Trump Piling Irresponsibility on Irresponsibility

The world's worst COVID manager is now the world's worst COVID patient.

President Trump’s impromptu limousine ride while recovering from COVID-19 is rightly drawing near-universal condemnation:

Guardian (“‘This is insanity’: Walter Reed physician among critics of Donald Trump drive-by visit“):

Donald Trump drew immediate rebuke from doctors on Sunday afternoon for an “insane” surprise drive-by visit to supporters outside the Walter Reed military medical center, where the president is being treated for an infection of Covid-19.

At least two other people, probably Secret Service agents, wearing respirators and eye protection, were seen on video in the vehicle accompanying Trump, who was also masked, during the short drive.

James Phillips, doctor of emergency medicine at George Washington University, who is an attending physician at Walter Reed, called the stunt “insanity”.

“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die,” he wrote in a tweet.

“For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”

In a second tweet, Phillips added: “That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack. The risk of COVID19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play.”

Secret Service agents assigned to the presidential protective detail knowingly risk death to stop assassination attempts on the head of state and his family. That’s the job. But there’s a reciprocal responsibility on the part of the protectees not to undertake foolish risks.

Meanwhile, the lies and misinformation about the President’s health status are sowing needless confusion.

NYT (“As Trump Seeks to Project Strength, Doctors Disclose Alarming Episodes“):

President Trump sought to dispel any perception of weakness on Sunday with a surprise and seemingly risky outing from his hospital bed to greet supporters even as his doctors once again rewrote the official narrative of his illness by acknowledging two alarming episodes they had previously not disclosed.

The doctors said that Mr. Trump’s blood oxygen level dropped twice in the two days after he was diagnosed with the coronavirus, requiring medical intervention, and that he had been put on steroids, suggesting his condition might be more serious than initially described. But they insisted that his situation had improved enough since then that he could be released from the hospital as early as Monday.

The acknowledgment of the episodes raised new questions about the credibility of the information provided about the commander in chief of a superpower as he is hospitalized with a disease that has killed more than 209,000 people in the United States. With the president determined not to concede weakness and facing an election in just 30 days, officials acknowledged providing rosy assessments to satisfy their prickly patient.

[…]

Mr. Trump’s camera-friendly, morale-boosting “surprise visit,” however, may have masked the reality of his condition, and his seeming energy may have reflected the fact that he was given the steroid dexamethasone, according to medical experts. Dexamethasone has been shown to help patients who are severely ill with Covid-19, but it is typically not used in mild or moderate cases of the disease.

[…]

Even as the White House released new details about the president’s condition on Sunday, it continued to withhold others, including when Mr. Trump had his last negative test for the coronavirus and his first positive one. Two administration officials speaking on the condition of anonymity acknowledged that he had an undisclosed positive result from a rapid test on Thursday evening after returning from a fund-raiser at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. But he did not reveal it when he subsequently called into Sean Hannity’s Fox News show and, in a raspy voice, said he was still waiting for results.

Only after the television show did the results of another, more sophisticated PCR test come back confirming the positive reading, according to the officials, an account previously reported by The Wall Street Journal. It was that later test result that Mr. Trump announced on Twitter around 1 a.m. Friday.

We simply don’t know how sick the President is and, indeed, have no reason to believe anything the White House or anyone under Trump’s influence—including military doctors at Walter Reed—tell us.

As to Trump’s taking dexamethasone, it could either be an indication that he’s very sick and therefore getting the most aggressive treatment available. But it’s just as likely that he’s only mildly ill and ordering that he be given every possible treatment all at once—a potentially dangerous course of treatment that no responsible doctor would give an ordinary patient.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, 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. PJ says:

    I believe that doctor assisted suicide should be legal.

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  2. CSK says:

    I said this on today’s open forum, but the Trump fan club sees this as an unsurpassed act of bravery on the president’s part, proof of his supernal strength, courage, and toughness–as well as of the great love he harbors for America and Americans.

    I suspect that some of them, deep down, know better, but they’ve invested far too much in him to admit to reality at this point.

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  3. drj says:

    Apparently, dexamethasone “is linked with a 25% to 33% risk of psychatric side-effects, which can include mania.”

    I think it’s fairly obvious that Pence should temporarily take over.

    But I guess Trump’s ego and the GOP’s performance in the upcoming elections are more imporant than the wellbeing of the country.

    “Patriots” my ass.

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  4. Mikey says:

    Trump’s doctors are military officers and Trump is their Commander-in-Chief. When he says he wants to go for a drive, the most they can do is say “sir, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” and when he says “fuck you, I want to go for a drive anyway,” they find someone to take him for a drive or they face a court-martial.

    The key here is that the Commander-in-Chief not be a bloated man-baby hopped up on a steroid that’s known to cause all sorts of manic behaviors, but here we are.

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  5. charon says:

    As to Trump’s taking dexamethasone, it could either be an indication that he’s very sick and therefore getting the most aggressive treatment available. But it’s just as likely that he’s only mildly ill and ordering that he be given every possible treatment all at once—a potentially dangerous course of treatment that no responsible doctor would give an ordinary patient.

    Here is a progression tree to help make sense of the drips and drabs of information we are seeing:

    https://twitter.com/SashaBeauloux/status/1312832597324713985

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  6. Scott says:

    @Mikey: Who knows whether Trump’s physician is intimidated. Trump has demonstrated a willingness to interfere with promotions (see Vindman) out of spite. Dr Conley is a Navy Commander, a mid-level rank. He is a DO, not an MD. DOs tend to make excellent primary care and family physicians. They may not have a great deal of experience with abnormal or sociopathic behaviors.

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  7. charon says:

    But it’s just as likely that he’s only mildly ill and ordering that he be given every possible treatment all at once

    This is an individual who is seriously stupid and seriously ignorant, how likely is it he would know the word “dexamethasone?”

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  8. Jon says:

    @drj: Kevin Drum, over at Mother Jones, has been on dexamethasone for a while as part of this cancer treatments and has commented on this. His take is that it depends on how much and how often Trump has been taking it. Once or twice, no biggie. More than that, or more often than that, is when side effects start to manifest.

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  9. CSK says:

    @Scott:
    Does Trump choose his own WH doctor, or is one assigned him? If he picks his own, he probably goes for the most malleable personality, or the one who can be most easily intimidated by his boorishness and bluster.

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  10. Kylopod says:

    @drj:

    Apparently, dexamethasone “is linked with a 25% to 33% risk of psychatric side-effects, which can include mania.”

    I already posted this on the open thread, but it deserves a look here: Here is a screenshot of his tweets this morning.

    It’s never easy to tell–over the past few years I’ve repeatedly heard people say “Trump’s become nuts!”–which always sounds to me like saying “Water’s become wet!” But in this case, it really does look weirder to me than usual.

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  11. mattbernius says:

    @Jon:
    I was going to say the same thing. Steroids like dexamethasone and prednisone definitely can lead to mania and mood swings (aka ‘roid rage). But it depends on the dosage, how long it’s being used, and the individual. Having lived with someone whose been on extended steroid treatment a few times, it’s not a fun experience.

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  12. drj says:

    @Jon:

    It is not obvious that Drum is given dexamethasone in the same doses/with the same frequency as someone who suffers from Covid-19.

    Vox:

    In patients who aren’t on oxygen, the risks associated with the drug’s use may outweigh the harms. Among the particularly worrisome side effects: confusion, delirium, mania. The drug can even complicate a patient’s recovery by suppressing the immune system’s virus-fighting response. That’s why Covid-19 treatment guidelines only call for dexamethasone in seriously ill patients.

    “I wouldn’t be giving it to someone who is not on oxygen,” Swamy said.

    Dexamethasone can cause frank mania, or more severe depressive states. Added to the risk of COVID related neuropsychiatric symptoms/severe delirium the press ought to be asking the medical team how they are formally monitoring his mental status

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  13. mattbernius says:

    There really is always a tweet isn’t there…

    The Ebola doctor who just flew to N.Y. from West Africa and went on the subway, bowling and dining is a very SELFISH man-should have known!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2014

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  14. Jon says:

    @drj:

    It is not obvious that Drum is given dexamethasone in the same doses/with the same frequency as someone who suffers from Covid-19.

    Oh for sure, I posted it because it comes from somebody with personal experience with taking that steroid. And, of course, Trump’s insane Twitter rants this morning sure make it look like some of the side effects are manifesting.

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  15. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @PJ: In this case, I’m even open to doctor assisted hom… nope, not gonna go there. Wouldn’t be prudent…

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  16. drj says:

    @Jon:

    He also has the nuclear launch codes and may not always get enough oxygen. In combination with a drug therapy that carries a real risk of psychiatric side effects, I’d say that the responsible and patriotic thing to do would be to let Pence temporarily take over.

    But that would require looking out for the country instead of the narrow interests of one political party.

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  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @mattbernius: Well yeah, but that was then and this is now. Additionally, that was some rando and this is Trump–who considers himself to be the most important man in the universe. Ever.

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  18. Jon says:

    @drj: I think I am OK with him not getting enough oxygen. Like, maybe they should work on decreasing it even.

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  19. Kathy says:

    Seeing how he endangered Secret Service personnel, puts to rest whether he would risk his opponents campaign, his donors, his supporters, his wife, etc.

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  20. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    I’m actually surprised Melania tested positive, since I was under the impression that she spent far less time in his company than his oldest kids do, and they’ve tested negative. Barron lives somewhere in Maryland with his maternal grandparents, so he’s at a safe distance.

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  21. KM says:

    Secret Service agents assigned to the presidential protective detail knowingly risk death to stop assassination attempts on the head of state and his family. That’s the job. But there’s a reciprocal responsibility on the part of the protectees not to undertake foolish risks.

    Secret Service has to be beyond pissed right now. It’s one thing to risk life to protect POTUS from outside attack, even one who insists on unnecessarily exposing themselves to risk like riding in an open car or walking in an unsecure area. It’s quite another to watch one drink bleach and then order you to chug along with them. That’s straight up cult leader or dictator behavior. It’s not supposed to be a suicide job and you are not expected to kill yourself for the pleasure of the President or his whims. If you die, it’s supposed to be for a reason and a purpose – not because Trump wants a joyride!

    If Trump decided to walk into a room full of toxic gas, they would stop him – not be expected to escort him and be exposed themselves. If the President was exposed to so much radiation he himself became a dangerous source, they would not be expected to chauffer him around for a Dictator Driveby. Why is being exposed to a disease that kills 1 in 20 being treated any differently?

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  22. Nightcrawler says:

    They’re giving him a corticosteroid, which makes patients hyper. I escaped the chemo chair, but other women in my support group talked about this. Chemo patients are given corticosteroids prior to each infusion, so many of them are bursting with energy afterwards. However, it’s temporary. One woman said she’d come home from chemo and clean her house, so that it was done before the inevitable crash the next day.

    That’s why he’s able to make videos, ride around like a celebrity at a red carpet event, etc.

    I think this is being done to tow the GOP line that COVID-19 is “no worse than the flu,” and to imply that everyone who’s hospitalized from it should just be able to jump back to work as soon as they’re released.

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  23. Nightcrawler says:

    @KM:

    I’d just quit, but of course, I wouldn’t have taken a government job in the first place, and what’s happening to federal employees under DT is precisely why. If you work for the gov’t, you’re forced to kiss the rings of elected officials, and I have always been unwilling to do that.

    Hell, I’m voting for Biden, and I wouldn’t be willing to kiss his ring, either. To me, voting != idol worship.

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  24. Nightcrawler says:

    @charon:

    I like that graphic, but I have one beef with it. It doesn’t include the potential of becoming a long-hauler, only death and “recovery.” COVID-19 is like cancer in that it’s not that simple.

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  25. Mikey says:

    Maggie Haberman
    @maggieNYT
    The president had wanted to be discharged from Walter Reed yesterday, but doctors weren’t okay with it. So the car ride became the compromise

    He really is a toddler in a flabby adult body.

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  26. charon says:

    https://twitter.com/froomkin/status/1312768410804277249

    A whopping 65% of Americans agree that “If President Trump had taken coronavirus/COVID-19 more seriously, he probably would not have been infected with the coronavirus/COVID-19” https://ipsos.com/sites/default/files/ct/news/documents/2020-10/topline_with_write_up_reuters_trump_covid_diagnosis_10_04_2020.pdf

    This was his own damn fault. https://presswatchers.org/2020/10/dont-forget-for-a-minute-this-was-his-own-damn-fault/

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  27. Kylopod says:

    @Mikey:

    Maggie Haberman
    @maggieNYT
    The president had wanted to be discharged from Walter Reed yesterday, but doctors weren’t okay with it. So the car ride became the compromise

    He really is a toddler in a flabby adult body.

    It’s also an illustration of how weak the people around him are in confronting his deranged behavior. If your kid wants to shoot some heroin, you don’t “meet him halfway” by giving him codeine. Much of Trump’s presidency consists of him getting to do 50-75% of something insane, with the media focusing on the fact that he supposedly backed down from his full demand.

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  28. KM says:

    @charon:
    I had a massive rage fit when Tucker Carlson had the GALL to compare Trump getting COVID from not wearing a mask to victim blaming assault survivors for what they were wearing saying they “asked for it”. I never really understood the phrase “seeing red” before OMFG that man. They are going out of their way to deflect blame from their Lord and Savior’s failure to follow simple safety protocol and the inevitability that occurs. The Leader cannot fail, only be failed so if he’s sick it must be some other reason then his stupidity and HOW DARE YOU imply otherwise. If Trump drank bleach, they be screaming at liberals for blaming his intent to ingest poison and what about all those Tide Pod kids, hmmm?

    Likening it to women who’ve been assaulted and then blamed for inciting their assault is NOT the same in any way, shape or form. It does, however, show the insidious linkages in the conservative mind; mask = concealing clothes / veiling which would be why some of them are shrieking about sharia and satanic rituals. The only way to account for this leap in “logic” is Tucker thinks you deserve what happens to you if you don’t wear the proper items and he’s mad that liberals are being “hypocritical” in condemning one and not the other. Trump didn’t get sick – someone “made” him sick, “assaulted” him with COVID particulars and “forced” an illness on him. That he and his crew are *still* going around “assaulting” others in the same way is studiously ignored so that they can convince the flock their Lord is not at fault….. and lo and behold, nearly 40% buy it.

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  29. Kathy says:

    @charon:

    Not just his fault, but his own stupid fault.

    Granted he had a mask-avoidance fetish, but he could have mandated everyone else around him wear not just masks, but N95 hospital-quality masks. We know masks are better at preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 from infected peoples than at protecting the wearer from catching it. So he could have had his macho tantrum and safety, and chose against the latter.

    How much can you trust someone who won’t keep himself safe to keep you safe? Even when he knows he’s spreading it, he continues to put people at risk.

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  30. steve says:

    “He is a DO, not an MD. DOs tend to make excellent primary care and family physicians. They may not have a great deal of experience with abnormal or sociopathic behaviors.”

    I am an MD. I would say that the difference between DO and MD is largely gone. A DO may be more likely to go into primary care, but if they choose a specialty they do pretty much the same training as an MD. What you believe is, IMO, an older stereotype. Also, the DO who does primary care has pretty much the same trying as an MD often in the same programs. Also, all docs get to deal with a fair amount of abnormal and sociopathic behaviors unless you find some niche research job or maybe a pathologist or radiologist who never deals with the public.

    Steve

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  31. Kylopod says:

    @KM: @Kathy: The larger point is not just whether he got it due to his own recklessness (though that’s certainly true to some degree), but the fact that it undermines his entire narrative about the virus he’s been pushing all year. Literally two weeks ago he said the virus “affects virtually nobody.” It’s like the scene from Quackbusters where Daffy denies on live TV the existence of the tiny elephant everyone’s been seeing, and then it strolls across his desk in full view of the camera.

    The idea some pundits have been pushing that Trump might get a “sympathy vote” is perverse in the extreme, since his getting sick is essentially a repudiation of everything he’s been saying. “Perverse” doesn’t mean it can’t happen, of course. But my sense is that it’s just keeping his greatest vulnerability as president in the news, exactly the opposite of what his campaign wants. It may even cause a few Trump supporters at the margins to become disillusioned. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic. But I suspect this is the case. What I am not optimistic about–and I’ve spoken about this before–is that his dying before the election and causing Pence to suddenly become the de facto candidate would necessarily hurt the GOP’s chances of winning. That’s why I’m hoping he recovers, even though he no doubt will attempt to spin it to his advantage.

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  32. Kathy says:

    Another thing, I don’t necessarily believe Trump is getting any of the treatments we’ve been told he’s getting.

    I mean, he might be receiving them, but then again maybe not. There’s no way to know, given the massive misinformation he and his accomplices engage in every day.

    Back in 2003, when US troops were advancing on Baghdad, Iraqi propaganda was that they were being beaten back. I recall reading some Baghdad residents were surprised when US troops showed up in their city, because they’d believed Saddam’s propaganda (why would they? I’ve no idea). So that’s kind of what I see going on now.

    Except in Iraq we had reports from all sort of sources about the real situation on the ground. Now we don’t. We have Baghdad Bob alone as a source of information. It’s best not to take it too seriously.

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  33. KM says:

    @Kylopod :
    A thousand upvotes for Quackbusters but for some damn reason the button only lets me give one. I loved that movie!!! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go hunt the internets for it as my time-waster of the day 🙂

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  34. charon says:

    @Kylopod:

    What I am not optimistic about–and I’ve spoken about this before–is that his dying before the election and causing Pence to suddenly become the de facto candidate would necessarily hurt the GOP’s chances of winning. That’s why I’m hoping he recovers, even though he no doubt will attempt to spin it to his advantage.

    You and I. I hope he does not seem likely to croak until after Nov. 3 – after that I don’t much care either way.

    I think, though, with all the secrecy about his health, I think he has more comorbidities than we know about. And, as I have said, I think he is severely senile demented, which also is really bad for COVID-19 patients. I think his chances for recovery to anything like his previous health are pretty low.

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  35. gVOR08 says:

    Trump Piling Irresponsibility on Irresponsibility

    Hey, a man should do what he’s good at.

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  36. Scott says:

    @steve: I made my comments based on my experiences in the military. Especially in primary care. Always preferred DOs (as well as PAs and NPs). Glad to be brought up to date.

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  37. Gustopher says:

    Where are the secret service agents that accompanied Trump to Walter Reed being isolated and/or treated? And any agents who have tested positive after being around him for days?

    I can’t stop thinking of ways to make this idiotic stunt safer and less wildly irresponsible, but it’s sort of like the “I have a wolf, a goat and a cabbage that I need to get across a river…” problem — maybe doable, but really dumb.

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  38. Teve says:

    According to the Wall Street Journal, the percentage of voters with “very negative“ views of Donald Trump is now 50%.

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  39. CSK says:
  40. Min says:

    Looks like more people inside the WH are Covid Positiv.
    Press. Sec Kayleigh McEnany tweeted that she’s going into quarantine.

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  41. KM says:

    @CSK :
    What I find ominous in that article is the setup that allowed Fred Trump to “run” his business well into his senility rather then confront an obvious problem. I can *easily* see the brats and his enablers trying something like this for Trump, essentially setting up an illegal shadow government that would place power into the hands of his amoral family with no checks and balances. Hell, they mentioned the blank paper trick and guess what got tweeted out not a day ago – Trump “busy” at work, signing blank papers. Blank papers that could easily get filled in with whatever a user wanted and BAM, POTUS-approved!

    I’m not surprised Ivanka and Jared are pushing him and telling him he’s doing great. In a dysfunctional family, there’s always one who adapts by participating in the abuse to please the abuser and gladly continuing the cycle for their own gain. They’re users that learned at con man Daddy’s knee and Ivanka does seem to fancy herself a princess and the future of the dynasty. She’d be doing everything she could to set up a cult of personality like the Kim’s and then use it for her own ambitions – Ivanka, Daughter of Donald, the rightful heir to MAGA. If it means killing off some Secret Service or staff to get Daddy some optics with the rubes, she’s not gonna blink. She’ll happily let him screw around all day tweeting and Presidenting while she and Jared rule…. and there’s a good chance that’s the way it’s been for a while now.

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  42. gVOR08 says:

    @KM:

    It does, however, show the insidious linkages in the conservative mind; mask = concealing clothes / veiling which would be why some of them are shrieking about sharia and satanic rituals.

    I think you’ve nicely captured how many conservatives “think”. George Lakoff says conservatives tend to ignore complex causation and go for thinking in terms of simple morality. I’d go further and say they don’t think, they feel. It’s all gut. That’s how they can equate, say, lower taxes and deficit reduction. It’s why Trump’s speaking style works with his base, although to you and I it’s gibberish.

    (And the rest of us do the same thing. We’re maybe a little better at getting past it, or maybe just better at rationalizing what we feel.)

    ((Press Sec McEnany says she’s tested positive. Of course she could be lying.))

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  43. CSK says:

    @KM:
    That’s an excellent point about Fred Trump and the charade they enacted to deceive him into thinking he was still hard at work. While I don’t think Donald has deteriorated quite that much, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Ivanka and Jared are running the show, and have been for some time.

    If it’s true that Junior fears his father has gone off the rails and needs an intervention, I think slightly better of him.

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  44. JohnMcC says:

    For anyone keeping records: Claudia Conway (Dtr of George and Kelly Anne) has apparently become positive for covid.

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  45. Sleeping Dog says:

    @KM:
    @CSK:

    The WH and the US Government aren’t a little family biz where the other employees knowing that the heirs will take over go along. There are more staff on the NSC thank were ever in the Trump Organization. That type of take over only happens when no one is watching or cares.

    Add: A week ago Sunday the WaPo had an article on how Trump tried to grab control of the Trump Org from his declining father and failed. He failed because others had a vested interest in a normal transition between generations.

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  46. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    At this point, maybe no one does care. Is there any responsible person left in the WH? The dregs who are left seem determined to protect Trump.

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  47. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    I expect the bureaucracy to carry on and gov will appear to function. This will certainly slow down the Steven Miller’s in the Admin who need Trump’s signature to execute their nefarious plans, that’s not a bad thing. Trump has hardly been an activist president on a day to day basis, so weeks of him dong nothing is more par for the course than an exception.

    Javanka has no legal power, nor does the WH staff, it is only their ability to cajole the bureaucracy and the cabinets political appointees and if/when trump begins to physically fail, their power will drop. At some point either he recovers to the point that he can at least be a figure head or Pence and the Cabinet officers need to invoke the 25th Amendment.

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  48. KM says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Javanka has no legal power, nor does the WH staff, it is only their ability to cajole the bureaucracy and the cabinets political appointees

    And that power seems to be limitless because the GOP has committed itself to this course and they *cannot* back down now. The whirlwind cometh and you can’t let go of the tiger’s tail. I fully expect them to play shadow government till the election if Trump’s health is poor because there’s no goddamn way in hell they’ll invoke the 25th a month out. The MAGAts will lose their minds and we may actually see them try their hand at civil war if they think the Deep State’s stealing the election from their God-Emperor. No, it’s will be all wink-wink for the next few weeks and if Trump wins, they’ll cut a deal with Pence to keep playing government till after the inauguration and then 25th would be an option.

    Trump’s *not* going to recover in time – that’s just a fact. He’s a sick old man who’s got something that keeps healthy people in the 30’s down for months. He may be alive but he will be incapacitated – Boris Johnson has been noted to have cognition issues since his illness and he wasn’t on his way to senility beforehand. They may get him out of the hospital but he’s not doing any more rallies (can’t risk him being seen sick and weak) and he’ll be too tired to do much but tweet. The debates will be cancelled because they won’t want him sounding anything less then the screaming person he was last time; even if his breathing is ok, he won’t be yelling and that’s a clear sign of decline. All the lying and covering up means they CANNOT let him be seen backsliding or weak so if he can’t do his job, well he’s always been OK passing it of to Janky. Who’s gonna challenge that and blow the whistle, risking the election? Who’s got the balls to scream the emperor’s naked as he walks up the stairs to the palace when they couldn’t speak on the trip?

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  49. Kathy says:

    @KM:

    I don’t dare make predictions about COVID-19, but I will note he’s alleged to have received Regeneron’s antibody mix (if he did get it and wasn’t instead playing stock market manipulation).

    If he did get it, that might work well early enough to determine the outcome. We’ll see.

    BTW, we’ve kind of seen this before. Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke in his last term. There are still allegations that his wife was running the show in his last year in office.

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  50. keef says:

    Wow. Just wow. When do the Bigfoot theories emerge on this blog?

    Do you guys ever just take a step back and reflect on what you write? Seriously. You can hate Trump all you like. I don’t care. Its your right. Some criticisms are valid. But where are the rational, both sides considered, arguments and not just wild eyed theories, and temper tantrums, and not just plain vitriol?

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  51. Mikey says:

    @keef: You’re a Trumpist, you all own “wild eyed theories, and temper tantrums, and…just plain vitriol.”

    And hypocrisy, obviously…hahahaha…

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  52. CSK says:

    Trump just tweeted that he’s leaving Walter Reed tonight.

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  53. Jen says:

    @CSK: I’m a bit mystified by that, honestly. He either didn’t have a very serious case and received a lot of unnecessary and expensive treatment (on our dime), or he’s being released because he doesn’t like the optics of him being hospitalized.

    I will note that a number of my friends said that after a few days they felt better, only to crash again over the next couple of days.

    That said, it is also possible–in fact likely–that the virus is becoming both more contagious and less lethal over time. From an evolutionary perspective, that makes sense.

    I’m going to assume that he’s feeling better, and will remain in the White House under strict quarantine so that he doesn’t infect anyone else for the full 14-day recommended guidelines of health professionals.

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  54. KM says:

    @keef:

    But where are the rational, both sides considered, arguments

    Ah, bothsiderism, you rear your ugly head again. Please tell me what’s rational about any his behavior lately? Please tell me that if any Dem did the same thing that you’d be here pleading “both sides”? Please tell me that if anyone other then Trump did this, they wouldn’t be on a psych hold for endangering others like several doctors have recommended?

    There’s nothing to justify any of this crap. Nothing or you’d be offering it instead of chiding us for being incivil and not considering “both sides”. Kindly tell us what rationale you have for Trump and his Administration’s behavior over the last week and how it’s acceptable. We’ll wait.

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  55. Kylopod says:

    @Jen:

    I will note that a number of my friends said that after a few days they felt better, only to crash again over the next couple of days.

    This happened to me repeatedly. I kept thinking I was getting better, only to have it come back with a vengeance a couple of days later. This happened several times.

    That said, my case was relatively mild and very manageable, and it’s conceivable Trump could be in that camp. But personally I doubt it.

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  56. Hal_10000 says:

    And now he just tweeted out “Don’t be afraid of COVID”

    What an absolute garbage fire of a person.

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  57. Teve says:

    @Jen:

    That said, it is also possible–in fact likely–that the virus is becoming both more contagious and less lethal over time. From an evolutionary perspective, that makes sense.

    That does happen, sometimes, but unfortunately over a longer period of time than we’re talking about here. Look at Ebola. The first outbreak was 44 years ago, and it’s still ugly as all get out.

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  58. Roger says:

    @steve:

    I would say that the difference between DO and MD is largely gone.

    I’ve practiced as a medical malpractice lawyer for the better part of 35 years in Missouri, where osteopathic medicine basically was invented. The standard line around here used to be that D.O. stood for Don’t Operate, and in the early years of my practice my experience was that D.O.’s, on average, were not as well-grounded in the science of medicine as M.D.’s were. As the older generation moved on or died out, that seems to have changed. To the extent that there’s still any truth to it, I think it’s explained by the fact that average MCAT scores and GPA’s tend to be higher for people accepted into an M.D. program and, at least anecdotally, it still seems to be tougher for a D.O. to get into a top-notch residency.

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  59. Jen says:

    @Teve: It depends, mostly on which strains are circulating and how. This piece from the Washington Post was the one I read, still early and the findings are being scrutinized but interesting nevertheless!

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  60. flat earth luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    First, nice Dana Carvey reference.
    Secondly, no no no, you don’t get to go there. That’s MY assigned job. And in this case, I’m only open to it if it’s a double, Orangeade and Pease, please.

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  61. Mister Bluster says:

    @keef:..temper tantrums, and not just plain vitriol?

    You mean like this?

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  62. charon says:

    https://twitter.com/TimOBrien/status/1313192280971452418

    A humbling Herman Cain/coronavirus timeline:

    6/24: Attends Trump rally, maskless
    7/2: Tests positive for Covid-19
    7/10: Says he’s improving
    7/15: Says his doctors seem happy
    7/27: Says he’s really getting better
    7/30: Dies

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  63. KM says:

    @Teve:

    That said, it is also possible–in fact likely–that the virus is becoming both more contagious and less lethal over time.

    While that can be true, “time” isn’t weeks but more like years or decades, even centuries. Evolution that takes places over the course of weeks regarding lethality would not be a good thing since it means the mutation factor is extremely high and another lethal or untreatable variant could spawn. Effective treatment requires stability and known strains – it’s why the flu vaccine is so notorious ineffective. What good is a less-lethal COVID that still hospitalizes you for weeks and causes long term damage? The death rate will still be high because we wouldn’t be able to treat all those severely ill people for so long.

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  64. Kathy says:

    @Teve:
    @Jen:

    There’s sheer time, but then there’s generations. Ebola doesn’t infect nearly as many people as SARS-CoV-2 has. therefore, in humans, SARS-CoV-2 has gone through lots of generations in a short time.

    If there is a variant that’s less deadly and causes a milder disease, it would have an advantage over strains that cause more deaths and more severe symptoms. That is, carriers would tend to move around and infect others more. It would reproduce more and infect more people then the more severe variant.

    The only thing a virus does is reproduce. Those that reproduce more become more prevalent than others.

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  65. Jen says:

    @KM: I’m the one who made that assertion, based on the Washington Post piece I linked to in my response to @Teve.

    Basically, what it looks like they are saying is that because we’re all wearing masks, the variants of Covid that are now circulating more widely are the ones with a mutation that makes it more contagious. More of a “winner in this circle” than strict evolution. Basically, what @Kathy details in her response.

    That said, one of the reasons that flu continues to be an issue is because it is very adaptable and easily combines with other flu strains, basically it changes very easily. Coronaviruses, not so much.

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  66. Gustopher says:

    @keef: Do you have a specific complaint?

    Also, are you able to justify the joyride in an enclosed space with two secret service agents last night, or exposing others on his way back to the white house this evening, if it happens?

    Because it looks like a man on a steroid rage (see his tweets today, such as “SPACE FORCE. VOTE!”, and a dozen others just like that) making poor decisions that put his ego above the safety of the people who work for him. I’m happy to be wrong, and they could have him being protected by asymptomatic covid-positive agents right now, but we haven’t heard anything about that.

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  67. CSK says:

    Sean Conley says that Trump is fine to be released, but that he’s not out of the woods yet.

    Conley may be engaging in a bit of CYA with that latter comment in case Trump collapses.

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  68. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    I make use of a very big IF, though.

    Influenza has been with us for a very long time. It not only thrives in humans, but also in domestic animals, including birds. One problem is that it can mutate in other animals before striking us. Remember the avian flu just a few years before the H1N1 swine flu?

    It’s not one big moving target, but a bunch of small moving targets.

    SARS-CoV-2 may become that endemic. It has already been shown to infect some animals as well. We don’t know how prevalent that is, nor what happens if/when it jumps back into people. I’m sure we’ll find out.

    Odds are we’ll first have to live with it for at least another year. Given an effective vaccine, say 80% effective, and widespread vaccination (neither of which is a given), we may be back to close to normal around the fall of 2021. And I’m not sure I’m willing to let my guard down then.

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  69. Teve says:

    @KM:

    While that can be true, “time” isn’t weeks but more like years or decades, even centuries.

    Did I not make that exact point?

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  70. Teve says:

    @Kathy: like I said, that sometimes happens. But viruses do not always evolve to become less virulent.

    . “You can’t just say it’s going to become nicer, that somehow a well-adapted pathogen doesn’t harm its host. Modern evolutionary biology, and a lot of data, shows that doesn’t have to be true. It can get nicer, and it can get nastier,” says Andrew Read, an evolutionary microbiologist at Penn State University. (Holmes is blunter: “Trying to predict virulence evolution is a mug’s game,” he says.)

    To understand why it’s so hard to predict changes in virulence, Read says it’s important to recognize the difference between virulence — that is, how sick a virus makes its host — and its transmissibility, or how easily it passes from one host individual to another. Evolution always favors increased transmissibility, because viruses that spread more easily are evolutionarily fitter — that is, they leave more descendants. But transmissibility and virulence aren’t linked in any dependable way, Read says. Some germs do just fine even if they make you very sick. The bacteria that cause cholera spread through diarrhea, so severe disease is good for them. Malaria and yellow fever, which are transmitted by mosquitos, can spread just fine even from a person at death’s door.

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/how-viruses-evolve-180975343/

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  71. Kathy says:

    Back to Trump, King of the Covidiots, there’s something that needs to be understood about the immune system:

    There are two main parts, the innate system and the adaptive system.

    The innate part is in constant operation and is the first to react to an infection (or an allergen).

    The adaptive part is the one we keep hearing more about: the antibody-making B cells and the killer T cells (among many others), as well as memory B and T cells that provide immunity later on from prior infection or vaccination.

    So the adaptive part seems to be the more useful*, but it takes its time to get going, as I understand, from days to a whole two weeks.

    Now, the Regeneron antibody cocktail trump got is a simple mix of two types of synthetic, monoclonal antibodies known to target SARS-CoV-2. Obviously it can make a great dela of difference to have that shortly after infection, before the body’s own immune system starts making antibodies. This may account for Trump’s improvement, if he has indeed improved.

    Of course there are tons of caveats. For one thing, the innate system doesn’t take kindly to outside substances (even some foods, ask anyone with allergies). For another, antibodies are far from the whole response to infection by the adaptive immune system. For instance, antibodies cannot get inside cells where SARS-Cov-2 is merrily replicating until the cell gets killed. Killer T cells, though, can target such cells and eliminate them, cutting the viral reproduction party short.

    Antibodies are short proteins that bind to surface proteins on viral particles (in the case of viral infections). You have heard the protein spikes on SARS-CoV-2 bind with the ACE-2 receptors on the cells that have them, and infiltrate the cells that way. antibodies that bind to the spikes, render them unable to bind with the receptor, rendering the viral particle inert for all purposes.

    But chancing on the virus is chancy, and it has lots of spikes to cover. Miss a few particles and a few spikes, and the cell invasion continues, albeit at a lower rate.

    Also, we don’t have ACE-2 receptors so we can get sick with COVID-19. They fulfill other functions for the cells within the body’s metabolism. Antibodies might interfere with these, as such cells or proteins that normally interact with ACE-2 could be affected as well (and this may be part of the long-haul problem, according to some of the most recent speculation).

    So, yes, monoclonal antibodies can help, when they work and don’t cause major side effects. But it’s not a cure**, and results will inevitably vary between individuals.

    * I’ve often wondered whether a common cold lasts about a week, because that’s when B and T cells get going and finish it off quickly.

    ** Antibiotics kill bacteria with very few side effects on the body itself, and fairly moderate side effects on the body’s microbiome. that’s why they are real cures. I fear nothing like that will ever exist for viruses, save that we develop some kind of nano-scale machine or engineered bacterium that can target viruses only.

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  72. Teve says:

    President Trump Defeats COVID Coin, at the White House gift shop.

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  73. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    Viruses do one thing only: reproduce.

    So, yes, the one variant, when there are variants, that reproduces the most will be the one that’s prevalent for that kind fo virus. AIDS hasn’t gotten any less deadly, but we can control it with drugs now. What happens to the host is secondary.

    @Teve:

    If Kind Donald of the Covidiots took a turn for the worse, I’d see the sense in buying it ironically.

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  74. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I keep hoping that they’ll put a picture of the actual coin on the site. I’m wondering how that guy whose pictures you always link us to would work for a graphic illustration of Trump standing on the neck of Covid 19 on a coin. Would the image be clear and stuff?

    This is real “need to know information.” 😛

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  75. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    “That guy” is Ben Garrison, the person who causes me acute vicarious embarrassment. There’s another “artist” named Jon McNaughton whose Trump iconography is equally nauseating.

    ReplyReply
  76. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Isn’t this what you call “tempting Fate”?

    ReplyReply
  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Thanks! I can never remember because I put it out of my mind shortly after seeing the “art work.” I think Mc Naughton’s “work” would be too busy and allegorical to go on a coin, but that might be interesting to test out, too.

    If either one of them figured out a process by which they could make coins/medallions/tokens/whatever, they’d find a whole new grift market for their “talents.”

    ReplyReply
  78. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: @CSK: I love Ben Garrison cartoons. They’re so bonkers.

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  79. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen:

    I’m going to assume that he’s feeling better, and will remain in the White House under strict quarantine so that he doesn’t infect anyone else for the full 14-day recommended guidelines of health professionals.

    Wa! That’s very optimistic of you.

    Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    (Or maybe it was snark? Hard to tell without a special font.)

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  80. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Yeah, Trump the Lesser has already said he intends to attend the Oct. 15th debate.

    this puts him in a quandary, no? If he tested positive on Oct. 2nd, than that plus 14 days is Oct. 16th. Uh-oh! If he admits a positive test earlier, he then admits to having recklessly exposed others in the meantime. Uh-oh!

    Biden has said it’s fine. I can’t see him backing down, without handing the Orange Brigades a massive club to beat him with. But he, and the debate commission, should insist on two negative tests three days apart, performed by a reputable laboratory and fully documented.

    My guess is unless he collapses or has trouble breathing, he will start campaign trips and rallies before the week is out

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  81. Jen says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Tongue planted firmly in cheek. 😉

    ReplyReply
  82. Jen says:

    @Kathy: good God that would be ridiculous. The next debate is a town hall format.

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  83. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    When has that ever stopped Orange Boy Trump?

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  84. CSK says:

    I watched his triumphal return to the White House. It was sick-making. Of course he stripped off his mask, posed with both thumbs up, and then for reasons that utterly escape me, saluted absolutely nothing, as far as I could tell, and maintained that pose until the camera finally cut away. For all I know, he’s still standing there saluting nothing.

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  85. Jax says:

    @CSK: Looked to me like he’s struggling to breathe. May the ghosts of 210,000 dead Americans visit his sleep tonight, all whispering “It’s a hoax”, and replaying every press appearance that he downplayed it, every policy he’s directed that exacerbated the count of people who died needlessly, alone and without family at the end of their lives. He’s completely deserving of a good haunting, at this point.

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  86. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:

    You need to consider it an opportunity to watch Trump collapse on national television.

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  87. Grewgills says:

    @Teve:
    Potentially the greatest source of irony in his presidency.
    I wonder how much they’ll be worth if that irony comes to full fruition.

    ReplyReply
  88. Michael Reynolds says:

    @keef:
    A Trumpaloon talking about conspiracy theories. Hey, Q Boy, I hear the local Dominos is hosting Hillary, Soros and Michael Moore for a pedophile party. Why don’t you run off and deal with that?

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  89. Richard Gardner says:

    The tacky coin isn’t from an official “White House” or Trump website, it is an independent company. I remember back in the Clinton and Bush Administrations whitehouse.com was a porn site. But you want to believe.

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