COVID-19 pandemic in the United States

ongoing COVID-19 viral pandemic in the United States

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is a part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). In the United States, it has resulted in 102,904,309 confirmed cases with 1,114,990 all-time deaths, the most of any country, and the twentieth-highest per capita worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic ranks first on the list of disasters in the United States by death toll; it was the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020, behind heart disease and cancer. From 2019 to 2020, U.S. life expectancy dropped by 3 years for Hispanic and Latino Americans, 2.9 years for African Americans, and 1.2 years for White Americans. These effects persisted as U.S. deaths due to COVID-19 in 2021 exceeded those in 2020, and life expectancy continued to fall from 2020 to 2021. On May 6, 2023, the WHO announced the end of the pandemic, but stated that Coronavirus still poses a threat.


  • Greg Kelly: Bottom line. We don't have to worry about this one, right?
Anthony Fauci: Well, you know, obviously you need to take it seriously, and do the kinds of things that the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security are doing. But this is not a major threat for the people of the United States and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about.
Donald Trump: I have, and--
Joe Kernen: --are there worries about a pandemic at this point?
Donald Trump: No. Not at all. And-- we're-- we have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It's—going to be just fine.
Joe Kernen: Okay. And President Xi-- there's just some-- talk in China that maybe the transparency isn't everything that it's going to be. Do you trust that we're going to know everything we need to know from China?
Donald Trump: I do. I do. I have a great relationship with President Xi. We just signed probably the biggest deal ever made. It certainly has the potential to be the biggest deal ever made. And-- it was a very interesting period of time time.
Joe Kernen: Yeah. Let’s get into that--
Donald Trump: But we got it done, and-- no, I do. I think-- the relationship is very, very good.
  • It’s a very, very low risk to the United States, but it’s something that we as public health officials need to take very seriously... It isn’t something the American public needs to worry about or be frightened about. Because we have ways of preparing and screening of people coming in [from China]. And we have ways of responding - like we did with this one case in Seattle, Washington, who had traveled to China and brought back the infection. [...] We’ve just got to make sure that we are totally prepared [since] infectious diseases will continue to emerge on the human species. And we’ve got to be essentially perpetually prepared.
  • On 28 January China said it would welcome international help as it struggled to contain coronavirus. No substantial help has come. Instead of solidarity and defying WHO, the US, Australia, Britain seek to isolate China, returning it to a state of siege and the dangers of the past
  • And by the way, the virus. They're working hard. Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away. I hope that's true.
  • It's going to disappear. One day it's like a miracle, it will disappear. And from our shores, we — you know, it could get worse before it gets better. It could maybe go away. We'll see what happens. Nobody really knows.
  • We are stronger, we are better, but while we are building a great future, the radical left, 2020 Democrats in Washington are trying to burn it all down. They have spent the last three years, and I can even go further than that, three years since the election, but we go before the election, working to erase your ballots and overthrow our democracy. But with your help, we have exposed the far left’s corruption, 2020 and defeated their sinister schemes and let’s see what happens in the coming months. Let’s watch. Let’s just watch. Very dishonest people. Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus, you know that right? Coronavirus, they’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs. You say, “How’s President Trump doing?” They go, “Oh, not good, not good.” They have no clue. They don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa. They can’t even count. No, they can’t. They can’t count their votes.
  • One of my people came up to me and said, “Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.” That didn’t work out too well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment, 2020 hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything. They tried it over and over. They’d been doing it since you got in. It’s all turning. They lost. It’s all turning. Think of it. Think of it. And this is their new hoax. But we did something that’s been pretty amazing. We have 15 people in this massive country and because of the fact that we went early. We went early, we could have had a lot more than that. We’re doing great. Our country is doing so great. We are so unified. We are so unified. The Republican party has never ever been unified like it is now. There has never been a movement in the history of our country like we have now. Never been a movement. So a statistic that we want to talk about, go ahead. Say USA. It’s okay. USA. So a number that nobody heard of, that I heard of recently and I was shocked to hear it, 35,000 people on average die each year from the flu. Did anyone know that? 35,000, that’s a lot of people. It could go to 100,000, it could be 27,000. They say usually a minimum of 27, goes up to 100,000 people a year die. And so far we have lost nobody to coronavirus in the United States. Nobody. And it doesn’t mean we won’t and we are totally prepared. It doesn’t mean we won’t, but think of it. You hear 35 and 40,000 people and we’ve lost nobody and you wonder the press is in hysteria mode. CNN fake news and the camera just went off, the camera. The camera just went off. Turn it back on. Hey, by the way, hold it. Look at this, and honestly, all events are like this. It’s about us. It’s all about us. I wish they’d take the camera, show the arena please. They never do. They never do. They never do it. They never show the arena. You can hear it because when you hear it, that’s not 200 people. That’s not a hundred people. That’s thousands and thousands of people including people outside. You can hear it. [...] While the extreme left has been wasting America’s time with these vile hoaxes, we’ve been killing terrorists, creating jobs, raising wages, enacting fair trade deals, securing our border, and lifting up citizens of every race, religion, color, and creed. We added another 225,000 jobs last month alone. And that makes seven million jobs since our election, seven million. The unemployment rate in the great state of South Carolina. You ever hear of that place?
  • My administration has taken the most aggressive action in modern history to prevent the spread of this illness in the United States. We are ready. We are ready. Totally ready. On January 31st, I ordered the suspension of foreign nationals who have recently been in China from entering the United States. An action which the Democrats loudly criticized and protested and now everybody’s complimenting me saying, “Thank you very much. You were 100% correct.” Could’ve been a whole different story. But I say, so let’s get this right. A virus starts in China, bleeds its way into various countries all around the world, doesn’t spread widely at all in the United States because of the early actions that myself and my administration took against a lot of other wishes, and the Democrats’ single talking point, and you see it, is that it’s Donald Trump’s fault, right? It’s Donald Trump’s fault. No, just things that happened.
  • But you know what this does show you? Things happen. Whoever thought of this two weeks ago? Who would’ve thought this could be going on four weeks ago? You wouldn’t. But things happen in life and you have to be prepared and you have to be flexible and you have to be able to go out and get it. And my guys that we have the best professionals in the world, the best in the world and we are so ready. At the same time that I initiated the first federally mandated quarantine in over 50 years. We had a quarantine some people. They weren’t happy, they weren’t happy about it. I want to tell you there are a lot of people that not so happy, but after two weeks they got happy. You know who got happy? The people around them got happy. That’s who got happy.
  • I also created a White House virus task force, 2020. It’s a big thing, a virus task force. I requested 2.5 billion dollars to ensure we have the resources we need. The Democrats said, “That’s terrible. He’s doing the wrong thing. He needs eight and a half billion, not two and a half.” I’ve never had that before. I ask for two and a half, they want to give me eight and a half, so I said, “I’ll take it.” Does that make me a bad… I’ll take it. I’ll take it. I never had that before. I never had it. We want two and a half million. That’s plenty. We demand you take eight and a half. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. We want eight and a half. These people are crazy. We must understand that border security is also health security. And you’ve all seen the wall has gone up like magic. It’s gone up like magic. You think that was an easy one? That was not an easy one. It’s going up great and we’re up now 132 miles and this is the exact wall that border security, water, everything.
  • Much of the COVID-19 focus has been on major metropolitan areas, but rural areas of the United States are not free of exposure. As of March 1, 2021, there were a total of 28,266,649 cases and 50 7,154 deaths identified in counties, with 4,093 ,759 cases and 80,449 deaths (about 14.5 percent of cases and 15.9 percent of deaths) reported in non-metropolitan counties (data obtained from the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Data Repository*).
    But as many experts have pointed out, the rate of growth in cases is very different depending on location. Further, the stress on the health care delivery system is proportionate – a small number of cases creates stress for low capacity systems just as a large volume of cases creates stress for larger capacity systems.
  • Well, I think the 3.4% is really a false number. Now, and this is just my hunch, and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this. Because a lot people will have this and it's very mild. They'll get better very rapidly. They don't even see a doctor. They don't even call a doctor. You never hear about those people. So you can't put them down in the category of the overall population in terms of this corona flu and/or virus. So you just can't do that. So, if, you know, we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work. Some of them go to work, but they get better.
  • You know, my uncle was a great person. He was at MIT. He taught at MIT for, I think, like a record number of years. He was a great super genius. Dr. John Trump. I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, "How do you know so much about this?" Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for President.
Anthony Fauci, 2020: The masks are important for someone who’s infected to prevent them from infecting someone else… Right now in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks.
LaPook: You’re sure of it? Because people are listening really closely to this.
Fauci: …There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is. And, often, there are unintended consequences — people keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face.
LaPook: And can you get some schmutz, sort of staying inside there?
Fauci: Of course, of course. But, when you think masks, you should think of health care providers, 2020 needing them and people who are ill. The people who, when you look at the films of foreign countries and you see 85% of the people wearing masks — that’s fine, that’s fine. I’m not against it. If you want to do it, that’s fine.
LaPook: But it can lead to a shortage of masks, 2020?
Fauci: Exactly, that’s the point. It could lead to a shortage, 2020 of masks for the people who really need it.
  • The chorus of hate being leveled at the president is nearing a crescendo as Democrats blame him, and only him, for a virus that originated halfway around the world. This is yet another attempt to impeach the president, and sadly it seems they care very little for any of the destruction they are leaving in their wake. Losses in the stock market, all this, unfortunately. Just part of the political casualties for them. You know, this is the time to be united, not to be pointing fingers, not to be encouraging hate, and yet what do we see? We see the absolute opposite from the left tonight. [...] This is impeachment all over again. And like with the Mueller investigation, like with the Ukraine-gate, they don't care who they hurt, whether it be their need to create mass hysteria to encourage a massive sell-off in an overly anxious stock market or, to create mass hysteria in order to stop our economy, 2020 dead in its tracks.
  • I'm not going to belabor this, I'm just going to tell you that for just your daily life and your gums and your teeth for regular viruses and bacteria, the patented nanosilver we have, the Pentagon has come out and documented and Homeland Security has said this stuff kills the whole SARS-corona family at point blank range. Well of course it does, it kills every virus. But they found that. This is 13 years ago. And the Pentagon uses the product we have.
  • I've been briefed on every contingency you can possibly imagine. Many contingencies. A lot of—a lot of positive. Different numbers. All different numbers. Very large numbers. And some small numbers too, by the way.
    • Regarding coronavirus. Posed question: "Mr. President, have you been briefed that up to 100 million Americans would ultimately be exposed to the virus?"
    • Briefing at the White House (2020-03-10)
  • This coronavirus, they're just — all of this panic is just not warranted. This, I'm telling you, when I tell you — when I've told you that this virus is the common cold. When I said that, it was based on the number of cases. It's also based on the kind of virus this is.
  • The chief fearmonger of the Trump Administration, 2020 is without a doubt Anthony Fauci, 2020, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. Fauci is all over the media, serving up outright falsehoods to stir up even more panic. He testified to Congress that the death rate for the coronavirus is ten times that of the seasonal flu, a claim without any scientific basis. On Face the Nation, Fauci did his best to further damage an already tanking economy by stating, “Right now, personally, myself, I wouldn’t go to a restaurant.” He has pushed for closing the entire country down for 14 days. Over what? A virus that has thus far killed just over 5,000 worldwide and less than 100 in the United States? By contrast, tuberculosis, 2020, an old disease not much discussed these days, killed nearly 1.6 million people in 2017. Where’s the panic over this? If anything, what people like Fauci and the other fearmongers are demanding will likely make the disease worse. The martial law they dream about will leave people hunkered down inside their homes instead of going outdoors or to the beach where the sunshine and fresh air would help boost immunity. The panic produced by these fearmongers is likely helping spread the disease, as massive crowds rush into Walmart and Costco for that last roll of toilet paper. […] People should ask themselves whether this coronavirus “pandemic” could be a big hoax, with the actual danger of the disease massively exaggerated by those who seek to profit – financially or politically – from the ensuing panic. That is not to say the disease is harmless. Without question people will die from coronavirus. Those in vulnerable categories should take precautions to limit their risk of exposure. But we have seen this movie before. Government over-hypes a threat as an excuse to grab more of our freedoms. When the “threat” is over, however, they never give us our freedoms back.
  • We have an invisible enemy. We have a problem a month ago nobody ever thought about. [...] This is a bad one, this is a very bad one. This is bad in the sense that it's so contagious. It's just so contagious. Sort of record-setting type contagion.
  • Q: Very simple question; does the buck stop with you? And on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your response to this crisis?

    Donald Trump: I'd rate it a 10. I think we've done a great job. And it started with the fact that we kept a very highly infected country, despite all of the—even the professionals saying no, it's too early to do that, we were very, very early with respect to China. And we would have a whole different situation in this country if we didn't do that. I would rate it a very, very—I would rate ourselves and—and the professionals—I think the professionals have done a fantastic job.

  • I want all Americans to understand: we are at war with an invisible enemy, but that enemy is no match for the spirit and resolve of the American people... ...It cannot overcome the dedication of our doctors, nurses, and scientists — and it cannot beat the LOVE, 2020, PATRIOTISM, 2020, and DETERMINATION, 2020 of our citizens. Strong and United, WE WILL PREVAIL!
  • Peter Alexander: How are non-symptomatic professional athletes getting tests while others are waiting in line and can't get them?

    Donald Trump: No, I wouldn’t say so, but perhaps that’s been the story of life. That does happen on occasion and I’ve noticed where some people have been tested fairly quickly.

  • Three years ago, experts were saying that bat coronaviruses could become a new pandemic. Almost two months ago, experts were saying that the new virus in Wuhan was potentially a global threat. One month ago, experts were saying that it was likely to be pandemic, and the White House, 2020's response was that this was under control, despite the fact that the US's lack of testing was demonstrably giving a false picture of the extent of infection. This was foreseeable, and foreseen, weeks and months ago, and only now is the White House coming out of denial, 2020 and heading straight into saying it could not have been foreseen.
  • Working people, 2020 are facing what could be the biggest unemployment, 2020 crisis since the Great Depression, 2020. As states and cities across the country continue to shut down schools, libraries, restaurants, bars, and other non-essential services in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus, hundreds of thousands of workers, 2020 have already lost their jobs, and millions more will soon follow. While restaurant, theatre, hotel and hospitality workers have been some of the first to see massive layoffs, huge losses in travel, retail, and oil drilling and extraction industries are also expected, as more and more people are quarantined. [...] Such job losses would mean dire poverty for huge sections of the working class.
  • We're opening up, 2020 this incredible country. Because we have to do that. I'd love to have it open by Easter. I would love to have it opened by Easter. It's such an important day for other reasons, but I will make it an important day for this, too. I would love to have the country opened up and just rarin' to go by Easter.
  • Look, Easter's a very special day for me. And I see it's sort of in that timeline that I'm thinking about. And I say, "Wouldn't it be great to have all of the churches full?" – you know the churches aren't allowed, essentially, to have much of a congregation there. And most of 'em, I watched on Sunday, online. And it was terrific, by the way, but online is never going to be like being there. So I think Easter Sunday, and you'll have packed churches all over our country. I think it would be a beautiful time. And it's just about the timeline that I think is right.
  • We are issuing this joint statement to highlight the important role that physicians, pharmacists, and health systems play in being just stewards of health care resources during times of emergency and national disaster. We are aware that some physicians and others are prophylactically prescribing medications currently identified as potential treatments for COVID-19 (e.g., chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin) for themselves, their families, or their colleagues; and that some pharmacies and hospitals, 2020 have been purchasing excessive amounts of these medications in anticipation of potentially using them for COVID-19 prevention, 2020 and treatment. We strongly oppose these actions. At the same time, we caution hospitals, health systems, and individual practitioners that no medication has been FDA-approved for use in COVID-19 patients, and there is no incontrovertible evidence to support off-label use of medications for COVID-19. Stockpiling these medications—or depleting supplies with excessive, anticipatory orders—can have grave consequences for patients with conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis if the drugs are not available in the community. The health care community must collectively balance the needs of patients taking medications on a regular basis for an existing condition with new prescriptions that may be needed for patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Being just stewards of limited resources is essential.
  • We are further concerned by the confusion that may result from various state government agencies and boards issuing emergency rules limiting or restricting access to chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine or other emerging therapies or requiring new procedures for physicians and other healthcare professionals and patients. If these bodies promulgate new rules, we urge that they emphasize professional responsibility and leave room for professional judgment. We further urge that patients already on these medications should not be impacted by new laws, rules or other guidance. In a time of national pandemic, now is not the time for states to issue conflicting guidance, however well-intentioned, that could lead to unintended consequences.
  • Most leaders lack the discipline to do routine risk-based horizon scanning, and fewer still develop the requisite contingency plans. Even rarer is the leader who has the foresight to correctly identify the top threat far enough in advance to develop and implement those plans. Suffice it to say, the Trump administration has cumulatively failed, both in taking seriously the specific, repeated intelligence community warnings about a coronavirus outbreak and in vigorously pursuing the nationwide response initiatives commensurate with the predicted threat. The federal government alone has the resources and authorities to lead the relevant public and private stakeholders to confront the foreseeable harms posed by the virus. Unfortunately, Trump officials made a series of judgments (minimizing the hazards of Covid-19) and decisions (refusing to act with the urgency required) that have needlessly made Americans far less safe. In short, the Trump administration forced a catastrophic strategic surprise onto the American people. But unlike past strategic surprises – Pearl Harbor, the Iranian revolution of 1979, or especially 9/11 – the current one was brought about by unprecedented indifference, even willful negligence. Whereas, for example, the 9/11 Commission Report assigned blame for the al-Qaida attacks on the administrations of presidents Ronald Reagan through George W Bush, the unfolding coronavirus crisis is overwhelmingly the sole responsibility of the current White House. [...] The White House detachment and nonchalance during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak will be among the most costly decisions of any modern presidency. These officials were presented with a clear progression of warnings and crucial decision points far enough in advance that the country could have been far better prepared. But the way that they squandered the gifts of foresight and time should never be forgotten, nor should the reason they were squandered: Trump was initially wrong, so his inner circle promoted that wrongness rhetorically and with inadequate policies for far too long, and even today. Americans will now pay the price for decades.
  • My administration has done a job on really working across government and with the private sector, and it’s been incredible. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, I have to say. Unfortunately, the end result of the group we’re fighting — which are hundreds of billions and trillions of germs, or whatever you want to call them — they are bad news. This virus is bad news and it moves quickly, and it spreads as easily as anything anyone has ever seen.
  • I just want to reiterate, because a lot of people have been asking, well, what would have happened if we did nothing? Did nothing, we just rode it out, and I’ve been asking that question to Tony and Deborah, and they’ve been talking to me about it for a long time, other people have been asking that question, and I think we got our most accurate study today, or certainly most comprehensive. Think of the number, potentially, 2.2 million people if we did nothing. If we didn’t do the distancing, if we didn’t do all of the things that we’re doing. When you hear those numbers, you start to realize that, with the kind of work we went through last week, with the $2.2 trillion, it no longer sounds like a lot, right? You’re talking about, when I heard the number today, first time I’ve heard that number, because I’ve been asking the same question that some people have been asking, I felt even better about what we did last week with the $2.2 trillion, because you’re talking about a potential of up to 2.2 million, and some people said it could even be higher than that. So you’re talking about 2.2 million deaths. 2.2 million people from this. If we can hold that down as we’re saying, to 100,000, it’s a horrible number. Maybe even less, but to 100,000, so we have between 100 and 200,000, we altogether have done a very good job. 2.2, up to 2.2 million deaths and maybe even beyond that? I’m feeling very good about what we did last week.
  • Our 'leaders,' 'experts,' and media fear-mongers are obliterating the global economy, running roughshod over our civil liberties, ruining the lives of millions of people via business closures, job eliminations, and huge increases in child abuse and domestic violence, and risking if not inviting widespread civil unrest in order to theoretically save a portion of a population of mostly elderly people with very serious preexisting health problems. Anyone who supports the draconian 'mitigation' measures currently in place throughout the U.S. and elsewhere, rather than a targeted quarantine of high-risk people, is either a moron or a monster.
  • The government could have stepped in, but that’s barred by reigning doctrine: "Government is the problem," Reagan told us with his sunny smile, meaning that decision-making has to be handed over even more fully to the business world, which is devoted to private profit and is free from influence by those who might be concerned with the common good. The years that followed injected a dose of neoliberal brutality to the unconstrained capitalist order and the twisted form of markets it constructs. The depth of the pathology is revealed clearly by one of the most dramatic — and murderous — failures: the lack of ventilators that is one the major bottlenecks in confronting the pandemic.
  • Trump was not silent, however. He issued a stream of confident pronouncements informing the public that it was just a cough; he has everything under control; he gets a 10 out of 10 for his handling of the crisis; it’s very serious but he knew it was a pandemic before anyone else; and the rest of the sorry performance. The technique is well-designed, much like the practice of reeling out lies so fast that the very concept of truth vanishes. Whatever happens, Trump is sure to be vindicated among his loyal followers. When you shoot arrows at random, some are likely to hit the target.
  • One effect is the shockingly belated and limited testing, well below others, making it impossible to implement the successful test-and-trace strategies that have prevented the epidemic from breaking out of control in functioning societies. Even the best hospitals lack basic equipment. The U.S. is now the global epicenter of the crisis. This only skims the surface of Trumpian malevolence, but there’s no space for more here. It is tempting to cast the blame on Trump for the disastrous response to the crisis. But if we hope to avert future catastrophes, we must look beyond him. Trump came to office in a sick society, afflicted by 40 years of neoliberalism, with still deeper roots.
  • The President wanted to make sure that we had the people doing the best jobs, and making sure that we had the right people focused on all the things that needed to happen to make sure that we can deliver in these unusual times for the American people. The President also instructed me to make sure that I break down every barrier needed to make sure that the teams can succeed. This is an effort where the government is doing things that the government doesn’t normally do, where we are stretching, we’re acting very quickly. And the President wants to make sure that the White House is fully behind the different people running the different lines of effort to make sure that we get everything done in a speed that the President demands. The President also wanted us to make sure we think outside the box, make sure we’re finding all the best thinkers in the country, making sure we’re getting all the best ideas, and that we’re doing everything possible to make sure that we can keep Americans safe, and make sure we bring a quick end to this in the best way possible, and balance all the different aspects that need to be thought of while we do this. This truly is a historic challenge. We have not seen something like this in a very, very long time. But I am very confident that, by bringing innovative solutions to these hard problems, we will make progress.
  • The President has been very, very hands on in this. He’s really instructed us to leave no stone unturned. Just this morning — very early this morning — I got a call from the President. He told me he was hearing from friends of his in New York that the New York public hospital system was running low on critical supply. He instructed me this morning. I called Dr. Katz, who runs the system, asked him which supply was the most supply he was nervous about. He told me it was the N95 masks. I asked what his daily burn was. And I basically got that number, called up Admiral Polowczyk, made sure we had the inventory. We went to the President today, and earlier today, the President called Mayor de Blasio to inform him that we were going to send a month of supply to the New York public hospital system, to make sure that the workers on the frontline can rest assured that they have the N95 masks that they need to get through the next month. We’ll be doing similar things with all the different public hospitals that are in the hotspot zones and making sure that we’re constantly in communications with the local communities.
  • One thing I will say, just based on data, is that we’ve been getting a lot of data from different governors and from different mayors and from different cities. One thing I’ve seen FEMA do very, very well, over the last week or so, is now we’re getting real-time data from a lot of cities. People who have requests for different products and supplies, a lot of them are doing it based on projections, which are not the realistic projections. The projections change every day as we see the cases, as we see the impacts of the “stop the spread” effort that this task force recommended and the President has been pushing forward. So I do think that we’ll see that. Hopefully, there’ll be impact of that. And the task force has been working very hard, through the FEMA group, with Admiral Polowczyk to make sure that we’re getting the supplies to people before they run out, and making sure that we’re doing it in a proper way.
  • And what they’ve done over the last 13 days has been really extraordinary. We’ve done things that the government has never done before, quicker than they’ve ever done it before. And what we’re seeing now is we found a lot of supplies in the country. We’ve been distributing them where we anticipate there will be needs, and also trying to make sure that we’re hitting places where there are needs. So I can tell you the people on the — in the task force, they’re working day and night. You’ve got a lot of people in the government. We recognize the challenge that America faces right now. We know what a lot of the people on the frontlines are facing, the fear that they have that they won’t have the supplies they need. And our goal is to work as hard as we can to make sure that we don’t let them down.
  • We’re working to ensure that the supplies are delivered where and when they’re needed, and in some cases, we’re telling governors we can’t go there because we don’t think you need it and we think someplace else needs it. And pretty much, so far, we’ve been right about that. And we’ll continue to do it. As it really gets — this will be probably the toughest week between this week and next week. And there’ll be a lot of death, unfortunately, but a lot less death than if this wasn’t done. But there will be death.
  • The symptoms were more annoying than alarming: A dry cough, achiness and then sniffles developed a few days after Andrew Young, the American ambassador to Burkina Faso, met with government officials and aid organizations to discuss how to protect the West African nation from the coronavirus.
    A week later, Mr. Young was sealed in an isolation chamber and loaded into an evacuation flight out of the capital, Ouagadougou, as the first United States ambassador to learn he had the virus.
    He is unlikely to be the last. Already, 154 State Department employees worldwide have tested positive for the virus and more than 3,500 are symptomatic and in self-isolation, the vast majority of them serving in posts overseas.
    The pursuit of diplomacy is mostly idealistic, if usually faceless and often thankless. But outside conflict zones, it is rarely deadly. Even the most placid assignments come with security guards and other protective measures.
    The coronavirus has changed that.
    Diplomats, whose very jobs are to interact with foreigners and to represent 20 million Americans who are abroad at any given time, have been highly vulnerable to the pandemic as it swept around the world and into countries that have been slow to acknowledge its threat, many whose medical facilities are less than adequate to start.
  • Standing alongside two top public health officials who have declined to endorse his call for widely administering the drug, Mr. Trump suggested that he was speaking on gut instinct and acknowledged that he had no expertise on the subject. Saying that the drug is "being tested now," Mr. Trump said that “there are some very strong, powerful signs” of its potential, although health experts say that the data is extremely limited and that more study of the drug’s effectiveness against the coronavirus is needed. [...] Mr. Trump, who once predicted that the virus might “miraculously” disappear by April because of warm weather, and who has rejected scientific consensus on issues like climate change, was undaunted by skeptical questioning. “What do you have to lose?” Mr. Trump asked, for the second day in a row, saying that terminally ill patients should be willing to try any treatment that has shown some promise.
  • Hydroxychloroquine has not been proved to work against Covid-19 in any significant clinical trials. A small trial by Chinese researchers made public last week found that it helped speed the recovery in moderately ill patients, but the study was not peer-reviewed and had significant limitations. Earlier reports from France and China have drawn criticism because they did not include control groups to compare treated patients with untreated ones, and researchers have called the reports anecdotal. Without controls, they said, it is impossible to determine whether the drugs worked. But Mr. Trump on Sunday dismissed the notion that doctors should wait for further study.
  • So we’ve done 1,670,000 tests. Think of that 1,670,000 tests. And we have a great system. Now we’re working with the states in almost all instances, but we have a great system. And the other thing that we bought a tremendous amount of is the hydroxy chloroquine. Hydroxy chloroquine, which I think is, you know, it’s a great malaria drug. It’s worked unbelievably. It’s a powerful drug on malaria and there are signs that it works on this, some very strong signs and in the meantime it’s been around a long time. It also works very powerfully on lupus, so there are some very strong powerful signs and we’ll have to see because again, it’s tested.
  • Now this is a new thing that just happened to as the invisible enemy we call it. And if you can, if you have a no signs of heart problems, the azithromycin, which will kill certain things that you don’t want living within your body. It’s a powerful drug. If you don’t have a problem, a heart problem, we would say, let your doctor think about it, but as a combination, I think they’re going to be, I think there’s two things that should be looked at very strongly. Now, we have purchased and we have stockpiled 29 million pills of the hydroxy chloroquine, 29 million. A lot of drug stores have them by prescription and also, and they’re not expensive. Also, we’re sending them to various labs. Our military, we’re sending them to the hospitals, we’re sending them all over. I just think it’s something, you know the expression, I’ve used it for certain reasons.
  • What do you have to lose? What do you have to lose? And a lot of people are saying that when … and are taking it, if you’re a doctor, a nurse, a first responder, a medical person going into hospitals, they say taking it before the fact is good, but what do you have to lose? They say, take it, I’m not looking at it one way or the other, but we want to get out of this. If it does work, it would be a shame if we didn’t do it early. But we have some very good signs. So that’s hydroxy chloroquine and as azithromycin, and again, you have to go through your medical people get the approval. But I’ve seen things that I sort of like, so what do I know? I’m not a doctor, I’m not a doctor, but I have common sense.
  • The FDA feels good about it. They’ve, as you know, they’ve approved it. They gave it a rapid approved approval. And the reason because it’s been out there for a long time and they know the side effects and they also know the potential. So based on that, we have sent it throughout the country. We have it stockpiled about 29 million doses, 29 million doses. We have a lot of it. We hope it works. Driven by the goal of the brightest minds in science. We have the brightest minds in science, but we were driven by the goal of getting rid of this plague, getting rid of this scourge, getting rid of this virus. These brilliant minds are working on the most effective antiviral therapies and vaccines. We are working very, very hard. I have met many of the doctors that are doing it. These are doctors that are working so hard on vanquishing the virus.
  • I want them to try it. It may work, and it may not work. But if it doesn’t work, it’s nothing lost by doing it. Nothing. Because we know long-term what I want. I want to save lives, and I don’t want it to be in a lab for the next year-and-a-half as people are dying all over the place. In France, they had a very good test. They’re continuing. But we don’t have time to go and say, gee, let’s take a couple of years and test it out, and let’s go and test with the test tubes and the laboratories. We don’t have time. I’d love to do that, but we have people dying today. As we speak, there are people dying. If it works, that’d be great. If it doesn’t work, we know for many years malaria, it’s incredible what it’s done for malaria. It’s incredible what it’s done for lupus, but it doesn’t kill people.
  • Speaker to Anthony Fauci: And would you also weigh in on this issue of hydroxychloroquine? What do you think about this and what is the medical evidence?
Donald Trump: You know how many times he’s answered that question?
Speaker: I’d love to hear from the doctor.
Donald Trump: Maybe 15. 15 times. You don’t have to ask the question.
Speaker: He’s your medical expert, correct?
Donald Trump: He answered that question 15 times.
  • For many millions of Christians, Easter is a time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Others may celebrate the arrival of spring and the promise of new life. Whatever one’s beliefs, after several weeks of mandatory “stay at home” orders and the complete shutdown of the US economy over the coronavirus, this self-destructive hysteria must end and we must reclaim the freedom and liberty that has provided us so much opportunity as Americans. To do that we should first understand that much of the hysteria is being generated by a mainstream media that has long prioritized sensationalism over investigating and reporting the truth. Government bureaucrats are also exaggerating the threat of this virus and appear to be enjoying the power and control that fearful people are willingly handing over to them. One “coronavirus” bureaucrat even told us that we can no longer go to the grocery store! So we should just starve? It is certainly possible to believe that this virus can be dangerous while at the same time pointing out that radical steps are being taken in our society – stay-at-home orders, introduction of de facto martial law, etc. – with very little knowledge of just how deadly is this disease.
  • What is most dangerous is that although this virus will eventually disappear, the assault on our civil liberties is not likely to be reversed. From this point on, whenever local officials, county officials, state governors, or federal bureaucrats decide there is sufficient reason to suspend the Constitution they will not hesitate to do so. Anyone who challenges the suspension of the Constitution “for our own good” will be labeled “unpatriotic” and perhaps even reported to the authorities. We have already seen hotlines springing up across the country for Americans to report other Americans who dare venture outside to enjoy the sun and build up their vitamin D protection against the coronavirus. The government is justified in cancelling the Constitution, we are told, because we are in an emergency situation caused by the Covid-19 virus. But do people forget that the Constitution itself was written and adopted while we were in an “emergency situation”? Did the framers of the Constitution fail to add an 11th Amendment to the Bill of Rights saying, “oh by the way, none of this counts if we get sick”? Of course not! Those who wrote our Constitution understood that these rights are not granted by the government, but rather by our Creator. Thus it was never a question as to when or under what conditions they could be suspended: the government had no authority to suspend them at all because it did not grant them in the first place.
  • Our country is far less at risk from the coronavirus than it is from the thousands of small and large authoritarians who have suddenly flexed their muscles across the country. President Trump would do well to end this ridiculous shutdown so that Americans can get on with their lives and get back to work. Americans should remember the tyrants who locked them down next time they go to the ballot box. Let’s demand an end to the shutdown so we can resurrect our economy, our lives, and our liberties!
Donald Trump: You know how many times he’s answered that question?
Speaker: I’d love to hear from the doctor.
Donald Trump: Maybe 15. 15 times. You don’t have to ask the question.
Speaker: He’s your medical expert, correct?
Donald Trump: He answered that question 15 times.
  • ​In the light of the coronavirus pandemic, I focus criticism on capitalism and the vulnerabilities it has accumulated for several reasons. Viruses are part of nature. They have attacked human beings—sometimes dangerously—in both distant and recent history. In 1918, the Spanish Flu killed nearly 700,000 in the United States and millions elsewhere. Recent viruses include SARS, MERS and Ebola. What matters to public health is each society's preparedness: stockpiled tests, masks, ventilators, hospital beds, trained personnel, etc., to manage dangerous viruses. In the U.S., such objects are produced by private capitalist enterprises whose goal is profit. It was not profitable to produce and stockpile such products, that was not and still is not being done. Nor did the U.S. government produce or stockpile those medical products. Top U.S. government personnel privilege private capitalism; it is their primary objective to protect and strengthen. The result is that neither private capitalism nor the U.S. government performed the most basic duty of any economic system: to protect and maintain public health and safety. U.S. capitalism's response to the coronavirus pandemic continues to be what it has been since December 2019: too little, too late. It failed. It is the problem.
  • The second reason I focus on capitalism is that the responses to today's economic collapse by Trump, the GOP and most Democrats carefully avoid any criticism of capitalism. They all debate the virus, China, foreigners, other politicians, but never the system they all serve. When Trump and others press people to return to churches and jobs—despite risking their and others' lives—they place reviving a collapsed capitalism ahead of public health.
  • I think the president has made the right decisions for the right reasons. I think against the advice of many people, he closed the borders. And I think when the history of this is written, that’s going to have saved a lot of lives. I think that given the uncertainty that surrounded this and the possibility that it was so contagious that it would swamp our healthcare system, he supported the appropriate moves for a limited period of time
  • This is a very brilliant enemy. You know, it's a brilliant enemy. They develop drugs like the antibiotics, you see it. Antibiotics used to solve every problem. Now one of the biggest problems the world has is the germ has gotten so brilliant, that the antibiotic can't keep up with it. And they're constantly trying to come up with a new— People go to a hospital and they catch– They go for a heart operation, that's no problem, but they end up dying from, from... problems. You know the problems I'm talking about.
“An Older Population Increases Estimated COVID-19 Death Rates in Rural America”

Johnson K. “An Older Population Increases Estimated COVID-19 Death Rates in Rural America”. Carsey Sch Public Policy Sch Repos, University of New Hampshire”, (Published online April 10, 2020)

  • The mortality a community suffers from exposure to the coronavirus is influenced by social and demographic characteristics including: health, inequality, poverty, food insecurity, race/Hispanic origin, and access to health care. The age structure of the population also has a substantial impact on the severity and mortality associated with the coronavirus. Although mortality rates associated with a given age vary among studies, age-specific mortality rates are consistently very low for younger age cohorts and much higher for the oldest cohorts.
    • p.1
  • Both the incidence of the coronavirus and resulting deaths are far greater in metropolitan areas. Metropolitan areas contain 86 percent of the U.S. population. Yet, more than 93 percent of the cases and 95 percent of the deaths from the coronavirus to date have been urban. The virus also appeared earlier in metropolitan areas (Figure 3). It was first identified by March 15th in 31 percent of the urban cases compared to just 4 percent of the rural counties. By March 31st, 90 percent of the urban counties had cases of the virus, but just 55 percent of the rural counties. And, though 12 percent of nonmetropolitan counties have yet to experience a reported case, this number is dwindling. More than 33 percent of rural counties experienced their first case of the virus since April 1st compared to less than 10 percent of urban counties.
    • p.2
  • Though age has a substantial influence on the likelihood of mortality from exposure to the virus, it is not the only important factor. Rural populations have higher incidences of chronic health conditions (heart, lung, and diabetes), higher obesity rates, and greater food insecurity, all of which makes them more vulnerable to contracting the illness and suffering serious or even fatal effects. Access to health care is also important to the treatment of serious cases of the virus, yet there are fewer physicians, health care workers, and hospitals in rural areas. Some rural hospitals have closed in the past few years and many more are struggling to stay open often by cutting services and staff. Timely access to major hospitals and specialists is imperative for those with severe virus symptoms. Yet, while 14 percent of the U.S. population resides in nonmetropolitan counties, less than 10 percent of the ICU beds are there. Nearly 50 percent of U.S. counties have no ICU beds at all, and most of these are rural counties.
    • p.3
  • The delays the WHO experienced in declaring a public health emergency cost valuable time tremendous amounts of time; more time was lost in the delay it took to get a team of international experts and to examine the outbreak which we wanted to do which they should have done. The inability of the WHO to obtain virus samples to this date has deprived the scientific community of essential data. New data that emerges across the world on a daily basis points to the unreliability of the initial reports and the world received all sorts of false information about transmission and mortality. The silence of the WHO on the disappearance of scientific researchers and doctors and new restrictions on the sharing of research into the origins of COVID-19 in the country of origin is deeply concerning especially when we put up by far the largest amount of money, not even close. Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China's lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained as a source with very little death, very little death, and certainly very little death by comparison. This would have saved thousands of lives and avoided worldwide economic damage. Instead the WHO willingly took China's assurances to face value, and they took it just at face value and defended the actions of the Chinese government, even praising China for its so-called transparency. I don't think so. The WHO pushed China's misinformation about the virus, saying it was not communicable, and there was no need for travel bans. They told us when we put on our travel ban a very strong travel ban, there was no need to do it. Don't do it; they actually fought us. The WHO's reliance on China's disclosures likely caused a 20-fold increase in cases worldwide, and it may be much more than that.
  • Look, I could tell you about — and I’m not going to do it, because I didn’t want to bring it up — but I could tell you about events that took place. And I said things like, “You’ll never do that again” or “You’ll never do this again” or — I don’t even want to mention the events. I don’t want to mention what you’re supposed to be doing because — and you know one of them was so horrible. I said, “A certain industry will be out of business — never happen again.” Two weeks later, it was like nothing ever happened. Hopefully, we get rid of this. We have tremendous talent up here and all over, including governors, including local governments, state governments.
  • Remember that, a month ago, we had done 80,000 coronavirus tests in America. This weekend, we cleared more than 4 million. And we’re currently testing more than a million Americans a week. We fully expect to actually have tested more than 5 million Americans before the end of this month. But at the President's urging, we’re going to continue to scale that testing and then work with governors to make sure that they can manage and implement and deploy that testing in the manner that will most support their efforts to move their states forward. Remember that the testing that is contemplated in the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, for phase one, are testing people that have symptoms that may be coronavirus, and then also having the testing resources to deploy to vulnerable communities: nursing homes or other vulnerable communities that we have identified as needing additional –what is called "monitoring" or "surveillance testing".
Mike Pence, interview at Meet the Press
Mike Pence in an interview with Chuck Todd at Meet the Press (April 19, 2020). Transcript online at
  • It really is remarkable to think about the progress the American people have made over the last several months. When the president tapped me to lead the White House Coronavirus Task Force, he gave us the first objective is to save lives. And to focus on slowing the spread, bending the curve. And because of the extraordinary efforts of the American people, we continue to see every day evidence that cases are declining, hospitalizations are declining. That's a tribute to the American people. Frankly, it's a tribute to all of those governors, governors in both parties across the country who put these mitigation efforts into effect.
  • Secondly, the president made it clear to us that we were to make sure the hospitals in impacted areas had the resources and the equipment that they needed to be able to save as many lives as possible. And I have to tell you that tens of millions of personal protective equipment that we've coordinated for delivery around the country, especially in areas most impacted and the fact that ventilators have been delivered in areas across the country so that no American who needed a ventilator has ever been denied a ventilator. We're actually increasing the stockpile today. But testing has been a focus of ours as well, from very beginning. And it's the reason why the president, early on, brought in this vast array of commercial labs that took us from 80,000 tests one month ago to now four million tests as of yesterday. And as we'll make clear again to governors tomorrow in our weekly conference call, we look forward to continuing to partner with governors all across the country as we continue to scale testing. Because we really believe that, while we're doing 150,000 tests a day now, that if states around the country will activate all of the laboratories that are available in their states, we could more than double that overnight and literally be doing hundreds of thousands of more tests per day in a very short period of time.
  • Just so we're very clear, when the president outlined his guidelines for opening up America, we laid out a plan for both -- for when and how we thought it was best according to our best scientists and advisors for states to be able to responsibly and safely reopen. And we believe today as Dr. Birx has said, as Dr. Fauci and others have said, is that there is a sufficient capacity of testing across the country today for any state in America to go to a phase one level which contemplates testing people that have symptoms of the coronavirus. And also doing the kind of monitoring of vulnerable populations in our cities, in our nursing homes that we ought to be watching very carefully for outbreaks of the coronavirus. But we believe working with the governors, as we'll continue to partner with them, that we can activate labs around the country and that states today, if the governor so chooses, have sufficient testing to be able to move into the testing contemplated in phase one.
  • What we've done through FEMA and through U.S. public health service is literally marshal the full resources of the American economy. We've been bringing medical supplies including, testing supplies, in from all over the world and will continue to do that.
  • I've been working almost daily over the last two months with Republican and Democrat governors across the country. And this vast and complex system of testing, using the commercial labs around the country and using hospital and public labs is a new concept. And so we've been working with governors around the country to make sure that they and their health officials know about all the resources in their states. And we also have deployed a team from Walter Reed that over the last two weeks has been calling every single laboratory in the country that can do coronavirus testing. And tomorrow we'll be presenting all of those details to governors so that they can activate those tests in their state.
  • Admiral Brett Giroir of the U.S. Public Health Service spends all of his time coordinating testing deployment and resources deployment from FEMA. And what we're making clear to governors, and I want the American people to know, is that we will continue to do that. While the president has made it clear that we want the governors to implement testing and deploy testing where they deem it's most appropriate in their state, we're going to continue to fully partner with states around the country to increase the supply, to make sure that they have the reagents and the test kits necessary to perform those tests. But I want to say again, it is truly -- it's a tribute to the president's leadership that early on in this process he brought in the top commercial labs in the country. They formed an alliance. And we went from one month ago to 80,000 tests being done to four million tests being completed as of yesterday. We'll continue to increase that. We'll continue to make governors aware of that.
  • In any health care crisis, we want to make sure the health care workers at the local level have the resources they need because it's locally executed. It is state managed. But it's federally supported. And the federal government at the president's direction will continue to support governors as they deploy the testing resources in the time and manner of their choosing. But we believe today, as Dr. Deborah Birx has confirmed, is we have a sufficient capacity of testing today for any state in America to move into phase one and begin the process of reopening their state and their economy.
  • At the president's direction, as we announced last week, the CDC is going to deploy teams in every single state in the country to do contact tracing over the next 12 to 18 months. The CDC is really the expert at contact tracing. And it really is, Chuck, the way that we, that we typically control the outbreak of infectious disease. You identify someone who has symptoms. You test them. And then you immediately find out who they've been in contact with. That's what the CDC does. And, as we announced last week, we'll be deploying coronavirus CDC teams in every state in the country on top of the hundreds of CDC personnel that are already embedded in states today.
  • I've seen that report in the papers this morning. And I know that HHS is making inquiries. But we believe those issues were resolved on that particular test by early February. But it's important for your viewers to know that that test, the slow lab-based test that is typical for CDC and public health labs would never have been able to meet the needs of testing in this coronavirus epidemic. That's why President Trump was so right when he brought together these commercial labs and formed a consortium. And literally took us from -- at that time in February we had done some 20,000 tests total across the country. Now we've done more than four million and we believe we'll have done more than five million tests before the end of this month. None of that would have been possible without the president's leadership, without the innovation, without the incredible efforts of companies like Roche and Avid Laboratories. And the American people can be confident that whether it is supplies, whether it is testing, we're going to continue to make sure that our governors, our state health care officials and most especially our health care workers have the resources and the support they need. But I want the American people to know that sitting here this morning we really are seeing encouraging signs because of what the American people have done, we believe we are slowing the spread.
    • On a FDA's report stating that CDC's initial test was faulty.
  • There's a downward trajectory beginning in even some of the hot spots around the country. And now more than ever it's important that each of us continue to do our part. And I can assure the American people that, at the president's direction, we'll continue to play our role, we'll have a full partnership of governors around the country. And we will some day in the near future, we, will put the coronavirus in the past.
  • No one wants to reopen America more than President Donald Trump. And I think the American people have known that from weeks ago when the president declared that important balance, we have to make sure that the cure isn't worse than the disease. Because the reality is that for all of the sacrifice the American people have made, sacrifices that literally have saved lives, the truth is that there are real costs including the health and well-being of the American people to continue to go through the shutdown that we're in today. And so the president laid out new guidelines for every state in the country to say that if you’ve seen cases decline for 14 days, if you're in a position to do the kind of, the kind of testing and you have the health hospital capacity that we want to encourage every state to examine the way to go to phase one. And that's the new guidance that we're giving.
  • Chuck Todd: I understand that. I've given you a lot of leeway here. I've not been wanting to interrupt you. That's not true, I always want to jump in on some things. I've given you a lot of leeway. Why is the president trying to undermine the guidance you've been laying out and that he's been -- he laid out this guidance on Thursday and undermined it on Friday.
Mike Pence: Chuck, I just -- I don't accept your premise and I don't think most Americans do either. The president's made it clear, he wants to reopen America. And we laid out guidelines for every state in the country to safely and responsibly reopen their economy at the time and manner of their choosing. We laid out the criteria for when our best scientists believe that would be appropriate. If it was 14 days of declining of cases and they had proper hospital capacity. And we laid out the means that they could move into phase one. When you hear the president, when you see people across the country talking about reopening, every American and this president want to do that in a safe and responsible way. The guidelines for opening up America are a framework for doing that. And we'll work with governors across the country to implement those because we want to, we want to put America back to work as soon as we responsibly can. And at the president's direction we're going to continue to work to do that every day.
  • The American people can be confident that this president wants to reopen the American economy as soon as we can safely and responsibly do it. But we believe, with the guidelines to open up America again, we've given governors around the country our very best counsel about how they can do just that. And we'll continue to work with governors to make sure that they have the guidance, that they have the council and they have the resources to accomplish that. And to put the coronavirus in the past someday and to put America back to work.
  • We believe that under the phase one criteria that we have a sufficient amount of testing at that level to allow states to begin to responsibly reopen. And literally doing more than 150,000 tests a day now, a number that we believe we could double once we activate all the laboratories around the country, we're confident that that would enable any governor who's otherwise met the criteria of 14 days of declining cases to be able to have the testing capacity sufficient to monitor people that may have symptoms so we can identify them and do contact tracing and also deploy the resources to vulnerable populations, nursing homes and particular vulnerable populations in our city to ensure that we don't see a resurgence of the coronavirus. So yes, we think we've laid a strong foundation for testing for phase one and we're going to continue to expand testing going forward for the nation in the weeks and months ahead.
  • I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the COVID-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit. I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science – not politics or cronyism – has to lead the way.
  • "And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because, you see, it gets on the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it'd be interesting to check that. So that you're going to have to use medical doctors, but it sounds — it sounds interesting to me."
  • And we’re — really, I’m very happy the governors have been — the governors, really, have been doing a really good job working with us, and it’s — it’s, really, pretty impressive to see. I’ve spoken to numerous leaders of countries over the last 48 hours, and they are saying we’re leading the way. We’re really leading the way in so many different ways.
  • States with large cities have taken the pandemic straight in the teeth, and are hurting badly. Many of these states did not support Trump in 2016, particularly New York and California. The leaders in these states will likely be willing to swallow any number of compromises to get the aid money flowing. [...] The blue states need that aid, and McConnell knows he has their congressional representatives over a barrel. The utter cruelty of these tactics, the nihilistic self-destruction of it in the face of more than 55,000 dead and thousands more to follow, has scarce precedent in the annals of U.S. politics. Instead of helping the entire country in this time of grievous crisis, Trump and McConnell are putting their boots to the neck of every state they deem ideologically unfit. It will be a damn miracle if the nation survives this, and them.
  • My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.
  • Donald Trump: And you have to understand: When we took over, the cupboards were bare. And the thing that — frankly, it’s not as tough as the ventilator situation. We’re the king of ventilators. But what we have done is — on testing, we’re doing numbers the likes of which nobody has ever seen before. And I told you, the President of South Korea, President Moon, called me to congratulate me on testing. And we did more tests than any other country anywhere in the world. And I think they told me yesterday a number — if you add up the rest of the world, we’ve done more testing. And it’s a higher quality test. So I think we’ve done a — I think the whole team, federal government — we built hospitals for you and others.
Phil Murphy: You bet.
Donald Trump: We built medical centers. And I’m talking about thousands and thousands of beds. Many, many medical centers. We had — as you know, we had the governor of Florida and the governor of Louisiana over the last two days. They could not have been — and one was a Democrat, and this gentleman happens to be a proud Democrat. They could not have been more supportive of the effort of the federal government. And I’ll tell you, Jim —
James Acosta: But aren’t you seeing massive lines for food?
Donald Trump: Let me just tell you, we have — we started off with empty cupboards. The last administration left us nothing. We started off with bad, broken tests and obsolete tests. What we’ve come up with, between the Abbott Laboratories, where you have the five-minute test. Did they test you today?
Phil Murphy: They did test me.
Donald Trump: Good. Now I feel better. (Laughter.)
Phil Murphy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m negative.
Donald Trump: You did the five-minute — the Abbott test.
Phil Murphy: I did the quick turnaround.
Donald Trump: It’s so great.
Phil Murphy: I feel like a new man.
Donald Trump: That’s a brand — you know what? That’s a brand-new test. That didn’t exist eight weeks ago, and now it’s like the rage. Everybody wants that test. No, I think we’ve done — I think we’ve done a really great job.
“For Latinos and COVID-19, doctors are seeing an ‘alarming’ disparity”

Miriam Jordan and Richard A. Oppel Jr., “For Latinos and COVID-19, doctors are seeing an ‘alarming’ disparity”, “Hartford Courant”, (May 8, 2020)

  • Dr. Eva Galvez works as a family physician for a network of clinics in northwestern Oregon, where low-income patients have been streaming in for nasal swabs over the past several weeks to test for the coronavirus.
    Galvez was dumbfounded by the results. Latinos, about half of those screened, were 20 times as likely as other patients to be diagnosed with the virus.
    “The disparity really alarmed me,” said Galvez, who began trying to understand what could account for the difference.
    It is a question that epidemiologists around the country are examining as more and more evidence emerges that the coronavirus is striking Latinos, and some other groups, including African-Americans, with particular force.
  • “We realized that it must be how Latinos live and work that’s driving these disparities,” said Galvez, who works at the clinic in Hillsboro, outside Portland.
    The Hispanic patients, many of them immigrants, help produce some of the country’s premier Pinot Noir, maintain Nike’s sprawling headquarters and plant berries, hazelnuts and Christmas trees in the Willamette Valley. Others are seasonal workers who begin arriving by the thousands later this month for the harvest.
    They live in close quarters, often multiple families to a house or with several farmworkers crowded into a barrack-style room, where social distancing and self-isolation are impossible. They perform jobs that require interaction with the general public, in food service, transportation and delivery; and some also toil in meatpacking plants that have emerged as major hot spots.
    If they are undocumented, they cannot collect unemployment, which may compel them to work even when they feel unwell, facilitating the spread to their co-workers.
  • “Not all Latinos are created equal,” said Daniel López-Cevallos, professor of Latino and health equity studies at Oregon State University. More Latinos in states with established communities, he said, are likely to have middle-class jobs or the sort of wealth that could help tide them over through the pandemic without having to work outside the home.
    By contrast, those in places like Oregon and Washington “tend to be lower income, with lower educational levels, lower levels of health insurance and more employment in essential services,” López-Cevallos said. “They have fewer support systems in place.”
    According to a Pew Research Center survey in April, about half of the Latinos questioned said they or someone in their household had either lost a job or taken a pay cut, or both, because of the virus outbreak — compared with a third of all adults in the United States.
“COVID-19 and Racial/Ethnic Disparities”

Hooper MW, Nápoles AM, Pérez-Stable EJ. “COVID-19 and Racial/Ethnic Disparities”. JAMA. Published online (May 11, 2020.)

  • Select underlying medical comorbidities, older age, diabetes, obesity, and male sex have been identified as biological vulnerabilities for more severe COVID-19 outcomes. Geographic locations that reported data by race/ethnicity indicate that African American individuals and, to a lesser extent, Latino individuals bear a disproportionate burden of COVID-19–related outcomes. The pandemic has shone a spotlight on health disparities and created an opportunity to address the causes underlying these inequities.
    The most pervasive disparities are observed among African American and Latino individuals, and where data exist, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Pacific Islander populations. In Chicago, Illinois, rates of COVID-19 cases per 100 000 (as of May 6, 2020) are greatest among Latino (1000), African American/black (925), “other” racial groups (865), and white (389) residents. Mortality rates are substantially higher among African American/black individuals (73 per 100 000) compared with Latino (36 per 100 000) and white (22 per 100 000) residents. New York City (as of May 7, 2020) reported greater age-adjusted COVID-19 mortality among Latino persons (187 per 100 000) and African American individuals (184 per 100 000), compared with white (93 per 100 000) residents.
  • The most common explanations for disproportionate burden involve 2 issues. First, racial/ethnic minority populations have a disproportionate burden of underlying comorbidities. This is true for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, HIV, morbid obesity, liver disease, and kidney disease, but not for chronic lower respiratory disease or COPD. Second, racial/ethnic minorities and poor people in urban settings live in more crowded conditions both by neighborhood and household assessments and are more likely to be employed in public-facing occupations (eg, services and transportation) that would prevent physical distancing. As stated by Yancy, “social distancing is a privilege” and the ability to isolate in a safe home, work remotely with full digital access, and sustain monthly income are components of this privilege. COVID-19–related exposures are also exacerbated by a greater propensity to be homeless and reside in neighborhoods with substandard air quality.
    The possibility that genetic or other biological factors may predispose individuals to more severe disease and higher mortality related to COVID-19 is an empirical question that needs to be addressed. These explanations must be considered in the full context of systemic factors such as historical and ongoing discrimination, and chronic stress and its effect on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and immunologic functioning. As more data emerge, there will likely be evidence of racial/ethnic health disparities due to differential loss of health insurance, poorer quality of care, inequitable distribution of scarce testing and hospital resources, the digital divide, food insecurity, housing insecurity, and work-related exposures. There is an obligation to address these predictable consequences with evidence-based interventions.
  • This novel disease creates an unfortunate opportunity to conduct ecological experiments focused on the etiology and depth of health disparities in a manner unobserved since this area of science emerged, especially as states begin to relax risk-mitigation policies.
Rick Bright, Testimony before Congress

Rick Bright,, Testimony before Congress, CNN (May 14, 2020)

  • Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to improve our response now, based on science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged. There will be likely a resurgence of Covid-19 this fall that will be greatly compounded by the challenges of seasonal influenza. Without better planning, 2020 could be the darkest winter in modern history.
  • We need to be truthful with the American people. Americans deserve the truth. The truth must be based on science. We have the world's greatest scientists. Let us lead. Let us speak without fear of retribution. We must listen. Each of us can and must do our part now.
  • I believe with proper leadership and collaboration across government, with the best science leading the way, we can devise a comprehensive strategy, we can devise a plan that includes all Americans and help them help us guide us through this pandemic. The window is closing to address this pandemic because we still do not have a standard centralized coordinated plan to take this nation through this response.
  • There's no one company that can produce enough for our country or for the world. We need to have a strategy and plan in place now to make sure that we can not only fill that vaccine, make it, distribute it, administer it in a fair and equitable plan. We don't have that yet and it is a significant concern.
  • Rep. Butterfield: How could we be struggling to get adequate supplies of simple supplies like swabs? What does this say about the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak?
    Bright: It says to me, sir, that there is no master coordinated plan on how to respond to this outbreak.
  • Lives were endangered, and I believe lives were lost. Not only that, we were forced to procure the supplies from other countries without the right quality standards, so even our doctors and nurses in the hospitals today are wearing N95-marked masks from other countries that are not providing the sufficient protection that a US-standard N95 mask would provide them.
  • We need to unleash the voices of the scientists in our public health system in the United States so they can be heard and their guidances need to be listened to.
  • I would have told you that three or four days ago, but we never had a chance, because you never asked me the question.
“Hospitalization and Mortality among Black Patients and White Patients with Covid-19”

Price-Haygood EG, Burton J, Fort D, Seoane L. “Hospitalization and Mortality among Black Patients and White Patients with Covid-19”. N Engl J Med, (May 27, 2020).

  • This study examined the characteristics and clinical outcomes of a large cohort of Covid-19–positive patients in Louisiana. Blacks and female patients represented the majority of all Covid-19–positive patients. Black patients had higher prevalences of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease at baseline than white patients. Although black patients represent 31% of the patients routinely cared for by Ochsner Health, they made up 76.9% of Covid-19–positive patients hospitalized within the health system. A higher percentage of blacks than whites presented with elevated levels of creatinine, AST, or inflammatory markers. Among the patients who received critical care or mechanical ventilation, approximately 80% were black. Black race, increasing age, a higher score on the Charlson Comorbidity Index, public insurance (Medicare or Medicaid), residence in a low-income area, and obesity were associated with increased odds of hospital admission. Blacks were overrepresented among all patients who died in the hospital (70.6%). However, black race was not associated with higher in-hospital mortality than white race, after adjustment for differences in sociodemographic and clinical characteristics on admission; this finding is similar to that of a recent study in the state of Georgia in which 80% of hospitalized patients with Covid-19 were black.
    The racial differences in the frequency of Covid-19 observed in the study population are probably multifactorial. They may reflect underlying racial differences in the types of jobs that may have an increased risk of community exposure (e.g., service occupations). In a 2015 report on the civilian labor force in Louisiana, most service workers in New Orleans and surrounding areas were members of minority groups. Approximately 40% of service occupations in New Orleans were jobs related to food preparation and serving. Racial differences in Covid-19 that were observed may also reflect differences in the prevalence of chronic conditions that appear to increase the risk of severe illness. According to a 2018 Health Report Card, Louisiana ranked 45th of 50 states for obesity, 46th for heart disease or strokes, and 47th for diabetes. The report further showed that the incidences of obesity and diabetes were higher in the black population than in the white population. The incidences of these conditions are also higher among persons with lower education and low-income levels across all race groups.
  • The observed differences in clinical presentation may also reflect differences in underlying chronic conditions on hospital presentation. For example, chronic renal insufficiency at baseline and acute renal failure during hospitalization were more common among black patients than white patients. Black patients were more likely to have fever on testing or elevated levels of procalcitonin, or C-reactive protein. These findings may suggest a different immune response to Covid-19 according to race. In a study examining population differences in the immune response to pathogens, Nédélec et al. found that African ancestry was associated with a stronger inflammatory response to pathogens than European ancestry. Our findings suggest that more studies are warranted to assess the immune response to this novel coronavirus with regard to racial and ethnic differences, other factors that may influence the difference in hospitalizations, and the effect on outcomes..
  • Nearly 20% of U.S. counties are disproportionately black, and they accounted for 52% of COVID-19 diagnoses and 58% of COVID-19 deaths nationally. County-level comparisons can both inform COVID-19 responses and identify epidemic hot spots. Social conditions, structural racism, and other factors elevate risk for COVID-19 diagnoses and deaths in black communities.
  • Emerging evidence suggests that black Americans are at increased risk for COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. Although it may be counterintuitive that a newly identified virus that can infect anyone would rapidly manifest pronounced racial disparities, a consistent pattern has been reported across multiple states, showing that black Americans comprise a disproportionately greater number of reported COVID-19 cases and deaths compared with other Americans. For instance, in New York City, the current epicenter of the U.S. epidemic, COVID-19 deaths disproportionately affect black Americans (22% of population and 28% of deaths) and the rest of the state (9% of the population and 18% of deaths). Such disparities are also evident within individual counties, such as in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, where black residents comprise 26% of the population yet account for 73% of COVID-19 deaths, and in Dougherty County, GA (69% black), where 81% of 38 deaths were black.
  • Of 3142 counties included in the analysis, 677 were disproportionately black. Ninety-seven percent (656/677) and 49% (330/677) of disproportionately black counties reported at least one COVID case and death, respectively. Eighty percent (1987/2465) and 28% (684/2465) of all other counties reported at least one COVID case and death, respectively. Ninety-one percent (616/677) of disproportionately black counties are located in the southern United States. The proportion of black residents across disproportionately black counties ranged from 13.0% to 87.4%. As of April 13, 2020, there were 283,750 diagnoses in disproportionately black counties and 12,748 deaths. By comparison, all other counties had 263,640 diagnoses and 8886 deaths. Collectively, 52% of COVID-19 cases and 58% of COVID-19 deaths occurred in disproportionally black counties.
  • Demographic, underlying conditions, and social/environmental variables, as well as COVID-19 cases and deaths are reported in Table 1 by varying proportions of black residents (<13% black residents vs. ≥13% black residents). Counties with higher proportions of black residents experienced higher rates of COVID-19 cases and (in counties with >200 cases) deaths. Counties with higher proportions of black residents also had higher prevalence of comorbidities, proportions of individuals aged 65 years or older, proportions of uninsured individuals, proportions of unemployed persons, and higher air pollution.
  • Roughly one in five U.S. counties are disproportionately black and they accounted for five of ten COVID-19 diagnoses and nearly six of ten COVID-19 deaths nationally.
    Greater health disparities in places with a greater concentration of black Americans are not unique to COVID-19. Similar patterns have been reported for other conditions such as HIV, air pollution, cancer, and low birth weight and may be derived from the fact that in the United States, race often determines place of residence. Ninety-one percent of disproportionately black counties in these analyses are located in the southern United States—a region where most black Americans reside (58%) that also ranks highest in unemployment, uninsurance, and limited health system capacity or investment. These deficits are underscored by the finding that COVID-19 deaths in disproportionally black counties occurred at higher rates in rural and small metro counties.
    Higher county-level unemployment was associated with fewer COVID-19 diagnoses. Employment presumably increases the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19, and this might differentially impact black Americans because only one in five black Americans have an occupation that permits working from home. Furthermore, black Americans are overly represented in jobs that require both travel and regular interaction with the public, which can increase exposure to the virus, such as in the service industry (e.g., grocery store clerks, cashiers), transportation (e.g., bus drivers, subway train conductors), and health care (e.g., nurses, medical aides, home health-care workers). Being an ‘essential worker’ during the COVID-19 crisis carries risk, which is borne out in recent reports: CDC reported that over 9000 health-care workers nationwide have acquired COVID-19 and that black health-care workers were disproportionately impacted (21% of infections; 13% of the population). Likewise, a report of New York City transit workers found more than 2000 cases of COVID-19 and 50 deaths in a workforce that is 40% black, despite the black community comprising only a quarter of the New York City population.
  • Disproportionately black counties were more urban than all other counties, were more likely to have >1 person per room, which might reflect multigenerational and multifamily households, and marginally lower social distancing scores. Counties with more households having >1 person per room experienced greater rates of COVID-19 cases, but counties reporting less social distancing had paradoxically fewer COVID-19 cases.
  • Leading public health experts have called for the rapid adoption of compulsory COVID-19 testing and surveillance reporting to include race/ethnicity, sex/gender, age, and educational level at the national, state, county, and zip code levels. Such reporting will be an important step to more rapidly and completely describe health inequities and inform programs. Deliberate attention to race and socioeconomic barriers is needed when determining the locations of testing sites, yet an analysis in Philadelphia, where black people are a plurality of the population, found a 6:1 differential between testing in high-income versus low-income zip codes.
  • The risk of COVID-19 diagnoses for counties with more black residents is consistent across levels of urbanicity. The risk of COVID-19–related death for disproportionately black counties is significantly higher only in small metro and rural areas. Furthermore, where rural transmission has been significant, it has been in disproportionately black counties. Counties like Dougherty County, Georgia, experienced intense outbreaks among black Georgians a month later than the early wave of infections in large urban areas. In sum, the alignment of individual-level and neighborhood data within urban centers and the county-level data presented here documenting disproportionate burden among black people suggests that the results of the ecologic analyses presented here are not entirely attributable to structural confounding and may hold true at the individual level in at least some cases.
  • Our article focuses on black Americans, but they are not the only population of interest or at potentially elevated risk. Additional analyses exploring disparities in COVID-19 among Latino, Native American, and other populations are critical as the results of inequitable outcomes are representative of past respiratory pathogens including H1N1 in the United States and thus likely indicative of potentially future waves of COVID-19 and other rapidly emerging respiratory pathogens.
“Native American tribes’ pandemic response is hamstrung by many inequities”

Lindsey Schneider, Stephanie Malin; “Native American tribes’ pandemic response is hamstrung by many inequities”, (June 1, 2020)

  • On the Navajo reservation, which covers more than 27,000 square miles in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico, 76% of households already have trouble affording enough healthy food, and the nearest grocery store is often hours away. COVID-related restrictions have further curtailed access to food supplies.
    Clean water for basic sanitary measures like hand-washing is also scarce. Native Americans are 19 times more likely to lack indoor plumbing than whites in the U.S. Nearly one-third of Navajo households lack access to running water.
  • Many health issues that can increase COVID-19 mortality rates occur at high levels among Native Americans. These underlying and preexisting conditions – things like hypertension, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease – are linked to diet and stem from disruption and replacement of Indigenous food systems.
    Meanwhile, housing shortages on reservations and homelessness in urban Native communities make social distancing to reduce COVID-19 transmission impossible.
    These factors have clear health impacts. On the Navajo reservation, for instance, through May 27, 2020, 4,944 people out of a population of 173,000 had tested positive for COVID-19, and 159 had died.
    This infection rate per capita exceeds those in hot spots such as New York and New Jersey. Importantly, however, it may also reflect a much more proactive approach to testing on reservations than in many other jurisdictions.
  • Construction is accelerating on the southern border wall, which bisects the Tohono O’odham reservation in Arizona and Mexico. The Trump administration has increased patrols at the border, despite the tribe’s concern that the patrols’ presence is spreading coronavirus on the reservation.
    And in Bristol Bay, Alaska, a salmon fishing season that brings in thousands of temporary workers is set to open in June because the federal government has also deemed commercial fishing “essential critical infrastructure.” Many local Native villages depend on the fishery for income, but have nonetheless pleaded with state regulators to cancel the season. The regional hospital has just four beds for possible COVID-19 patients.
  • Ironically, while the virus is hidden and invisible, it acts to make dramatically visible numerous crises and problems in nations such as the US. Better than any Marxist theory of crisis, the virus showed that the world capitalist system is extremely fragile and built on a house of cards that can be toppled by an ill-wind. More so than depressions, world wars, or terrorist attacks, COVID-19 brought the world to a standstill. It exposed the mighty US Empire as a second-rate moribund power and a failed state in its inconceivably feeble response to the pandemic and the plight of its citizens. It revealed Emperor Trump to be without clothes — not only grossly incompetent as a leader, but a truly dangerous sociopath indifferent to the suffering he causes. Trump not only presides over the greatest health crisis in a century, he is a health hazard, a danger to public safety.
  • Moreover, the virus shed a blinding light on the already clear racial and class inequalities in the US, for the poor and people of color have the least resources, the worst access to healthy food and health care, and are the most vulnerable. In May-June 2020, protests and riots erupted all over a nation dealing with the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism and police brutality. As well, COVID-19 laid bare the nihilistic logic of capitalism, when anxious elites insisted that the elderly, the vulnerable, and “essential workers” will have to be sacrificed for the greater good of the economy and revivification of the sacred "American Way of Life." Just as surely, the virus put on display the supremacy of politics over science, ideology over facts, and personal ambition (of Trump) over public health. The respect for and preeminence of science has never been lower in the US. Just as Trump has censored climate change science for the last few years, he and compliant Republican-governed states like Florida censured medical sciences disclosing the distressing factual realities of the COVID-19 outbreak. Truth, facts, and objective reality are troubled notions in the topsy-turvy society Trump has shaped. The virus made disturbingly clear the power of lies and ideology in a media-dominated hyperreal society, as even with the colossal failure of leadership, Trump retains the ardent support of his base, which comprises nearly half of the country.
  • COVID is the perfect virus for neoliberal, atomized societies and especially for the sharply polarized US. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the utopian dreams of open societies in the aftermath, nations around the world have built more, not less, walls, and currently there are over 70 sizable border walls worldwide. In the midst of the climate emergency, when international cooperation is critical, alliances are unraveling, and nations are building walls between one another. Donald “America First” Trump has pulled out of the Paris Treaty and withdrew from the World Health Organization. Divisions form not only between nations, but within nations themselves. This is dramatically evident in the US, where Trump abdicated federal oversight and leadership of the COVID-19 crisis, states were forced to compete with one another for medical supplies and many erected border checkpoints to keep out citizens from neighboring states. The culture wars dividing conservatives and liberals for decades have intensified to draw battle lines now between those who wear MAGA hats and those who don protective masks. As well, COVID-19 has frayed important lines of family and community connections among individuals, forced people into isolated and sanitized zones of solipsism that breed depression and mental illness.
  • Cases up only because of our big number testing. Mortality rate way down!!!
  • It’s fading away, it’s going to fade away.
  • We have got the greatest testing program anywhere in the world.
  • We’ve done too good a job.
  • You know testing is a double-edged sword. ... Here’s the bad part. When you test to that extent, you are going to find more people, find more cases. So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down please.’
  • If his people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray, He will do as He has done for generations and heal His people and He will heal this land, I leave here today confident that God is at work. Even though it may not seem that way God is working. Even when things don’t seem like they’re going the way we expected, they’re going the way God expected.
  • We got hit by the virus that came from China. We’ve made a lot of progress. Our strategy is moving along well.
  • We’ve learned how to put out the flame.
  • Now we have tested almost 40m people. By so doing, we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless.
  • As the pandemic surges back, Trump and his lackeys have:
—Tried to dismantle the Affordable Care Act
—Rallied to pass a $740,000,000,000 defense spending bill
—Declined extending additional unemployment benefits to out-of-work Americans
Their priorities are crystal clear.
  • So let me get this straight: Extending additional unemployment benefits to out-of-work Americans during a pandemic will make them lazy and lead to socialism, but trillions in bailouts to Wall St. bankers and corporate execs is good for the economy?
  • I don't regret that. At that time, there was a paucity of equipment that our health care providers needed -- who put themselves daily in harm's way of taking care of people who are ill. We did not want to divert masks and PPE away from them, to be used by the people.
  • WASHINGTON — Inside the sprawling American Embassy compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a coronavirus outbreak was spreading. Dozens of embassy employees became sick last month, and more than 20 others were quarantined after a birthday barbecue became a potential vector for the spread of the disease.
    A Sudanese driver for the top diplomats died.
    A bleak analysis from within the embassy that circulated in closed channels in Riyadh and Washington late last month likened the coronavirus situation in Saudi Arabia to that of New York City in March, when an outbreak was set to explode. The assessment said the response from the Saudi government — a close partner of the Trump White House — was insufficient, even as hospitals were getting overwhelmed and health care workers were falling ill.
    Some in the embassy even took the extraordinary step of conveying information to Congress outside official channels, saying that they did not believe the State Department’s leadership or the American ambassador to the kingdom, John P. Abizaid, were taking the situation seriously enough, and that most American Embassy employees and their families should be evacuated. The State Department took those steps months ago at missions elsewhere in the Middle East, Asia and Russia.
  • Too many Universities and School Systems are about Radical Left Indoctrination, not Education. Therefore, I am telling the Treasury Department to re-examine their Tax-Exempt Status and/or Funding, which will be taken away if this Propaganda or Act Against Public Policy continues. Our children must be Educated, not Indoctrinated!
  • Deaths in the U.S. are way down.
  • For the 1/100th time, the reason we show so many Cases, compared to other countries that haven’t done nearly as well as we have, is that our TESTING is much bigger and better. We have tested 40,000,000 people. If we did 20,000,000 instead, Cases would be half, etc. NOT REPORTED!
  • We have the lowest Mortality Rate in the World.
  • Job growth is biggest in history.
  • Economy and Jobs are growing MUCH faster than anyone (except me!) expected.
  • The elites are not responding rationally to the coronavirus pandemic, the economic devastation and the myriad of other problems facing the United States right now. America's ruling class is doing just what they did in 2008, which is to line their own pockets at the public's expense and to cast the rest of the country — the working poor and the working class — aside as if they were human refuse. That is all very shortsighted, of course, because of the blowback. The ramifications are catastrophic. One would think that America's elites would respond in a smarter way, if even for their own self-preservation. If elected president, Joe Biden certainly isn't going to respond properly.
  • It's no secret that submarines with their confined quarters are ideal places for diseases to spread.
    Yet the U.S. submarine force, which has a little more than 24,000 members, has managed to keep the novel coronavirus at bay with an infection rate of less than 0.5%, according to the force's commander, Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle.
    In a phone interview this week, Caudle attributed the success to a variety of factors. Those include "a culture of compliance" among submariners, who are trained to run and operate nuclear propulsion plants at sea, a "strong team ethos" of not wanting to let fellow crew members down by bringing COVID-19 on board, and the compliance of local communities such as New London County, where these sailors work and live.
    While the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt became the worst-case example of how COVID-19 can rapidly course through sailors aboard a ship, submarine crews have not experienced such an outbreak.
  • Please donate plasma now, you can litterally save lives
  • Q: (Inaudible) if 160,000 people had died on President Obama's watch, do you think you would have called for his resignation?
Donald Trump: No, I wouldn’t have done that. I think it’s — I think it’s been amazing what we’ve been able to do. If we didn’t close up our country, we would have had one and a half or two million people already dead. We’ve called it right; now we don’t have to close it. We understand the disease. Nobody understood it because nobody has ever seen anything like this. The closest thing is, in 1917, they say — right? The great — the great pandemic certainly was a terrible thing, where they lost, anywhere from 50- to 100 million people. Probably ended the Second World War; all the soldiers were sick. That was a — that was a terrible situation. And this is highly contagious. This one is highly, highly contagious. No, if I would have listened to a lot of people, we would have kept it open. And, by the way, we keep it open now, all the way. We keep it open. But we would have kept it open and you could be up to a million and a half or two million people right now — one and a half to two million people. Our people have done a fantastic job — our consultants and our doctors. You know, and with disagreements and with a lot of things happening.
  • Political, economic and social dysfunction define the American empire. Our staggering inability to contain the pandemic, which now infects over 5 million Americans, and the failure to cope with the economic fallout the pandemic has caused, has exposed the American capitalist model as bankrupt. It has freed the world, dominated by the United States for seven decades, to look at other social and political systems that serve the common good rather than corporate greed. The diminished stature of the United States, even among our European allies, brings with it the hope for new forms of government and new forms of power.
  • They found that during the peak of the 1918 influenza outbreak in New York City, a total of 31,589 all-cause deaths (this included death from any cause) occurred among the 5.5 million residents that lived there at the time. The all-cause mortality in the peak of the influenza pandemic in 1918 was 2.8 times higher than during the same months in previous years.
    In contrast, for the early 2020 COVID-19 outbreak in New York City, they found that 33,465 deaths from all causes occurred among 8.28 million residents between March 11 and May 11. The all-cause mortality in those months of 2020 were 4.15 times higher than those months between 2017 and 2019.
    That means that in the peak of the 1918 influenza pandemic in NYC about 287 per 100,000 people died a month from any cause in NYC, whereas during the early COVID-19 outbreak, about 202 per 100,000 people died a month in the city. So the all-cause mortality during the spring of 2020 was 70% of the all cause mortality during the fall of 1918. "When we do that, we see that COVID-19 really does have the potential and has already unfortunately caused per capita death rates that were in the same ballpark," Faust told Live Science.
  • But there's another way to look at the deaths related to each pandemic: comparing deaths during a pandemic to the baseline that you'd expect during a particular time. There were more "excess deaths" during the 1918 flu than the early COVID-19 outbreak. But in relative terms, the COVID-19 outbreak in the spring actually looks worse, because the numbers quadrupled from pre-pandemic times (from a baseline of around 50 deaths per 100,000 people per month), whereas in the peak of the 1918 flu, the numbers less than tripled (from a baseline of around 100 deaths per 100,000 people per month).
    "Its a bigger shock to our system, but that's a little bit unfair because we started off at a lower death rate," than there was in 1918, due to advances in hygiene, medicine, public health and safety, Faust said. Really, we don't yet know if the 1918 pandemic or the COVID-19 pandemic is more deadly, he added. Maybe what happened in New York in the spring was a "freak thing," before interventions such as masks and shutdowns took hold; or maybe the numbers will slowly creep up to match the death tolls seen in the 1918 flu until an effective vaccine is found.

“Millions of students are returning to US universities in a vast unplanned pandemic experiment” (8/27/2020)


Emma Marris, “Millions of students are returning to US universities in a vast unplanned pandemic experiment”, Nature, (August 17, 2020; updated August 27, 2020), 584, pp.510-512

Universities have justified calling students back to campuses for educational purposes, but some experts say there is a less-exalted motivation: institutions need the money. More than in many other countries, universities in the United States have increasingly come to rely on tuition income and fees, including payments for housing and meals, to stay afloat, according to higher-education researcher Kevin McClure at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Although the US Congress allocated $14.25 billion in emergency spending for universities and colleges earlier this year, that is much too little to fill the financial holes that they face. And so the economic pressure to reopen, retain students, and get bodies into residence halls and cafeterias is intense. “Had universities been provided with resources that would have allowed them to shut down in the fall and operate virtually, I think every single one of them would have done it,” McClure says.
Some researchers say it will be difficult to stop informal gatherings and off-campus parties, no matter how many apps students download or pledges they sign. Many question whether it is realistic to expect young people in the most intensely social phase of their lives to follow rules to the letter. Less than 60% of the students SimpsonScarborough surveyed said they were willing to “avoid social events and parties with more than 10 people”.
McClure has strong doubts about the autumn. “Never in my lifetime have I seen the level of compliance that is being expected for this to work.”
  • In the absence of any national strategy for tackling the coronavirus pandemic, colleges and universities in the United States are on their own when it comes to deciding whether and how to bring students back for the autumn term, which has already started for some institutions. Many are relying on their own experts, resulting in a wide range of approaches, from telling students to attend online classes from home to bringing everyone back and testing them three times a week. Some are welcoming limited numbers of students with a face mask stamped with the university’s mascot, a bottle of hand sanitizer and plans to test only a fraction of people on campus. It all amounts to a gigantic, unorganized public-health experiment — with millions of students and an untold number of faculty members and staff as participants.
    Bringing so many university students to crowded campuses is uniquely risky in the United States, which has seen the largest number of deaths to COVID-19 of any country and has active community transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the pandemic. Other large countries with surging infection rates, such as India and Brazil, are not opening up campuses to the same degree.
    According to the College Crisis Initiative, a research project at Davidson College in North Carolina, more than 1,000 four-year colleges and universities in the United States will bring students back to campus in some form, with 45 operating “fully in person”, another 446 as “primarily in person”, and nearly 600 offering various combinations of online and in-person classes as of 7 August (see ‘Back to school’). But plans change daily, with many universities that boldly planned to hold in-person classes deciding at the last minute to switch to virtual versions.
  • University presidents who have pushed for some semblance of normal classes have emphasized students’ eagerness to return, and the risk of “failing to provide the next generation of leaders the education they need and to do the research and scholarship so valuable to our society”, as John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times in May. On 18 August, Notre Dame announced it would suspend in-person classes for two weeks because of the rapid rise of infections there.
  • Universities have justified calling students back to campuses for educational purposes, but some experts say there is a less-exalted motivation: institutions need the money. More than in many other countries, universities in the United States have increasingly come to rely on tuition income and fees, including payments for housing and meals, to stay afloat, according to higher-education researcher Kevin McClure at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Higher-education consultants SimpsonScarborough, based in Alexandria, Virginia, surveyed more than 900 incoming first-year students in July and found that 40% might put off attending university, potentially slashing tuition income. And for universities that opt to hold only virtual classes, revenue from dining halls, housing, gyms, parking and other facilities that charge fees will drop precipitously. University presidents have been projecting massive budget shortfalls: $96 million at Boston University in Massachusetts, $100 million at University of Wisconsin Madison, $120 million at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, $375 million at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
    Although the US Congress allocated $14.25 billion in emergency spending for universities and colleges earlier this year, that is much too little to fill the financial holes that they face. And so the economic pressure to reopen, retain students, and get bodies into residence halls and cafeterias is intense. “Had universities been provided with resources that would have allowed them to shut down in the fall and operate virtually, I think every single one of them would have done it,” McClure says.
  • At Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, president Martha Pollack announced that the campus would be reopening because mathematical modelling suggested that there would be fewer COVID-19 cases that way. If the campus were kept closed, many students would still live in shared housing in and around Ithaca, a survey found. These students would drive an outbreak of some 7,200 cases, according to a model created by operations researcher Peter Frazier and his colleagues. That could be mitigated if the students were on campus and being tested regularly. In that scenario, the model predicts just 1,200 cases.
    Others question Cornell’s rationale. Inglesby says universities should tell students from outside the area to stay at home, rather than tailoring a plan around their desire to show up. “That’s not making decisions in the right order,” he says. Cornell sociologist Kim Weeden pointed out in a tweet that the survey was carried out in late spring, when cases were declining — and it didn’t poll the parents of students. “Whoever is footing the bills may have quite different ideas on the subject,” she wrote.
    Frazier says that merely urging students, many of whom have already signed leases, to stay at home would be a toothless request. And although fewer students might show up than planned to do so in May, his model still suggests keeping them on campus, where testing can be required, is safest overall. “The conclusion that residential is safer than online is really, really, robust to the number of students returning,” he says.
  • In May, participants in a meeting of the Association of Independent Colleges & Universities in Massachusetts teamed up to model COVID-19’s spread on campuses. The resulting analysis suggests that outbreaks can be prevented during an 80-day shortened semester if students are tested every 2 days, even if the tests don’t catch every case. The cost would be about $470 per student. In response, a number of universities, including Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, plan to test their residential students multiple times per week. They also plan to isolate students who test positive, and to trace their contacts.
    Researchers who are advising universities say that models are imperfect, but they remain one of the few scientific tools available to guide reopening decisions. “There is going to be no clinical trial; we have to model this,” says Rochelle Walensky, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and a co-author of the analysis of potential COVID-19 campus spread. She is also a member of the Harvard reopening committee, and says she has spoken to “many university opening committees”.
  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is able to test all its 50,000 students, 2,800 faculty members and 8,200 staff twice a week with its own saliva polymerase-chain-reaction test, which costs just $10 a pop. Students will get a notification on the Safer in Illinois app, and then head to one of 50 kiosks on campus. “You walk up, you swipe your card, you dribble into a tube, you drop it into a bag and you are done — and within 3 hours it is in your phone,” says chemist Martin Burke, who helped design the test. Those who don’t get tested won’t be able to access campus buildings. “This is 2020, not 1918. We don’t want to just revert to the methodologies from back then,” says Burke. “How do we leverage the tremendous power of modern science? We can crush this thing.”
  • At the University of California, Irvine, campus managers will keep an eye on how crowded buildings are, using a system that has been under development for years with a grant from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. As students’ phones and laptops search for Wi-Fi signals in buildings, they generate ‘probe events’ that will be used to estimate how many people are in each area. A dashboard alerts managers to overcrowding, which can then be addressed by putting up signs, moving furniture around or giving students a stern talking-to. In the future, students might also get an alert if they have shared space with a person known to have COVID-19.
    The system strips away IP addresses and other identifying info, but students who are still unhappy about having their data collected can opt out. Sharad Mehrotra, a computer scientist who leads the project, says it will help the university limit transmission of COVID-19. “When the pandemic started and things were locked down, the responsibility of handling the situation largely resided with the government,” says Mehrotra. “But as things open up, the responsibility shifts to the community. It shifts to individuals, but also to organizations. What roles organizations can play has not been settled yet.”
  • Almost all plans for a physical return to campus include masks, social distancing and bans on social gatherings, potentially removing the core motivation for many students to attend in person. Two of the biggest American football conferences, the Big Ten and Pac-12, announced on 11 August that they won’t play this autumn, in what many see as a sign that most collegiate sports will be postponed until at least next spring.
    Some researchers say it will be difficult to stop informal gatherings and off-campus parties, no matter how many apps students download or pledges they sign. Many question whether it is realistic to expect young people in the most intensely social phase of their lives to follow rules to the letter. Less than 60% of the students SimpsonScarborough surveyed said they were willing to “avoid social events and parties with more than 10 people”.
    McClure has strong doubts about the autumn. “Never in my lifetime have I seen the level of compliance that is being expected for this to work.”
  • Traditional migration push factors like insecurity and economic conditions continue to push individuals north to the United States. While we are addressing illegal migration through a network of initiatives, we are concerned that during a pandemic this poses a more specific threat to the migrants, the communities they transit, to U.S. border communities, and to our officers and agents who encounter migrants when they enter the United States. To mitigate this threat we instituted enhanced restrictions at our borders, limited travel to only essential travelers and implemented a Center for Disease Control (CDC) order that protects Americans from COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 is the most recent and deadly, in a list of infectious diseases that have threatened the lives of Americans. We have seen unprecedented impact to life, health, and public safety from COVID-19 and taken action to prevent our healthcare system from being overburdened from COVID-19 patients. DHS was at the forefront mitigating threat and we took decisive action to restrict air and sea travel from disease hot-spots, close our land borders to non-essential travel, provide lifesaving PPE to Americans, prevent fraudulent PPE from entering our supply chains, and identify fraudsters who are trying to exploit this situation for their own personal gain.
  • The domestic situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic creates an environment that could accelerate some individuals’ mobilization to targeted violence or radicalization to terrorism. Social distancing may lead to social isolation, which is associated with depression, increased anxiety, and social alienation. Similarly, work disruptions, including unexpected unemployment and layoffs, can also increase risk factors associated with radicalization to violence and willingness to engage in acts of targeted violence.
  • According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention... Americans, regardless of age group, are far more likely to die of something other than COVID-19. Even among those in the most heavily impacted age group (85 and older), only 11.1 percent of all deaths since February 2020 were due to COVID-19.
  • I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!
  • We know that we could have done better. China, faced with the first outbreak, chose strict quarantine and isolation after an initial delay. These measures were severe but effective, essentially eliminating transmission at the point where the outbreak began and reducing the death rate to a reported 3 per million, as compared with more than 500 per million in the United States. Countries that had far more exchange with China, such as Singapore and South Korea, began intensive testing early, along with aggressive contact tracing and appropriate isolation, and have had relatively small outbreaks. And New Zealand has used these same measures, together with its geographic advantages, to come close to eliminating the disease, something that has allowed that country to limit the time of closure and to largely reopen society to a prepandemic level. In general, not only have many democracies done better than the United States, but they have also outperformed us by orders of magnitude.
  • Bob Woodward’s second book on Donald Trump commanded attention when it was released in September 2020. Based upon seventeen conversations the president freely undertook with America’s most famous investigative journalist,[3] as well as discussions with administration officials and Republicans in Congress. Rage turned the COVID-19 story upside down when it reported Trump’s recorded declaration on March 19, 2020 that he had known from the start that a pandemic was going to savage America, but he publicly denied it for months, he said, to prevent panic.
    Many people apparently believed Trump because the explanation was so utterly damning to him it seemed he never would have made it up to protect himself. After all, he was confessing to being someone in a rooming house who discovered the building was on fire, and then told no one because he did not want the victims to panic. So the sheer idiocy of the rationalization, oddly enough, gave it verisimilitude. But one can find a straighter explanation of the president’s behavior that fits him to a T. The “prevent panic” excuse was actually less damaging to Trump than the truth, which was that he had ignored a whole bucket of warnings for weeks about what was going to happen. He not only kept denying the “building” was on fire, he just let it burn away. And when the fire department came to the door, he sent it away.
  • What Did the President Know and When Did He Know It? COVID-19 appeared in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and the government, as it had some years earlier with the SARS virus, hid this from the rest of the world. But by December 31 China described mysterious “pneumonia” cases in Wuhan to the World Health Organization. The U.S. Center for Disease Control immediately tried to get more information from Chinese medical authorities, who stonewalled. The CDC nevertheless noticed the disease was quickly spreading, and by January 13 a case turned up in Thailand. The virus evidently could pass from person to person. So on January 18 the CDC instituted screening of all air passengers arriving from Wuhan in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. On this same day the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, telephoned Trump at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida to explain how serious a threat the disease posed to the United States. Trump however proved uninterested and changed the subject.
    On January 21 a Seattle man recently returned from Wuhan became America’s first known COVID-19 patient and the next day Trump made his first statement on the disease, dismissing its importance: “It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” When more cases appeared, he tweeted on January 24 “It will work out well.” But on January 28 Trump’s Chief Trade Advisor Peter Navarro sent a memo around the West Wing warning the virus could have very dire consequences. Azar phoned Trump again that day to warn him of the disaster afoot, and was again rebuffed. But that afternoon Trump met with the top officials of the National Security Council and was told the new coronavirus would be the biggest national security threat he would face in his presidency. That got his attention, but he still did nothing.
  • All the king’s horses and all the king’s men in the Oval Office agreed that the United States had to keep persons from China from entering the country. Trump agreed, and that night he issued his “Travel Ban on China.” Trump has ladled glory on himself from stem to stern for issuing this proclamation, saying everyone in the room was against the travel ban but he insisted on it to protect the country. (It’s a good example of how he often lies by completely reversing the facts. Doing it that way takes very little mental effort.) Actually, it looks like the CDC packed the Oval Office with over a dozen Trump advisors to force him to take the matter seriously. Smaller groups could not penetrate his willful blindness.) Moreover, the “China ban” fits distinctly sideways with Trump’s story that he had lied to Americans to keep them from panicking. Declaring a travel ban, and insisting Americans returning from China be quarantined, definitely implies an invisible, spreading danger. Furthermore, if you believe Trump actually knew “all along” the country was in danger but played (COVID-19) down to prevent panic, why did he leave America unprotected when he could have quietly prepared the country for the pandemic heading its way? For example, the Department of Health and Human Services asked the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for $136 million at the end of January and at the beginning of February to combat the disease, and was refused both times. Later Trump would complain that the Obama administration had left the shelves bare of testing materials, respirators, and so on. If this were true, would restocking the shelves have induced panic? Hardly. As many governors and mayors learned later, the president did almost nothing, even “on the quiet,” to prepare the nation he led for the crisis ahead.
    I think instead that the “candid admission” to Woodward of lying about the danger from the start was just the best lie that Trump could hit upon to cloak his real motivation, which was even more damning, namely to keep the road to his re-election smooth and straight. He had planned from Day One to run on a flourishing national economy, and here his medical advisors were talking closures, quarantines, and self-isolations that would slow everything down to a crawl, and drive the re-election bus into the ditch. So he decided instead to tell the American people they were perfectly safe and life should continue as usual. As the infection spread and began overwhelming the healthcare system, he retreated to saying “Never mind, the virus will disappear once the weather warms up,” which he probably got from some fringe news source.
  • As many have noted, Donald Trump has a startling inability to accept reality when he wants to believe something else, for reasons I tried to explain in Authoritarian Nightmare. He will seek out bizarre sources and toady yes-men to help him lie to himself. He wanted the virus to just go away, so he believed it would be killed by April warmth, or be cured by hydroxychloroquine, or destroyed by bleach, or be prevented by a vaccine that would be ready by October. And no sooner had he finally admitted how serious the situation was, he began pressuring states to “reopen” and return to normalcy, which some did to their sorrow. And he insisted on holding normal political re-election rallies and discouraging the wearing of masks and forcing schools to open in the fall and pushing poorly tested vaccines on the public to rejuvenate the economy and buoy his chances for re-election.
    Blaming China. President Trump needed a scapegoat as well as sacrificial lambs. He teed up China, saying he had secret evidence it had created the virus and then negligently allowed it to spread around the world. He had been deceived by China’s President Xi early on, he explained, who had assured him over the phone that the disease was under control. Trump called him on February 6, offering to send CDC scientists to China to help eradicate the disease. He thought Xi would agree to this previously rejected offer because he and the Chinese leader had a personal relationship. But Xi was uninterested. He did give the impression that everything was under control in China, according to Matt Pottinger, Deputy Director of the National Security Council who listened in on the call (Rage, pp. 241-243). But China had taken dramatic steps to control the disease. By February 6, Wuhan and the province it sat in had been isolated from the rest of China and locked down with stringent quarantine regulations for two weeks. Some 40,000 healthcare workers had been sent to the area, hospitals were being rapidly built, and the infection curve was flattening out.
    The Chinese government certainly did nothing to stop the spread of the disease abroad for a long time. But virologists around the world are virtually unanimous that COVID-19 evolved in nature, and was not manufactured in a laboratory. The United States became the world leader in coronavirus deaths not because Xi lied to Trump about how well China was containing the threat, but because Trump ignored for weeks and weeks the strongest warnings from his own experts to defend the country, and then most purposefully lied to the American people himself about what they should do. The blood is on his hands more than on anyone else’s, and deep down inside, beneath layers of excuses, denials, blame-shifting, and rationalizations, he probably knows it.
  • ...if you look at mortality rates it's up 95%, or 85%...
  • In a spring meeting, Birx seemed fixated on applying the lessons of HIV/AIDS in a small African nation to COVID-19 in the United States, says a CDC official who was present. “Birx was able to get data from every hospital on every case” in Malawi, the official says. “She couldn’t understand why that wasn’t happening in the United States” with COVID-19. Birx didn’t seem to see the difference between a slow-moving HIV outbreak and a raging respiratory pandemic. “[CDC Principal Deputy Director] Anne Schuchat had to say, ‘Debbi, this is not HIV.’ Birx got unhappy with that.”
  • In late 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first detected in China and has since caused a pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The first case of COVID-19 in New York City was officially confirmed on 1 March 2020 followed by a severe local epidemic1. Here, to understand seroprevalence dynamics, we conduct a retrospective, repeated cross-sectional analysis of anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike antibodies in weekly intervals from the beginning of February to July 2020 using more than 10,000 plasma samples from patients at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. We describe the dynamics of seroprevalence in an ‘urgent care’ group, which is enriched in cases of COVID-19 during the epidemic, and a ‘routine care’ group, which more closely represents the general population. Seroprevalence increased at different rates in both groups; seropositive samples were found as early as mid-February, and levelled out at slightly above 20% in both groups after the epidemic wave subsided by the end of May. From May to July, seroprevalence remained stable, suggesting lasting antibody levels in the population. Our data suggest that SARS-CoV-2 was introduced in New York City earlier than previously documented and describe the dynamics of seroconversion over the full course of the first wave of the pandemic in a major metropolitan area.
    • Daniel Stadlbauer, Jessica Tan, Kaijun Jiang, Matthew M. Hernandez, Shelcie Fabre, Fatima Amanat, Catherine Teo, Guha Asthagiri Arunkumar, Meagan McMahon, Christina Capuano, Kathryn Twyman, Jeffrey Jhang, Michael D. Nowak, Viviana Simon, Emilia Mia Sordillo, Harm van Bakel & Florian Krammer; “Repeated cross-sectional sero-monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in New York City”, “Nature”, (03 November 2020)
  • The first seropositive samples in our study were already detected during the week of 23 February, one week before the first confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 in NYC was identified, which suggests that SARS-CoV-2 was probably introduced to the NYC area several weeks earlier than has previously been assumed. This would not be unexpected given the unique diversity and connectivity of NYC and the large numbers of travellers that were arriving from SARS-CoV-2-affected regions of the world in January and February 2020. The antibody titres of initial positive individuals were low, which is consistent with slower seroconversion of perhaps mild cases. Of course, we cannot exclude with absolute certainty that some of the lower positive titres are false positives as the initially low seroprevalence falls within the confidence intervals of the positive predictive value.
    Of note, the seroprevalence in the routine care group (as well as the urgent care group at the end of May, after the peak) falls significantly below the threshold for potential community immunity, which has been estimated by one study to require at least a seropositivity rate of 67% for SARS-CoV-24. On the basis of the population of NYC (8.4 million), we estimate that by the week ending 24 May, approximately 1.7 million individuals had been infected with SARS-CoV-2. Taking into account the cumulative number of deaths in the city by 19 May (16,674—this number includes only officially confirmed, not suspected, COVID-19-related deaths), this suggests a preliminary infection fatality rate of 0.97% (with the assumption that both seroconversion and death occur with similar delays). This is in stark contrast to the infection fatality rate of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, which was estimated to be 0.01–0.001%.
    • Daniel Stadlbauer, Jessica Tan, Kaijun Jiang, Matthew M. Hernandez, Shelcie Fabre, Fatima Amanat, Catherine Teo, Guha Asthagiri Arunkumar, Meagan McMahon, Christina Capuano, Kathryn Twyman, Jeffrey Jhang, Michael D. Nowak, Viviana Simon, Emilia Mia Sordillo, Harm van Bakel & Florian Krammer; “Repeated cross-sectional sero-monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in New York City”, Nature, (03 November 2020)
  • In pre-ACA days, a bout with a virus might not have been considered a preexisting condition. That's because many people tend to recover quickly from viruses.
    But in a blog post last week, researchers at the Rand Corp. suggested that COVID-19 could be seen differently by insurers. "Given the chronic problems [which can include organ damage, fatigue and confusion] associated with some COVID-19 cases, it is possible that some insurers would place restrictions on anyone who had a confirmed case of COVID-19," wrote Carter C. Price, Rand's senior mathematician, and Raffaele Vardavas, a mathematician at Rand who specializes in infectious disease models.
    The researchers said that exclusion might also extend to people who didn't have a positive coronavirus test but did test positive for antibodies to the virus, which indicates they had it or were previously exposed.
    "While a mild case of COVID-19 might not be subject to a preexisting clause, that would be up to insurers to determine," said Karen Pollitz, senior fellow, health reform and private insurance at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
  • Someone who developed anxiety and/or depression since the start of the pandemic might also be considered to have a preexisting condition. Twenty years ago, Kaiser surveyed health insurance underwriters and asked about a similar situation: a hypothetical applicant in perfect health except for "situational depression" following the death of a spouse. According to the survey, "in 60 applications for coverage, this applicant was denied a quarter of the time, and offered coverage with a surcharged premium and/or benefit exclusions 60% of the time."
    So both experts and consumers are concerned that invalidating the Affordable Care Act could mean that once again, individuals with preexisting conditions might not be covered — and such conditions could include COVID-19.
  • If the CDC was worried about a shortage of ultra-cold freezers, it hasn’t happened yet. One company, Helmer, reached capacity and now can’t deliver new freezers until March but, for the most part, suppliers are delivering ultra-cold freezers in two to six weeks, said Behlim. Much like for vaccines, though, the distribution of ultra-cold freezers isn’t even across the country. One local Wisconsin hospital looked into acquiring freezers, said Size, but was told delivery would take two to three months. Larger hospitals with the budgets for multiple purchases come first, he said.
    “It’s another good example of how all our rural hospitals are at the end of a supply chain with less leverage to make important purchases,” he said. “It’s the wild west of the supply chain; that’s not how you fight a pandemic.”
  • Please cancel these in-person dinners, @SpeakerPelosi & @kevinomccarthy to keep everyone safe from #covid19 - yourselves, your new members, servers, the Capitol police and all of their families and contacts. And, to show public health leadership.
  • New York City has reached the 3% testing positivity 7-day average threshold. Unfortunately, this means public school buildings will be closed as of tomorrow, Thursday Nov. 19, out an abundance of caution.
  • We must fight back the second wave of COVID-19.

“Partisan differences in physical distancing are linked to health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic” (11/2/2020)


Anton Gollwitzer, Cameron Martel, William J. Brady, Philip Pärnamets, Isaac G. Freedman, Eric D. Knowles & Jay J. Van Bavel; “Partisan differences in physical distancing are linked to health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic”, Nature Human Behaviour, (02 November 2020), volume 4, pp.1186–1197

Using the geotracking data of 15 million smartphones per day, we found that US counties that voted for Donald Trump (Republican) over Hillary Clinton (Democrat) in the 2016 presidential election exhibited 14% less physical distancing between March and May 2020. Partisanship was more strongly associated with physical distancing than numerous other factors, including counties’ COVID-19 cases, population density, median income, and racial and age demographics. Contrary to our predictions, the observed partisan gap strengthened over time and remained when stay-at-home orders were active. Additionally, county-level consumption of conservative media (Fox News) was related to reduced physical distancing. Finally, the observed partisan differences in distancing were associated with subsequently higher COVID-19 infection and fatality growth rates in pro-Trump counties.
  • Numerous polls suggest that COVID-19 is a profoundly partisan issue in the United States. Using the geotracking data of 15 million smartphones per day, we found that US counties that voted for Donald Trump (Republican) over Hillary Clinton (Democrat) in the 2016 presidential election exhibited 14% less physical distancing between March and May 2020. Partisanship was more strongly associated with physical distancing than numerous other factors, including counties’ COVID-19 cases, population density, median income, and racial and age demographics. Contrary to our predictions, the observed partisan gap strengthened over time and remained when stay-at-home orders were active. Additionally, county-level consumption of conservative media (Fox News) was related to reduced physical distancing. Finally, the observed partisan differences in distancing were associated with subsequently higher COVID-19 infection and fatality growth rates in pro-Trump counties. Taken together, these data suggest that US citizens’ responses to COVID-19 are subject to a deep—and consequential—partisan divide.
  • In the current pandemic, epidemiologists and public health officials have strongly encouraged people to physically distance from one another. Numerous studies have shown that physical distancing effectively stopped the exponential spread of COVID-19 at its onset, preventing the inundation of healthcare providers and saving numerous lives. To determine whether physical distancing differs as a function of partisanship, we examined whether the political leaning of over 3,000 counties in the United States is linked to the extent to which residents of those counties practised physical distancing behaviours during the first few months of the pandemic (March–May 2020). Specifically, we analysed the aggregated Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates of approximately 15 million people across the United States per day (tracked via smartphone location coordinates) to quantify the degree of physical distancing in each US county. Physical distancing was measured in terms of reduction in general movement and reduction in visiting non-essential services (for example, restaurants). Furthermore, to examine the association between party identity and public health, we tested whether partisan differences in physical distancing mediate the relationship between partisanship and COVID-19 infection and fatality growth rates.
    Critically, in testing these questions we anticipated that what could appear to be partisan differences in physical distancing may actually reflect social or economic third variables. For instance, liberal areas in the United States experienced higher levels of COVID-19 infections and fatalities at the start of the pandemic (early March 2020) and thus may have perceived COVID-19 as more dangerous and engaged in greater preventative measures. To account for this and other possible explanations, we included numerous covariates in our models when testing partisan differences in physical distancing and health outcomes.
  • We found that the more a county favoured Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, the less that county exhibited physical distancing between 9 March and 29 May 2020. Specifically, for every 1 percentage point increase in vote share for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, counties exhibited 0.11 percentage points less physical distancing in terms of reducing their general movement and 0.13 percentage points less physical distancing in terms of reducing their visiting of non-essential services. Model marginal R2 was 0.46 for the movement model and 0.54 for the visitation model.
    Collapsing counties into pro-Trump versus pro-Clinton bins, Trump-voting counties reduced their general movement 9.5 percentage points less and reduced their visiting of non-essential services 19.4 percentage points less than Clinton-voting counties (average reduction, 14.5 percentage points) across the study duration. Illustrating the relative power of the observed links, partisanship was more strongly associated with physical distancing in our main models (when z-scoring all the included variables) than any of the other included variables (aside from the time terms, the weekend factor, and median age in the case of visitation). To put this into context, partisanship was more strongly associated with distancing than counties’ number of COVID-19 cases per capita, median income, percentage employment, average travel time to work, governor political affiliation, and racial make-up, as well as the other variables noted above.
    Additionally demonstrating the robustness of our findings, partisanship was associated with reduced physical distancing even after adjusting for the interactions between each of the included covariates and partisanship, when including in the analyses counties’ percentage of employment in various types of profession, when adding specific state policies to the analyses.
  • Possibly, local stay-at-home policies attenuate the observed partisan differences in physical distancing because these policies send out clear signals about the dangers of COVID-19. In line with this reasoning, we predicted that state-level stay-at-home orders would potentially reduce the observed partisan differences. Our data did not support this prediction. The link between voting for Trump and reduced physical distancing was actually stronger when stay-at-home orders were in effect, as evidenced by negative interactions between vote gap (with higher values indicating greater pro-Trump lean) and state policy: Bmovement = −0.017, 95% CI [−0.022, −0.013], P < 0.001 and Bvisitation = −0.009, 95% CI [−0.016, −0.001], P = 0.030. These results align with recent work finding that Democratic counties responded more quickly to stay-at-home orders than Republican counties at the start of the pandemic.
    We considered the possibility that variability in state stay-at-home policies explains our findings rather than county-level partisanship. For instance, stay-at-home orders may have been more stringent and remained in place longer in Democratic states or in states with Democratic governors, in turn leading Republican-leaning counties (which are more common in Republican states) to exhibit less physical distancing. Three supplementary analyses argued against this possibility, however. First, our results remained when adjusting for whether state policies were in effect on a specific date, state governors’ political affiliation, and interactions between these variables and partisanship. Second, we also confirmed that our results remained when adding specific state policies (including closing restaurants, closing childcare, closing K–12 schools, closing non-essential business more generally, and closing religious institutions/gatherings), and the interactions between these policies and governor political party and partisanship, to our models. And third, while there was some variation in our findings between states, most states were in line with the population average of the observed partisan differences. In sum, though differences in state policies contribute to variation in county-level physical distancing, our results indicate that county-level partisanship nonetheless explains unique variance in physical distancing.
  • The present work used the geotracking data of approximately 15 million people per day across the United States to examine whether partisan identity is linked to objective measures of physical distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. We found that Republican-leaning counties exhibited lower physical distancing than Democratic-leaning counties, both in terms of reducing their overall movement and reducing their visiting of non-essential services (e.g., restaurants, clothing stores). Counties that voted for Trump in the 2016 election exhibited a ~24% drop in general movement and visiting non-essential services between 9 March and 29 May 2020, while counties that voted for Clinton exhibited a ~38% drop (a 14% difference in physical distancing). Moreover, this partisan gap remained consistent after adjusting for numerous third variables, including counties’ number of COVID-19 cases per capita, population density, median income, wealth distribution, travel time to work, and racial and age make-up, among other factors. These data suggest that partisan differences in self-reported attitudes toward COVID-19 (refs) are mirrored by behavioural differences at the US county level.
  • We also linked the observed partisan differences in physical distancing to COVID-19 infections and fatalities. Mediation analyses revealed that reduced physical distancing in counties was linked to a subsequent increase in COVID-19 infection and fatality growth rates roughly 17–23 and 25–31 days later, respectively. These results imply that Trump-leaning counties could have curbed their infection and fatality growth rates if they had distanced to the same degree as Clinton-leaning counties did. Such findings provide evidence that partisanship in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic may have had meaningful—and severe—health-related consequences. Partisanship may therefore be an important risk factor during a public health crisis, one that is probably especially relevant when the electorate is highly polarized and leaders fail to generate bipartisan support for public health measures.
    The observed partisan differences appear to be relatively strong as well as highly robust. Partisanship was more strongly associated with physical distancing than most of the covariates included in our models, including more traditionally examined health-related variables such as economic and social indicators. The relationship between partisanship and distancing also held after statistically adjusting for numerous control variables, and for interactions between partisanship and these control variables. The robustness of these findings is consistent with findings from independent research groups who have also observed links between partisanship and physical distancing using different data sources. Taken together, these findings provide a more complete picture of partisanship during a pandemic and establish it as an important risk factor for COVID-19 in the United States.
  • The observed partisan gap in physical distancing was not limited to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we had expected that this difference would attenuate as the pandemic worsened after 23 March 2020, we instead found that the partisan gap actually increased over time. We also expected that intervention by local government would attenuate the observed partisan differences. Again, instead we found that stay-at-home orders actually exacerbated the observed partisan gap; that is, stay-at-home orders appeared to be more successful in encouraging Democratic counties to physically distance than Republican ones. This difference may be driven by more Republican-leaning counties ignoring local stay-at-home orders in light of national messaging from right-wing media and federal leaders; or, Republicans may simply hold a greater distrust of government than Democrats. These issues require further investigation to determine how to intervene locally to ensure greater compliance with public health recommendations.
  • In our view, a more likely, albeit partial, explanation for the observed results is media polarization or a ‘broadcasting effect’. Republican-leaning media outlets appear to have downplayed the dangers of the coronavirus as compared to more Democratic outlets. For instance, in early March, Fox News repeatedly claimed that the coronavirus was less dangerous than influenza and even referred to other media reports as a hoax (although some commentators took it more seriously than others, and the organization took the pandemic more seriously by mid-March 2020). Consistent with this messaging about COVID-19, we found that US counties that consumed more Fox News than Democratic-leaning outlets (MSNBC and CNN) exhibited less physical distancing. These findings also remained significant when controlling for counties’ partisanship in terms of 2016 voting. These results, along with self-report data indicating similar findings and evidence indicating a causal link between Fox News viewership and decreased social distancing, suggest that Republican-leaning media downplaying the virus at the start of the pandemic may have signalled to Republicans that they should not take the virus very seriously, in turn potentially in part causing the observed partisan differences. This possibility underscores the importance of considering communication and mass media when designing public health messaging.
  • Finally, we consider that conservative versus liberal political ideologies may lead individuals to respond differently to threat or specifically to the threat of a viral pandemic. We find this conclusion unlikely, however, given that conservatives were actually more likely than liberals to report being worried about the potential spread of a different virus—Ebola—in the United States in 2014. As such, it seems that our findings are more likely to be driven by modelling the behaviour of political role models and political identity (that is, political group loyalty) than by political ideology (that is, political values). Indeed, Democrats are not only more likely than Republicans to say they prioritize stay-at-home orders, but this partisan difference is most pronounced among highly identified group members.
  • [T]he major players in transporting and distributing vaccines will be companies like UPS and FedEx, especially once the vaccines are on the ground.
    "We have the capability to serve every zip code in the United States of America. We do it every day," FedEx Express executive Richard Smith told sena-tors Thursday in hearing on the logistics of transporting the coronavirus vaccines.
    "With this net-work capacity, whether you live in Chicago, Illinois or Murdo, South Dakota, we're able to ensure time definite deliveries of these shipments and we feel very confident in our capabilities in this regard," Smith said. "This is what our network was built to do."
  • The stimulus package is encouraging. It looks like it's very, very close and it looks like there are going to be direct payments. But it's a down payment. It's very important to get done and I compliment the bipartisan group on working together to get it done.
  • “The bill they [lawmakers] are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated, it really is a disgrace. The bill also allows stimulus checks for the family members of illegal aliens, allowing them to get up to $1,800 each. This is far more than the Americans are given. Despite all of this wasteful spending, and much more, the $900 billion package provides hardworking taxpayers with only $600 each in relief payments, and not enough money is given to small businesses.
  • And the reason I'm concerned and my colleagues in public health are concerned also is that we very well might see a post-seasonal, in the sense of Christmas, New Year's, surge, and, as I have described it, as a surge upon a surge, because, if you look at the slope, the incline of cases that we have experienced as we have gone into the late fall and soon-to-be-early winter, it is really quite troubling. We are really at a very critical point. ... So I share the concern of President-elect Biden that as we get into the next few weeks, it might actually get worse.
  • So a lot of chatter happening on the slow vaccine roll out. Personally, I'm incredibly frustrated. Did we not know that vaccines were coming? Is vaccine administration a surprise? Several complex issues so lets break things down a bit.
  • There is a lot we don’t know about this new COVID-19 variant, but scientists in the United Kingdom are warning the world that it is significantly more contagious. The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will closely monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely. We are working to prevent spread and contain the virus at all levels. I want to thank our scientists and dedicated medical professionals for their swift work and ask Coloradans to continue our efforts to prevent disease transmission by wearing masks, standing six feet apart when gathering with others, and only interacting with members of their immediate household.
  • 60 million Americans are subject to a stay at home order or curfew.
  • 11 million are right here in Ohio.
  • What would the Founders say?
  • March 6: It’ll go away.
  • March 10: Just stay calm. It will go away.
  • March 12: It’s going to go away.
  • March 30: It will go away. You know it — you know it is going away, and it will go away, and we’re going to have a great victory.
  • March 31: It’s going to go away, hopefully at the end of the month. And, if not, hopefully it will be soon after that.
  • April 3: It is going to go away… It’s going — I didn’t say a date. … I said ‘it’s going away,’ and it is going away.
  • April 7: It did go — it will go away.
  • May 15: It’ll go away — at some point, it’ll go away.
  • June 15: At some point, this stuff goes away. And it's going away.
  • July 19: I will be right eventually. You know, I said, ‘It's going to disappear.’ I'll say it again.
  • Aug. 5: This thing's going away. It will go away like things go away.
  • Aug. 31: It's going to go away.
  • Sept. 15: It is going away. And it's probably going to go away now a lot faster because of the vaccines.
  • Oct. 10: It's going to disappear; it is disappearing.
  • Oct. 24: It is going away; it’s rounding the turn.


  • The number of cases and deaths of the China Virus is far exaggerated in the United States because of @CDCgov’s ridiculous method of determination compared to other countries, many of whom report, purposely, very inaccurately and low. “When in doubt, call it Covid.” Fake News!
  • While I was disappointed in my colleagues who refused to wear a mask, I was encouraged by those who did. My goal, in the midst of what I feared was a super spreader event, was to make the room at least a little safer.
  • As of January 31st, 2021, 99% of rural counties in America had reported positive COVID-19 cases and 96% had reported one or more deaths. More than 3.7 million rural residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 69,405 deaths among rural Americans have been attributed to the disease.
    • "[ COVID-19 in Rural America: Impact on Farms & Agricultural Workers]", NCFH, (Feb. 1, 2021)
  • Epidemiologists generally consider rural Americans more vulnerable to the pandemic than urban Americans. Higher proportions of elderly persons, higher smoking usage, higher prevalence of certain chronic diseases, and lower proportions of persons covered by health insurance contribute to this vulnerability.
    • "[ ”COVID-19 in Rural America: Impact on Farms & Agricultural Workers]", NCFH, (Feb. 1, 2021)
Governors’ party affiliation may have contributed to a range of policy decisions that, together, influenced the spread of the virus. These findings underscore the need for state policy actions that are guided by public health considerations rather than by partisan politics. ~ Sara Benjamin-Neelon
As of January, more than half of all Black, Hispanic and Asian fourth-graders were learning in a fully remote environment, the data shows. By comparison, a quarter of white students were learning fully remotely, and instead nearly half of white students were learning in person, full time. And for those learning remotely – the majority of whom were students of color – many were receiving two hours or less of live instruction. In fact, 5% of fourth graders and 10% of eighth graders were receiving no live instruction whatsoever in their remote learning. ~ Lauren Camera
  • In this longitudinal analysis, Republican-led states had fewer per capita COVID-19 cases, deaths, and positive tests early in the pandemic, but these trends reversed in early May (positive tests), June (cases), and July (deaths). Testing rates were similar until September, when Republican states fell behind Democratic states. The early trends could be explained by high COVID-19 cases and deaths among Democratic-led states that are home to initial ports of entry for the virus in early 2020. However, the subsequent reversal in trends, particularly with respect to testing, may reflect policy differences that could have facilitated the spread of the virus.
    Adolph et al. found that Republican governors were slower to adopt both stay-at-home orders and mandates to wear face masks. Other studies have shown that Democratic governors were more likely to issue stay-at-home orders with longer durations. Moreover, decisions by Republican governors in spring 2020 to retract policies, such as the lifting of stay-at-home orders on April 28 in Georgia, may have contributed to increased cases and deaths. Democratic states also had lower test positivity rates from May 30 through December 15, suggesting more rigorous containment strategies in response to the pandemic. Thus, governors’ political affiliation might function as an upstream progenitor of multifaceted policies that, in unison, impact the spread of the virus. Although there were exceptions in states such as Maryland and Massachusetts, Republican governors were generally less likely to enact policies aligned with public health social distancing recommendations.
  • As of January, more than half of all Black, Hispanic and Asian fourth-graders were learning in a fully remote environment, the data shows. By comparison, a quarter of white students were learning fully remotely, and instead nearly half of white students were learning in person, full time. And for those learning remotely – the majority of whom were students of color – many were receiving two hours or less of live instruction. In fact, 5% of fourth graders and 10% of eighth graders were receiving no live instruction whatsoever in their remote learning.
    For school leaders, standardized data has been difficult to come by due to a lack of federal guidance for how states, counties and school districts tracked COVID-19 cases, which led to a patchwork of reporting requirements – some of which were publicly available, others not – that stymied efforts to draw any concrete conclusions to help city and school officials make complicated and contentious decisions about reopening and closing schools.
    The Trump administration didn't simply shy away from tracking data on school districts and their reopening strategies. DeVos and White House officials said it was not her responsibility or that of the federal government – even though education leaders across the country had been all but begging for a comprehensive database to help them navigate the pandemic.
    In fact, it wasn't until December – nearly 10 months after the virus first shuttered schools – that researchers had finally amassed enough data from the various state and county public health databases and directly from school districts themselves to draw more informed conclusions about whether and how the virus spreads in schools, whether schools are significant drivers of infection rates and what conditions may allow for schools to safely and successfully reopen for in-person learning.
  • America is heading into a summer dramatically different from last year’s summer. A summer of freedom. A summer of joy. A summer of get-togethers and celebrations. An all-American summer that this country deserves after a long, long dark winter that we have all endured
  • COVID-19 arrived in America at a vulnerable moment in the nation’s history. The country was undergoing a wrenching political realignment, brought to a head by the 2016 election of Donald Trump, whose policies on trade, deficit, alliances, and immigration were at odds with traditional Republican conservativism. His election pulled the country further into a cataclysm of identity politics, shrinking the GOP into a pool of aging white voters who felt disparaged, resentful, and left behind. The #MeToo movement had ignited an edgy dialogue between the sexes. As the stock market soared, long-delayed questions of income disparity and racial justice were pressing forward. Every dissonant chord among the parties, the races, and the genders was amplified within the echo chambers the fractured communities had made of themselves. Into this turbulent, deeply troubled, but prideful society, the coronavirus would act as a hurricane of change, flattening the most powerful economy in the world, leveling not the physical cities but the idea of cities, strewing misfortune and blame and regrets along with the tens, the hundreds, the thousands, the hundreds of thousands of obituaries. No country would escape the destruction the virus inflicted, but none had as much to lose as America.
  • Wealth and power breed hubris, and perhaps Covid-19 was the force that America needed—to be humbled, to reckon with itself, to once again attempt to create the democracy it had always intended to be. On the other hand, America’s moment at the forefront of history might have passed, and Covid-19 was a blow it was no longer strong enough to fend off. Rival powers—with China at the top—were competing for control of the new millennium. This was a challenge to democracy, which was America’s cause in the world. The alternative to American preeminence was not a globe full of mini-Americas but a world dominated by tyrants. Freedom was at stake, as it always is, but America had tied itself into a political knot. The cyclonic forces of fascism and nihilism gained in power as the center weakened. The only thing that kept democracy from winding up in a suicidal brawl of self-interest was a sense of common purpose, but the pandemic exposed that the United States no longer had one.
  • Experts say it's expected many will feel angry with returning mask measures.
    It's very hard to pull the finish line away from somebody when it feels like they finally have the ribbon at the end in sight," American Psychological Association chief science officer Mitch Prinstein told CNN.
    "I think we can also understand the anger in the context of exhaustion, anxiety, uncertainty, and you know, a serious division of ideology too," Prinstein added. "These factors are very real and very concerning right now."
  • Several experts, including Kuppalli, think the CDC’s new masking guidance should have gone a step further, skipped the geographical contingencies, and asked all vaccinated people to resume covering up indoors—as the agency’s internal document called for. That would’ve generated some whiplash, too, Kuppalli told me, but it would have at least been more straightforward, and might have felt less wishy-washy; it might have signaled a more collective movement, toward a common goal. As it stands, the agency’s new guidance is murky and riddled with contingencies: Even vaccinated Americans in low- and moderate-transmission areas, it states, should consider masking up indoors if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised, at risk for severe disease, or unvaccinated.
A Business Insider article from a year ago noted: “Kushner’s coronavirus team shied away from a national strategy, believing that the virus was hitting Democratic states hardest and that they could blame governors.”
As the New York Times put it with characteristic mildness, “Mr Carlson, Ms Ingraham and guests on their programs have said on the air that the vaccines could be dangerous; that people are justified in refusing them; and that public authorities have overstepped in their attempts to deliver them.”
  • Call Jared Kushner the spiritual heir of the army besieging the city of Caffa on the Black Sea in 1346, which, according to a contemporaneous account, catapulted plague-infected corpses over the city walls. This is sometimes said to be how the Black Death came to Europe, where it would kill tens of millions of people – a third of the European population – over the next 15 years. A Business Insider article from a year ago noted: “Kushner’s coronavirus team shied away from a national strategy, believing that the virus was hitting Democratic states hardest and that they could blame governors.” An administration more committed to saving lives than scoring points could have contained the pandemic rather than made the US the worst-hit nation in the world. Illnesses and casualties could have been far lower, and we could have been better protected against the Delta variant.
    At the outset of the pandemic, as Seattle and New York City became hard hit, Republicans apparently imagined that the pandemic would strike Democratic states and cities first, and certainly in 2020 Black, Latinx and indigenous people were disproportionately affected. To put it clearly, Republicans enabled a campaign of mass death and disablement, thinking it would be primarily mean death and illness for those they regarded as opponents.
  • Call Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham the spiritual heirs of Lord Jeffery Amherst, the British military commander who in 1763 wrote to an underling, “Could it not be contrived to send the Small Pox among those disaffected tribes of Indians?” As the New York Times put it with characteristic mildness, “Mr Carlson, Ms Ingraham and guests on their programs have said on the air that the vaccines could be dangerous; that people are justified in refusing them; and that public authorities have overstepped in their attempts to deliver them.” Newsweek was more blunt, quoting Ingraham herself saying that the vaccine was an attempt to push an “experimental drug on Americans against their will – threatening them, threatening to deprive them of basic liberties, if they don’t comply.” The goal was to rile up the audience – and prevent them from getting vaccinated, while the evidence was clear that the vaccines prevent both disease in the vaccinated and the spread of disease. Vaccines are, incidentally, how smallpox was eliminated worldwide.
    There is of course another angle to the conservative response to the pandemic. In far-right ideology, freedom – for white men especially – is an absolute goal. Even recognizing the systems in which we are all enmeshed might burden the free person with obligations to others and to the whole. Science itself is a series of descriptions of our enmeshedness: of how pesticides travel beyond the crops they’re sprayed on, of the way that fossil fuel emissions contribute to health problems and climate change, of how the spread of disease can be prevented by collective action. Rightwing ideology, after all, has emphasised the right to own and carry a gun over the right to be free of being menaced or murdered by guns, as thousands are in the US every year.
  • HHS will determine the amount of product each state and territory receives on a weekly basis. State and territorial health departments will subsequently identify sites that will receive product and how much.
    • HHS spokesperson
There is a national disconnect between perception and reality when it comes to Covid in rural America. We’ve turned many rural communities into kill boxes. And there's no movement towards addressing what we're seeing in many of these communities, either among the public, or among governing officials. ~ Alan Morgan
  • Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said the ac-tions might be “too little, too late,” and warned that Americans opposed to vaccination might dig in and bristle at being told what to do. The American Hospital Association was cautious, warning of the possibility of “exacerbating the severe work force shortage problems that currently exist.”
    But Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, likened the vaccination re-quirements to military service in a time of war.
    “To date, we have relied on a volunteer army,” Dr. Schaffner said. “But particularly with the Delta variant, the enemy has been reinforced, and now a volunteer army is not sufficient. We need to institute a draft.”
  • While the initial surge of Covid-19 deaths skipped over much of rural America, where roughly 15 percent of Americans live, nonmetropolitan mortality rates quickly started to outpace those of metropolitan areas as the virus spread nationwide before vaccinations became available, according to data from the Rural Policy Research Institute.
    Since the pandemic began, about 1 in 434 rural Americans have died from Covid, compared with roughly 1 in 513 urban Americans, the institute’s data shows.
  • [T]he high incidence of cases and low vaccination rates don’t fully capture why mortality rates are so much higher in rural areas than elsewhere. Academics and officials alike describe rural Americans’ greater rates of poor health and their limited options for medical care as a deadly combination. The pressures of the pandemic have compounded the problem by deepening staffing shortages at hospitals, creating a cycle of worsening access to care.
For these folks, facts mean nothing; membership and identity, everything. Groupishness, in-/out-group differentiation ... is much stronger on the right. ~ William Bernstein
"There's a sensitive issue — that it's conflated with religion and evangelicalism, and people are scared to touch that third rail. And I think we have to confront how religion and science are now at loggerheads, and that wasn't always the case. There's this 30% of evangelicals for whom science is almost the enemy. ~ Ken Resnicow
This idea of liberty and autonomy — this comes up a lot as those underlying values of individuals that feel as though we don't really need to be mandating vaccines. I don't think it's an issue that they hate vaccines themselves. They hate the idea that vaccines are essentially forcing them into doing something they don't want to do. Vaccines are just sort of the casualty of all this. ~ Rupali Limaye
  • Today, being pro- or anti-vaccine has become essential to many people’s social identity during the pandemic. William Bernstein, a neurologist and author of The Delusions of Crowds, pointed me to the “moral foundations” theory, which attempts to understand what motivates the decision-making of people on the right and left ends of the political spectrum.
    That theory holds that, within the American right, the concepts of loyalty and betrayal are more influential to their worldview than on the American left. Staying true to your group is a powerful pull for conservatives.
    “For these folks, facts mean nothing; membership and identity, everything,” Bernstein said over email. “Groupishness, in-/out-group differentiation ... is much stronger on the right.”
  • Please do not try to wait out a pandemic. A pandemic will win
  • Of all the sad statistics the U.S. has dealt with this past year and a half, here is a particularly difficult one: A new study estimates that more than 140,000 children in the U.S. have lost a parent or a grandparent caregiver to COVID-19. The majority of these children come from racial and ethnic minority groups.
    "This means that for every four COVID-19 deaths, one child was left behind without a mother, father and/or a grandparent who provided for that child's home needs and nurture — needs such as love, security and daily care," says Susan Hillis, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead author of the new study.
  • Mental health care providers who are seeing the mental health effects of the pandemic on kids say these losses are particularly traumatic. Ng says even grieving has been difficult for them — many didn't even get to see their parents or grandparents in the hospital, or say goodbye.
    "One of the things that's unique about the pandemic is that it's also not only deprived us of a loved one, but it's also deprived us of our opportunities that come together, so that families can heal, [and] support one another in order to really get through the most difficult times of life," he says.
  • A recent study by the Pew Research Center showed White evangelical Protestants were among the least likely adults to get vaccinated.
    The director of the National Institutes of Health -- who identifies as an evangelical Christian -- said it is time for that to change.
    "Christians, of all people, are supposed to be particularly worried about their neighbors," Dr. Francis Collins told CNN on Saturday.
  • For some of those who have not been vaccinated, the message from conservative leaders like Abbott and DeSantis about choice and liberty resonates, despite public health guidance on how to prevent seri-ous illness and death from the coronavirus.
    "Somehow it has morphed into not getting the vaccine as a way to defend their freedom and resist this 'tyranny,' " said Ken Resnicow, a professor in the school of public health at the University of Michigan. "There's not many countries that have this dy-namic."
    Resnicow referenced a study on which he was the lead author that found a correlation between a person's belief in conspiracy theories and the apocalypse, and their willingness to actively prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Particularly among self-identified evangelicals, Resnicow has found a distinct rejection of the coronavirus vaccine, which he said has made vaccine hesitancy especially difficult to address.
    "There's a sensitive issue — that it's conflated with religion and evangelicalism, and people are scared to touch that third rail. And I think we have to confront how religion and science are now at loggerheads, and that wasn't always the case," he said.
    "There's this 30% of evangelicals for whom science is almost the enemy."
  • Rupali Limaye, director of behavioral and implementation science at the International Vaccine Access Center based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has made similar findings as it relates to the difficulty of squaring public health realities with differences in political opinions.
    "There is a really stark divide between states that have more heavily Democratic-leaning leadership versus those that have more heavily leaning Republican leadership," she said.
    Limaye said that particularly among Republicans, the idea of freedom — a core tenet of the American ideal — has given people a basis on which to pin anti-science rhetoric.
    "This idea of liberty and autonomy — this comes up a lot as those underlying values of individuals that feel as though we don't really need to be mandating vaccines," she said,
    "I don't think it's an issue that they hate vaccines themselves. They hate the idea that vaccines are essentially forcing them into doing something they don't want to do. Vaccines are just sort of the casualty of all this."
  • “Even when you have a few individuals that are refusing or hesitating to take the vaccine, in large cities like San Francisco that can have huge public health implications,” said Lorena Garcia, an associate professor of epidemiology at the UC Davis School of Medicine. A bus driver, police officer or teacher with a vaccine exemption not only risks catching the coronavirus but also passing it on to one of the hundreds of other people they interact with – especially immunocompromised people who are at greater risk of catching the virus even if they are vaccinated.
    Because laws protecting religious or philosophical objections offer broad leeway for those seeking waivers, amid rampant misinformation about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine, Garcia said she worried about how many people will exploit the waivers. Ultimately, she said, it may not matter that not only public health officials but also prominent religious leaders have been encouraging people to get vaccinated. Indeed, Pope Francis, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Orthodox Jewish rabbis and Islamic leaders in the Fiqh Council of North America have all been touting the vaccine.
  • Federal and state laws offer protections for workers who want to decline a vaccine due to their reli-gious or philosophical beliefs, which can be broadly defined. Beliefs based on an organized religion’s teachings are protected, but so are other “sincerely held” beliefs or observances that are important to an individual, said Dorit Reiss, a law professor at UC Hastings. The most an employer can do to contest waiver requests is to probe the consistency of employees’ beliefs – if they oppose the vaccine because they oppose the use of fetal cells in research, do they also refuse to take Tylenol, Tums and other medi-cations developed using fetal cells? But the tactic is “rife with legal pitfalls”, Reiss said. Ultimately, a sincerely held belief may not have to be rational or consistent in order to be protected by the law.
    These laws are strong because they “were created to protect people from real discrimination, in situations where, for example, a Jewish employee might be forced to work on a Saturday, or a Sikh employ-ee is asked to remove his turban”, said Reiss. But they weren’t designed for situations in which one employee’s belief system puts others’ lives at risk, she said.
  • "More police officers die of COVID than they do in other causes of death, so it doesn't make any sense to not try to protect yourself as well as the colleagues that you work with," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease official, said in an interview on Fox News Sunday.
    More than 230 police officers in the U.S. have died of COVID-19 so far in 2021, more than quadruple the number of deaths by gunfire, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a group that tracks on-duty police deaths. Last year, the coronavirus killed nearly 250 officers nationwide, including four in Chicago.
  • Whatever hesitations they ever had, Trump’s base had clearly gone all-in with him by March 2020 when, after spending weeks telling Americans that the COVID-19 virus was unimportant, totally under control, and even a hoax, he announced that he had known all along that the virus was going to cause a pandemic, it would spread rapidly, and everybody had to take precautions to protect themselves or risk death. So, by his own admission, he had either been lying about this all along, or was an ignoramus who hadn’t know what he was talking about when he was regurgitating the stupidity coming from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Believing him in January and February, 2020 could have gotten you personally killed, and no doubt did for some unhappy souls.
    However, Trump soon began recanting his admission, fighting with his science advisors and advancing untested and absurd medical treatments. You would think his followers would have learned their lesson in March about trusting him on this subject, especially when he then got the disease himself. But after receiving the fastest and best treatment imaginable from all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, which I am sure did not involve bleach injections, he showed his appreciation of the knowledge that had saved his life by dramatically ripping off his mask when re-entering the White House (and spreading the disease around the place some more). A great mass of Trump supporters followed their leader, betting their lives that he knew more about disease than the vast majority of doctors and scientists.
  • Thanks largely to Trump the United States, a rich, medically advanced country with top-notch disease control experts and hospitals, quickly became the most COVID-infected nation on earth. Some 44 million Americans have caught the disease!—nearly three times the rate found among Canadians, for example. The tens of millions of “extra” infected Americans have poxed up among those who refuse to wear masks, maintain social distance, and even be vaccinated. They resolutely spread the disease to their loved ones, to fellow-believers, and to people who work with them or simply go to the same stores because In Trump They Trust, and in their preferred news sources, and in each other. The New York Times found the death rate from COVID in counties which Trump won handily in November 2020 was nearly five times as high as the rate in counties where he ran poorly.[10] And even those who thus far have remained unaffected are unwittingly developing a mini-herd immunity to herd immunity, creating a residue of targets for the disease that mass inoculations cannot protect. Yet they support and even adore the person who has caused their suffering more than anyone else, Donald Trump. He has led many of his supporters to their graves and crippled others for life, and they love him anyway. That’s loyalty.
    It is also deep and abiding authoritarianism. Trump’s core supporters have plighted their troth to him whole hog. They have crossed over into his reality and become anti-matter to the truth. You cannot reach them with facts, studies, or logic. If you try to have a rational conversation with them about Trump, immigrants, COVID, the election, capitalism versus socialism versus communism, whatever, the righter you are, the more they will cling to their beliefs. No matter what Trump does, they will believe his account of it. No matter what he asks them to do, they will trust his reason for doing it. They are ready to risk death rather than doubt. So, many, many of them are doomed.
  • I cannot stress this enough: it’s not about left or right. This is not about who’s conservative or liberal. Last time I checked, everyone regardless of their political persuasion is coming down with this. Cases are stabilising, but … we’ve lost 5 million globally to this. We’ve lost nearly 800,000 in the US.
  • I dare say people who experienced this and see loved ones who have been affected by this or have died from this are not judging the wisdom of mandates. They’re wishing they got vaccinated, and they didn’t
Overall, there's still a lot of human wood left for this coronavirus forest fire to burn. ~ Michael Osterholm
  • Osterholm thinks boosting people will help -- but says it's far more important to get more people vac-cinated in the first place.
    "If we see upticks in L.A. or New York City, we could just as easily find our-selves back to where we were. At this point, there's no evidence of that happening," he said in his podcast this week. "But I must tell you that given the rates of vaccination ... we surely could see major surges in both of those metropolitan areas where with the population density being what it is, could really, truly raise the number of national cases in short order," he added.
    An estimated 60 million Americans remain unvaccinated. That's plenty of people who can help fuel new surges, Osterholm said.
    "Overall, there's still a lot of human wood left for this coronavirus forest fire to burn," he said.
  • This virus is doing what this virus does. We don’t understand why surges start, we don't understand why they end
  • Half a billion, though impressive-sounding, does not come even close to what's needed
  • [..the Biden administration needs to provide enough tests] for all American families to be able to test twice a week, every week. It needs to become the norm to test before going to school and work, and before families and friends have dinner together
  • The New York State Department of Health appeared to announce this week that non-white New Yorkers would receive priority over whites in receiving “extremely limited” Covid-19 therapies for people at risk.


It’s an upside-down world because front-line workers who actually are out there encountering risk and facing the public can’t afford tests, are not being rigorously tested by their employers, lack the resources and the time to go chasing after these pandemic prevention strategies and are least likely to have paid sick leave and must work in person. It’s exactly backwards. ~ Daniel Schneider
  • For those of us who value liberty, these past two years have been a bad dream. It seems like we fell asleep in early 2020 and woke up in 1984! They said that if we just put on a mask and stayed home for two weeks, we’d be able to return to normal. The two weeks came and went and instead of going back to normal they added more restrictions. These past two years have been a story of moving goalposts and “experts” like Anthony Fauci constantly contradicting themselves. Early on, in April 2020, I warned in an article titled “Next in Coronavirus Tyranny: Forced Vaccinations and ‘Digital Certificates,’” that the ultimate goal of the “two weeks” crowd was to force vaccines and a “vaccine passport” on Americans. My concerns were at the time written off as just another conspiracy theory. But less than a year later that “conspiracy theory” became conspiracy fact. I am not happy about being right on this. The introduction of vaccine passports was from the beginning my worst nightmare. The idea that you must “show your papers” to participate in society is a concept that is totally opposed to a free society. It is inhuman.
  • During the pandemic, three quarters of workers said it was very or somewhat difficult to make ends meet, 40 percent said they couldn’t come up with $400 in the event of an emergency and around 20 percent said they went hungry because they couldn’t afford enough to eat, according to the Shift Project, an ongoing survey of American hourly wage workers operated by Harvard University sociologist Daniel Schneider.
    Most also do not get paid sick leave and have continued to work when ill because they cannot afford to miss a paycheck, he said.
    “These are the workers facing the virus, and we are asking them to buy high-quality masks and pay for rapid tests?” Schneider said. “For many of these workers, it’s just not a possibility — this is about food on the table. And when you face that impossible choice, the devolution of pandemic prevention to impoverished workers is really unrealistic.”
  • Increasingly, the pandemic prevention strategies — masks, rapid testing, working from home and paid sick leave — have become a luxury, Schneider said.
    “It’s an upside-down world because front-line workers who actually are out there encountering risk and facing the public can’t afford tests, are not being rigorously tested by their employers, lack the resources and the time to go chasing after these pandemic prevention strategies and are least likely to have paid sick leave and must work in person,” he said. “It’s exactly backwards.”
  • Under the new guidance, masks won’t be required indoors if average new cases fall below 200 per 100,000 residents, there are fewer than 10 Covid hospital admissions per 100,000 people over the past week and Covid patients are taking up less than 10% of available hospital beds, based on a seven-day average. If cases exceed 200 per 100,000 people, masks would be required indoors if new weekly Covid admissions exceed 10 per 100,000 people and patients are taking up 10% or more of hospital beds, based on a seven-day average, according to the CDC’s new guidance.
According to the whistleblowers, certain disorders spiked after the vaccine mandate went into effect, including miscarriages and cancers, and neurological problems which increased by 1000 percent.
  • [it is time to move] back to more normal routines.
  • We are no longer going to let COVID-19 dictate how we live. The pandemic and its restrictive measures should end when [COVID-19] death rates decline to those of a bad influenza season.
    In the United States, a country with 330 million people, the transition to the next normal can occur when the National Center of Health Statistics measures the direct mortality from major respiratory illnesses to average 165 deaths per day and 1,150 per week. The death toll from [COVID-19] going into March 2022 is over 10 times higher
  • I think we should expect, David, that over the next couple of weeks, we are going to see an uptick in cases – and hopefully there is enough background immunity so that we don’t wind up with a lot of hospitalizations
  • Here we are, trapped in the sky with our 8-month-old unmasked baby
Complete tweet from Twitter: Here we are, trapped in the sky with our 8 month old unmasked baby (you can’t actually mask a baby that young) under the supposition that everyone who can be masked would be masked, and the flight 325 crew has taken our choices away from us. Very very angry about this.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most manipulated infectious disease events in history, characterized by official lies in an unending stream lead by government bureaucracies, medical associations, medical boards, the media, and international agencies. We have witnessed a long list of unprecedented intrusions into medical practice, including attacks on medical experts, destruction of medical careers among doctors refusing to participate in killing their patients and a massive regimentation of health care, led by non-qualified individuals with enormous wealth, power and influence.

“Pro-Trump counties continue to suffer far higher COVID death tolls” (May 19, 2022)


Daniel Wood, Geoff Brumfiel, “Pro-Trump counties continue to suffer far higher COVID death tolls”, (May 19, 2022)

Hanage foresees even deeper problems if a subset of far-right politicians are willing to "take vaccines and turn them into a wedge issue for political gain." He worries that deeply Republican parts of the country will soon start to refuse vital childhood vaccines, such as the measles, mumps and rubella shot, which prevent outbreaks of other infectious diseases. "It's part of the long-term damage that happens when you have politicians relentlessly trying to denigrate it and turn it into a political football," he says.
  • "How you vote should not predict whether you die of COVID," says Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Brown University School of Public Health. The social causes of the divide are complex, but the immediate reason is dead simple: Trump-leaning counties have far lower vaccination rates than those that went for President Biden. NPR's analysis showed that the gap was 21 points, with 81% of adults vaccinated in heavily-Biden counties compared to 60% of adults in counties that went for Trump.
  • Political affiliation continues to be the largest predictor of vaccination status, says Liz Hamel, director of public opinion and survey research at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-partisan think tank. Roughly 90% of Democrats say they are vaccinated compared to just 55% of Republicans. Moreover, Hamel says that 37% of Republicans now say they will definitely not get vaccinated. "It does appear that there's a sort of hardening of attitudes among those who have decided not to get the vaccine," she says.
  • Nuzzo and Hanage both say they expect the gap in deaths by political affiliation to shrink with time. As more Americans survive COVID infections, their chances of death from subsequent bouts with COVID will decrease. But Nuzzo says, new people are being born every day, and others are aging into different risk categories. Vaccination will likely remain an important tool for controlling COVID into the future. "The fact that we haven't gotten to the bottom of this hesitation," she warns, "is setting us up for bigger problems."
    And Hanage foresees even deeper problems if a subset of far-right politicians are willing to "take vaccines and turn them into a wedge issue for political gain." He worries that deeply Republican parts of the country will soon start to refuse vital childhood vaccines, such as the measles, mumps and rubella shot, which prevent outbreaks of other infectious diseases. "It's part of the long-term damage that happens when you have politicians relentlessly trying to denigrate it and turn it into a political football," he says.
The results of this study are very disturbing. This shows that U.S. life expectancy in 2021 was even lower than in 2020. ~ Steven Woolf
  • In 2019, someone born in the U.S. had a life expectancy of nearly 80 years. In 2020, because of the pandemic, that dropped to 77 years. In 2021 life-span dropped again — to 76.1 years. And for some Americans, life expectancy is even lower, according to a provisional analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The results of this study are very disturbing," says Dr. Steven Woolf, a professor of population health and health equity at Virginia Commonwealth University. "This shows that U.S. life expectancy in 2021 was even lower than in 2020," he says.
    Other high-income countries have seen a rebound in life expectancy, which Woolf says makes the U.S. results, "all the more tragic."
    One of the most dramatic drops in life expectancy in 2021 was among American Indian and Alaskan Native people. Between 2020 and 2021 the life expectancy for this group fell by almost two years, from 67.1 in 2020 to 65.2 in 2021.
    "That's horrific," Woolf says. "The losses in the Native American population have been terrible during the COVID-19 pandemic. And it reflects a lot of barriers that tribal communities face in getting access to care," he says.
The COVID-19 pandemic has in effect wiped out the health gains that the U.S. has made in the 20th century. To have this second year of crash basically wiping out the meager gains made during the century is really pretty shocking. ~ John Haaga
  • "The COVID-19 pandemic has in effect wiped out the health gains that the U.S. has made in the 20th century," says John Haaga, a member of Maryland's Commission on Aging. "To have this second year of crash basically wiping out the meager gains made during the century is really pretty shocking," he says.
    The U.S. has been lagging for years in making improvements in things like heart disease — the country's number one killer — and the life expectancy gap between the U.S. and other countries has been growing for decades, Haaga says.
    "A lot of much poorer countries do much better than us in life expectancy," he says. "It's not genetics, it's that we have been falling behind for 50 years."

“Covid will be a leading cause of death in the U.S. indefinitely, whether or not the pandemic is 'over'” (Sept. 19, 2022)


Aria Bendix, Shannon Pettypiece; “Covid will be a leading cause of death in the U.S. indefinitely, whether or not the pandemic is 'over'”, NBC, (Sept. 19, 2022)

[S]eems like we are endorsing this level of disease burden and mortality associated with the virus. ~ Rachael Piltch-Loeb
  • "As we’ve figured out how we’re going to live with this disease in perpetuity, it makes sense to contextualize it as another illness that Americans have to face," said Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor at George Washington University.
  • "It would not surprise me if we have a similar magnitude of deaths from Covid as we do from flu," said Dr. Chris Murray, the director of the IHME.
  • "If we were to see the number of deaths from Covid down to what we see on an annual basis for flu — somewhere in the 20,000-a-year range — we’ll then say that the pandemic is clearly over," said Dr. Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
    Rachael Piltch-Loeb, a research associate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said that in declaring the pandemic over now, it "seems like we are endorsing this level of disease burden and mortality associated with the virus."
    And Dr. Kavita Patel, a primary care physician who was a policy adviser during the Obama administration, said the virus has to become more predictable before the pandemic can be considered over.
    "We need to have some regular patterns, kind of like the flu, so that we can expect certain timing for sickness, certain timing for hospitalizations," she said. Given that's not the case, Patel said, she found Biden’s declaration "a bit disturbing to hear."
  • Soaring public deficits that have mounted due to COVID will call for harsher austerity measures in the near future. In February 2021, the Harvard economist Summers, speaking at Princeton University about the inflationary risks of the Biden Administration's proposal to issue a cash stimulus to the American public, told the audience "there is no compelling economic case for a stimulus." If governments were to provide households with "more than what they need," those households' spending would throw off the delicate stasis of the economy: "the spending propensity out of [middle class households] would be far greater than the spending propensity economists usually estimate from wealth which is driven by fluctuations in the stock market." Spending by people who shouldn't spend, Summers warns, would cause inflationary harm to the economy of the wealthy.

“Ending the Covid Public Health Emergency Isn’t All Good News” (May 7, 2023)


Dhruv Khullar, “Ending the Covid Public Health Emergency Isn’t All Good News”, The New Yorker, (May 7, 2023)

Our understanding of COVID often suffers from a linguistic determinism. The words we use encourage a binary conception of viral threat: we are in an acute state of emergency—a pandemic—or we have entered a long-awaited, tractable endemic phase. But, of course, an endemic pathogen can be all kinds of bad. Tuberculosis has infected humans since at least the Stone Age and is the thirteenth leading cause of death in the world, killing a million and a half people a year. COVID seems to have settled into its own punishing form of endemicity. Even without a major surge this past winter, it has killed some forty thousand people in this country so far in 2023 and is on track to have taken tens of thousands more lives by the end of it. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that COVID was the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2022. This year, it will likely remain a top-ten killer. But, because the toll is concentrated among older and medically vulnerable people, it quickly recedes from the public consciousness.
  • Our understanding of COVID often suffers from a linguistic determinism. The words we use encourage a binary conception of viral threat: we are in an acute state of emergency—a pandemic—or we have entered a long-awaited, tractable endemic phase. But, of course, an endemic pathogen can be all kinds of bad. Tuberculosis has infected humans since at least the Stone Age and is the thirteenth leading cause of death in the world, killing a million and a half people a year. COVID seems to have settled into its own punishing form of endemicity. Even without a major surge this past winter, it has killed some forty thousand people in this country so far in 2023 and is on track to have taken tens of thousands more lives by the end of it. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that COVID was the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2022. This year, it will likely remain a top-ten killer. But, because the toll is concentrated among older and medically vulnerable people, it quickly recedes from the public consciousness.
  • In March, 2020, as the coronavirus began to spread, Congress authorized enhanced benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides support to some forty million people. The following year, the share of households with kids who were food insecure fell to twelve per cent—a shockingly high number, perhaps, in the world’s richest country, but the lowest since we started keeping track, more than two decades ago. This year, states began rolling back the extra benefits, and SNAP recipients are expected to lose, on average, around a third of their monthly allotments. Similarly, between the pre-pandemic period and the emergence of Omicron, in late 2021, the child poverty rate fell by nearly half—from around ten per cent to five per cent—with especially large declines among Black and Hispanic children, owing in part to child tax credits made available through the American Rescue Plan. Nearly all low-income families used the extra money to cover basic expenses: food, clothing, rent, utilities. When the tax credits expired, at the end of 2021, families immediately reported more difficulty in paying for such necessities.
  • During the pandemic, states received additional federal funds for their Medicaid programs, and were generally prohibited from disenrolling people once they became eligible. As a result, millions secured stable health coverage, and the country’s over-all uninsured rate fell to eight per cent. (Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program now cover ninety-three million people—more than one in four Americans.) But last month states were permitted to again start purging the rolls, launching what has been called the Great Unwinding. According to government estimates, up to fifteen million people could lose health coverage in the coming months.
  • We often view the pandemic’s turmoil as a failure of American governance and society. We couldn’t agree on masks, vaccines, social distancing, school closures, abstract goals, or concrete facts. These failures cost lives and livelihoods. Flip the lens, however, and another reality comes into focus: this was also a time when many people had access to food, shelter, and medical care with a consistency they’d never had before. After three years of COVID life, it’s natural to welcome a return to normal. But, for many, normal is a precarious place.

“Why is inflation so high? An economist explains why everyday essentials cost more” (August 15, 2023)


Trina Paul quoting Michael Gapen in “Why is inflation so high? An economist explains why everyday essentials cost more”, CNBC, (August 15, 2023)

  • The current high inflation rate can be attributed to many different factors, many of which are a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
    Gapen pins rising prices on three general causes — increases in household demand and supply-chain shortages due to the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the presence of a strong labor market.
    Generally, the story goes something like this: At the start of the pandemic, consumers began spending less because of lockdowns, and in turn, started saving more. Then, when Covid-19 restrictions eased, people started spending more again. Companies, however, couldn’t keep up with this increased consumer demand — many of them had reduced production because of the pandemic and experienced shipping delays as well as shortages in labor and key inputs. 
    The result of all these things? Higher prices for most goods and services.
  • Gapen also notes that the shift away from spending on goods and toward services has affected inflation. While consumers purchased more goods during the pandemic since they were stuck at home, many are now spending more on services, such as travel and concerts, than they had been.
  • “A lot of service prices fell as consumers weren’t traveling on airlines and going to hotels. In the past 12 months, many of those prices have rebounded,” says Gapen. “The unemployment rate is 3.6%. There’s a high demand for labor and strong wage gains. Labor is the number one input for services production. In general, it’s about half of any cost of production on the service job.”

“It seems like everyone has Covid-19. Here’s why this wave is probably worse than official data suggests” (September 1, 2023)


Deidre McPhillips, ”It seems like everyone has Covid-19. Here’s why this wave is probably worse than official data suggests", CNN, (Updated 9:56 AM EDT, Fri September 1, 2023)

[D]espite the clear signs of a summer surge, the US has been living in a “fantasy world” where people pretend Covid-19 is “not relevant,” Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Task Force coordinator during the Trump administration, told ABC’s “Start Here” podcast.
“We wanted to make it like flu because that was easier, but it’s never going to be like flu,” Birx said, explaining that Covid-19 comes in more frequent waves, makes people sicker, kills more people and can have longer-term complications such as long Covid. “So let’s just all agree it’s not flu. It will never be flu. Following it and surveying for it like we do for flu will never be adequate in this country.”
  • “There is more transmission out there than what the surveillance data indicates,” said Janet Hamilton, executive director of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. “And we should be paying attention to it, because we are starting to see an increase.”
  • Many measures of Covid-19 and other public health surveillance rely on people to seek out clinical testing or medical treatment, and those behaviors have changed over the past few years. Wastewater surveillance offers a more consistent approach by monitoring the amount of virus shed in sewage systems.
    But interpreting that data can be complicated — and with Covid, wastewater levels can’t be directly translated to case counts.
    The amount of virus that an infected person sheds depends on a many factors, including the presence of antibodies from a vaccine or previous infection and the severity of the current infection.
    Data from Biobot Analytics, a biotechnology firm that has partnered with the CDC, shows that wastewater concentrations of the coronavirus are similar to what they were at the start of the first winter surge in 2020.
    But now that the vast majority of people in the US have some immunity to Covid-19 through vaccination, infection or both, those same viral concentrations could translate to a larger number of infected individuals with milder — but still contagious — infections.
  • But despite the clear signs of a summer surge, the US has been living in a “fantasy world” where people pretend Covid-19 is “not relevant,” Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Task Force coordinator during the Trump administration, told ABC’s “Start Here” podcast.
    “We wanted to make it like flu because that was easier, but it’s never going to be like flu,” Birx said, explaining that Covid-19 comes in more frequent waves, makes people sicker, kills more people and can have longer-term complications such as long Covid. “So let’s just all agree it’s not flu. It will never be flu. Following it and surveying for it like we do for flu will never be adequate in this country.”
    Precautions like masking and staying up-to-date on vaccinations are especially important as this rise in Covid-19 carries into the broader respiratory virus season, experts say.
    “With every respiratory disease season — whether it’s Covid, whether it’s influenza, whether it’s RSV — those increases can impact different individuals in different ways, and there are always severe outcomes associated with respiratory disease season,” Hamilton said.
    “Now is the time for us to be practicing good respiratory etiquette. Now is the time for us to remind ourselves to think about our own individual health status and those individuals that we may be around.”

“Poverty Rate Soared in 2022 as Aid Ended and Prices Rose” (Sept. 12, 2023)


Ben Casselman and Lydia DePillis; “Poverty Rate Soared in 2022 as Aid Ended and Prices Rose”, New York Times, (Sept. 12, 2023)

The last couple years, through a plunge in poverty and what is now a record single-year increase in poverty in 2022, have shown that poverty is very much a policy choice. ~ Arloc Sherman
  • Poverty increased sharply last year in the United States, particularly among children, as living costs rose and federal programs that provided aid to families during the pandemic were allowed to expire.
    The poverty rate rose to 12.4 percent in 2022 from 7.8 percent in 2021, the largest one-year jump on record, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. Poverty among children more than doubled, to 12.4 percent, from a record low of 5.2 percent the year before. Those figures are according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in the impact of government assistance and geographical differences in the cost of living.
    The increases followed two years of historically large declines in poverty, driven primarily by safety net programs that were created or expanded during the pandemic. Those included a series of direct payments to households in 2020 and 2021, enhanced unemployment and nutrition benefits, increased rental assistance and an expanded child tax credit, which briefly provided a guaranteed income to fami-lies with children.
    Nearly all of those programs had expired by last year, however, leaving many families struggling to stay ahead of rising prices despite a strong job market and improving economy. Overall poverty now looks much the way it did in 2019, with the notable difference that financial hardship has declined among Black households, reflecting higher incomes in recent years.
    One pandemic program that did not expire was a temporary freeze in Medicaid terminations, a move that allowed the program to cover more Americans than ever. Because of that program, the share of Americans without health insurance matched a record low last year of 7.9 percent. But states are un-winding that temporary coverage, and the uninsured rate has probably increased in recent months.
  • The story was not as rosy for Americans over 65, for whom the poverty rate rose to 14.1 percent, de-spite an 8.7 percent cost-of-living increase in Social Security payments. Labor force participation among older people remains depressed, as many lost jobs and have had a difficult time re-entering the workplace.
    “People became more isolated, experienced significantly more health problems,” said Jess Maurer, the executive director of the Maine Council on Aging. “Older people had a harder time coming out of the pandemic, coming back into the community.”
  • Congress passed the expanded child tax credit as part of the American Rescue Plan, President Biden’s pandemic-relief package, in early 2021. But while other Covid-era relief programs were always intend-ed to expire once the emergency passed, supporters hoped to make the expanded child credit perma-nent.
    That didn’t happen. Faced with united opposition from congressional Republicans as well as some conservative Democrats, Mr. Biden dropped his effort to extend the program at the end of 2021; a renewed push failed again last year. The rise in poverty in 2022, social policy experts said, was the inevitable result of that decision.
    “Today’s Census report shows the dire consequences of congres-sional Republicans’ refusal to extend the enhanced Child Tax Credit, even as they advance costly cor-porate tax cuts,” Mr. Biden said in a statement.
    Correspondingly, the highest increases in poverty were in the South, where research has shown the child tax credit had the greatest effect, and among Alaska Natives and American Indians, for whom the poverty rate rebounded to 23.2 percent.
  • Critics of the child tax credit and other pandemic aid have argued that the rapid rebound in poverty after the programs’ expiration is evidence that the progress made against poverty in recent years was, in effect, artificial. Michael Strain, an economist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, argued that programs that offer incentives to work — such as the earned-income tax credit and the standard child tax credit — have led to more sustainable gains.
    “Yes, this alleviated child poverty, but it didn’t really do a whole lot to encourage self-sufficiency,” he said.
    Progressives take a different lesson: Government programs succeeded in lifting millions of people out of poverty. An analysis by researchers at Columbia University on Tuesday found that child poverty would have been nearly 50 percent lower in 2022 if the expanded tax credit had remained in place. The programs might also have had longer-run benefits, they argue, but ended before those effects could be seen.
    “The last few years just illustrated in an incredible way the power of effective government intervention,” said Arloc Sherman, a vice president at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive research organization. “The last couple years, through a plunge in poverty and what is now a record single-year increase in poverty in 2022, have shown that poverty is very much a policy choice.”
  • Until the pandemic, longevity for Americans with degrees continued to increase in step with the world’s wealthiest countries; even after COVID-19 increased mortality in rich countries, this demographic group suffered only a modest decrease in adult life expectancy. But Americans without a bachelor’s degree had a starkly different trajectory. They had already begun to suffer serious declines in longevity before the pandemic; when COVID hit, their adult life expectancy plummeted.
  • A study of US prison deaths at the height of the Covid-19 crisis in 2020 has found that mortality rates soared by 77% relative to 2019, or more than three times the increase in the general population.
    The study, published by Science Advances last week, is the most comprehensive analysis of in-custody deaths since 2020. The report found that “Covid-19 was the primary driver for increases in mortality due to natural causes; some states also experienced substantial increases due to unnatural causes.”
  • Its lead author, Naomi Sugie, an associate professor of criminology, law and society at the University of California at Irvine, told Courthouse News that the actual toll of Covid-19 in the prison system had been little understood.
    “We staffed a hotline and started this archival project hearing what people were going through in California prisons,” Sugie told the outlet. “And the conditions that people were describing were so dire and upsetting and really just violations of their health and, some may argue, human rights.”
    Sugie began studying the effect of Covid-19 in California prisons after they imposed containment lockdowns in 2020. The PrisonPandemic project found that the institutions reduced facility communication and transparency down to zero with some facilities not recording causes of death that year at all.
    The authors write that there has been no publicly available information about mortality in US prisons since 2019 despite the Death in Custody Reporting Act passed in 2000 and reauthorized in 2014 that requires the collection of information regarding the death of any person who is under arrest, en route to be incarcerated, incarcerated at a municipal or county jail, state prison, or other local or state correctional facility.
    The 2022 Bureau of Justice statistics found that roughly 2,500 prisoners died of Covid-related causes between March 2020 and February 2021, but the number did not include a rise in mortality rates of natural deaths or unnatural deaths.
    “These steep increases suggest systemic failures that simultaneously increased risk of illness and limited access to medical care,” the authors of the study wrote.
    The study also found that pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions on movement, including isolation, visitor prohibitions and solitary confinement in place of medical isolation, designed to mitigate infection had “increased stress, mental health challenges, and violence exacerbating the risk of deaths due to unnatural causes, such as drug overdoses, suicide, and violence”.
    Sugie told the outlet that “for all of those deaths that are related to the pandemic, for various ways, we don’t know about them because they’re not officially coded as Covid-related”. Just like in the general population, she added, a lot of states did not test systemically, “so even if someone died of Covid, their death may not have been recorded as Covid-related”.

“The Great Normalization” (January 18, 2024)


Roge Karma, “The Great Normalization”, The Atlantic, (January 18, 2024)

  • Policing matters for public safety, and the complicated reaction to the 2020 protests almost certainly made that year’s homicide spike even worse. But the roots of America’s violence wave now appear to have had much more to do with the pandemic itself than pandemic-era policing. Murder peaked in the summer of 2020, but homicide rates had already begun rising sharply in March, shortly after lockdowns began. For those who study violence most closely, that wasn’t surprising. A large body of research has shown that community institutions play an essential role in preventing crime. Schools and workplaces keep people off the streets. Local government connects them with social services. Nonprofits provide mental-health and after-school programs.
    “Think about it from the perspective of a young person living in one of these neighborhoods with a history of violence,” John Roman, the director of the Center on Public Safety and Justice at the University of Chicago, told me. “Suddenly you’re stuck at home all day without access to social supports or a sense of purpose or something to occupy you. And the guy you have a beef with is just down the road. It’s a recipe for violence.” Roman pointed out that the beginning of the decline in violence coincided almost perfectly with the beginning of the 2022–23 school year. “That’s really the first time when everything finally went back to normal,” he said. According to the most recent data, murder rates are just a notch above where they were in 2019, and violent crime overall is even lower.
  • After several decades of stable prices, inflation went wild in late 2021, peaking at 9 percent in the summer of 2022. By then, the prevailing explanation was that the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan had given people too much money to spend. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers called the bill the “least responsible macroeconomic policy we’ve had in the last 40 years.” All that stimulus, he and other experts argued, had led to too much money chasing after not enough stuff. The only way to tame inflation, according to this view, would be to crush the excess demand by engineering a painful economic slowdown. Heading into 2023, nearly every economist, forecaster, and CEO predicted that a recession was right around the corner. A Bloomberg Economics model put the odds of a recession by October 2023 at 100 percent.
    Instead, inflation fell steadily while the stock market boomed, unemployment remained below 4 percent, and wages rose faster than prices. 
  • Many economists now believe that the pandemic played a more central role in the inflation story than they previously realized. An analysis by the Brookings Institution concluded that inflation was mostly a story of pandemic-shutdown ripple effects. (Other studies have come to the same conclusion.) Consumers, stuck at home, shifted their spending from entertainment and services toward physical goods at precisely the moment that the supply chains that were supposed to provide those goods were being catastrophically disrupted. The sudden firing and rehiring of tens of millions of workers produced a chaotic labor market that forced employers to quickly raise wages. Together, those forces created the perfect recipe for rising prices. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sent fuel prices soaring, only made things worse.
    As with crime, the shock took a long time to work its way through the economy. But when it finally did, the change was dramatic. By the end of 2023, America’s unemployment rate, inflation rate, and economic-growth trajectory looked almost identical to what they had been just before the pandemic. (One measure of inflation did tick up slightly in December, but many experts believe that was caused by a temporary lag in the data.) Prices remain higher, of course, even though the inflation rate has returned to normal. But inflation-adjusted wages are rising rapidly and recently surpassed their pre-pandemic levels. Some indicators, such as household wealth, income equality, and women’s labor-force participation, look much better than they did in 2019.
  • Many economists now believe that the pandemic stimulus was key to the U.S. economy performing so much better than those of other advanced countries. The stimulus also might have played an underappreciated role in reducing crime by keeping local governments and the community organizations they support afloat. “The only reason cities did not completely fall apart during the pandemic was because of a huge boost in federal funding,” Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at Princeton University who studies urban crime, told me. “I’m very convinced that is a central part of the explanation for why violence fell in ’22 and ’23.”
  • What explains this sudden boost in lower- and middle-class wages? The answer lies in the post-pandemic American labor market, which has been unbelievably strong. The unemployment rate—defined as the percentage of workers who have recently looked for a job but don’t have one—has been at or below 4 percent for more than two years, the longest streak since the 1960s. Even that understates just how good the current labor market is. Unemployment didn’t fall below 4 percent at any point during the 1970s, ’80s, or ’90s. In 1984—the year Ronald Reagan declared “morning again in America”—unemployment was above 7 percent; for most of the Clinton boom of the 1990s, it was above 5 percent.
    The obvious upside of low unemployment is that people who want jobs can get them. A more subtle consequence, and arguably a more important one, is a shift in power from employers to workers. When unemployment is relatively high, as it was in the years immediately following the 2008 financial crisis, more workers are competing for fewer jobs, making it easier for employers to demand higher qualifications and offer meager pay. That’s how you end up with stories about college graduates working as baristas for $7.25 an hour. But when unemployment is low and relatively few people are looking for jobs, the relationship inverts: Now employers have to compete against one another to attract workers, often by raising wages. And—this is the crucial part—these dynamics affect all workers, not just people who are out of a job.
    This helps explain what happened after the pandemic. When the economy first reopened, employers suddenly had to fill millions of positions. Meanwhile, workers—flush with stimulus checks and expanded unemployment insurance—could afford to say no to bad jobs. In response, even famously low-paying companies such as Amazon, Walmart, and McDonald’s started raising wages and offering new benefits to attract employees. What was misleadingly labeled the “Great Resignation” was really more of a great reshuffling, as record numbers of workers quit a job to take a better-paying one. Over the next couple of years, as American consumers kept spending money, demand for labor stayed high. “Low-wage workers are finally getting a small taste of the bargaining power that highly paid professionals experience most of the time,” Betsey Stevenson, a labor economist at the University of Michigan, told me.

See also