Coronavirus is now officially a pandemic. Here are ten things you should know.

Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the global coronavirus outbreak had reached pandemic proportions, and Donald Trump, as you can read above, tweeted out that his administration was finally going to attempt a coordinated response. There are a number of things worth noting, but here are the first ten to come to mind.

1. A tweet like this on from the President would have been great two months ago, when public health professionals first warned us what was happening. Instead, Donald Trump responded to the imminent crisis by declaring that we’d already “pretty much shut it down,” and accusing those saying otherwise of perpetuating “fake news” with the intention of hurting him politically. This argument, by the way, was still being put forward Fox a few days ago in an amazing piece of dangerous non-journalism they called the “Coronavirus Impeachment Scam”, which you can see here.

2. It’s worth noting that the kind of infrastructure Donald Trump is now talking about building already largely existed when he took office. Barack Obama, during his administration, had established a pandemic response team within the National Security Council. This group was disbanded under the Trump administration, over the warnings of the public health and national security communities.

3. Up until yesterday, in spite of everything that we were seeing unfold, the Trump administration was pushing for steep, irresponsible cuts to the budget of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

4. Trump, as recently as yesterday, was still trying to put a positive spin on things, instead of doing the responsible thing and urging caution. “It will go away,” he said. “It’s really working out. And a lot of good things are going to happen.” Here’s the video. [Spoiler Alert: Coronavirus cases are not “going very substantially down”, as he’d said.]

5. The truth is significantly less rosy than Trump paints it. Here’s footage of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifying before Congress today. “We will see more cases, and things will get worse than they are right now,” he told members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. “Bottom line: it’s going to get worse.” [Trump officials cut the session short after this exchange, saying that Fauci was needed in a meeting.]

6. Repulbican talking points seem to be shifting. Now they aren’t saying, as Trump has in the past, that this isn’t as bad as the common flu, or mocking the Democrats for taking the threat seriously. No, they’re now saying that the Democrats are using a very real public health emergency to push their anti-American agenda. Sean Hannity, for instance, was on the radio today suggesting that it “may be true” that the “deep state” is using coronavirus to “manipulate markets, suppress dissent and push mandated medicines.” This kind of rhetoric, I don’t think I need to tell you, is incredibly dangerous during a time of national emergency.

7. Again, I know I probably don’t need to tell you this, but the Republican Party is currently comprised of the worst people our nation has to offer. Here, for instance, is a tweet from Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar, who is currently self-quarantined, after being exposed to the virus. Instead of urging his constituents to wash there hands, practice social distancing, etc., he’s joking about using coronavirus to kill a Democratic appointee to the Supreme Court.

8. He eventually backed down, but Republican Ron Johnson, the chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, was set to issue subpoenas today in the probe of Joe Biden’s son Hunter. [As you’ll recall, Johnson announced that his committee would be investigating Hunter Biden the day after Joe Biden came from behind to win Super Tuesday. Interestingly, the Republicans hadn’t seemed so interested in the subject of Ukrainian corruption when Sanders was the front-runner, and it looked as though Biden would be exiting the race.] As former Senator Claire McCaskill pointed out this morning, the federal response to the coronavirus would be under the purview of Johnson’s committee. Instead of using his position to lead the nation in the right direction during this time of public health crisis, however, Johnson, a stalwart supporter of Trump’s, had decided to focus on a political investigation into the son of Trump’s likely general election rival, when other more appropriate committees, like the Foreign Affairs Committee, had decided not to pursue the matter for good reason. “He has jurisdiction over coronavirus and the federal response,” McCaskill said. “Is he calling a hearing? Is he trying to figure out why first responders’ tests aged on a shelf in the state of Washington until they were no longer good? Is he going to tell people why they can’t get the test? No.” [She also referred to her former colleague as “a tool.”] Well, apparently the negative attention was too much for Johnson, who announced earlier today that he would not be issuing subpoenas in the Biden investigation…. at least not today. [Rumor is that McConnell took him to stand down.] Here, with more on what the Senate Homeland Security Committee is not doing, is Michigan Senator Gary Peters, who is the ranking Democratic member on Johnson’s Homeland Security Committee. [I think we should all push Peters to do more on this issue, by the way.]

9. Reuters is reporting that, “The White House has ordered federal health officials to treat top-level coronavirus meetings as classified, an unusual step that has restricted information and hampered the U.S. government’s response to the contagion, according to four Trump administration officials.” As former Obama administration staffer Tommy Vietor says, “This is fucking outrageous. There is NO reason to classify deliberations about a public health emergency. This will lock out experts in service of covering up the severity of the outbreak. People will die because Trump doesn’t want bad PR.” While we’re on the subject of justifiable outrage and criminal incompetence in the face of a public health emergency, it was also recently reported that the Trump administration had stopped CDC officials from recommending that elderly Americans not fly during the COVID-19 outbreak, a decision which most certainly has cost Americans their lives.

10. We already talked about the multiple lies the White House has told concerning the availability of coronavirus test kits, but I think it bears repeating that, much of the problem we’re now facing could have been avoided if only we’d had an administration in power that was more interested in public health than in avoiding bad press and propping up the stock market. The thing is, while this appears to be a highly treatable illness for the non-elderly, patients require care. They require hospitalization, and, in many cases, ventilators. And, as a nation, we don’t have excess capacity when it comes to either. So it’s imperative, generally speaking, that we flatten out the infection curve to the best of our ability, so that not everyone is demanding care at the same time. And that’s why it’s so important that that those of us who can work from home do so. We have to do everything in our power to slow the spread of the virus, as we’ve now officially missed our opportunity to stop it. Had we instituted aggressive testing earlier, like they did in China and South Korea, that task would have been a lot easier, but Donald Trump, it would seem, wanted to prolong the fantasy of safety in spite of the evidence, saying things like, “within a couple of days (the number of people with coronavirus in the United States) is going to be down to close to zero.” That was never going to be the case. But Trump, like the con man that he is, wasn’t thinking about the long term cost of lying. He only wanted to make it through the day without being forcefully removed from office.

there’s so much more I’d like to say, but that’s got to be it for now. Please be safe, everybody.

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  1. iRobert
    Posted March 11, 2020 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    It’s funny that after calling it a hoax, Trump went on tv to read a TelePrompTer speech about how he’s taking it seriously.

    He sounded and looked like a little kid giving a book report, but not at all cute.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Judd Legum about Trump’s address last night:

    1. Said he was banning cargo shipments from Europe (He is not)

    2. Said the travel restrictions to Europe go into effect on midnight Friday (It’s 24 hours later)

    3. Said insurers have agreed to waive copays for COVID-19 treatment (They have not)

  3. Bob
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    He looked gaunt and suddenly has that oval office rapid aging in full effect. He also seemed like he had a gun to his back. Weird, nonsensical address. Walking dead man

  4. Meta
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Huffington Post: “Senate GOP Blocks Emergency Paid Sick Leave Bill From Moving Forward”

    Democrats hoping to pass an emergency paid sick leave bill to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus were stymied by Senate Republicans on Wednesday.

    Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) tried to speed the measure up for a vote on the Senate floor through a procedural maneuver, but an objection from Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) prevented the bill from bypassing the Republican-controlled health committee.

    Murray noted that many people who don’t have paid leave through their jobs will inevitably miss work due to being sick or quarantined in the coming weeks. She argued that guaranteed paid leave was important both for public health and the good of the broader economy.

    “For many of our workers ― restaurant workers, truck drivers, service industry workers ― they may not have an option to take a day off without losing their pay or losing their job,” Murray said. “That’s not a choice we should be asking anyone to make in the United States in the 21st century.”

    Read more:

  5. iRobert
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    “The White House has ordered federal health officials to treat top-level coronavirus meetings as classified, an unusual step…”

    This is smart. We don’t want the viruses to know what we are doing.

  6. iRobert
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Republicans in congress should open investigations into how the Democratic Party engineered this virus and this fake crisis. They just did it to make the administration appear completely incompetent and corrupt. That’s got to be a crime. If it isn’t, Republicans in Congress need to focus on passing laws to make it a crime.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    To the point about needing to “flatten the curve”, here’s what NYT writer Aaron E. Carroll has to say:

    The U.S. has fewer hospital beds per 1000 people (2.8) than Italy , China and South Korea — which have 3.2, 4.3, and 12.3 respectively. As a result, our ability to deal with a surge of patients needing medical care is quite limited.

  8. hypocrisy watch
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Mike Pence said that there has been “irresponsible rhetoric” from people who have downplayed the seriousness of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak.

  9. M
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    The political calculus on Trump’s part made perfect sense. He was going into an election and his entire case was built on the economy. He couldn’t jeopardize it. So he chose to ignore the public health professionals and downplay the threat, telling people that it was almost wiped out, not encouraging testing, not telling the elderly to cut non-essential air travel, etc. He essentially gambled with the lives of Americans and lost. And now we’re all paying the consequences. It’s that simple.

  10. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    What the hell did you watch? It sounds so desperate to blame the President when he has been ahead of your opinion makers this whole time. Remember when it was racist to cut travel from China?

  11. Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I am starting to get a bit worried. I am really super high risk but also I need to do some traveling in the next week. I just hope my handwashing, hand sanitizing, and disinfectant wipes will protect me. In a week, I will be in a good position to self-quarantine and I plan on doing that. Until then, fingers crossed!

  12. M
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Best of luck, Lynne. Take care of yourself.

  13. Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Thanks Mark!

  14. Jean Henry
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Lynne- maybe you can call the airline and say your immune system is suppressed and ask to be seated alone? Airlines are starting to post the precautions they are taking. Worth checking out and bringing along Clorox wipes too. Good news is I have heard the re-circulated air is not an issue for this. Good luck. My parents are in the same situation and are staying in CA for now. But my dad is probably going to miss Spring planting which he doesn’t even need to do anymore but, you know, these things matter. Keep tending your garden…

  15. Bob
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Emergency meetings in the local school districts. Tomorrow is likely the last day of school for awhile. That’s the talk. Thank God Trump and Pence were on top of this thing. Goodbye Trump 2020.

  16. Anonymous
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Tomas Pueyo:

    The coronavirus is coming to you.
    It’s coming at an exponential speed: gradually, and then suddenly.
    It’s a matter of days. Maybe a week or two.
    When it does, your healthcare system will be overwhelmed.
    Your fellow citizens will be treated in the hallways.
    Exhausted healthcare workers will break down. Some will die.
    They will have to decide which patient gets the oxygen and which one dies.
    The only way to prevent this is social distancing today. Not tomorrow. Today.
    That means keeping as many people home as possible, starting now.
    As a politician, community leader or business leader, you have the power and the responsibility to prevent this.
    You might have fears today: What if I overreact? Will people laugh at me? Will they be angry at me? Will I look stupid? Won’t it be better to wait for others to take steps first? Will I hurt the economy too much?
    But in 2–4 weeks, when the entire world is in lockdown, when the few precious days of social distancing you will have enabled will have saved lives, people won’t criticize you anymore: They will thank you for making the right decision.
    Ok, let’s do this.

  17. EOS
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink


    Please don’t travel. The virus is transmitted in the air. Handwashing, hand sanitizing, and disinfectant wipes will not protect you from the recirculating air on a plane. You are immune compromised and should self-quarantine now. That’s what I am doing.

  18. Posted March 12, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Jean, I just took a look at the seat assignments on my flight to Michigan and I don’t think I am going to be seated next to anyone. I have tons of clorox wipes and also personal wipes and hand sanitizer. I will wash my hands right before I board, sanitize everything at my seat, then do the hand sanitizer thing. But that is a good suggestion, thanks Jean!

    I probably should have canceled the cruise but my trip insurance doesn’t cover pandemics and I paid like $5k for this vacation and I didn’t feel that the risk was such that I needed to eat that money.

  19. Posted March 12, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    EOS, I am not in a position to self-quarantine. I need to be in Michigan to see my oncologist next week. But in truth, I really miss my dog so I am not going to self-quarantine in Michigan either unless I start to feel ill or things get a lot worse. Gotta fly back to California after Michigan.

  20. Posted March 12, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    hahaha. I wont be telling that guy in California that I started dating that it was my dog that I returned for though. I will just let him think it was him. LOL

  21. EOS
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    You can meet with your oncologist by phone. 80% of the population will get a minor cold and may not interrupt their travel. You should not choose to travel with them if you value your life. Check out the CDC website.

  22. EOS
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

  23. EOS
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    So if Lynne becomes the Typhoid Mary of the Ypsi-Ann Arbor area, will that be Trump’s fault too? Is it OK that she will put all of us at greater risk so she can see her dog? Unbelievable.

  24. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    A cruise?

    High risk people are risking the safety of other people when they take unnecessary risks. If a person with underlying issues get CV then much needed resources will be diverted toward them.

    It makes sense to me that the same kind of person who would make a “joke” about intentionally exposing Trump rally attendants to CV; would also be the same type of person that would not recognize that their being in a high risk category requires them to make responsible decisions regarding social distancing because getting sick is probably going to hurt other people more. Most of us who are low risk would not go on a cruise specifically because we would be endangering somebody like Lynne who is at greater risk, due to underlying illness, of needing intensive health services.

  25. Kat
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    It’s only been two months, but it’s good to see the right wing trolls here finally starting to take the virus seriously. Bravo.

  26. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink


    I am in a low risk group. I have been practicing more responsible behavior and responsible preparedness for weeks. EOS apparently too. Your little attempt to smear is has no relation to reality, if you are trying to apply that smear to me or EOS. I am not a Republican. I am not a troll. You just trolled, however.

    It sounds like you agree that Lynne going on a cruise/ taking unnecessary flights is irresponsible. Good to know. Maybe you should ease off of partisan loyalty and tell your comrade she is behaving piggishly.

  27. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure it was a difficult decision but Princess is cancelling the cruise for our Princess.

  28. Eel
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Donald Trump, just over two weeks ago: “You have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”

  29. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I would not want to go on a cruise ship in any circumstances. There are always disease outbreaks on cruise ships. Now though? Oh, you paid for it so you’re gonna get what you paid for, huh? WITH a compromised immune system. Smart.

  30. Lynne
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    When I left for the cruise, our president was saying this was not any worse than the flu. Are you going to blame me for making a decision without the correct information?

    I really can’t stay here in Florida. I cannot isolate here. If things get worse I can self quarantine in Michigan I hope I will not need to. It depends on how bad it gets. If I get any symptoms I will do it though. Of course the lack of testing which is straight up our president’s fault means that I will be making a decision without knowing how widespread things are.

    A phone call with the oncologist will not work. I need a physical exam and bloodwork. They made it clear to me the importance of these exams every 3 months. I could have had an exam in California but because of the nature of our healthcare system and out-of-network costs, it was cheaper to fly back to Michigan.

    It is what it is.

  31. Lynne
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    I think you get confused for a Republican, FF because you are just generally a shitty person.

  32. Jean Henry
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    EOS— “What about all that circulated air on airplanes?
    Traveling by plane doesn’t necessarily increase the risk of contracting a communicable disease more than another kind of mass transit, according to the World Health Organization, as ventilation systems on aircraft use filters to trap bacteria and viruses before air is recirculated.”

  33. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink


    The way you worded your comment led me to believe that you were planning to go on a cruise in the near future. (Look at how you worded your comment.) It sounds like your cruise is over now. Good! I think we were warned to not cruise 4 days ago by experts/cdc.

  34. EOS
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Airplanes use HEPA filtration which removes 99.5% of all bacteria and spores, but few viruses. Most Viral particles are too small to be captured. Once again Jean, you don’t know what you are talking about.

  35. Lynne
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    FF. Yes. Thank you. I can see that I was not clear. I left California two weeks ago for the cruise. I disembarked last Sunday. Because the cruise was out of Miami, I decided to stay for a week with my parents at the condo they are renting for a week. On the couch. So isolation is impossible.

    I genuinely need to see my doctors. So I need to fly back to Michigan. Once there I will have to decide if I am going to go back to California. At least I will have some options in Michigan. I can stay at my parents house alone since they are here in Florida. I just really dont want to. If I feel ill though I will. If it looks like this is especially widespread I will too.

    In the meantime, I have a thing of Clorox wipes which I am using. I have hand sanitizer which I am also using. Before I left, my hostess in California, who is a nurse, gave me a lesson on proper hand washing along with tips on training myself not to touch my face. I am washing my hands so much they are getting irritated.

    I don’t feel that I am making irresponsible decisions especially considering the lack of information.

  36. EOS
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    And yes, all forms of mass transit pose increased risk for viral infection during pandemics. Stay home – be safe.

  37. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    I apologize, Lynne. I was led to believe your cruise was in the near future.

  38. NYT's Reid J. Epstein by proxy
    Posted March 12, 2020 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Sen Ron Johnson told me there’s not enough stories about people who have recovered from the coronavirus.

    “All people are hearing about are the deaths,” he said. “The flip side of this is the vast majority of people who get coronavirus do survive.”

  39. Posted March 12, 2020 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    It was good of you to apologize, FF. That made me happy on a day with very little happiness. Thanks.

  40. Meta
    Posted March 13, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    New York Times: “The Worst-Case Estimate for U.S. Coronavirus Deaths”

    Officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and epidemic experts from universities around the world conferred last month about what might happen if the new coronavirus gained a foothold in the United States. How many people might die? How many would be infected and need hospitalization?

    One of the agency’s top disease modelers, Matthew Biggerstaff, presented the group on the phone call with four possible scenarios — A, B, C and D — based on characteristics of the virus, including estimates of how transmissible it is and the severity of the illness it can cause. The assumptions, reviewed by The New York Times, were shared with about 50 expert teams to model how the virus could tear through the population — and what might stop it.

    The C.D.C.’s scenarios were depicted in terms of percentages of the population. Translated into absolute numbers by independent experts using simple models of how viruses spread, the worst-case figures would be staggering if no actions were taken to slow transmission.

    Between 160 million and 214 million people in the U.S. could be infected over the course of the epidemic, according to one projection. That could last months or even over a year, with infections concentrated in shorter periods, staggered across time in different communities, experts said. As many as 200,000 to 1.7 million people could die.

    Read more:

  41. iRobert
    Posted March 13, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    The Tap Room in Ypsilanti is identified as a possible exposure location on March 7th.

  42. iRobert
    Posted March 13, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    DTW is considered a possible exposure location concentrated to March 1st and 4th.

  43. dirtgrain
    Posted March 13, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I’ve seen a few of these Trish Regan rants, and it is sad how she never quite pulls it off. I can see that she has practiced the rhythm, the indignant tone, the timing of the breaths and huffs, but it’s too transparent, like a dancer who looks at his or her feet. Still, what a marvelous but horribly malignant spectacle to witness.

  44. M
    Posted March 13, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Welcome back, Mr. Dirt. You’ve been missed.

  45. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 13, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink


  46. Lynne
    Posted March 13, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I accept your apology FF. Thank you.

  47. NYT's Michael M. Grynbaum by proxy
    Posted March 13, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Trish Regan’s Fox Business show is “on hiatus until further notice,” network tells me, citing a shift in staff resources to “critical market hours.”

    Regan was widely criticized earlier this week for a monologue calling the coronavirus “another attempt to impeach the president.”

  48. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted March 13, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    How stunted are you people mentally? Pretending she called the coronavirus itself an attempt to impeach? It hurts to know people are that stupid. Oh yeah, that’s what she was saying…

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