Much of the weekend news and discussion centered around the desperate need for more coronavirus testing. Despite whining and lies from Fox and other conservative outlets, a consensus is growing that states can’t emerge from a shutdown until widespread testing is available. This sentiment was echoed by Governor Cuomo, who noted that the testing supply chain (swabs, chemicals, reagents, etc.) is global and beyond the ability of any one state to swiftly and effectively manage–let alone fifty states competing with each other. Cuomo underscored the need for centralized government control of the process, and this is both an obvious point as well as an onerous challenge. Trump and his team seem manifestly incapable of spearheading any effort that requires competence, organizational skills, patience, negotiation or leadership. It would seem WAY beyond their capabilities. But that’s what we’re going to need if we don’t want to prolong the shutdown any further than necessary. Over a month ago Trump said we would have 27 million tests by the end of March. Yet as of today, we’ve only tested around 4 million, or 15% of that promise. And Trump keeps saying that the Feds are handing over testing to the states, which is ridiculous. So where are the tests? As I’ve been saying all along, the government can try to “open things up” as much as they want but I’m not going to stop social distancing until I feel confident Covid-19 won’t kill me if I get it.
As expected, the national death toll has reached a horrifying 40,000 with over three-quarters of a million citizens infected. Many of the fastest growing outbreaks are in the midwest and the south, yet some residents in those regions have been protesting against stay-at-home orders–protests that have been disgracefully urged on by Trump’s Twitter feed. It seems increasingly likely that hot-spots are going to appear among Trump supporters who either believe the virus is an overblown hoax or believe that Jesus is protecting them. It’s a sad but predictable endpoint to the right’s three-decade anti-science, anti-learning, anti-intellectual project.
As of this writing, it looks like Congress is nearing a deal with the White House for a new round of coronavirus relief, including additional funding for the SBA’s empty Paycheck Protection Program and a separate emergency loan program for small businesses, as well as emergency funding for hospitals and much-needed funding for virus testing. The deal will come in around $470-billion and won’t include provisions for states and cities who have borne the brunt of the virus expenses as well as the economic losses. Many cities, including New York, are on the verge of fiscal disaster.
It’s obvious but it bears repeating. As Trump’s numbers fall and the election nears, he is becoming increasingly volatile and combative, and we have to expect a torrent of lies and smears and vile BS. He attacked Speaker Pelosi over the weekend, and he will attack Joe Biden every chance he gets. He’s going to lie about failing to respond to the virus, even though we all know he dithered while the infection spread. He’s going to lie about the World Health Organization. He’s going to lie about his briefings and warnings. He’s going to lie about testing. All Trump does is lie, and we have expect it and beat it back every day from here to the election.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”