

    @Teve:

    The Replacements do Anywhere Is Better Than Here.

    Some is about moving away but really it is about spousal abuse. It is Little Mascara plus five years had she not left.

    Best track off Don’t Tell A Soul is Achin’ To Be

  73. DrDaveT says:

    @keef:

    But no country has been able to stop the virus, or materially affect its spread.

    I know you guys go in for “the big lie”, but this is just silly. You can count on one hand the countries that have been worse than the US at “stopping the virus or materially affecting its spread”. Both Australia and Japan saw their 100th case long before the US did. Do you know how many Australians have died of COVID-19? How many Japanese?

    No, of course you don’t. You don’t want to know; it would just cause cognitive dissonance.

    7
  74. Bill says:

    @de stijl:

    Since April 15 besides groceries I went to the bank once.

    The lease for our apartment has it required we make the deposit for the rent which is due the 1st of the month. Bank of America is bank and they are closing branches and cutting back hours.

    Dear wife works during normal bank hours. I’m staying as confined to home as possible due to my medical issues and not wanting to risk me get Covid-19 because it would certainly kill me because of my compromised immune system.

    For the April 1st check, DW went to the bank. Later on in the month I talked to Alex, the realtor representing the condo owners. Alex said it would be fine for me to mail him the check every month. Beginning on April 29th, I’ve done that for every month’s rent from May to October. Alex’s office is in Broward County or about 25 miles from where the condo is. I send the check on the 29th every month.

    The lease is up the end of March. Dear Wife and I may have the money to buy it by then if the deal goes through for selling the film rights to a second ebook.

    I keep busy- I write my ebooks and maintain the business side of my writing. Unless my muse is in hyper drive, I don’t write on weekends. Besides writing, I read, roll dice as I play computer Strat-O-Matic baseball, assist with the screenplay being written for the one story, watch television and if I am not doing that- I am playing music, surf the internet, and do chores. Honestly I have always been a loner therefore I don’t miss human contact.

    2
  75. de stijl says:

    @Bill:

    Stay true. Stay strong.

    You shall abide, my dude.

  76. Michael Cain says:

    @Bill:
    We’re in the process of moving this year in order to be closer to the granddaughters, so we’re in contact with a lot more people than we would be otherwise. Not an ideal year, but we’re all still getting older and my wife is beginning to suffer some cognitive problems. Everyone except the tradespeople doing heavy lifting are very good about masks. Overall, the state is doing pretty well on new cases, etc.

    OTOH, we’re moving to a college town that had to lock down a couple of dormitories after detecting the coronavirus in the sewage outflow.

  77. Teve says:

    the far-righters are saying it’s medical malpractice that Trump hasn’t been given Hydrochloroquine plus zinc

    On the tiny chance that Trump were to die that would immediately become part of the deep state conspiracy.

  78. An Interested Party says:

    And those who consider themselves “pro-life” will never speak up about this.

    Hardly surprising, as such people seem to care more about fetuses than they do about actual people living outside the womb…

    The Curse of the Notorious RBG

    Going back to the beginning of this thread, that would be a great title for all of this, which seems just like a Poe story…

    Are you stupid or lying?

    Both, of course…

  79. Unsympathetic says:

    I like people who weren’t infected with covid.

    2