The next round of “Super Tuesday” balloting took place yesterday in the Democratic nomination contest for president and Joe Biden was again the big winner. Biden won by a wide margin the biggest prize, Michigan, as well as Mississippi, Idaho, and Missouri. Bernie Sanders was ahead in North Dakota, while the State of Washington was nearly a tie in the early stages. So Biden will take the lion’s share of the delegates and increase his lead over Sanders. The FiveThirtyEight.com polling & prediction website now gives Biden a 99% chance of winning the nomination. Pundits last night were starting to wonder how long Sanders would hang on, and Twitter was trending the hashtag #ByeByeBernie. Biden gave a very calm, clear and hopeful speech last night that you can see here:
It’s a disappointing moment for Bernie Sanders supporters, who have been here before. Over several decades, Bernie Sanders has been a consistent voice for change and many of his policy priorities have been adopted by the Democratic party–even though he has been an Independent Senator from Vermont. And Sanders has never taken money from big business, powering his grass-roots candidacies exclusively from small-money individual donations. He has built an extraordinary and laudable legacy that deserves respect and admiration. But despite his efforts, it appears his quest for the White House is in lethal jeopardy.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus continued to spread. Last night the count was 142 confirmed cases in the United States. Tonight, that number has reached 1,000. So we are seeing the math of exponential functions play out before our eyes in frightening clarity. If we don’t slow the spread of the virus–by washing our hands, avoiding large events, and social distancing–our medical system will soon be overwhelmed. We have just over 900,000 hospital beds in the USA, and roughly 600,000 of them are occupied at any given time by regular patients, leaving 300,000 bed capacity for emergencies. If 20% of corona cases require hospitalization, then our medical system would reach capacity when 1.5-million people became sick at any given time. By some estimates as many as 90 to 100-million could contract corona virus (depending on the measures we take) so it’s easy to see that our hospitals could be overwhelmed if the outbreak continues to double every six days for several months. How could this happen? Here are the numbers if it goes unchecked and we take no measures:
In this unchecked-spread scenario we would hit a million cases in two months, and over 32-million in three months. 32-million cases would be a medical and cultural disaster, producing over 6-million patients requiring hospitalization–20 times our current capacity. And these numbers are why virologists and epidemiologists are so concerned about the measures we take NOW. Working and studying from home seem drastic now, but they will seem minuscule two months from now if no measures were taken and people acted as if the virus was happening on some distant planet.
A big part of our toolkit for slowing the spread of the virus is testing. We need to know who is sick in order to restrict and quarantine properly, which is why the Trump regime’s slow rollout of tests has been such a disaster. The CDC is still struggling to get enough tests to the right places, and now some states are stepping in with their own tests to try to fill the breach. Trump and his surrogates have press briefings every day to try to reassure the public, but the briefings only underscore the incompetence of Trump’s inner circle and the inadequacy of our response. We have to vote these clowns out of the White House this November.
Trump was talking yesterday about bailing out the shale oil extraction industry, and giving citizens some sort of stimulus package–reducing certain withholding taxes or delaying the filing date for 2019 income taxes–but the details remain murky. We need to be ready to raise a stink if Trump’s “solution” is just another giveaway to the already wealthy.
A note of good news: a Federal court ordered the Justice Department to give the House access to the Grand Jury testimony that formed the basis for the Mueller report.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”