The first step in realizing just how screwed we are is to realize there is no actual coordinated federal response to COVID-19.
In theory, the small flock of task forces are all working toward the same goal: defeating the novel coronavirus and getting the nation back to work — and life — as quickly as possible. But the reality is far more complicated: a bureaucratic nesting doll of groups with frequently competing aims and agendas.
As a result, an administration that has lagged behind at nearly every step of the pandemic still has no consensus plan for when or how to reopen parts of the economy, even as the president and many advisers push to do so as soon as May 1. There is still no concerted plan for getting vital medical supplies to states, which are left to fight among themselves or seek favors from Trump. There is also no developed plan for what happens if cases or deaths spike as people begin to return to work, or how to respond if the coronavirus surges again in the fall, as many public health experts and administration officials fear.
Public health experts say that among the keys to returning to normalcy are nationwide virus testing (to determine who has the virus); serological testing (to allow those who have been exposed to the virus and developed immunity to return to work); and contact tracing (quickly tracking all the contacts of an infected individual, to halt further spread). Two task force officials said that more important even than nationwide testing is surveillance — using data to make informed decisions about public health.
But the administration has not fully grappled with the sheer manpower and resources required for an effort like contact tracing — and right now, there are not even enough coronavirus tests for those who need them, let alone the entire country.
Jack Chow, a former U.S. ambassador for global HIV/AIDS during the George W. Bush administration and former World Health Organization assistant director-general, said the problem is that the administration has yet to decide what the national recovery should look like.
“The whole response has been lagging the curve of the epidemic, and what ought to be happening is the designation of key strategic goals, key accomplishments that can happen within a specified timeline,” Chow said. “It sounds like they’re groping for that. There isn’t any clear direction as to what the strategic goals are in each different line of effort, and what the prospective timeline could be given the assets they have to deploy.”
The second step is realizing there never will be a coordinated federal response, and that is on purpose. The reason is Donald Trump will kill as many millions of Americans as it takes to secure his reelection.
During one task force meeting in the Situation Room last month, Trump turned to Fauci and challenged him.
It was the day the administration was adding Ireland and the United Kingdom to its travel restrictions, and Trump wanted to understand why talk of “herd immunity” — allowing the coronavirus to sweep a nation largely unchecked, with the belief that those who survived would then be immune — was such a bad idea.
“Why don’t we let this wash over the country?” Trump asked, according to two people familiar with his comments, a question other administration officials say he has raised repeatedly in the Oval Office.
Fauci initially seemed confused by the term “wash over” but became alarmed once he understood what Trump was asking.
“Mr. President, many people would die,” Fauci said.
Trump's complete lack of empathy is so all-consuming, his narcissism so malignant, that the sociopathy is the standard default.
He knows if he loses in November, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Nothing else matters to him. Therefore, nothing else matters to the federal government that his is in charge of. Not even keeping basic Constitutionally-required functions running, like a postal service.
Through rain, sleet, hail, and even a pandemic, mail carriers serve every address in the United States, but the coronavirus crisis is shaking the foundation of the U.S. Postal Service in new and dire ways.
The Postal Service’s decades-long financial troubles have worsened dramatically, as the volume of the kind of mail that pays the agency’s bills — first-class and marketing mail — has withered during the pandemic. The USPS needs an infusion of money, and President Trump has blocked potential emergency funding for the agency that employs around 600,000 workers, repeating instead the false claim that higher rates for Internet shipping companies Amazon, FedEx and UPS would right the service’s budget.
Trump threatened to veto the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or Cares Act, if the legislation contained any money directed to bail out the postal agency, according to a senior Trump administration official and a congressional official who, like others in this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity.
“We told them very clearly that the president was not going to sign the bill if [money for the Postal Service] was in it,” the Trump administration official said. “I don’t know if we used the v-bomb, but the president was not going to sign it, and we told them that.”
Instead, Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) added a last-minute $10 billion Treasury Department loan to the Cares Act to keep the agency on firmer ground through the spring of 2020, according to a Democratic committee aide.
Trump is going to break everything and loot what's left, and become dictator. That was always the plan from day one.