America reached yet another grim milestone yesterday as the daily coronavirus count of new cases hit a national record high. Officials across the nation recorded 36,880 new cases, topping the prior record from April. The virus has been resurging in over a dozen states with Texas, Florida and Arizona hitting new records daily. The numbers have been so bad in Florida that the grotesquely arrogant yet incompetent governor, DeSantis, is finally admitting that the rise in cases may be due to more than just increased testing–what many observers have been screaming at him for weeks.
A distressing dimension to the resurgence has been the number of cases involving younger people. As testing becomes more widespread, we can see that many more young people are or were infected than previously thought. In fact the median age of infection in the USA is 48. People over 70 are the most likely to die, but people under 50 are no less likely to become infected than older citizens, they are just less likely to require immediate hospitalization. But doctors are noticing many more young people with chronic, long-term complications from Covid, which has dire implications for public health in the years ahead.
The latest surge in cases puts more pressure on governors of stricken states to increase lockdown measures, and motivates governors in other states to be wary. Governor Cuomo announced that the Tri-State coalition of NY-NJ-CT would try to restrict travelers from a short list of hot-spot states, requiring anybody from those states to quarantine for 14 days if traveling into the Tri-State region. The surge has also spooked the stock market, which fell 700 points yesterday and was down further last night in overseas trading. If the economy remains shut down in certain population centers like Miami, Houston and/or Phoenix it will hamper any economic recovery, especially since our federal government is completely absent from the arena. Trump has quit the field and left the battle to the states in what may be the most disastrous abdication of responsibility in presidential history.
Another presidential disaster is unfolding in the Department of Justice. Former Federal prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky testified to the House yesterday and reiterated that he and his team prosecuting Trump-crony Roger Stone were pressured to reduce Stone’s sentence not for any legitimate legal reason but because Stone was a friend of Trump and the top dogs at the DOJ didn’t want to make Trump angry. Zelinsky named the superiors involved, providing the House Judiciary Committee with a road-map of people to call in or subpoena to dig further into what seems to be an abuse of power, likely by AG Barr himself. Judiciary Chair Nadler tweeted this after the hearing:
Mr. Barr’s work at the Department of Justice has nothing to do with correcting injustice. He is the President’s fixer. He has shown us that there is one set of rules for the President’s friends, and another set of rules for the rest of us.
Walter Shaub, lawyer and former Director of the Office of Government Ethics, tweeted this when the Zelinsky story broke:
…it’s crucial that the House impeach Bill Barr. It doesn’t matter if the Senate will convict. What matters is that the House forcefully declare that turning criminal prosecution into a political weapon or shield is a breach of norms that the republic will not tolerate.
It’s worth noting that yesterday’s hearing included an episode where a witness was reading a damning statement about Bill Barr but was interrupted by Republican Rep Louie Gohmert repeatedly banging his desk. Chastised by the Chair, Gohmert tried to claim that there were no rule prohibiting him from making noise, so the Chair finally had to ask the Sargent at Arms to remove Gohmert. The incident was another low point of ridiculous, childish behavior from a Republican in a hearing led by Democrats. Republicans can no longer participate in House hearings without throwing tantrums and pretending that whatever is going on that day is “the worst thing our Congress has ever endured and all because of the mean, horrible Democrats!!!” Under Trump they’ve all become a bunch of third-grade whiners.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”