Patterico's Pontifications


President Trump To Introduce New Coronavirus Guidelines

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:48 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Working toward his goal of having the economy up and running by Easter (April 12), President Trump is proposing new guidelines based on geographic risk:

President Trump said in a letter to U.S. governors on Thursday that his administration is working to publish new guidelines for state and local governments to use when making decisions about “maintaining, increasing or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures” for the coronavirus epidemic.

Trump said officials are gathering testing data that will suggest guidelines categorizing counties as “high risk, medium risk or low risk” for the virus. The data will drive “the next phase” of the response, he said.

Here is the critical part of his letter:

This is what we envision: Our expanding testing capabilities will quickly enable us to publish criteria, developed in close coordination with the Nation’s public health officials and scientists, to help classify counties with respect to continued risk posed by the virus. This will incorporate robust surveillance testing, which allows us to monitor the spread of the virus throughout the country. Under these data-driven criteria, we will suggest guidelines categorizing counties as high-risk, medium-risk, or low-risk.

With each passing day, our increasingly extensive testing capabilities are giving us a better understanding of the virus and its path. As testing gives us more information about who has been infected, we are tracking the virus and isolating it to prevent further spread. This new information will drive the next phase in our war against this invisible enemy.

This comes one day after Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned about setting any sort of timetable:

You’ve got to understand that you don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline. So you’ve got to respond in what you see happen. And if you keep seeing this acceleration, it doesn’t matter what you say. One week, two weeks, three weeks — you’ve got to go with what the situation on the ground is.

CNN notes that a task force member said that the guidelines were a work in progress, and that, surprisingly-not-surprisingly, not all the members of the White House coronavirus task force saw the President’s letter before it was released publicly.

While Trump wants to see businesses up and running, he said in a news conference today that social distancing measures should still be observed when Americans returned to work:

“When we are open, as soon as we open, that doesn’t mean you will be stop the guidelines. You will still try and distance yourself. Maybe not to the same extent because you have to lead a life, but the timing is coming,”

On his conference call with governers, the President again reiterated his view that

the country needs to reopen soon and that not every place needs to be under the same restrictions…[and] said certain places had almost no problems with the virus and shouldn’t be kept to the same restrictions as areas with high case loads.


SEIU-UHW “Locates” 39 Million Desperately Needed Face Masks

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:29 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Reports are out that the SEIU miraculously “located” 39 million N95 masks:

Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers West announced Thursday that it located 39 million N95 masks and will make them available to state and local governments and health care systems that are fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The union found a distributor with the masks, which are cleared for surgical use, after pleas from health care workers as new coronavirus cases surge across the state and the country as a whole.

Union officials said they also found a supplier that can produce some 20 million protective masks per week and another that can supply millions of protective face shields.

The SEIU-UHW issued this statement:

The Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) has located 39 million critically needed N95 masks and is connecting states, counties, health systems and individual hospitals to the supplier so they can purchase them in quantity.

The 3M™ N95 masks (model 1860) are cleared for use as surgical masks and are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The union launched an exhaustive search for masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) five days ago in response to pleas from frontline healthcare workers that they need more protection and feel unsafe on the job as they treat the growing number of COVID-19 patients. SEIU-UHW has 97,000 members who work in hospitals across California.

Within 48 hours of painstakingly calling leads and potential suppliers, the union discovered a distributor who had the 39 million masks, and has since found another supplier who says his company can produce 20 million more masks a week. The union also has found a supplier who can deliver millions of face shields.

The masks are $5 each, and the union has no financial interest in the transactions. The masks are being distributed to unionized and non-unionized facilities alike.

I have questions: Who’s the distributor and why have they been sitting on theses masks until the union called? This especially as they knew that that medical professionals have been in dire need of them? And why did it take a call from the SEIU to get a manufacturer to say that they can provide 20 millions masks a week? Didn’t they know that there was already a dire need for the product – a need which they could apparently go a long way to filling? Were requests by other entities unanswered or denied? Also, what is the pre-coronavirus cost for an individual mask? And how was it that SEIU-UHW was able to locate them, and no one else was? Was no one else looking? Why didn’t this distributor and manufacturer come forward on their own? While I’m thrilled that the much needed masks are now available (and going to be made available in large quantities), something seems just a bit curious about this, no?

Over 3 Million People File New Jobless Claims in One Week

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:28 am

Labor Department:

That is a record number. Fox Business:

The number of Americans filing for unemployment surged to 3.28 million last week, shattering a decades-old record in jobless claims as the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses around the country to shutter their doors.

The number eclipsed the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982 and is well above the levels seen in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis, the Labor Department said in its weekly report. The data dates back to 1967.

It’s just getting started. I agree with Josh Barro:

The head of the Fed says we “may” be in a recession. Ya think?

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