“The germ is so brilliant”…and Trump is so not

The NY Times digs deep on Trump’s utter failure to take action against the virus despite having plenty of warning.

Throughout January, as Mr. Trump repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and focused on other issues, an array of figures inside his government — from top White House advisers to experts deep in the cabinet departments and intelligence agencies — identified the threat, sounded alarms and made clear the need for aggressive action.

The president, though, was slow to absorb the scale of the risk and to act accordingly, focusing instead on controlling the message, protecting gains in the economy and batting away warnings from senior officials. It was a problem, he said, that had come out of nowhere and could not have been foreseen.

And yet he claims that he knew it was a pandemic before just about anyone else:

In addition to being the visionary who saw it coming, Trump also breaks down the science of the virus for the public.

Asked by a journalist about the level of testing for the coronavirus across the US, the president answered: “This is a very brilliant enemy. You know, it’s a brilliant enemy. They develop drugs like the antibiotics. You see it. Antibiotics used to solve every problem. Now one of the biggest problems the world has is the germ has gotten so brilliant that the antibiotic can’t keep up with it.

“And they’re constantly trying to come up with a new – people go to a hospital and they catch – they go for a heart operation – that’s no problem, but they end up dying from – from problems. You know the problems I’m talking about. There’s a whole genius to it.”

And yet the science is a bit lacking, as pointed out by Independent:

Though it is unclear whether Mr Trump was directly suggesting the disease may once have been treatable with antibiotics, the president’s allusions to antibiotic resistance are misguided. As the World Health Organisation states: “Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.”

On its page titled “Myth Busters”, the organisation advises: “The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.

In large part because Trump failed to prepare for the looming pandemic, the federal government is trying to catch up and taking shortcuts to do so. ProPublica lays out how the White House influenced FEMA to award the largest Coronavirus contract without any bidding.  Just the sort of thing you’d expect when you have Jared Kushner coordinating the governmental response.

jared-kushner-white-house-panel-discussion

In an unusual move, even in times of disaster, the White House stepped into the federal purchasing process, ordering the Federal Emergency Management Agency to award a contract to AirBoss of America. The Trump administration has rushed through hundreds of deals to address the pandemic without the usual oversight, more than $760 million reported as of this week, but the AirBoss transaction is the single largest no-bid purchase, a ProPublica analysis of federal purchasing data found.

While FEMA placed the order, it was directed to do so by the White House, ProPublica found.

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