Patterico's Pontifications

3/23/2020

Report: How U.S. Was Hampered By Missteps In Coronavirus Response

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:55 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Jim Geraghty considers the feeling of powerlessness that comes as a result of other’s bad decision-making:

Today’s Morning Jolt is a timeline that goes from the onset of symptoms of the first recorded coronavirus patient in Wuhan on December 1, to January 24, when the CDC confirmed the second case in the United States. In that interim, just about any chance to contain this virus was lost; everything after that was and is crisis management.

A clear-eyed look at the known facts around the coronavirus reveals a sequence of events and decisions that compounded error, denial, willful ignorance, coverup, and lies.

This is similar to the events leading up to other major catastrophes in history…You rarely see just one error that caused it. It’s usually a sequence of mistakes and bad decisions cascading and compounding the consequences, like a line of dominoes falling.

Life can be so unjust and randomly cruel sometimes that most of us prefer not to think about it. When something terrible or tragic happens, some people will try to find some way to explain how the victim’s actions or decisions led to the terrible event, and that as awful as it was, most of us don’t need to worry about that happening, because we make different decisions.

Good decision-making can lessen the chances that sudden tragedy will afflict our lives, but it cannot eliminate it…

With that, the AP has a report on the testing blunders that severely impacted US response to the virus as it spread:

A series of missteps at the nation’s top public health agency caused a critical shortage of reliable laboratory tests for the coronavirus, hobbling the federal response as the pandemic spread across the country like wildfire, an Associated Press review found.

President Donald Trump assured Americans early this month that the COVID-19 test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is “perfect” and that “anyone who wants a test can get a test.” But more than two months after the first U.S. case of the new disease was confirmed, many people still cannot get tested.

Four primary reasons for the delay were given that stymied the US response to the outbreak:

The Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the CDC, has begun an internal review to assess its own mistakes. But outside observers and federal health officials have pointed to four primary issues that together hampered the national response — the early decision not to use the test adopted by the World Health Organization, flaws with the more complex test developed by the CDC, government guidelines restricting who could be tested and delays in engaging the private sector to ramp up testing capacity.

Combined with messaging from the White House minimizing the disease, that fueled a lackluster response that missed chances to slow the spread of the virus, they said.

“There were many, many opportunities not to end up where we are,” Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the director of the Global Health Institute at Harvard, told the AP. “Basically, they took this as business as usual. … And that’s because the messaging from the White House was ‘this is not a big deal, this is no worse than the flu.’ So that message basically created no sense of urgency within the FDA or the CDC to fix it.”

Read the whole report.

–Dana

93 Responses to “Report: How U.S. Was Hampered By Missteps In Coronavirus Response”

  1. We’re still not where we need to be with testing:

    Even as private labs have been cleared by government regulators to process tens of thousands of additional tests in the last two weeks, experts warn that the nation is still falling well short of enough testing capacity to keep ahead of the highly contagious virus. And it can often take a week just to get results back.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  2. I would like to see information that the WHO offered those test kits to the US and/or that the US declined to use them. Everything I’ve read says that neither of those things happened and the WHO was focused on helping nations that lacked domestic resources.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  3. Why isn’t WSO’s January 14 statement that there was no reason to believe that this disease was communicable not listed as a roadblock? What they list drives the conclusions, or maybe the other way around.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  4. flaws with the more complex test developed by the CDC, government guidelines restricting who could be tested and delays in engaging the private sector to ramp up testing capacity.

    Yes, all of these mattered. Also the Chinese government’s initial impulse to censor and pretend, as well as the reluctance at “the White House” to shut the economy down.

    I also wonder about the recent reports that even where tests are plentiful, they are still not used without symptoms since there is a mask and gown shortage and testing exacerbates that.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  5. From CNN:

    No discussions occurred between WHO and the CDC about providing tests to the United States, WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told CNN on Tuesday, and WHO did not offer coronavirus tests to the CDC.

    The United States, Jasarevic confirmed, doesn’t ordinarily rely on WHO for tests because the US typically has the capacity to manufacture its own diagnostics.

    Jasarevic also said in an interview that the U.S. never asked for the tests either. I suppose had the U.S. asked, tests would have been provided. If you read the full report linked, there are some answers that seem somewhat evasive and contradictory.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  6. Reading the background timeline article seems more informative:

    https://www.nationalreview.com/the-morning-jolt/chinas-devastating-lies/

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  7. For instance:

    Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, also discussed why the United States had not adopted a test distributed by WHO as the CDC-developed test struggled.

    “Because quality testing for our American people is paramount to us,” Birx said before suggesting that other tests have been inaccurate. “It doesn’t help to put out a test where 50% or 47% are false positives.

    “Imagine what that would mean to the American people,” she added. “Imagine their level of concern now in telling people that they’re false positive.”

    The New York Times reported Tuesday that Birx later clarified her comments, saying that, while she was responding to a question about the WHO test, she was referring to a study of an early coronavirus test used in China.

    The study found that, in China, nearly half of asymptomatic people could test positive for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, without being actually infected.

    Regarding the test distributed by the World Health Organization, Birx said “I assume it is functional,” according to the Times.

    Dana (4fb37f)

  8. Today from Dr. Birx:

    Dr. Deborah Birx says the NY, NJ, Long Island area is of special concern. She says coronavirus has an attack rate close to 1 in 1,000 in this area.

    28% of submitted specimens are positive in this area.

    “This is the group that absolutely needs to social distance.”

    *The national average is 8% of all tests submitted are positive.*

    Dana (4fb37f)

  9. When did the WHO recommend travel restrictions? IIRC, they were singing a different tune when the US announced travel restrictions, as were many in the nation’s media, along with many Democrats, BIRM.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  10. I’m pretty sure the problem wasn’t that we actively refused the WHO test, it’s after the CDC one was found to be broken, we didn’t order the test from the German firm that makes the test that the WHO distributes to poor countries.

    Most western countries don’t typically get WHO testing kits, many did use it because the German company had it available immediately.

    The CDC didn’t have a backup plan if their test didn’t work, so there was a number of weeks delay.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  11. I posted this article about two weeks ago, didn’t get any response that I saw:

    “ Seattle infectious disease expert Dr. Helen Chu had, by January, collected a huge number of nasal swabs from local residents who were experiencing symptoms as part of a research project on flu. She proposed, to federal and state officials, testing those samples for coronavirus infections. As the Times reports, the CDC told Chu and her team that they could not test the samples unless their laboratory test was approved by the FDA. The FDA refused to approve Chu’s test on the grounds that her lab, according to the Times, “was not certified as a clinical laboratory under regulations established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a process that could take months.”

    In the meantime, the CDC required that public health officials could only use the diagnostic test designed by the agency. That test released on February 5 turned out to be badly flawed. The CDC’s insistence on a top-down centralized testing regime greatly slowed down the process of disease detection as the infection rate was accelerating.

    A frustrated Chu and her colleagues began testing on February 25 without government approval. They almost immediately detected a coronavirus infection in a local teenager with no recent travel history. Chu warned local public health officials of her lab’s finding and the teenager’s school was closed as a precaution. The teen’s diagnosis strongly suggested that the disease had been circulating throughout the western part of Washington for weeks. We now know that that is likely true.

    Did the FDA and CDC functionaries commend Chu for being proactive? Not at all. Washington state epidemiologist Scott Lindquist recalled, “What they said on that phone call very clearly was cease and desist to Helen Chu. Stop testing.” On February 29, the FDA finally agreed to unleash America’s vibrant biotech companies and academic labs by allowing them to develop and deploy new tests for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.”

    How Government Red Tape Stymied Testing and Made the Coronavirus Epidemic Worse

    https://reason.com/2020/03/11/how-government-red-tape-stymied-testing-and-made-the-coronavirus-epidemic-worse/?itm_source=parsely-api
    _

    harkin (b64479)

  12. Perhaps the time for a forensic policy colonoscopy is a few months down the road.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  13. The Dispatch also has an excellent timeline about how our federal government delayed the distribution of tests, and it was a cascade of bureaucratic flubs, not just one single thing. If we had a president who took this virus seriously from the get-go, lives would've been saved and countless Americans would not have been infected. It's not as if Trump wasn't warned, but he listens to Tucker Carlson and other FoxNews opinion hosts but not American intelligence professionals.
    The number of cases in South Korea has flattened, and they did it in a couple of ways: (1) they started testing South Koreans a week after the first confirmed case and can test up to  20,000 per day, at 98% accuracy; (2) they employed a "trace, test and treat" plan which helped prevent lockdowns and kept most folks working. The mortality rate is 1.2%, which is relatively low. The South Koreans didn't say "no" to the WHO test kits (and even Dr. Fauci acknowledged that the US could have used them as a "backup"), and the WHO has endorsed this methodology.

    Paul Montagu (df60ed)

  14. That is an absolutely damning report, harkin.

    She had the samples by January…

    Dana (4fb37f)

  15. Perspective…

    The following transpired in 2009 and took place before President 0bama declared a national emergency in the Fall of that year:

    “Since the H1N1 flu pandemic began in April, millions of people in the United States have been infected, at least 20,000 have been hospitalized and more than 1,000 have died, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/10/24/h1n1.obama/index.html

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  16. “That is an absolutely damning report, harkin.

    She had the samples by January…”

    When a local disease expert and school board is smarter than the CDC and the FDA…..but blame Trump I guess.

    harkin (b64479)

  17. One thing that should be added to the timeline: CES 2020 was held in Las Vegas Jan 7-10. It is probably the biggest tradeshow going, and a world-wide magnet for technical, marketing and distribution firms.

    In particular, it draws huge attendance from the Seattle and Silicon Valley areas, along with China, Japan and Korea. It is the electronics industry’s annual meet.

    And it is so jam packed with crowds of people that one could not find a worst place for contacts.

    Now, a story. My sister and brother-in-law live in Vegas, and he runs an electronics marketing firm, so of course he attended CES. A few days after, he came down with a 103 degree fever and a bad bad cough. My sister was surprised as “He never gets sick.” Then she got sick. Then his sone came to visit in February, and HE got sick. All the same symptoms.

    To me, this indicates that by the 2nd week in January, when the WHO was still parrotting the Chinese line about no human-to-human transfer, a lot of now-infected people headed back to Silicon Valley, Seattle, Korea and Japan to serve as vectors there.

    It would be interesting to see how well this ties in with all the epicenters.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  18. Of course, it’s anecdotal, but it has the ring of truth to me.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  19. I’m pretty sure the problem wasn’t that we actively refused the WHO test, it’s after the CDC one was found to be broken, we didn’t order the test from the German firm that makes the test that the WHO distributes to poor countries.

    Yes. Typical bureaucratic “not invented here” thing, unrelated to administrations or politics. Are you saying that Dr Trump the super-involved should have spotted the problem and directed his staff to “get those tests”?

    The next time a bureaucracy reacts quickly to a problem will be the first. Most of the time they don’t react at all.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  20. If we had a president who took this virus seriously from the get-go,

    What is the exact date of “the get-go?”

    Harkin’s 5:19 suggests that the CDC was not taking the virus seriously for quite some time. Maybe they had a different get-do date?

    BuDuh (841eb7)

  21. Perhaps the time for a forensic policy colonoscopy is a few months down the road.

    I’m pretty sure that there would be a long line of people willing to give Trump a colonoscopy. With flashlights.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  22. Yes. Typical bureaucratic “not invented here” thing, unrelated to administrations or politics. Are you saying that Dr Trump the super-involved should have spotted the problem and directed his staff to “get those tests”?

    The next time a bureaucracy reacts quickly to a problem will be the first. Most of the time they don’t react at all.

    With Dr. Orange the buck always stops over there with that guy. 10 out of 10.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  23. Some data points from the link in #6:

    January 14: Wuhan city health authorities release another statement declaring, “Among the close contacts, no related cases were found.” Wuhan doctors have known this was false since early December, from the first victim and his wife, who did not visit the market.

    The World Health Organization echoes China’s assessment: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China.”

    This is five or six weeks after the first evidence of human-to-human transmission in Wuhan.

    January 18: HHS Secretary Azar has his first discussion about the virus with President Trump. Unnamed “senior administration officials” told the Washington Post that “the president interjected to ask about vaping and when flavored vaping products would be back on the market.”

    Despite the fact that Wuhan doctors know the virus is contagious, city authorities allow 40,000 families to gather and share home-cooked food in a Lunar New Year banquet.

    Trump makes his first mistake (at his first opportunity) and the Chinese believe their own lies.

    January 22: WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus continued to praise China’s handling of the outbreak. “I was very impressed by the detail and depth of China’s presentation. I also appreciate the cooperation of China’s Minister of Health, who I have spoken with directly during the last few days and weeks. His leadership and the intervention of President Xi and Premier Li have been invaluable, and all the measures they have taken to respond to the outbreak.”

    In the preceding days, a WHO delegation conducted a field visit to Wuhan. They concluded, “deployment of the new test kit nationally suggests that human-to-human transmission is taking place in Wuhan.” The delegation reports, “their counterparts agreed close attention should be paid to hand and respiratory hygiene, food safety and avoiding mass gatherings where possible.”

    President Trump, in an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, declared, “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”

    On February 1, Dr. Li Wenliang tested positive for coronavirus. He died from it six days later.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  24. With Dr. Orange the buck always stops over there with that guy. 10 out of 10.

    Even the brightest president, not being told anything until Jan 18th, is going to act before then. Admittedly, it took him almost two weeks to take any action. But Obama didn’t act on H1N1 that fast either. It’s the system.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  25. What is the exact date of “the get-go?”

    The first confirmed American case on January 21. At the very latest, the first community spread case on February 26. But here’s how seriously Trump took it.
    Jan 22: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”
    Feb 2: “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”
    Feb 24: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
    Feb 25: “CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”
    Feb 25: “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away… They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”
    Feb 26: “The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”
    Feb 26: “We’re going very substantially down, not up.”
    Feb 27: “One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
    Feb 28: “We’re ordering a lot of supplies. We’re ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn’t be ordering unless it was something like this. But we’re ordering a lot of different elements of medical.”
    Mar 2: “You take a solid flu vaccine, you don’t think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?”
    Mar 2: “A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they’re happening very rapidly.”
    Mar 4: “If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”
    Mar 5: “I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.”
    Mar 5: “The United States… has, as of now, only 129 cases… and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!”
    Mar 6: “I think we’re doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down… a tremendous job at keeping it down.”
    Mar 6: “Anybody right now, and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They’re there. And the tests are beautiful…. the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good.”
    Mar 6: “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it … Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”
    Mar 6: “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”
    Mar 8: “We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus.”
    Mar 9: “This blindsided the world.”
    Mar 13: “National emergency, two big words.”
    Mar 17: “This is a pandemic…I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”

    Paul Montagu (df60ed)

  26. Here is the CNBC interview in Davos:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EKwarFuHzxg

    It is clear that Trump is relying on information that the CDC provided him at that point in time. Certainly January 22 wasn’t the “get-go” date. Unless the CDC wasn’t taking it seriously and misled Trump. Which would make that the CDC’s get-go date, not Trump’s.

    BuDuh (c4c5aa)

  27. Thanks, Paul. Which of those dates is the get-go date?

    BuDuh (c4c5aa)

  28. Jan 22: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”

    On the same day the head of the WHO said “I was very impressed by the detail and depth of China’s presentation. I also appreciate the cooperation of China’s Minister of Health, who I have spoken with directly during the last few days and weeks. His leadership and the intervention of President Xi and Premier Li have been invaluable, and all the measures they have taken to respond to the outbreak.”

    So, should Trump listen to the experts or not? Pick one.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  29. Some of the people here, like Dana, seem actually interested in looking for facts and truth. Us engineers call this “signal.” Others, on both “sides” seem to be out to score points. We call that “noise.”

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  30. Even the brightest president, not being told anything until Jan 18th, is going to act before then. Admittedly, it took him almost two weeks to take any action. But Obama didn’t act on H1N1 that fast either. It’s the system

    Heck, it’s almost like March is more than 2 weeks later.

    On February 25, Trump promised that a vaccine would be available soon. “Now they have it, they have studied it, they know very much, in fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”

    February 26 “We’re going down, not up. We’re going very substantially down, not up.”

    February 27, he predicted: “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”

    On March 6, “Anybody that wants a test can get a test. That’s what the bottom line is.”

    March 15 “This is a very contagious this is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible. But it’s something that we have tremendous control of.”

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  31. The earlier, because that’s when the CDC started their bollixed testing process.

    Paul Montagu (df60ed)

  32. On the same day the head of the WHO said “I was very impressed by the detail and depth of China’s presentation. I also appreciate the cooperation of China’s Minister of Health, who I have spoken with directly during the last few days and weeks. His leadership and the intervention of President Xi and Premier Li have been invaluable, and all the measures they have taken to respond to the outbreak.”

    So, should Trump listen to the experts or not? Pick one.

    That’s not between Trump and Trump. The WHO is one group, Xi is a different human person, Trump a third. Plus, he’d been warned by his own employees that he was spouting lies, at the time.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  33. Some of the people here, like Dana, seem actually interested in looking for facts and truth. Us engineers call this “signal.” Others, on both “sides” seem to be out to score points. We call that “noise.”

    You’re not searching for a signal in the noise, this is a plain in the clear signal, using English words with plain meaning. Rooting in the dung for a nugget of truth out of his lies is just silly. He lies, all the time, when he speaks, tweets, whatever.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  34. So, should Trump listen to the experts or not? Pick one.

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 3/23/2020 @ 6:48 pm

    Trump should have taken into consideration the probability or possibility that the Chinese were giving out bad information.

    Trump, the stable genius manager, should have poked around at his staff and asked, suppose it does get here? Andbthen taken some prepatory steps based on that.

    Kishnevi (871225)

  35. The earlier, because that’s when the CDC started their bollixed testing process.

    I don’t understand. What date?

    BuDuh (c2ebf8)

  36. The fact of the matter is that Trump screwed up on several occasions. So did WHO. So did CDC. So did the EU. And China was pernicious. It was only until everyone realized that China was lying to them that there was any hope of moving forward. China’s lies hurt.

    But even then more could have been done. Flights could have stopped from China a week sooner. A global isolation of China could have started then, too. Neither thing happened quickly, but the US was faster than most. Trump’s next mistake was not preparing the way for a serious containment attempt. It’s silly to suppose that he could have ordered lock-downs in early February. Anyone who tells you he could is stupid or lying. The outcry about the dictator would have been overwhelming from all quarters. But he could have prepared the path, and he did the opposite.

    The US is still flying people around the country. Spring break crowds were undiminished. The pain that companies and workers are going through with regards to the shutdown is being wasted by local officials who don’t want to miss the available buck.

    Meh. There is so incredibly much blame to go around that a better idea is to work to the future rather than dig up the past.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  37. 36. And the moral of the story is:

    When there’s life on the line, don’t trust bureaucrats. At all. Ever. Anywhere.

    Gryph (08c844)

  38. Also, after the WHO quote posted above, the guy continued:

    “There was an excellent discussion during the committee today, but it was also clear that to proceed, we need more information.”

    That’s a far cry from “We have it totally under control.”

    Yes Trump should listen to experts. A whole wide range of them, especially the experts in his own country.

    JRH (52aed3)

  39. 38. Caution is called for when expertise and bureaucracy overlap

    Gryph (08c844)

  40. “Meh. There is so incredibly much blame to go around that a better idea is to work to the future rather than dig up the past”

    Great idea but if the guy at the top won’t stop lying and bullsh!tting it’s going to be hard.

    JRH (52aed3)

  41. The fact of the matter is that Trump screwed up on several occasions. So did WHO. So did CDC. So did the EU. And China was pernicious. It was only until everyone realized that China was lying to them that there was any hope of moving forward. China’s lies hurt.

    Trump said 10 out of 10. That means perfect, he believes he hasn’t made a mistake, so should we believe he’s learned from his screw ups?

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  42. It’s also fun to point out how bad Trump is. He talked so much crap about W and Obama and then goes and makes them look like George Washington.

    Can you imagine how Trump would characterize this performance if W were president right now? “Trump Pandemic” is nothing compared to that. I know he likes to make the other side live up to their own set of rules, so it’s great to not bother cutting this incompetent crook any slack.

    Question: how many days has Trump played golf since he was told this virus was a serious threat?

    Dustin (b18b7a)

  43. Trump said 10 out of 10.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IV79EIZVuHQ

    YMMV

    BuDuh (c2ebf8)

  44. Question: how many days has Trump played golf since he was told this virus was a serious threat?

    The jury is still out on the “get-go” date, but this may help:

    https://trumpgolfcount.com/displayoutings

    I can’t vouch for the accuracy at the links link.

    BuDuh (c2ebf8)

  45. Yeah, that’s where Trump learned his leadership. From Hollywood actors, directors, and scriptwriters. Along with pussy-grabbing. YMMV

    nk (1d9030)

  46. I hope everyone here and their loved ones stay safe and healthy.

    Take care.

    BuDuh (c2ebf8)

  47. There is certainly much to criticize in China’s response, but the “Comprehensive Timeline” oversells the case.

    For instance, the timeline says:

    December 6: According to a study in The Lancet, the symptom onset date of the first patient identified was “Dec 1, 2019 . . . 5 days after illness onset, his wife, a 53-year-old woman who had no known history of exposure to the market, also presented with pneumonia and was hospitalized in the isolation ward.” In other words, as early as the second week of December, Wuhan doctors were finding cases that indicated the virus was spreading from one human to another.

    Diabolical! Except the next entry is:

    December 21: Wuhan doctors begin to notice a “cluster of pneumonia cases with an unknown cause.”

    So it wasn’t for more than two weeks after he claims “Wuhan doctors were finding cases that indicated the virus was spreading from one human to another” that there was *any* indication that there *was* some kind of unusual cluster of cases.

    All they knew between December 6 and December 21 was that a guy and his wife, out of the billion+ people in China, came down with something at the same time. There were no genetic tests for almost a month after December 6, and it’s unclear that those two people identified as the first cases were even tested.

    In many other places, he conspiratorially refers back to December 6 as the date that the Chinese learned of the virus, which is very dishonest. Late December is when there began to be evidence of something beyond a localized pneumonia outbreak, and the Chinese contacted the WHO on December 31.

    Starting on December 31, and for three weeks, the Wuhan health authorities issue regular statements to the effect that:

    “The investigation so far has not found any obvious human-to-human transmission and no medical staff infection.” (December 31)

    Identical statements followed on January 3, 5, 8 and 11.

    On January 10, doctors say they found a clear case of a family who traveled to Wuhan, got sick, and infected a relative when they returned home. This study was published in a journal on January 20, and may form the basis for the announcement on that date (finally) saying it was transmissible.

    On January 14, he oversells again:

    Wuhan city health authorities release another statement declaring, “Among the close contacts, no related cases were found.” Wuhan doctors have known this was false since early December, from the first victim and his wife, who did not visit the market.

    In early December they didn’t even know there was anything unusual happening! They didn’t know, until later analysis, that these people had the coronavirus, because in early December they didn’t even know there was a coronavirus.

    Also, in an academic setting, scientists are supposed to be cautious in their claims. The statement “there is no clear evidence for A” does NOT mean “there is clear evidence for not A”.

    Another factor that may have confounded attempts to find “clear evidence” is the now well-known high rate of non-symptomatic cases. If you expect that transmissibility should result in 90% of the close contacts being infected, and you only find 20% of the close contacts being infected, then that 20% is not “clear evidence”. It’s ambiguous evidence. Nevertheless, prudence should have dictated caution in the other direction; assume it is transmissible unless you have conclusive evidence to the contrary.

    Any evidence against human-human transmission seems to rest on the repeated claims of no medical personnel being infected, which if the reports cited in the timeline are accurate, is untrue. They may well be the result of somebody lying under political pressure, although what anyone hoped to gain from that is hard to understand. People often do irrational things short-sightedly, and in totalitarian systems there is an even stronger than usual incentive not to be the bearer of bad news. If one asks qui bono? the local officials seem like the best candidates, although the unaccountable national leadership can’t be ruled out either, if they foolishly believed it was something that would “magically disappear” (to coin a phrase…).

    Whether it was dishonesty, confusion or incompetence, they definitely screwed up on the question of human-human transmission. Not by 6 weeks (from early December) but pretty clearly for 2-3 weeks, from late December/early January.

    Dave (1bb933)

  48. Heads up:

    A loss of smell or taste might be an early sign of infection with the pandemic virus, say medical experts who cite reports from several countries.

    It might even serve as a useful screening tool, they say.“

    https://apnews.com/d76ada1591406fd26085201203ab253d
    _

    harkin (467f23)

  49. The CDC, and FDA, did their SOP and screwed the pooch. The CDC lied to President Trump, and everybody else that asked. President Trump is supposed to “listen to the experts”.
    Concerning the CDC, and FDA fubar, President Trump exposed that. Every other president for the last 30 years would have covered up the whole fiasco

    What Specific actions did President Trump refuse to implement. I’ve asked this question repeatedly, and even with 20/20 hindsight have refused to venture an answer.

    The post lays out a pretty damming review of bureaucratic cluster jerk response. But somehow President Trump following the advice of his experts is the fall guy. You leftist are piece of work. Politics first, dying people are just a statistic. Pathetic.

    Iowan2 (bbb95d)

  50. “So, should Trump listen to the experts or not? Pick one.”

    What date was the intelligence briefing that made all those senators dump their stock?

    Davethulhu (3857ea)

  51. LA is limiting testing. Not due to lack of tests, but lack of PPE

    Why doesn’t the nation have a stock pile of PPE for such pandemics?

    Because when the supplies were used for fighting the swing flu,(talk about speciesism!) 2009 The CDC never restocked. surprise. But the reserve stocks of PPE is something the President(R)of the United States should have demanded an inventory of.

    Iowan2 (bbb95d)

  52. From today’s executive order 202.10 by the piece of human excrement known as New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo:

    No pharmacist shall dispense hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine except when written as prescribed for an FDA-approved indication; or as part of a state approved clinical trial related to COVID-19 for a patient who has tested positive for COVID-19, with such test result documented as part of the prescription. No other experimental or prophylactic use shall be permitted, and any permitted prescription is limited to one fourteen day prescription with no refills.

    Make America Ordered Again (28befd)

  53. So you think PPE’s last 11 years? Well, that definitely explains some things.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  54. 48. Dr Fauci said that is not true because 3 double blind studies have not been conducted. Recommendations based on Anecdotal accounts aren’t to be considered.

    Iowan2 (bbb95d)

  55. 53. Hell no they don’t last 11 years. Especially when the RESERVE EMERGENCY supplies are sent out, and the CDC never replenishes them. For 11 years the CDC with the $6.6 billion budget, could not be bothered to replenish reserve emergency stock of PPE equipment. #President Trumps fault.

    Iowan2 (bbb95d)

  56. Dr Fauci said that is not true because 3 double blind studies have not been conducted. Recommendations based on Anecdotal accounts aren’t to be considered.

    He didn’t say that of course. It would be nice to have a single study. One actual scientific study. Currently there are zero.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  57. The CDC, and FDA, did their SOP and screwed the pooch.

    Humphrey Bogart agrees with you, Iowan2.

    nk (1d9030)

  58. The FDA has relaxed double-blind testing rules in the past for compassionate use. I think they should now if indeed there is even a chance that chloroquine could help flatten the curve.

    Gryph (08c844)

  59. Trump said 10 out of 10. That means perfect, he believes he hasn’t made a mistake, so should we believe he’s learned from his screw ups?

    You can if you want. But the 2-minute hate I keep seeing here isn’t productive.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  60. Also, in an academic setting, scientists are supposed to be cautious in their claims. The statement “there is no clear evidence for A” does NOT mean “there is clear evidence for not A”.

    Especially after they haul off the 7 guys who were less cautious.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  61. I do wish that Trump (and everyone else) would STFU about this malaria drug. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t, but ARGUMENT won’t be the way that is decided.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  62. From the Jim Geraghty article quoted in this post:

    This is similar to the events leading up to other major catastrophes in history.

    So this virus outbreak is now, presumptively and without anyone taking a moment to contextualize the events and the numbers, among the “major catastrophes in history.”

    Everyone still remembers that ordinary flu viruses infect millions worldwide every year, and kill hundreds of thousands (conservatively estimated), right? The major-ness of a “catastrophe” is not determined by how many minutes of airtime it gets in the news media.

    I’m not saying this virus isn’t causing deaths. It certainly is. But has anyone bothered to check how their nation is faring, numbers-wise, during this winter’s annual common flu epidemic?

    Probably not. And why not? Because we are hearing about nothing but coronavirus all day, every day, whereas we almost never hear about the common flu, even in a normal year. And yet normal flu death totals are brutal, if you just look at the numbers without applying any real-life context (human frailty, the power of Mother Nature, the inevitable fact that we’re all going to die of something, etc.).

    If we’re honest, we all know that many thousands of people die of the flu every year, most (though of course not all) of them older people with underlying health problems. And yet we don’t criminalize people who decide they have to go to work today in spite of having come down with a flu bug, or those who visit grandma for Easter two days after going to a restaurant where the friend they met was coughing during dinner.

    We all wish that the student in our class, or the co-worker in our office, who came in sick as a dog, would have stayed home. And if we are being responsible, we don’t visit elderly friends or relatives when we think we might be coming down with something. But we never think — at least I don’t — that we have the right to impose a “stay at home” order on all our neighbors, in the name of protecting ourselves (or others) from a virus which we have no reason to believe those neighbors have, or, for that matter, a virus which we have no reason to believe we ourselves have not already contracted and fought off. How is this thinking fundamentally different from trying to end a crime wave by locking the entire society in prison?

    “Oh, but this is different! It’s one of the major catastrophes of history!”

    But so is the modern world advancing blindly into ever-expanding tyrannical state authority as its default response during a crisis. I guess it all depends on how one ranks the relative severity of one’s catastrophes.

    If we follow the news media and the current crop of “statesmen,” we’ll certainly come down on the side of prioritizing physical safety over every other concern, including freedom and the principles of moral self-reliance.

    If we could tune those inherently anti-liberal voices out for a moment, we might come to a different conclusion. But we won’t. Modern decay has proceeded way past that point, I’m afraid. Keeping our bodies alive at all costs — or in this case fantasizing that a government crackdown might achieve this — is the only thing that matters to us anymore.

    Daren Jonescu (2f5857)

  63. 62. Interesting take, Daren. Perhaps if we cede the ground that this is a major catastrophe of historic proportions, we’ve already lost the debate over just what government should do.

    Gryph (08c844)

  64. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Explains Why, At Almost 70, He’s Willing To Take The Risk And Put America ‘Back To Work’

    Republican Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made his case for putting America “back to work” despite the risk the coronavirus epidemic poses to older Americans, including himself.

    Patrick’s Monday night appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” came about because of a “very different” text he sent Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

    “I don’t pretend to be speaking for everyone 70 plus, but I think there were lots of grandparents out there who would agree with me that I want my grandchildren to live in the America I did,” Patrick told Carlson in the text. “I want them to have a shot at the American Dream but right now this virus which all the experts say that 98% of all people will survive is killing our country in another way. It could bring about a total economic collapse and potentially a collapse of our society. So I say let’s give this a few more days or weeks but after that, let’s go back to work and go back to living. Those who want to shelter in place can still do so, but we can’t live with this uncertainty.”….

    You first.

    RipMurdock (84ff09)

  65. @49 Who at the CDC lied to Trump? He didn’t run through the halls asking questions from the entire CDC staff. He didn’t stand outside and stare at the windows while the building lied to him. Who at the CDC lied to Trump? Who at the FDA?

    If Trump’s people are lying to him, it’s not a time to complacently accept dishonesty and incompetence from his subordinates, this would be kick butt, take names, and get some competent people in to fight this thing time. A good leader doesn’t accept lies from his subordinates, especially ones that undermine his ability to make good decisions. If Trump’s people are incompetent and dishonest, he needs to sort that ish out because if he doesn’t and things keep going pear-shaped, that is also on him.

    Nic (896fdf)

  66. I don’t understand. What date?

    I already said it once.

    Paul Montagu (df60ed)

  67. The CDC lied to President Trump…

    How and when did that happen?

    Paul Montagu (df60ed)

  68. Because when the supplies were used for fighting the swing flu,(talk about speciesism!) 2009 The CDC never restocked. surprise…

    And Trump three years to replenish those supplies. This is yet another case of blame-shifting. The reality is that both Obama and Trump are responsible.

    Paul Montagu (df60ed)

  69. 67. “From my conversations with members of the task force, both inside and outside the administration,” Meekins told Sinclair in an exclusive interview, “The U.S. government, from Secretary Azar to the president relied on the Centers for Disease Control to produce a test; they failed….CDC said they would handle it….What we have found out is that these leaders at the CDC lied to both the HHS secretary and, by extension, the president. And as a result the nation got weeks behind.”
    https://abc3340.com/news/nation-world/exclusive-former-hhs-official-claims-cdc-leaders-lied-to-trump-over-coronavirus-testing

    The CDC told the White House they would have all the tests needed. Do not involve outside interests. This is the lie. Good old fashioned CYA

    Iowan2 (bbb95d)

  70. And Trump three years to replenish those supplies. This is yet another case of blame-shifting. The reality is that both Obama and Trump are responsible.

    Paul Montagu (df60ed) — 3/23/2020 @ 10:27 pm

    Explain exactly how the President is supposed to know such an emergency reserved exists? What level it should be at?
    Your statement is stupid on stilts.

    Oh I got it. President Obama ordered the CDC not to replenish, hoping a Republican administration would get hung by the shortage. It is wild partisan speculation, but that’s a commodity you understand.

    Iowan2 (bbb95d)

  71. Yes, I’m sure “Mistakes were Made” – they always are. No response is perfect to any unforseen situation. Does the author mention that Trump’s Chinese travel ban was opposed by all the Democrats and the liberal chattering classes? Or that they attacked the EU ban as…wait for it…Xenophobia?

    OR that they STILL oppose controlling the Mexican American border to keep out sick people and crooks?

    rcocean (1a839e)

  72. The DNC-Press and the Democrats (along with the never-trumpers like French and Kristol who are defacto Democrats) have a new Narrative. Its one they will push until November 2020. “Trump moved too slowly, if only he’d done X, we could have avoided all this.” And “Once He finally came to his senses, Trump didn’t know what to do, and its only due to Dr. Fauci and some others that we were saved”. And the NYT’s and others are laying the ground work to accuse Trump of ending the shutdown too soon.

    In other words, the 92% Negative Trump coverage won’t stop no matter what Trump does

    rcocean (1a839e)

  73. @72, That narrative you laid out seems to fit the facts, except that the EU ban was mostly criticized for being incompetently executed. For contrast look at how much better the travel stoppage with Canada was executed. It’s not just what the administration does, it’s also how poorly they do it.

    Time123 (ea2b98)

  74. That’s because the U.S. Secretary of Transportation is Mitch McConnell’s Chinese wife. Dual loyalties.

    nk (1d9030)

  75. This is the lie. Good old fashioned CYA.

    Your cite is from a single source, not currently employed by HHS, and that single source is a Trump loyalist who also said, “The biggest current threat to the president’s reelection is this thing getting out of control and creating a health and economic impact.”
    I’ll await further confirmation on your assertion.

    Paul Montagu (df60ed)

  76. Thuis is the direct link to the Morning Jolt timeline:

    https://www.nationalreview.com/the-morning-jolt/chinas-devastating-lies

    Sammy Finkelman (9974e8)

  77. After we get past this, perhaps they can find a vaccine for TDS!!!

    Colonel Haiku (ac91f9)

  78. Explain exactly how the President is supposed to know such an emergency reserved exists?

    It’s on Trump’s watch, just like it was on Obama’s watch. I don’t understand why the concept of shared responsibility is so hard for you. Trump never took the idea of a major pandemic seriously. He had an October 2019 report that well showed the repercussions.

    Paul Montagu (df60ed)

  79. “ That’s because the U.S. Secretary of Transportation is Mitch McConnell’s Chinese wife. ”

    She’s Taiwanese and was born in Taipei, but I’m sure the CCP would agree with your designation.

    Her parents survived the Japanese occupation and the Chinese Civil War. Her mother, named Mulan after the folklore warrior, traveled back through Japanese-controlled territory to retrieve the family’s buried savings…..at the age of eight. Both her parents escaped communist China in the late 40s and then immigrated in the 50s. Their story is a brilliant example of the American dream:

    “ They married in 1951 and began their family. When she was seven months pregnant with their third daughter in 1958, her husband achieved the highest score ever on the National Maritime Master’s Examination, and he had an opportunity to study in the United States, rare for those times. They only had resources for Chao’s husband to travel to the United States, and it took three years of separation before they were reunited in the U.S. Their family settled for several years in Jamaica, New York, and later moved to Syosset, New York. They reared six daughters; four of them attended the Harvard Business School.
    __ _

    “Chinese wife” sounds like short shrift.
    _

    harkin (b64479)

  80. “Chinese wife” sounds like short shrift.

    I’m sure Mitch McConnell is much more swayed by corporate interests and back-scratching than the fact that his wife comes from capitalist Taiwan.

    I think ethnicity and such can matter. I’m not discounting the possibility. But realistically, that’s probably got a much bigger hold over him and I don’t think most people from Taiwan are big fans of the regime in mainland China anyway.

    Make America Ordered Again (23f793)

  81. She sounds a lot like Colonel Vindman.

    nk (1d9030)

  82. @82, except for the part where he was injured in Combat.

    Time123 (69b2fc)

  83. Sometimes you gotta cut a motherf***er tweak a Trumpkin, Time123.

    nk (1d9030)

  84. How would Trump know someone lied to him? He seems to make up reality as he goes.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  85. How would Trump know someone lied to him? He seems to make up reality as he goes.

    Good question. His definition of untruth appears to be anything that makes him look bad. He lies so casually and so prolifically as to indicate that he probably has no sense of true/false apart from self-interest.

    It never ceases to amaze me that the people who are completely unbothered by Trump’s routine dishonesty can pretend to be morally offended that someone “lied to Trump” or “lied about Trump.” Same for any number of other sins that are to be indulged in Trump, but no one else.

    And then those people assert that anyone who would hold Trump to the same standards they apply to all others is “deranged.’

    Radegunda (39c35f)

  86. NK, i was trying to extend your joke, not argue with it.

    I’m great at humor. If you don’t believe me i’ll send you the regression file that proves it’s true.

    Time123 (ea2b98)

  87. I know, Time123. So was I. That was a quote from John Wick 3 (Laurence Fishburne’s character).

    nk (1d9030)

  88. CORONAVIRUS TREATMENT DEVELOPED BY GILEAD SCIENCES GRANTED “RARE DISEASE” STATUS, POTENTIALLY LIMITING AFFORDABILITY
    ON MONDAY AFTERNOON, the Food and Drug Administration granted Gilead Sciences “orphan” drug status for its antiviral drug, remdesivir. The designation allows the pharmaceutical company to profit exclusively for seven years from the product, which is one of dozens being tested as a possible treatment for Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

    Experts warn that the designation, reserved for treating “rare diseases,” could block supplies of the antiviral medication from generic drug manufacturers and provide a lucrative windfall for Gilead Sciences, which maintains close ties with President Donald Trump’s task force for controlling the coronavirus crisis. Joe Grogan, who serves on the White House coronavirus task force, lobbied for Gilead from 2011 to 2017 on issues including the pricing of pharmaceuticals. …..
    …..The law is reserved for drugs that treat illnesses that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. But a loophole allows drugs that treat more common illnesses to be classified as orphans if the designation is given before the disease reaches that threshold. As of press time, there were more than 40,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the U.S, and some 366,000 worldwide.

    The distinction could severely limit supply of remdesivir by granting Gilead Sciences exclusive protection over the drug and complete control of its price. Other pharmaceutical firms, including India-based pharmaceutical firm Cipla, are reportedly working toward a generic form of remdesivir, but patients in the U.S. could be prevented from buying generics with lower prices now that Gilead Sciences’s drug has been designated an orphan.

    Today, Gilead abruptly announced that it would no longer provide emergency access to remdesivir, telling the New York Times that “overwhelming demand” left it unable to process requests for the drug through its compassionate use program. Hours later, the FDA gave the drug orphan status. Almost immediately, Gilead’s stock price shot up. Gilead did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The White House, on behalf of Grogan, declined to comment on the record.

    The special orphan designation to remdesivir was granted despite hefty support by the government for the development of the drug.

    Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir was developed with at least $79 million in U.S. government funding, according to a paper published last week by KEI. …..The U.S. National Institute Allergies and Infectious Diseases continued providing significant taxpayer funding to subsidize the development of remdesivir. NIAID grants to Columbia University, Vanderbilt University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the University of Alabama subsequently found that remdesivir prevents virus replication in a range of coronaviruses in human lung cells.

    RipMurdock (d2a2a8)

  89. In one week, company can manufacture a portable basic medical pod for isolated exams, testing or treatment.

    DRJ (15874d)

  90. “How U.S. Was Hampered By Missteps In Coronavirus Response:”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDYautIQaEU

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  91. Vindman was a brave man who received some minor wounds driving his boss around.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  92. You sure that wasn’t Pete Buttcreek?

    urbanleftbehind (1e2c6a)


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