Connect with us

U.S.

As Trump played down virus, health experts alarm grew

As Trump played down virus, health experts alarm grew
Trump tells Tulsa crowd he wanted to 'slow down' COVID-19 testing; White House says he was joking. AP Photo
As Trump played down virus, health experts alarm grew
>

Public health officials were already warning Americans about the need to prepare for the coronavirus threat in early February when President Donald Trump called it deadly stuff in a private conversation that has only now has come to light.

At the time, the virus was mostly a problem in China, with just 11 cases confirmed in the United States.

There was uncertainty about how the U.S. ultimately would be affected, and top U.S. officials would deliver some mixed messages along the way. But their overall thrust was to take the thing seriously.

Were preparing as if this is a pandemic, Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters on Feb. 5. This is just good commonsense public health.

Trump, however, had a louder megaphone than his health experts, and in public he was playing down the threat. Three days after delivering his deadly assessment in a private call with journalist Bob Woodward, he told a New Hampshire rally on Feb. 10, Its going to be fine.

Trumps acknowledgment in Woodwards new book Rage that he was minimizing the severity of the virus in public to avoid causing panic has triggered waves of criticism that he wasnt leveling with the American people.

The White House has tried to answer that criticism by pointing to selected comments from U.S. health experts to suggest they were on the same page with Trump all along.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany highlighted comments from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nations top infectious disease expert, to try to make the case that Trump didnt lie to the public. She cited a Feb. 17 interview in which Fauci focused his concern on the seasonal flu then playing out.

But a day later, Fauci had spoken of alarming potential implications from the new virus, saying, Not only do we not have an appreciation of the magnitude, even more disturbing is that we dont have an appreciation of where the magnitude is going.

Mixed safety messages added to confusion. There was considerable discussion about mask-wearing in the early days of the pandemic, with leading experts advising the public against it, saying to leave the masks for health care workers.

Seriously people STOP BUYING MASKS! U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted on Feb. 29. Officials later recommended that people wear face coverings in public and around people who dont live in their household, based on a review of the latest evidence.

People could find different takeaways within Faucis pronouncements. He told the USA Today editorial board on Feb. 17 that the CDC would be testing people for the coronavirus in five major cities when they showed up at clinics with flu-like symptoms.

If that testing showed the virus had slipped into the country in places federal officials didnt know about, weve got a problem, Fauci said. Still, the headline put the spotlight on his remark that the danger posed by the virus was slight. It read: Top disease official: Risk of coronavirus in USA is minuscule.

Larry Gostin, a professor at Georgetown University who has advised Republican and Democratic administrations on public health issues, said there should be no confusing honest mistakes and expressions of uncertainty from public health officials with Trumps effort to minimize the threat of COVID-19.

It is irrefutable that he has played down the epidemic and sidelined trusted scientists, and in some cases, muzzled them, Gostin said.

He added: I categorically deny the idea that there wasnt a strong consensus of public health experts at the time saying this was a very serious problem.

Trump himself told Woodward on March 19 that he had deliberately minimized the danger. I wanted to always play it down, the president said. I still like playing it down because I dont want to create a panic.

Critics have long noted how Trumps public comments failed to sync up with those of public health officials, contributing to confusion among Americans.

As Trump left for India on Feb. 23, he told reporters that the virus was very much under control and that the small number of infected people in the U.S. were very well confined.

But two days later, the CDCs Messonnier told reporters, Its not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but more really a question of when it will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness.

Stocks plunged following her remarks and, soon after, Trump appointed Vice President Mike Pence to lead the White House coronavirus task force. At the news conference announcing Pences selection, Trump was asked if he agreed with the inevitability of COVID-19 in the United States.

Well, I dont think its inevitable. It probably will. It possibly will. It could be at a very small level or it could be at a larger level. Whatever happens, were totally prepared, Trump said.

Sandra Crouse Quinn, a University of Maryland professor who researches crisis communications during public health emergencies, said its critical not to overreassure people in a pandemic.

You help the public anticipate whats coming, she said.

Dr. Howard Koh of Harvards school of public health said unflinchingly communicating whats known as soon as possible helps build trust that will be necessary as the pandemic progresses.

Koh said the role of the White House in a pandemic is to galvanize national attention for public health officials and then step out of the way. But that hasnt been the case under Trump, said Koh, who was at the Department of Health and Human Services under President Barack Obama.

As the fallout played out last week, Trump got some backup from Fauci, who told Fox News that he didnt get the sense that Trump had distorted anything. But in an interview with MSNBC, Fauci noted the discrepancies between his own comments and the presidents.

As you know, there were times when I was out there telling the American public how difficult this is, how were having a really serious problem, you know, and the president was saying its something thats going to disappear, which obviously is not the case, he said. Associated Press (AP)/

es-0-2-39">Kevin Freking

____

 

Advertisement
Click to comment

U.S.

GOP Governor Says It’s Time To ‘Blame The Unvaccinated’ For Pandemic Surge

GOP Governor Says It’s Time To ‘Blame The Unvaccinated’ For Pandemic Surge
GOP Governor Says It’s Time To ‘Blame The Unvaccinated’ For Pandemic Surge

[ad_1]

A Republican governor in one of the states hit hardest by the delta variant of the coronavirus called out those who’ve refused the vaccine on Thursday. 

“It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks,” said Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, per CBS 42 in Birmingham. “It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.”

Ivey, who was vaccinated in December, also seemed to throw some shade at Fox News and other right-wing media outlets. 

“Media, I want you to start reporting the facts,” she said. “The new cases of COVID are because of unvaccinated folks. Almost 100 percent of the new hospitalizations are with unvaccinated folks. And the deaths are certainly occurring with the unvaccinated folks.”

Although she didn’t name names, Fox News hosts, such as Tucker Carlson, have attempted to cast doubt on the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines. Carlson said the notion that the U.S. was now in a pandemic of the unvaccinated was “simply untrue” and “a lie.” 

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R), who was vaccinated in December, threw some shade at Fox News and other right-wing media outlets fo



Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R), who was vaccinated in December, threw some shade at Fox News and other right-wing media outlets for providing misinformation about the coronavirus vaccines.

One Alabama ER doc recently shared the haunting tales of dying coronavirus patients who begged for the vaccine that they had previously refused. 

“I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late,” Dr. Brytney Cobia wrote on Facebook.

Alabama has seen a 311% jump in cases over the past two weeks, according to The New York Times, and a 92% increase in hospitalizations. The state’s rate of 23 new cases per 100,000 people was tied for the ninth highest in the nation. Alabama is also tied for the lowest vaccination rate in the U.S.  

Ivey has not exactly helped her case. Last week, she rejected a plan by President Joe Biden in which community-based volunteers would go door to door to encourage COVID-19 vaccination and offer help to those who need it. 

She also signed a bill banning “vaccine passports” in her state. That same law also banned businesses from requiring vaccination or even asking about vaccination status and banned schools, including colleges, from requiring the vaccine despite the fact that Alabama schools currently require multiple shots, with certain exemptions allowed.  

Earlier this week, Ivey rejected a call for wearing masks in schools that was made by the American Academy of Pediatrics



[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading

U.S.

Delta Variant Will ‘Find Everybody Not Immune,’ Warns Mayo Clinic Vaccine Expert

Delta Variant Will ‘Find Everybody Not Immune,’ Warns Mayo Clinic Vaccine Expert
Delta Variant Will ‘Find Everybody Not Immune,’ Warns Mayo Clinic Vaccine Expert

[ad_1]

One of the leading vaccine experts in the nation has a dire warning for Americans: The powerful, fast-spreading delta variant of the coronavirus will “find everybody who is not immune.”

There is “no question that we are going to see a surge,” Dr. Gregory Poland of the prestigious Mayo Clinic told WCCO-TV in Minnesota. 

Poland, who wears a mask indoors and outside in crowded conditions, warned the unvaccinated: “Do not be deceived that ‘I got this far and I’m OK.’ This is a very different variant. It will find you. This virus will find everybody who is not immune.”

He added: “This is a serious, current and present danger to you and your families’ health if you are not vaccinated.”

Though the major risk is to the unvaccinated, continuing numbers of those who don’t get the protection present a risk to everyone, he warned.

“The longer we go with large numbers of people unvaccinated, the greater and greater the risk that a new variant will develop that will evade vaccine-induced immunity. So we are our own worst enemies here,” Poland told KARE-11 TV. in Minneapolis.

Poland is especially worried about children too young to get the vaccine — as well as for teens whose parents are on the fence about vaccinations, especially because “we are seeing rises in severe disease and hospitalization among young people,” he said.

He strongly agrees with the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics this week that children should wear a mask when they return to school, whether they’re vaccinated or not.

“A mask is not a political symbol. It is a medical symbol of taking care of yourself and others,” he said.

The significantly more transmissible delta variant now makes up about 83% of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S., with the majority of deaths occurring in unvaccinated people. The variant is driving cases up in every state in the nation.

Over the week ending Tuesday, the U.S. has averaged 239 deaths per day from the virus — which is nearly a 48% increase from the prior week.

Check out a clip of Poland’s interview with WCCO-TV below. An extended interview with KARE-11 TV is up top.

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus



[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading

U.S.

2 People Shot In Popular Washington Restaurant District

2 People Shot In Popular Washington Restaurant District
2 People Shot In Popular Washington Restaurant District

[ad_1]

Two people were shot in Washington, D.C., on Thursday night as diners were gathered for dinner and drinks on a street popular for its restaurants and bars.

HuffPost’s Igor Bobic, who was on the scene, said he heard 20 to 30 gunshots near 14th and R streets in the Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington shortly after 8 p.m., which sent people running from restaurants. A witness said a black sedan pulled up outside several restaurants and began shooting onto the sidewalk.

It appeared that multiple people were injured, including one inside the Mexicue restaurant.

Police were at the scene Thursday night.

“All of a sudden, me and my friends heard a shot and then a couple more shots. Some of us thought it was just a firework or a tire. They just kept coming … and we all got down on the ground and tried to get behind a table,” said Claire Goldberg, who was at the Garden District bar.

Goldberg added that she saw at least three ambulances on the scene when she walked out of the bar.



[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading

U.S.

Director Of Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Fired For Holocaust Joke

Director Of Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Fired For Holocaust Joke
Director Of Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Fired For Holocaust Joke

[ad_1]

TOKYO (AP) — The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee fired the director of the opening ceremony on Thursday because of a Holocaust joke he made during a comedy show in 1998.

Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said a day ahead of the opening ceremony that director Kentaro Kobayashi has been dismissed. He was accused of using a joke about the Holocaust in his comedy act, including the phrase “Let’s play Holocaust.”

“We found out that Mr. Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy,” Hashimoto said. “We deeply apologize for causing such a development the day before the opening ceremony and for causing troubles and concerns to many involved parties as well as the people in Tokyo and the rest of the country.”

Tokyo has been plagued with scandals since being awarded the Games in 2013. French investigators are looking into alleged bribes paid to International Olympic Committee members to influence the vote for Tokyo. The fallout forced the resignation two years ago of Tsunekazu Takeda, who headed the Japanese Olympic Committee and was an IOC member.

The opening ceremony of the pandemic-delayed Games is scheduled for Friday. The ceremony will be held without spectators as a measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections, although some officials, guests and media will attend.

“We are going to have the opening ceremony tomorrow and, yes, I am sure there are a lot of people who are not feeling easy about the opening of the Games,” Hashimoto said. “But we are going to open the Games tomorrow under this difficult situation.”

Kentaro Kobayashi, a key director of Tokyo Olympics’ opening ceremony, was dismissed on Thursday.



Kentaro Kobayashi, a key director of Tokyo Olympics’ opening ceremony, was dismissed on Thursday.

Earlier this week, composer Keigo Oyamada, whose music was to be used at the ceremony, was forced to resign because of past bullying of his classmates, which he boasted about in magazine interviews. The segment of his music will not be used.

Soon after a video clip and script of Kobayashi’s performance were revealed, criticism flooded social media.

“Any person, no matter how creative, does not have the right to mock the victims of the Nazi genocide,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and global social action director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles-based human rights group.

He also noted that the Nazis gassed Germans with disabilities.

“Any association of this person to the Tokyo Olympics would insult the memory of 6 million Jews and make a cruel mockery of the Paralympics,” he said.

Kobayashi is a former member of a popular comedy duo Rahmens and known overseas for comedy series including “The Japanese Tradition.”

Japan is pushing ahead with the Olympics against the advice of most of its medical experts. This is partially due to pressure from the IOC, which is estimated to face losses of $3 billion to $4 billion in television rights income if the Games were not held.

The official cost of the Olympics is $15.4 billion, but government audits suggest it’s much more. All but $6.7 billion is public money.

“We have been preparing for the last year to send a positive message,” Hashimoto said. “Toward the very end now there are so many incidents that give a negative image toward Tokyo 2020.”

Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the Tokyo organizing committee, also acknowledged the reputational damage.

“Maybe these negative incidents will impact the positive message we wanted to deliver to the world,” he said.

The last-minute scandals come as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government faces criticism for prioritizing the Olympics despite public health concerns amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections.

Koichi Nakano, who teach politics at Sophia University, wrote on Twitter that the opening ceremony chaos underscores a lack of awareness in Japan about diversity.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said she learned of Koyayashi’s comments from Hashimoto.

“I was astonished,” she said.

Kobayashi’s Holocaust joke and Oyamada’s resignation were the latest to plague the Games. Yoshiro Mori resigned as organizing committee president over sexist remarks. Hiroshi Sasaki also stepped down as creative director for the opening and closing ceremonies after suggesting a Japanese actress should dress as a pig.

Also this week, the chiropractor for the American women’s wrestling team apologized after comparing Olympic COVID-19 protocols to Nazi Germany in a social media post. Rosie Gallegos-Main, the team’s chiropractor since 2009, will be allowed to finish her planned stay at USA Wrestling’s pre-Olympic camp in Nakatsugawa, Japan.



[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading

U.S.

Widespread Internet Outage Briefly Takes Down Major Websites

Widespread Internet Outage Briefly Takes Down Major Websites
Widespread Internet Outage Briefly Takes Down Major Websites

[ad_1]

NEW YORK (AP) — Major websites went down Thursday in what appeared to be a brief but widespread outage.

The websites of Airbnb, AT&T, Costco and Delta showed error messages around midday Eastern time. They seemed to be operating normally, however, by 12:45 p.m.

Akamai, a major behind-the-scenes internet network company, said the disruption lasted about an hour and that it was due to a software update in the system that directs browsers to websites. It said there was no cyberattack.

The company said it was reviewing how it updates software to try to prevent outages in the future.



[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading

U.S.

Former Trump Doctor Contracts Bad Case Of ‘Whataboutism’

Former Trump Doctor Contracts Bad Case Of ‘Whataboutism’
Former Trump Doctor Contracts Bad Case Of ‘Whataboutism’

[ad_1]

Thoughts and prayers are in order for Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), the former White House physician who has just contracted a terrible case of “whataboutism.”

Jackson, who previously served as Donald Trump’s presidential physician, apparently didn’t like reporters asking whether he was vaccinated against the coronavirus on Thursday morning. So he accused the questioners of political bias.

The question came up because COVID-19 cases have tripled in the U.S. over the last few weeks with the spread of the delta variant. At the same time, a large percentage of the population remains stubbornly resistant to vaccination amid an onslaught of misinformation ― some of it spread by allies of the former president publicly supporting vaccine conspiracy theories.

Jackson didn’t spout conspiracy theories. 

Instead, he asked why reporters were picking on him instead of other politicians.

“I think you as a press have a responsibility to ask questions of the Democrats as well,” Jackson complained. “How many of the Democrats are willing to say whether or not they’ve been vaccinated?”

The first-year lawmaker, it turned out, made a rookie mistake by asking a rhetorical question without knowing the answer.

As CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale noted, every Democrat in the House and Senate told the network back in May that they had been vaccinated, hence no need to raise the question again.

Democratic politicians chimed in.

Some people pointed out Jackson’s dubious past.

Others diagnosed Jackson’s “whataboutism.”

Jackson’s time as White House doctor was marked by controversy.

He became a target of ridicule when at a news conference he praised Trump’s “incredibly good genes” and said he told the president “that if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years he might live to be 200 years old.” 

In March, the Department of Defense inspector general released a scathing report that concluded Jackson made “sexual and denigrating” comments about a female subordinate, violated the policy against drinking alcohol on a presidential trip and took prescription-strength sleeping medication that prompted worries from his colleagues about his ability to provide proper medical care.

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus



[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Recent Posts

Advertisement
Advertisement

Popular

close