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GreyhoundFan

Government Response to Coronavirus 3: Locked Down

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GreyhoundFan

Continued from here:

 

 

 

 

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GreyhoundFan

So, this is the advice from medical experts:

 

But, of course Dr. Toddler isn't happy:

"Trump signals growing weariness with ‘social distancing’ and other steps advocated by health officials"

Quote

President Trump is signaling interest in scaling back “social distancing” and other steps promoted by health officials to contain the novel coronavirus as a growing number of conservatives argue that impact on the U.S. economy has become too severe.

“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” Trump said in a late-night tweet Sunday written in capital letters. “AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”

The White House has promoted a 15-day period — initiated March 16 and set to expire later this month — to “slow the spread” of the deadly virus that includes following directions of state and local authorities that have resulted in shuttered schools, restaurants and other businesses.

Trump’s tweet appeared to reflect impatience with the economic toll of such moves, and a series of retweets by the president early Monday added to doubts about whether he is committed to staying the course beyond March if necessary.

The retweets shared by the president included warnings that the “fear of the virus cannot collapse our economy” and complaints that ordinary citizens are under “house arrest” at a time when officials are considering releasing nonviolent elderly criminals — a measure that Trump said had some merit during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on Sunday.

Later Monday morning, however, Trump shared two videos in his Twitter feed, including one in which we advocated “social distancing” so that the virus would “have no place to go.”

“We’ve pulled together as a unit; we’ve pulled together as a country,” Trump said from the Rose Garden. “We will prevail together.”

The other video included leading health experts in his administration calling for sacrifice, including Anthony S. Fauci explaining the benefits of “physical separation of people.”

Numerous health officials have suggested that social-distancing measures should remain in place well beyond the end of the month as the death toll from coronavirus continues to climb in the United States.

“I want America to understand: This week, it’s going to get bad,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Monday on NBC’s “Today” show, referring to the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. “We really, really need everyone to stay at home. … There are not enough people out there who are taking this seriously.”

Responding to Trump’s Sunday night tweet, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said that such distancing measures may be “extreme,” but he argued that abandoning them will lead to greater losses of life.

“If you don’t slow this thing down, it will sacrifice a lot more on the other end of the equation, and we’ve got to think about the human cost here,” de Blasio said during an appearance on CNN. He also said the country faces the prospect of “a health-care system that can’t function at all” if coronavirus cases continue to balloon.

A growing number of conservatives are arguing, however, that the current course is not economically sustainable, as more business close, workers are laid off and financial markets sink.

A Wall Street Journal editorial last week, for example, said the country “urgently needs a pandemic strategy that is more economically and socially sustainable than the current national lockdown.”

The White House has already been showing some signs of loosening its response to the pandemic. On Sunday, Vice President Pence, who leads the coronavirus task force, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon issue guidance allowing people exposed to the coronavirus to return to work sooner by wearing a mask for a period of time.

 

 

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GreyhoundFan

It's all about the ratings:

 

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GreyhoundFan

I have a feeling there will be more to follow:

 

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elliha

Sweden is now over 2000 known cases and 25 dead. Denmark reported 11 dead today making their total 24 dead (with a population that is roughly half of Sweden's). They have apparently not gotten all their cases registered properly so the increase is not to be interpreted as a steep rise in mortality.

Sweden is expected to have around 1000 cases in ICU at the same time with around 250 being critical at the worst moment according to the estimates, right now it is about 100. Most of those are not critical. Sweden has much more younger people in intensive care right now than most countries but it is believed to because those that are seriously ill are mostly those that either themselves got infected during their skiing holidays in Italy or people close to them who got infected shortly thereafter in Sweden. The majority of those people were between 20-60 and so far we have managed to keep the number of elderly cases low. Most death however are of older people, the youngest I heard of was 63. The youngest who have gotten care in a respirator was 21. There is hope that most of these young but critical cases will survive. 

There are no further restrictions as of today but they point out that every single day we can push through with lower numbers is likely to make the numbers of the worst days lower. I hope we will make it when it comes to flattening the curve and that the Easter holidays will not screw things up by too much travelling. As it sounded today they will not close down ski resorts but perhaps implement further restrictions to keep them safer. I think I still would have liked at least a temporary closing down period for the Easter holidays but they will give further information about the ski resorts tomorrow. 

I do feel anxious about this whole thing but the reports that the numbers, at least at the moment are not rising as fast as they were fearing is a small comfort even if it is just for a couple more days. 

My own region got one more known case and are up to 30. The buses were now running with only the middle door open and it seemed to be working out fine on today's trip so it is so far so good. 

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GreyhoundFan

Because the repugs can't be honorable about anything: "The GOP just smuggled another awful provision into the stimulus"

Spoiler

With coronavirus cases in the U.S. mounting into the tens of thousands and our economy sliding into recession, Washington is locked in a brutal standoff over a $1.8 trillion economic rescue package. Democrats are outraged by a measure that budgets $500 billion for corporate bailouts that the administration could administer with little transparency, which they call a “slush fund.”

That provision is bad enough. But there’s another one hidden in the massive stimulus bill, which was drafted by Senate Republicans, that Democrats also see as a major sticking point.

And the battle that’s brewing over this particular provision says a great deal about the stark divide between the parties’ priorities over how to help the country through this crisis.

The provision in question is a limitation on funding that the GOP stimulus bill has built into the measure that sets aside $350 billion to provide loans for small businesses. That money would be available to small businesses that don’t lay off workers.

According to language in the bill forwarded to me by a senior Senate Democratic aide, this provision excludes “nonprofits receiving Medicaid expenditures,” which would not be eligible for those loans.

This language has been interpreted in some quarters as an effort to deny funding to Planned Parenthood, a longtime GOP target. But Democratic aides think the language means a lot more than this.

Specifically, Democratic aides believe this language would exclude from eligibility for this funding a big range of other nonprofits that get Medicaid funding, such as home and community-based disability providers; community-based nursing homes, mental health providers and health centers; group homes for the disabled; and even rape crisis centers.

“The Republican Senate bill would prevent many small Medicaid-funded providers from accessing small business loans,” Mara Youdelman, the managing attorney of the National Health Law Program’s D.C. office, told me.

Youdelman added that tens of millions of people across the country are reliant on such programs, and agreed that the GOP bill, as drafted, would exclude them from accessing the stimulus package’s assistance for small businesses. She noted that providers in rural areas could also get targeted.

The rub here is that in an economic downturn, such nonprofit providers are subject to similar stresses as for-profit small businesses. While they get funding through patients who are on Medicaid and use it to pay for their services, Medicaid historically underpays for those services. With a surge in demand for such services amid the crisis, these providers will need more assistance — and if they’re denied it, some could go out of business at the worst possible time, Youdelman noted.

“We should be doing everything possible to keep them in businesses, both to help manage the pandemic and to keep people needing routine care healthy and out of overwhelmed hospitals,” Youdelman told me.

“It’s a huge problem,” said Nicole Jorwic, senior director of public policy at The Arc, a national advocacy organization for the disabled. “Our chapters who provide services would all be impacted,” Jorwic continued, making it harder to “provide home and community-based services all over the country.”

A fluid situation

This new sticking point comes at a moment when the situation is extraordinarily fluid. The massive stimulus bill has prompted other objections from Democrats, who say it doesn’t include strict enough conditions on bailed-out corporations and lacks funding for states and safety-net programs.

Senate Republicans forced a vote on Sunday to move to debate on the bill, but it fell far short of the 60 votes needed for passage, with 47 Republicans voting for it (five GOP Senators have quarantined themselves) and 47 Democrats voting against it.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had threatened another vote on Monday morning, hoping to jam Democrats. But McConnell’s leverage appears to be dissipating as his numbers dwindle, and under pressure from Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), he postponed that vote and agreed to reenter negotiations.

In that combustible atmosphere, various advocacy groups are set to weigh in on this provision. This could scramble the politics of this unfolding battle in unpredictable ways.

For instance, it might be hard for several vulnerable GOP Senators — such as Susan Collins of Maine and Joni Ernst of Iowa — to embrace a bill that includes such a measure. Collins, for her part, has called on the Congress to put aside “partisan bickering” and deliver help to the American people.

But that posture of nonpartisan constructive problem-solving could prove tough to strike when GOP senators are using this bill to jam through a provision that could exclude so many nonprofit providers.

“The last thing anyone should do in the middle of a public health crisis is restricting access to health care providers that women and people with disabilities and substance abuse disorders rely on,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said in a statement sent my way.

A stark divide

Democrats will try to get this provision removed as the negotiations continue, and if they hold a hard line, one hopes it will be tough for Republicans to allow it to remain.

“Congress needs to make sure people with disabilities and mental health challenges and victims of domestic violence do not lose access to care at an especially vulnerable time,” Andy Slavitt, a senior health care official under President Barack Obama, told me.

This standoff gets at another massive divide between the parties. From the Democratic perspective, the coronavirus and the coming economic downturn will badly strain existing services and exacerbate a range of social problems — which tend to get worse in recessions — that make those services even more crucial.

So Democrats and liberals see the need to fortify the safety net as particularly acute right now — and see this as a crucial element in getting this country through the crisis. This battle’s outcome will help determine how successfully we end up doing that, so a great deal is at stake.

 

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47of74
55 minutes ago, GreyhoundFan said:

So, this is the advice from medical experts:

 

Unpopular opinion here but I feel that sometimes people could go the full nine yards by staying at home as much as possible and going above and beyond in practicing social distancing and they'll still find fault with something we do.  I suppose next someone is going to come along and complain when I walk out to the garage on the farm or is going to get in my dad's face when he goes out to start planting.  

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HerNameIsBuffy
13 minutes ago, 47of74 said:

Unpopular opinion here but I feel that sometimes people could go the full nine yards by staying at home as much as possible and going above and beyond in practicing social distancing and they'll still find fault with something we do.  I suppose next someone is going to come along and complain when I walk out to the garage on the farm or is going to get in my dad's face when he goes out to start planting.  

Curious as to what's making you think this?  I haven't heard of anyone getting criticized for going for walks, hiking, moving about on their own property, or even going to the stores for essentials.  

Just wondering where the concern is coming from.

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clueliss

I have a governor who is lax in his response to all of this.  And in some ways I get it.  Missouri is a state with a mix of rural and urban.  But if he could wake up and notice that as long as we're not on stay at home - we're going to have traffic rolling thru on our interstates (70 is a major east/west route, 44 goes SW out of St. Louis).  Deem farmers exempt/necessary and issue the order.  St. Louis had a big jump over the weekend.  They have 5 cases (so far) tied to a day care there.  

 

@HerNameIsBuffy California - LA in Particular had a huge issue over the weekend when, despite stay at home orders - all sorts of people ran to Runyon Canyon to hike (and maybe the beaches).  So they had to restate, clarify what they meant by you are allowed to go for a walk or jog etc.  (because morons)

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47of74
2 minutes ago, HerNameIsBuffy said:

Curious as to what's making you think this?  I haven't heard of anyone getting criticized for going for walks, hiking, moving about on their own property, or even going to the stores for essentials.  

Just wondering where the concern is coming from.

A guy threatened the lives of my niece, her baby sitter, and the baby sitter’s daughter because they were out walking one afternoon. Keep in mind both kids are not quite two yet.  Yes the police were called on this guy but I think this is going to get more common, not less. 

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HerNameIsBuffy
6 minutes ago, clueliss said:

California - LA in Particular had a huge issue over the weekend when, despite stay at home orders - all sorts of people ran to Runyon Canyon to hike (and maybe the beaches).  So they had to restate, clarify what they meant by you are allowed to go for a walk or jog etc.  (because morons)

I should have clarified that I meant no one in an official capacity is having issues with it when the social distancing is respected.  Hiking in crowds or walking whatever is absolutely against the directive.  Yes, morons.

5 minutes ago, 47of74 said:

A guy threatened the lives of my niece, her baby sitter, and the baby sitter’s daughter because they were out walking one afternoon. Keep in mind both kids are not quite two yet.  Yes the police were called on this guy but I think this is going to get more common, not less. 

I misunderstood and thought you were referring to the powers that be finding fault with compliance.  That's horrifying that that happened to your family.  It's scary how many crazy people we have out there.

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GreyhoundFan

Because it's all about enriching the Dear Leader: "Trump won't rule out possibility his private business could benefit from coronavirus stimulus"

Spoiler

TRUMP SKIRTS BAILOUT QUESTION: President Trump declined to publicly commit that money from the massive coronavirus stimulus bill would not go to his privately-owned properties. This raises fresh questions about how the first president in modern American history not to divest from his business interests could benefit from federal funds. 

  • “Let’s just see what happens,” Trump told our colleague Seung Min Kim at the the White House on Sunday, after complaining that no one thanked him for rejecting his presidential salary. “We have to save some of these great companies.” 
  • “I don’t know,” Trump told reporters Saturday when asked if his business would accept stimulus money. “I just don’t know what the government assistance would be for what I have. I have hotels. Everybody knew I had hotels when I got elected. They knew I was a successful person when I got elected, so it’s one of those things.” 

Trump's dodge came after Senate Democrats blocked the $1.8 trillion emergency stimulus package from moving forward over concerns that the bill “is tilted too far in favor of corporations and doesn't include much oversight for $500 billion in loans and guarantees that could go to firms selected by the Treasury Department,” our colleagues on Capitol Hill report. They point out, “Trump has already talked about how he wants to help the cruise industry and the hotel industry.” 

  • Trump's businesses may prove a sticking point in negotiations: “One of the things [Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer and Democrats have been fighting for is to ensure that the president can’t use Treasury Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin’s slush fund to steer money toward any government official or their family members,” a senior Democratic aide familiar with the negotiations told Power Up.
  • Yet a Republican Senate aide told us that concerns over Trump being a beneficiary of the bailout are not “serious”: “Trump’s marginal benefit isn’t really a concern when you’re dealing with a two trillion dollar package attempting to save the global economy from collapse.”

From Fahrenthold's notebook: David Fahrenthold, who covers the Trump family and its business interests, tells Power Up that "the virus-related shutdowns could become the biggest challenge to face Trump’s private company since his famous financial crash of the early 1990s.” 

  • “If Trump’s company receives a bailout from Trump’s government, that would represent an unprecedented use of public money to help a sitting president’s private interests," David tells us. 
  • More: “It could also raise questions about constitutionality: The Constitution prohibits presidents from taking any federal payments beyond their appointed salary.”

The former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, tweeted that the massive economic package must include “built-in oversight” of Trump:  

Trump's family business is already taking a hit. David provided us with a picture of Trump's personal financial interests as the Senate negotiates what would be the largest financial rescue ever attempted in the U.S.  

  • “For Trump’s private business — which the president still owns — the coronavirus appears to have caused widespread loss of income. His hotels in Las Vegas, Miami, Ireland and Turnberry, Scotland have all shut down, as has his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida and his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey,” David wrote us in an email last night. “Trump says his company is now run day-to-day by his sons Eric and Don Jr. The company has not responded to questions asking if they will seek a bailout.”
  • “Other Trump hotels remain open, but with sharply diminished business: in Washington, for instance, the union representing Trump hotel workers said the hotel has an occupancy rate around 5 percent. In Washington, Chicago, and Las Vegas, Trump’s company has already laid off workers.”
  • Trump himself acknowledged coronavirus was hurting the Trump Organization: “I wouldn’t say it’s thriving when you decide to close down your hotels and your businesses,” he said Saturday.  “Yeah it’s hurting me, and it’s hurting… all of the great hotel chains all over the world.”

,,,

 

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clueliss

I've been on to that news from the word go.  

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GreyhoundFan

 

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GreyhoundFan

Because Twitler has to throw red meat to his base during a pandemic:

 

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Vivi_music

As I see some updates from Sweden and such... well I'll tell you how things going here in Montreal. I wish I could give a whole portrait of the country but the situation is very different from province to province. In this case, healthcare and public health are all provincial powers, which means the provincial premier are calling the shots most of the time.

So for now here in Quebec we have 219 confirmed cases, 4 deaths, 1 person healed, 2063 people under investigation and 9786 negative analyzes. Those are the numbers given yesterday at 1 pm. Ironically, we lowered our death number yesterday (the government mentionned 5 and not 4). One person had passed before the test results arrived. Considering the patient seemed to have Covid symptoms, it was assumed that he passed away from that illness. But the test came back and it turned out negative. I think it makes us the first province to reduce our death toll so far! ;)

It seems all of the deceased are elderly people so far. Sadly, they all lived in the same senior's residence. Yesterday it was also announced that a second senior's residence in the province had cases. I find this quite scary considering my father lives in a senior's home. We are talking on the phone but visits have been forbidden for more than a week now. It makes me feel powerless to be at such a distance.

As for containment measures, well everything has already been closed for almost two weeks now: theatres, movie theatres, pools, gyms, bars, libraries, museums, galleries, etc. Yesterday, the public health officials added to this list: hair and beauty salons, spas and malls are now closing as well for all of April. Take out and drive-thrus can remain open but restaurants are now forbidden to have patrons sitting inside. Our premier even encouraged people to continue ordering take outs from our local restaurants, to help them out during this crisis. Grocery stores, pharmacies and SAQ outlets (our government owed liquor board - like our LCBO) are all remaining open. Legault said he did not want to close the SAQs over fear of causing a panic. I love how our booze is a priority here and even the gov. recognizes that. 😅

As for education, all levels remain closed until May 1st (from elementary to college). Higher education like colleges are encouraged to do online classes. But for younger ones, teachers are asked to send homework to parents and the government will set up online educational resources. Daycares are also to remained closed, except for essential worker's children. Exceptionnaly, some daycares are open only for them and it remains free for the time of the crisis.

Finally: ALL public gatherings (indoors or outdoors) are now forbidden within the province. It seems the population is following the confinement measures well for now, so there is no need to involve law inforcement  There are always people who don't follow the rules - like in every society but the gov. doesn't want to encourage delation and such.

As for towns, sadly a lot of places had to close down playground areas because people were not respecting the rules for gatherings. But public parks aren't closed for now in Montreal. Considering it's a city, a lot of people don't have a backyard or a place to go for a walk. So the mayor asked Montrealers to respect the 1 metre distance, but to continue to go outside as much as possible considering it is good for everyone's health.

I'm not gonna lie, I'm very proud of us right now. In general, our population is disciplined and following through with the safety measures. I'm also happily surprised with our government. Let's just say that I didn't vote for them, but premier Legault is handling this well. He is pro-active, his government was quick to put in place the confinement measures, even before some provinces that had a lot more cases. I'm glad he is showing some real leadership (even if I don't support his party on a lot of issues). Him and the public health director are doing press conferences everyday at 1 pm and it has now become a daily rendez-vous for me and my BF. ;)  Some people pointed out that Legault was part of the Lucien Bouchard cabinet during the 1998 ice-storm crisis. For technical explanations, Bouchard did daily briefing too during the crisis, accompagnied by the president of Hydro-Québec. In terms of communications and PR, it was super effective. We can see he learned from them a lot.

When I look south of the border, it is staggering how much the Trump administration seems to improvise. I feel so sorry for all Amercians on here to be stuck with such a madmen in charge.

 

 

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HerNameIsBuffy

Indiana just joined the stated with mandated stay at home.

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fraurosena
3 hours ago, GreyhoundFan said:

It's all about the ratings:

 

All the more reason for the press to ignore his daily lie-fest. Most importantly so he can't spread his idiotic and dangerous lies about the virus, and in so doing save lives, but also to put an end to his self-glorification ratings exigency.

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clueliss

Clay and Cass Counties in Missouri joining the KC (and STL) stay at home campaign.  

Oh my - they've got cases in a care facility 

Quote

Four new coronavirus cases are tied to a Springfield assisted living facility. The Missouri Department of Health is working with care providers at Morningside of Springfield-East to prevent the spread there. Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director Clay Goodard says these are the first cases in the county not spread from another case or related to travel.

https://www.ky3.com/content/news/Springfield-Greene-County-Health-Dept-confirms-4-new-COVID-19-cases-at-assisted-living-faciility-569030661.html

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Vivi_music

Well seems I spoke too soon.

I watched the 1 pm daily press conference and our premier has now confirmed that Quebec has 628 confirmed (and probable cases) of COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon. That is a important jump within 24 hours, considering there were 219 confirmed cases yesterday!! There are two causes to this fast rise in cases: our spring break was the first week of march and the people who traveled during that period are now getting their results in. Secondly, the province now includes positive tests done in hospital labs. Previously, only positive tests that were later confirmed by Quebec's public-health laboratory were included.

Forty-five patients are in hospital, 20 of them in intensive care, Quebec health authorities reported. Quebec Premier Legault also announced Monday that all non-essential businesses in Quebec are to close for three weeks as of midnight tomorrow. This includes factories as well. Legault wants to put the province "on pause" through Easter Monday, April 13.

Only essential services are now allowed to remain open: grocery stores, drug stores, banks (and even banks are advised to only keep essential services going), police forces, mail, firefighters, health care workers of course, garbage collection, some government services as well, etc.

Apparently all these intense measures are now taken because public health services have identified its first instances of community transmission within the province. Legault also ordered that seniors in nursing homes must remain inside unless they have supervision.

We are not at the stage of needing a permit to leave the house for the moment (like it is the case in France), but people are strongly advised to not go out at all if possible, and only leave the house for essential shopping (like groceries or pharmacy). 😮

On a more personal level, I was supposed to have my gallbladder removed this thursday (the surgery was planned almost three weeks ago). I am so scared it will be postponed. This 0 fat diet is not the easiest and I'm really tired of it. I tried to call the hopsital, but apparently the situation changes so fast in the healthcare system that they are not able to tell me if the surgery takes place or not. They'll know only the day before. 😢 So I'm impatienlty waiting for the call on wednesday.

Stay safe everyone!

 

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Audrey2

@GreyhoundFan, I understand what you mean about Cuomo. Before I moved away from Ohio 25 years ago, Mike DeWine had already been elected to State office. While I've never been a fan of his, I still have family in Ohio and think he's doing a fantastic job.

As I recently said to a friend of mine, I think many governors and other public officials are developing strong skills that I think will give us good candidates for president starting in 2024.

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clueliss

Add Douglas County, Kansas (Lawrence) to the growing KC/STL stay at home movement.

 

and Harbor Freight is donating nitrile gloves, face shields and N95 masks.

https://week.com/2020/03/23/harbor-freight-to-donate-all-n95-masks-face-shields-nitrile-gloves/

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Kailash

@clueliss Thank you for keeping us updated about Kansas and Missouri. I come here to read before I check the local news. 

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GreyhoundFan

Virginia schools are closed for the rest of the school year.

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GreyhoundFan

The WaPo daily roundup has a lot of good info: "The Daily 202: Trump leads from behind on the coronavirus, invoking federalism to excuse his dithering response"

Spoiler

“I’m a wartime president,” Donald Trump reiterated on Sunday night. “This is a war.”

But even as he sought the deference historically afforded to leaders at the start of a military conflict, President Trump made clear that he does not want to accept any responsibility for either strategic blunders or tactical failures in the battle against the novel coronavirus. 

As he spoke repeatedly of “winning” against “the hidden enemy,” Trump’s news conference at the White House starkly illustrated an unabashed effort to have his cake and eat it too.

The president was widely ridiculed last week for ripping into NBC’s Peter Alexander after being asked the softball question of what message he would like to deliver to Americans who are afraid. Attempting a do-over of sorts, Trump sounded a soothing, if scripted, note when he entered the briefing room.

“For those worried and afraid, please know as long as I am your president you can feel confident that you have a leader who will always fight for you, and I will not stop until we win,” he said. “This will be a great victory. … And it's going to be a victory that, in my opinion, will happen much sooner than originally expected.”

Trump then repeatedly sought to pass the buck, primarily to Democratic governors. “The governors, locally, are going to be in command,” he explained. “We will be following them, and we hope they can do the job.”

A few hours earlier, Trump ripped Democratic governors who had criticized his handling of the pandemic on the Sunday talk shows. “We’re all building the airplane as we fly it right now,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said on ABC. “It would be nice to have a national strategy.” The president tweeted that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Whitmer and others “shouldn’t be blaming the Federal Government for their own shortcomings.” Describing his view of the federal role, the president wrote: “We are there to back you up should you fail.”

In 2011, a White House official described President Barack Obama’s approach to Libya as “leading from behind” during an interview on background with the New Yorker. Prominent Republicans spent the remainder of Obama’s presidency mocking him for this formulation, even though there’s no evidence he ever used it.

But this has seemingly been Trump’s mentality toward the coronavirus outbreak. He told the governors on a conference call last week that they should procure their own medical equipment in case the federal government cannot deliver. “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,” he told them. 

We’ve come a long way from “I alone can fix it,” as Trump declared at the Republican National Convention in 2016, to “I don’t take any responsibility at all,” as the president said at the White House 10 days ago.

After Trump said the federal government is following the lead of the states, Vice President Pence explained how “that is the way our system works”: “It's extremely important that the American people recognize that one of the things that makes America different is that we have a system of federalism.”  The former governor of Indiana said: “It is locally executed, state managed, and federally supported. We want the people on the ground, the decision-makers, to have what they need.”

But many of those decision-makers on the ground say the Trump administration is not giving them what they need to contain covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Responding to a demand from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), Trump on Sunday authorized the federal construction of four temporary hospitals sites, with 250 beds each to start. Trump also said he has ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ship mobile hospital centers to New York, as well as California and the state of Washington. At the White House, the president read aloud a list of supplies being deployed by the government.

But Trump continues to resist pleas by governors, especially Cuomo, to fully use his authorities under the Defense Production Act. The 1950 law was enacted during the Korean War to allow the government to stock up on wartime materials like aluminum and copper. Trump technically invoked the power last week, but he has not used it to the extent that he could to either allocate scarce resources to the states that need them most or mandate production by private companies. “Former Pentagon officials who handled Defense Production Act policy for Democratic and Republican administrations said the Trump administration has so far made little use of the law,” Bob Costa and Aaron Gregg report.

Trump said the “threat” that he could use these powers in the future is coaxing companies into complying voluntarily or offering to help without being asked. He expressed fear that nationalizing an industry would transform the United States into Venezuela. “The concept of nationalizing our business is not a good concept,” Trump said. “We have the threat of doing it if we need it. … We may have to use it some place along the chain, but we're getting calls. Here's the beauty of it.”

Democratic governors said they’re not talking about nationalizing industries but allocating resources to make sure everyone gets what they need. “If I had the power, I would do it in New York state because the situation is that critical,” Cuomo said at his own daily briefing. “I think the federal government should order factories to manufacture masks, gowns, ventilators – the essential medical equipment that’s going to make the difference between life and death. … If the federal government does it, then they can do it in a very orderly way. They can decide how many they need, they can designate how many each factory should produce and then they could distribute those goods by need, rather than having the states all compete against each other.”

Cuomo said federal inaction has allowed “price gouging” for these products. “I’ll contract with a company for 1,000 masks. They’ll call back 20 minutes later and say the price just went up because they had a better offer,” he said. “And I understand that: Other states who are desperate for these goods, literally, offer more money than we were paying. … The states simply cannot manage it. I'm competing with California and Illinois and Florida. And that’s not the way it should be.”

FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor said the president has “leverage” to get private companies to ramp up the production of ventilators and protective masks. “What I’ll say is: If you can find it on the open market, go buy it,” he said on NBC. “Any governor that needs it, and you find it, go buy it.”

Indeed, many businesses are stepping up production absent dictates from the federal government. 3M says that it is shipping half a million protective N95 masks for medical workers to New York and Seattle, and they’ll start arriving today. The Minnesota-based manufacturer said it will almost double production of the masks over the next year to an annual rate of 2 billion masks worldwide.

Even with the surge in supply, Pritzker, the Illinois governor, complained that it’s still “a wild West out there” and everyone is overpaying for personal protective equipment as a result. “I’ve got people working the phones calling across the world, frankly, to get this stuff to Illinois,” he said on CNN.

It’s not just Democrats who want the administration to do more. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), the chairman of the National Governors Association, said FEMA “has to take the lead” in getting medical items because states like his are scrambling to find supplies on their own. “We are getting some progress. Now, it’s not nearly enough. It’s not fast enough. We’re way behind the curve,” Hogan said on NBC. 

There are now about 35,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States and more than 470 reported deaths. More than 15,000 New Yorkers had tested positive as of Sunday, and about 2,000 of them have required hospitalization. Most of these cases are in the Big Apple. “We are very much on our own at this point,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D). “April is going to be a lot worse than March, and May could be worse than April.”

Trump said he has “a great relationship” with Cuomo and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), and that they’re putting aside political differences to do what’s best for their people. “We're really backing up the governors,” Trump said. “The governors have to go out and do their thing. And you have a lot of governors, they've done a fantastic job. You have some that haven't. Usually it's the ones that complain that have the problems.”

Moments after calling for Americans to unify during his White House briefing, Trump snarked when he learned that Mitt Romney had chosen to self-quarantine because of his exposure to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who tested positive for the coronavirus. “Romney’s in isolation? Gee, that’s too bad,” the president said sarcastically, referring to the only Republican senator who voted to convict him during the impeachment trial. Romney is being cautious because his wife, Ann, has multiple sclerosis, which makes her more vulnerable to the coronavirus and made the president’s remarks sound even more callous.

During the news conference, Trump also refused to commit to not filling his own pockets with taxpayer bailout money meant for hotels. He complained that “nobody said thank you” when he donated his salary to charity. “So, I've learned: Let's just see what happens,” he said. “Because we have to save some of these great companies.” This seemed to be a reference to his own company. Once again, he found a way to make the pandemic about himself. A few minutes later, he claimed dubiously – and repeatedly – that it is costing him “billions” of dollars in missed opportunities to serve as president.

When a reporter asked Trump whether he’d consider reaching out to Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter – who all faced crises during their tenure in the White House – Trump said he doesn’t need them or whatever wisdom they might have to offer. Trump criticized Obama’s handling of the H1N1 pandemic 11 years ago and Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina 15 years ago. Trump appeared to reference an ABC News-Ipsos poll released Friday that showed 55 percent of Americans approved of the way he’s handling the coronavirus response.

“All you have to do is look at the approval numbers on the job we’re doing,” he said. “I think we’re doing an incredible job. So I don't want to disturb them [or] bother them. I don't think I'm going to learn much.”

 

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