Tuesday, September 29, 2020

COVID Pandemic Is Expected To Surge In The Lead-Up To The Election And The Inauguration-- And Trump And His Allies Are Making It Worse, Much Worse



"...And I Won't Lose One Voter" by Nancy Ohanian

Although the states that have been experiencing the most new cases over the last couple of months-- California, Texas, Florida, Georgia-- have peaked and are on the downtrend (for now), other states have started peaking like mad: Wisconsin, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, Utah... On Monday, CNN reported that Twenty-one states are reporting increased Covid-19 cases as experts warn of a fall surge. Madeline Holcombe and Dakin Andone wrote that "As of Sunday, the number of new coronavirus cases has increased by at least 10% or more compared to the week before in 21 states... Cases are rising in Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington state, Wisconsin and Wyoming." The conclusion is that "The US could see an explosion of Covid-19 cases in the fall and winter as people exercise less caution and spend more time indoors, where there is a greater likelihood of transmission."

The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model predicts a "huge surge" expected to take off in October "and accelerate in November and December." By late December the daily death rate will have gone from the current rate of about 765 to 3,000.

Some Trumpist governors seem to be cheerleading for COVID, none more egregiously that Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who prematurely dropped restrictions on bars and restaurants as though he were determined to see Florida's hospital system collapse by winter. CNN reported that "the mayor of Miami warned that the governor's decision to fully reopen such establishments and to limit local governments' ability to enforce their own restrictions could have devastating consequences."
"I think it's going to have a huge impact," Mayor Francis Suarez told CNN Saturday about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' decision to allow restaurants, bars and other businesses to open at full capacity and to suspend fines for all outstanding penalties issued to those who didn't follow Covid-19 restrictions-- such as not wearing a mask in public. "You know, I just don't know how many people are actually going to do it now."

...Mandating mask wearing in public and slowly reopening has helped to keep the coronavirus case count down in Miami, Suarez said. He's concerned the changes in the state are coming as flu season ramps up and schools prepare for in-person learning to begin in mid-October.

"We'll see in the next couple of weeks whether (the governor's) right about his perspective. But if he's wrong about his perspective... it's going to be very, very, very difficult for him and it's going to be a very difficult time, because it's in the middle of flu season," Suarez said.
Over the weekend, Florida surpassed 14,000 COVID deaths and breezed through the 700,000 cases mark, 32,618 cases per million Floridians. The only European country with more cases than Florida is Spain (735,198) and Florida has more than double the cases per million numbers than any European country. In fact, there is no real country in the world with a worse cases per million number.

And it isn't just Trumpist governors like DeSantis, Kristi Noem (R-SD), Billy Lee (R-TN), Mike Parson (R-MO), Brian Kemp (R-GA) Greg Abbott (R-TX), Doug Ducey (R-AZ), Henry McMaster (R-SC) and Kay Ivey (R-AL)-- not to mention the Wisconsin state legislature-- who are driving up the numbers. On Monday morning NBC reported that Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was overheard on an airplane speaking with a colleague and saying that the newest crackpot Trump put on the White House coronavirus task force, Scott Atlas, is pushing out misinformation to the public. "Everything he says is false," complained Redfield. Atlas is a neuroradiologist with no background in infectious diseases or public health but is a political ally of Trump's and is willing to push policies and narratives designed to help Trump's reelection efforts, while killing Americans.
Redfield testified before Congress this month that he suspects that a face covering could protect him from Covid-19 better than any future vaccine. Most public health officials share the view that masks are essential to stop the spread of the virus. Still, Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on how useful wearing them may be.

"If every one of us did it, this pandemic would be over in eight to 12 weeks," Redfield said before offering a stark warning that contradicted the president's assertion that the country is "rounding the corner" on the pandemic.

"We're nowhere near the end," Redfield said.

The Bill Lee Pandemic

Today, Tennessee reported 879 more COVID cases, bringing the state's total to 194,611-- 28,497 cases per million Tennesseans. Bill Lee and Trump have now killed 2,420 Tennesseans so for and there were 31 new deaths reported today, 7th worst in the U.S. But Gov. Lee is far from done. This afternoon, The Tennessean reported that he's done a Big Trumpy-- ending all coronavirus restrictions on all businesses. Public health officials, from Fauci on down have warned governors that this is a prescription for an out-of-control pandemic, likely starting in October and driving up death rates in November and December.

Fortunately, the county health departments in the state's 6 largest cities-- Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Clarksville and Murfreesboro-- will be free to ignore the sociopath and continue to set their own regulations. And speaking of sociopaths, Lee told the GOP-controlled state legislature that "I want the economy to move forward. I don't want any business to have any reason to not function as fully as they possibly can. I'm advocating for that in our big six counties, as well." There are now no limits to sizes of gatherings in bars, restaurants or anywhere else. I would urge all DWT readers to avoid Tennessee like the plague.

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