Sunday, April 05, 2020


An unbylined New York Times report dispenses with euphemisms while describing the president's approach to the coronavirus crisis.
Veering from grim warnings to baseless assurances in a single news conference, President Trump on Saturday predicted a surging death toll in what may be “the toughest week” of the coronavirus pandemic before also dispensing unproven medical advice. He suggested again that Americans might be able to congregate for Easter Sunday services.
The unproven medical advice is more of Trump's incessant hyping of hydroxychloroquinone, which has been found to be not particularly effective in a French study.

Trump went on to muse aloud about the possibility of relaxing social distancing guidelines somewhat for Easter services next week ("he had told advisers, 'maybe we could allow special for churches' gatherings that were possibly outside with 'great separation'"). Oh and he also wants sports to come back:
The president discussed a Saturday morning call he had with commissioners of most of the major sports to discuss the effects of coronavirus to the industry, emphasizing that he wants fans "back in the arena" as soon as they can be.

"You know, they want to see basketball and baseball and football and hockey. They want to see their sports. They want to go out onto the golf courses and breathe nice clean, beautiful fresh air," Trump said. "No, I can't tell you a date, but I think it's going to be sooner rather than later."
Tossing off an optimistic assurance ("I think it's going to be sooner rather than later") is such a reflex for Trump, the lifelong huckster. Meanwhile, he's selling the upcoming week as a bad one -- as if we'll pass through it and everything will be much better. Alarmingly, so are some of the doctors who work with him.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned Sunday amid the coronavirus pandemic that the week ahead would be the “hardest and the saddest” of “most Americans’ lives.”

“This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives,” Adams said on “Fox News Sunday."

“This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment and our 9/11 moment only it’s not going to be localized, it’s going to be happening all over the country,” Adams said.

He added, however, that there "is a light at the end of the tunnel if everyone does their part for the next 30 days.”
Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, warned the hardest hit U.S. hotspots could reach their mortality peaks, simultaneously, in the next week.

“The Detroit area, the New York area, the Louisiana area ... They’re all on the upside of the curve of mortality,” Birx said at a White House briefing. “By the predictions that are in that, they’re predicting in those three hotspots, all of them hitting together in the next six to seven days.”
Birx may be right about the timing of peak mortality in those three hot spots, but taken together, what she, Adams, and Trump are saying suggests that we just need to hang on for a week, or a couple of weeks, or thirty days, and everything will be just swell.

Dr. Birx is citing data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation -- its site is Its national model predicts peak mortality on April 16 -- more than a week from now -- when it estimates that there will be 2,644 covid-19 deaths.

The model says that deaths will decline after that. But even thirty days out, the numbers will still be bad -- on May 4, a total of 1,391 deaths are anticipated. The number doesn't drop below 1,000 until May 11, and doesn't drop below 100 until June 11.

And here's the kicker:
COVID-19 projections assuming full social distancing through May 2020
We don't even have shelter in place in eight states, all with Republican governors. Georgia just instituted shelter in place, then Republican governor Brian Kemp opened the beaches.

Our situation is grim. In the absence of effective treatments, it will be grim a month from now. We aren't going to have just a bad week or two. We're going to have a bad spring, at least.

No comments: