Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Coronavirus infections and deaths on the rise as Trump cuts CDC global health budgets. He really is Effing nuts.

Breaking: TRUMP CLAIMS CORONAVIRUS WILL “MIRACULOUSLY” GO AWAY BY APRIL. The noted epidemiologist thinks this thing is just going to take care of itself.

That’s good news for the Scribers’ travel plans in August (as noted by our Roving Reporter Sherry).

Oh, wait! Donald Doofus Trump has lied again. Or perhaps it’s just wishful thinking given that his budget cuts hell out of our health agencies who need those resources to combat the Coronavirus. Here’s more from Vanity Fair.

On Monday, the death toll from the coronavirus topped 1,018, with World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warning that recent cases of infected patients who had never visited China could likely be the “tip of the iceberg.” (An estimated 60 cases have been confirmed on a cruise ship docked in Japan, with at least 13 confirmed cases in Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington, and Wisconsin.) At times like these, one looks for a calm, steady leader who understands the gravity of the situation while taking care not to be an alarmist and who, above all, values scientific data and gives the experts the resources they need to tackle the issue. At a minimum, it would be great if said leader had two brain cells to rub together. In the U.S., at present, this is obviously too much to ask for.

After remaining relatively mum on the coronavirus thus far, Donald Trump told supporters at a rally in New Hampshire Monday night that the virus will be gone by April, claiming that when temperatures rise, “the virus” will “miraculously” go away. Unsurprisingly, he offered no scientific or medical explanation to support his theory. Nor was that the first time he’d floated the theory; earlier in the day, during a meeting with the nation’s governors, the president, a noted germaphobe, predicted that the whole thing will be wrapped up around Easter through divine intervention via the weather. “The virus that we’re talking about having to do, a lot of people think that goes away in April, with the heat, as the heat comes in, typically that will go away in April,” he said. Referring to the United States, he added: “We’re in great shape, though. We have 12 cases, 11 cases, and many of them are in good shape now.”

Where did Trump get his prognosis? While pulling facts directly from his ass is kind of this guy’s thing, in this case, his information has apparently come from Chinese president Xi Jinping, whose government’s early handling of the epidemic allowed it to spread, as the party prioritized secrecy instead of confronting the crisis head-on. “I had a long talk with President Xi two nights ago,” Trump said. “He feels very confident. He feels that again, as I mentioned, by April or during the month of April, the heat generally speaking kills this kind of virus. So that would be a good thing.”

Public health experts questioned the speculative nature of [Trump’s] comments. “I think there is a lot we still don’t know about this virus, and I’m not sure we can say definitively that it will dissipate with warmer weather,” said Dr. Rebecca Katz, director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University. “Relying on the fact that it’s going to warm up in April as reassurance that the virus will be controlled by then I think is arguable,” added Dr. James M. Hughes, a professor emeritus of medicine at Emory University.

In a sign of just how ridiculous Trump’s statement re: the weather is, even White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien has suggested that the president has no idea what he’s talking about.

Of course, you can understand why Trump would like to put such stock in the weather taking care of things; his proposed budget, unveiled on Monday, cuts funding for the Health and Human Services Department by 9%.

It’s worse: Roving Reporter Sherry also tags this report from Forbes magazine. Trump Proposes 16% Cut To CDC As Global Number Of Coronavirus Infections And Deaths Rise.

Topline: As the coronavirus continues to spread, President Trump’s proposed 2021 budget calls for drastic cuts to funding for the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization that critics say could prevent preparedness for a pandemic at home.

  • Trump released his proposed 2021 budget Monday, which included a 16% cut to the CDC’s budget and a 10% overall reduction to the Department of Health and Human Services’ funding, according to the Washington Post.

  • The U.S. contributes about 2.5% of the World Health Organization’s overall $4.8 billion budget, and Trump’s proposal calls for a $65 million cut to the group; if enacted, the U.S.’ contribution would be reduced by over 40%.

  • An additional 34% reduction is proposed for overall global health programs, but Trump is asking for $115 million to be set aside for global health security for the purpose of combating “infectious disease threats.”

  • However, the proposed budget is unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, which the Post notes has the power of the purse, and will ultimately decide how the funds will be spent, after various committees weigh in.

  • The coronavirus⁠ (which was renamed Tuesday by the World Health Organization as COVID–19) has not been declared a pandemic, but the group has called for an immediate $675 million investment in “rational and evidence-based interventions” to stop the outbreak.

  • As of Monday, the U.S. has 12 confirmed cases, with one patient erroneously diagnosed as testing negative for the disease, based on a “mix-up” between the CDC and a San Diego hospital, CNN reported.

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