Donald Trump Jr. says that every American should see this two-minute video of Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House coronavirus task force refuting some of the scaremongering that the media have been circulating. We already linked to it, but didn’t highlight it, so it seems like a good idea to do it again:
A few major points: Here in America, there is no shortage of hospital beds or ventilators for COVID-19 (Chinese) virus patients. There are no “do not resuscitate” orders for patients over 60. These doomsday claims are predictions based on a computer model of the future spread of the virus that has so far proven to be wildly exaggerated. The head of the team at Imperial College UK that created it just downgraded its initial estimate of 550,000 dead in the UK to less than 20,000. Of course, that’s terrible, but it’s about 97.3% lower than the initial prediction. And the UK was not as prepared for this as we were.
In a related story, the media are spinning the numbers of confirmed cases to make it appear that the US is the very epicenter of the pandemic. But is that a case of “GIGO”: the number crunchers’ term for “garbage in, garbage out,” or using faulty numbers to extrapolate false conclusions? See for yourself:
Of course, this is not meant to suggest that anyone should stop taking extreme precautions to avoid contamination and stop the spread of this potentially deadly disease. It is especially bad in certain places, such as New York City, which is densely populated and where the political leaders were still urging people to go out and mingle just a few weeks ago. But the narrative that it’s the end of the world and we’re totally unprepared for it is the result of equal parts Trump Derangement Syndrome and the need to fill 24 hours a day with “news” and commentary when there’s only one story to talk about.
That’s why you should rely on us for your news and commentary. If it’s really important, we’ll tell you about it. Until then, my poor staffers and I read the news – and the “news” -- so you don’t have to.
President Trump has been under fire by the left for not exercising the Defense Production Act and taking over private industries to force them to join the fight against the COVID-19 (Wuhan) coronavirus. In fact, Trump has invoked the powers of that Act, he just hadn’t exercised them – until now.
Previously, Trump said it wasn’t necessary because all companies had voluntarily retooled to help. But this week, he got frustrated waiting for GM (which owes its continued existence to a federal bailout, hence the nickname, “Government Motors) and invoked the Act’s powers to order GM to stop “wasting time” with negotiating prices and output numbers and start making ventilators.
He also tweeted, in all-caps, “FORD, GET STARTED ON VENTILATORS FAST!!!!!!” but without phrasing it as an official order to Ford…yet.
So the automakers have their marching orders, and here’s one for the media: The switch has been flipped again. Having gone from calling Trump an autocratic dictator to complaining that he’s not enough of an autocratic dictator, you can now go back to calling him an autocratic dictator again until further notice. That is all.
Friday, the FDA granted emergency use approval to a new COVID-19 coronavirus test by Abbott Labs, just one day after Vice President Pence announced it and only a few months after the virus emerged from China (and it did.) The test can detect positive results in five minutes, and negative results in under 15 minutes.
Within a matter of weeks, we’ve gone from tests that take days to 90 minutes to 45 minutes to five minutes. It once again proves how much can be done with amazing speed, thanks to human ingenuity and modern technology, if you can just get the government out of the way.
Speaking of which...
President Trump and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are exchanging accusations over who is responsible for problems her state is having in obtaining supplies to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. You can read the details here if you want, but frankly, I think most Americans aren’t in the mood for partisan fingerpointing. If there are problems, they need to be solved now, and you can argue over blame later.
However, on a more pressing issue, Gov. Whitmer is not filling her constituents with confidence that she’s putting their best interests ahead of politics by following Nevada Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in playing doctor without a license. Both Governors have issued orders banning doctors from the off-label use of hydroxychloroquine, particularly in combination with the drug Azithromycin, which has shown promise in early use in several nations, but which has been under attack by the left as a "false hope" because President Trump spoke of it positively.
Whitmer’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs issued a letter threatening action against the medical licenses of any doctors who prescribe it for the coronavirus, requiring health care providers who learn of a doctor prescribing it to report them to the state, and banning pharmacists from filling prescriptions for it.
Yes, it’s true that we haven’t had years of clinical trials of this drug, but when you’re in a situation where nothing else is working, death may be near and you don’t have years to spend on clinical trials, the decision about what last-ditch drug to try should rest with the doctor and patient, not state or federal bureaucrats. This is why Trump pushed for and signed the “Right To Try Law,” to stop the FDA from “protecting” terminal patients into the grave by denying them experimental treatments until after they’re long dead.
At this link is a first-hand account by a Michigan COVID-19 patient, Jim Santilli, who believes he was just hours away from death when his doctor gave him this treatment, and he began a rapid recovery. You can imagine how he feels about his Governor banning doctors from even trying it:
Santilli writes, “This is unacceptable and I’m confident Governor Whitmer, and her administration, will be responsible for many deaths and much suffering. I highly recommend she stop the politics, and not discourage doctors from using treatment they believe may work.”
While some early studies of the drug have shown great promise, there’s no proof that it’s a magic bullet. There are flaws in the studies, conflicting results, and potential side effects. You can read more about them in this article:
But the bottom line, as that story states in its headline, is, “What if hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work? What if it does? Right now, we don’t know.” It quotes a health data analyst as saying, “When dealing with a pandemic, listen to experts who are used to grappling with these problems.”
I assume that would mean doctors, not Governors.
I hope you all have constitutions like “Mr. P.” the anonymous man in Rimini, Italy, who is already home and recovering from the COVID-19 virus. He’s 101 years old and was born in 1919, during the Spanish flu pandemic, becoming the only known person to have survived both deadly worldwide pandemics, over a century apart.
The mayor called his recovery “truly extraordinary” and said he gives us all hope. She said his story teaches us that even at 101 years, "the future is not written." I’ll bet that when the future is written, Mr. P. will still be around to write it.
Inspiring Video: A Chino, California, high school choir that had to miss a dream trip to compete in Boston made the best of it by coming together in harmony over the Internet to share their rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with the world.