This piece was originally published in the October 5, 2020 edition of CAP Action’s daily newsletter, the Progress Report. Subscribe to the Progress Report here.
“I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in a different direction.”
— Dr. Sean Conley, essentially saying he withheld information on Trump’s condition so as to not jinx the coronavirus
Millions of families are out of work. Millions of families can’t afford groceries, rent, and prescriptions.
Yet nearly eight months into this pandemic, Trump still doesn’t have a national coronavirus response plan.
Chaos has a price. Share this on Twitter and Facebook to get the facts out:
IN THE NEWS
- Nearly eight months into the pandemic, after playing down the risks of COVID-19, holding packed rallies, and urging reopenings that put millions at risk, Trump himself has contracted coronavirus. Following the news that Trump aide Hope Hicks tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, Trump took to Twitter early Friday morning to announce that he and the First Lady had also tested positive. Hours later, he was airlifted to Walter Reed Hospital “out of an abundance of caution.”
- This afternoon, Trump tweeted out his intentions to leave the hospital at 6:30pm tonight. In his tweet, Trump advised the public not to be afraid of the virus that’s taken more than 210,000 lives, saying “don’t let [COVID-19] dominate your life.” It’s a slap in the face to those who have lost loved ones to the pandemic, as well as those who are still grappling with the illness and its long-term effects.
- Trump’s anticipated departure from Walter Reed follows reporting which suggested he was eager to leave despite expert consensus that he should not do so. His doctor refused to say if he would be isolating in the White House upon return or when he may no longer be contagious. He is also reportedly planning to participate in the next debate on October 15. All of this is further evidence that Trump is still not taking the pandemic seriously, despite now being a patient himself.
- We can’t stop thinking about those who don’t have the luxury of checking themselves into the hospital on a whim. In recent months, hospitals have hit capacity as cases surged, some even forced to turn away people seeking treatment for the virus. It’s also notable that this is the first time since the start of the pandemic that Trump has done, well, anything, “out of an abundance of caution.” He’s passed up countless opportunities to do so in service of the American people, refusing to enact a mask mandate or even to follow his own CDC’s guidance. And he’s still trying to take health coverage away from 20 million people in the Supreme Court just one week after the election, and rushing through another Justice to help him.
The bottom line? No one is exempt from this disease, not even the president. The events of the past few days underscore just how important it is that we have a coordinated national strategy to tackle the pandemic — something we haven’t yet seen from this administration.
- On the individual level, it’s more important than ever to take precautions like mask wearing, social distancing, and following other public health recommendations. But it ultimately rests on our leaders to take this seriously and work to control it to avoid any more needless suffering. And Trump having caught this disease doesn’t make his cruelty or his failed response to the ongoing pandemic any less bad — nor does it exempt him from criticism on either front.
- The White House has been extremely cagey about Trump’s condition and the timing of his last negative test, sparking outrage from reporters who themselves were put at risk when they traveled with Trump and Hope Hicks in the days leading up to his diagnosis. Trump’s doctors have given several confusing press briefings during which they’ve refused to share when Trump’s last negative test was administered, and, initially, that he’d received supplemental oxygen prior to being taken to the hospital.
- Since Thursday, an increasing tally of people with ties to the White House have announced that they’ve also tested positive for COVID-19, including White House staff and workers at Tuesday’s debate. Here’s the running tally of confirmed cases as of this afternoon:
Donald Trump, Melania Trump, 10 Trump staffers and associates Trump aide Hope Hicks, Campaign Manager Bill Stepien, Kellyanne Conway, Chris Christie, Trump’s personal assistant Nick Luna, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, two of McEnany’s deputies, one unnamed junior press staffer, and RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel 3 U.S. senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) 11 workers at last Tuesday’s debate, and 3 reporters.
- One of the new cases is Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who tested positive this morning after testing negative for several days. McEnany’s case — and those of her two deputies who have also tested positive — is a great reminder that you should stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19, even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy.
- A number of cases are being traced back to one gathering: Trump’s announcement of Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee just over a week ago. Some attendees who later tested positive can be seen mingling about the Rose Garden in footage of the event in a tightly packed and overwhelmingly maskless crowd. Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins, who tested positive after attending the ceremony, has since apologized for his attendance, calling it an “error of judgement.” Vice President Mike Pence, who is set to travel to Utah tonight for the upcoming Vice Presidential debate, has refused to quarantine despite being seated near a handful of COVID-positive individuals at the event.
- Trump is facing criticism from Secret Service members after putting multiple agents at risk last night so he could drive by the crowd outside Walter Reed. The SUV he rode in is hermetically sealed, meaning it has minimal ventilation to protect from outside chemical attacks. But in this case, it did the opposite, serving instead to seal in the COVID-19 virus and creating an extremely dangerous environment for the other passengers. It’s another example of Trump’s belief that the rules don’t apply to him.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- Among the COVID patients with ties to the White House are three U.S. senators, two of whom sit on the Judiciary Committee. Without these senators, and assuming every Democrat boycotts, the Senate would not have the quorum needed to hold a vote on Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation. But never underestimate how far a Republican senator will go to confirm a judicial nominee. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said today that he’d show up sick to vote if that’s what it takes.
- After weeks of back and forth, the Centers for Disease Control has further modified its guidance on airborne transmission of COVID-19. The guidance acknowledges that the virus can spread through airborne particles and among people who are more than six feet apart. These particles can “linger in the air for minutes to hours” and that transmissions typically take place in enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation.
- As the country turns its attention to the coronavirus hot spot in the White House, coronavirus cases in the U.S. are on the rise. According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 54,000 new confirmed cases were reported nationwide on Friday, marking the highest single-day increase in cases since August 14. Dr. Anthony Fauci said he was “disturbed and concerned” by this news.
- Unfortunately, the outlook isn’t great. As we head into colder months and people seek out warm, indoor spaces, experts say there’s a greater chance for the virus to spread.
- Texas Governor Greg Abbott is openly suppressing the vote by limiting each county to a single absentee ballot drop box for November’s election. There’s no question that this is voter suppression. Many counties in Texas span thousands of square miles, which is clearly an unreasonable (and in some cases, impossible) distance to travel to cast one’s ballot. Civil rights groups and senior advocates have sued the state to stop Abbott’s order from taking effect.
- The census count will continue until October 31, thanks to a ruling late last week. The White House initially sought to cut the count short at the end of September, but was challenged by a number of civil rights groups and ultimately lost. If you haven’t already, you can take the census here.
WHAT WE’RE READING
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