Something I don’t think I mentioned yesterday: When you (or, at least, I) search ‘coronavirus’ on Twitter, there’s a ‘pinned’ top note suggesting “Know the facts – To make sure you get the best information on the novel coronavirus, resources are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)”, with a link. Good!
More context and information #PHEIC #nCoV2019 https://t.co/3iFQkMmmH9
— Dr. Tara C. Smith (@aetiology) January 30, 2020
To reiterate: this #PHEIC does not mean that #nCoV2019 has been declared a pandemic. Pandemic is specific to sustained human-to-human transmission in multiple regions of the globe. We have 2 other PHEICs in effect right now, for Ebola in DRC and for polio. Neither are pandemics.
— Dr. Tara C. Smith (@aetiology) January 30, 2020
Per the BBC:
… “The main reason for this declaration is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The concern is that it could spread to countries with weaker health systems.
Meanwhile, the US has told its citizens not to travel to China.
The State Department issued a level four warning – having previously urged Americans to “reconsider” travel to China – and said any citizens in China “should consider departing using commercial means”…
At least 213 people have died in China – mostly in Hubei province where the virus emerged – with almost 10,000 cases nationally.
The WHO said there had been 98 cases in 18 other countries, but no deaths.
Most international cases are in people who had been to the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei…
BREAKING: Russia closes border with China over virus outbreak
— The Spectator Index (@spectatorindex) January 30, 2020
But THIS IS AMERICA DAMMIT, so we are compelled to make it All About US!…
PSA for everyone freaking out about this coronavirus:
A country that YouTubed itself into a 21st Century measles outbreak does not get to talk any shit about anyone else's health practices.
— Elliott Kay (@ElliottKaybooks) January 29, 2020
Secretary Wilbur Ross on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak: "I don't want to talk about a victory lap… but… I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America."
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) January 30, 2020
The State Dept, citing coronavirus threat, tells Americans not to travel to China — period. Earlier today this was just a recommendation. pic.twitter.com/GaIAeFezga
— Andrew deGrandpre (@adegrandpre) January 31, 2020
So comforting. “Key experts who would help lead a response from the National Security Council are gone or divested and the functions collapsed, and so you’re dependent on coordination from a reluctant health secretary.” https://t.co/aML4bMMqPX
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) January 31, 2020
In the span of a day, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar suddenly became the face of the Trump White House’s public response to the Wuhan coronavirus.
He could just as easily become the fall guy if the president grows unhappy with the speed or nature of the virus’ transmission, or the increasingly intense media coverage surrounding the administration’s actions…
Inside the White House, pressure has been building up throughout the week in the background of the president’s Senate impeachment trial.
On Monday, several senior officials expressed extreme frustration with Azar and the White House’s response, feeling that the administration was caught flat-footed. Some specifically criticized Azar for not widely sharing information and being too slow to ramp up the administration’s efforts. The health secretary was chided in at least one meeting and told to get the U.S. response in higher gear and work better alongside staffers from the National Security Council, Domestic Policy Council and various agencies, according to three senior administration officials…
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney this week urged Azar to begin holding a daily briefing to keep the public informed about the virus, officials said. Azar also appeared on Thursday on Fox News, where he told the anchor that the coronavirus “does not at this time pose a risk to the American public.” Later in the day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first instance of person-to-person transmission of the virus in the United States.
Inside the health department, both political and career staff defended the health secretary’s response to a mystery outbreak that’s sickened more than 8,000 people around the globe, including six confirmed cases in the United States. “I can say without hesitation that Alex Azar is doing a very good job in a very difficult job,” said Tony Fauci, a civil servant who’s the nation’s top infectious disease doctor…
Appearing highly responsive on health care is a major White House priority after the president expressed irritation with his own administration’s moves on vaping and drug pricing, in addition to frustration about Republicans’ inability to repeal Obamacare. Health care has generally been a political loser for this administration. Trump’s own recent, internal polling shows it as a weak spot for him, and a strength for Democrats, heading into the 2020 campaign. Trump berated Azar for the bad polling in mid-January, breaking away from a political strategy meeting in order to vent to his health secretary by phone…
Worth reading the whole thing; making Azar this week’s human sacrifice on the WH front lawn would be a thoroughly stupid move, which means it’s more than possible.
Before 2018, there was an NSC team focused on pandemic prep. Then, John Bolton disbanded it.@yabutaleb7: "The concern among experts is that there still isn't that person inside the White House with the authority to coordinate and plan among agencies."https://t.co/KHiFlzOMmQ
— Martine Powers (@martinepowers) January 31, 2020
Ok. Now I’m panicking. pic.twitter.com/qKtvaYYeu1
— Schooley (@Rschooley) January 31, 2020
I appreciate your updates.
The Ross tweet was disgusting ?.
If someone from 44’s Administration had said something like this, the MSM would have worked themselves into an outrage lather and demanded their resignation.
Wilbur Ross is a semi living comic book villain. My god. The man has no soul. What a ghoul. Funny thing, my dad was saying last week that he expects Trump to say something incoherent about how the spread of virus means a win for his trade war or something dumb like that and no one will be shocked.
Yeah, the normal human, humane response to a new disease is thinking about how many jobs it might bring back. C.R.E.A.M. is really their entire existence. And though I don’t believe in hell, if there is one Wilber Ross is heading there.
Wilber Ross is a ghoul(a corrupt one at that).
He also is wrong. It won’t have any impact on jobs at all. Shocking on two metrics, but we are used to dumb incoherent Trump minions.
@Gvg: impact on jobs would be to create a few vacancies in the current workforce if it spreads widely over here.
I was glad to see the WHO upgrade of status and the US recommendation of no travel. Yesterday the health section my Google news feed was starting to fill with articles taking either a contrarian view that this was all over blown (SARS killed more!) or “the real epidemic is flu and it kills more”. Both are true but misleading, with some articles intent feeling to be more about bashing pointy headed experts and the WHO. Maybe now we can get back to a more thoughtful discussion that recognizes numbers ill and fatality rates.
Nice to know we kicked all the knowledgeable people out of the security council for lack of ideological purity. We get the government we deserve.
“Coronavirus will have a very good ending for us”. Only if trump gets it. And mcConnell. And roy blunt. And jim jordan. And pam bondi. And ad nauseum.
We have a working state dept? Wow.
Also fuck Wilbur Ross and his low IQ.
Azar is fucked.
The death rate is far higher than the common flu but may not be as contagious (though that isn’t clear and could be totally wrong.) The issue is if it has at least a 2% dearth rate (for a country that has a huge third world population) AND spreads around the world, that would be a disaster – for every 100 million infected, 2 million die; yes, that would be terrible compared to any flu in the last sixty years. So, I see why China is so very concerned. Seriously doubt the death rate in the US/Europe would be anywhere near that rate so, for us, not as big a concern.
One area the Chinese, I bet, are very concerned, is if it gets into their pig population (what’s left of it), then shares genetic material with one of the even more deadly avian viruses (their farmers often keep both pigs and ducks together) and mutates into a far more dangerous flu. That would be, I think, in the back of the minds of all academic types about this flu. The pig, and duck farms in China with their close contact with the human farmers is THE breeding ground for new and virulent strains of flu.
So today is Brexit day, right? I’m in Brussels right now… I’m trying to decide if I shiould hit a british pub or what… likely an Irish pub would probably be better :D
@Rusty: Speaking of ideological purity:
And just in case I was feeling superior to S Dakotans:
I wonder what the Bible has to say about transgender people? Why do I think it is nothing at all.
@OzarkHillbilly: In the same league as the only good abortion is my abortion. Also espoused primarily by people who are 100% Republican.
@OzarkHillbilly: oh, yes, he’s 100% Republican. He only started to notice that his party tries to control a female body when it was his child’s.
You still have a working State Department in no small part because the Secretaries who served under Obama put a lot of work into restoring its morale and effectiveness after the marginalisation it suffered during the W administration. And of course that hard work is now being actively undone by the Trumpistas.
DaleTrump, Mars Attacks!
Been lurking on this site for 14 years, this is my first ever comment:
I am currently stuck in Wuhan with the lockdown, staying in doors to avoid human contact (outside of immediate family) as much as possible. With help of my employer, I was able to get my 74 years old diabetic father onto the evacuation flight.
Based on what I have seen of the evacuation effort so far, I am concerned with the Trump administration’s ability to handle a significant outbreak of the 2019-nCoV in the US.
In the days leading up to the evacuation, all US citizens in Wuhan who signed up to the Smart Traveler program should have been contacted via email from the Beijing Embassy to sign up for and follow up on the evacuation. Yet, all relevant communication was forwarded to me via my employer, the Embassy did not respond to any of my inquiries. Same for my colleagues who evacuated. Without my employer working with the Embassy, I am not sure I could have gotten my father on the plane by myself.
The evacuation flight was significantly delayed coming in and going out, but that might have been Chinese bureaucracy. Within 48 hours, flight plans changed from WUH direct to SFO, to Wuhan – Ontario, CA with stop at Anchorage, AK, to the destination being Marsh ARB. They used a converted B747 freighter, with limited heating and no blankets provided. No hot or even solid food of any kind for the ten hour flight from Wuhan to Anchorage, after the people have already waited at the Wuhan Airport for 12 hours without a meal.
Upon arrival at Marsh, after a temperature check and an interview by CDC doctor, the evacuees were given the options of leaving immediately (without blood test), staying overnight after blood test, or voluntary 72 hrs quarantine. Most had the sense of staying for three days, but six people took up the option of leaving immediately. They were caught and returned by local authorities (at least based on the US news I read). The evacuees are assigned single rooms, but are allowed to mingle and congregate during meal times. I really do not understand why they are not restricted to their rooms, and why 14 days quarantine is not mandatory. It’s Like the CDC does not know this virus can have a 14 day incubation period, or that some infected people are asymptomatic or show only light symptoms, but are still contagious. Imagine if several of the evacuees are infected by an asymptomatic person among them, through the course of the evacuation!
I am still glad that my dad got out, as he is in the demographic most vulnerable to the virus. I decided to stay in Wuhan with my 11 months daughter (who is a US citizen) and my wife (who is a Chinese National). The US is only evacuating US passport holders. However, if future opportunities arise, I will have to weigh the risks of leaving or staying. Frankly, I feel safer holed up in our apartment in Wuhan than spending days and weeks with hundreds of evacuees in a confined environment, that may or may not asymptomatic infected among them. There have already been confirmed cases among the first two groups of Japanese evacuees out of Wuhan. (At least they got to fly commercial airliners, though.)
Mai naem mobile
@YY_Sima Qian: I hope one of the front pages highlights your comment. I read somewhere that Wuhan is somewhat of a medical product manufacturing and that’s going to screw the situation up even more. Good luck. I hope you and your family make it through this unscathed.
Good luck! Hope that conditions in Wuhan do not get too bad.
@YY_Sima Qian: Good luck and keep us posted. Hope your dad and daughter both dodge the virus. Thanks for updating us.
Mai naem mobile
For some reason the media isnt treating the corona virus like they treated the Ebola outbreak when Obama was POTUS. I wonder why. I am sure it’s because Orange Lump has Jared on it since Jared read 20 books on pandemics including the NYT bestseller Pandemic Management for Dummies.
@YY_Sima Qian: Thank you for chiming in (from a fellow mostly-lurker). Thinking good thoughts for your family, your community, and all of us.
@Mai naem mobile: Thanks. As far as I know, Wuhan is not a center for producing medical supplies. There are smaller cities in Hubei province that do have concentrations for making surgical masks (for example), but those factories are running, and there a a lot of capacity elsewhere in China. This is not the case where a no name Chinese town produces 80% of the world’s lighting fixtures (for example).
The problem is that all of the capacity in China has trouble meeting Wuhan’s (let along Hubei Province’s) current demand. Even worse, all of the factories had been shut down in advance of the Chinese New Year, and are only running at 25 – 50% capacity since Feb. 25 or so. Hence, the major efforts by Chinese emigres and Chinese organizations overseas to source protective masks, suits and goggles to donate to hospitals in Wuhan. People elsewhere in China are having trouble buying N95 or surgical masks, because Wuhan gets priority.
One more comment on the quarantine of the evacuees at CA. According to both my father and my colleagues, the reason there isn’t a mandatory 14 day quarantine has something to do with overburdening the resources at the military facility, and the associated expenses.
That sounds like the kind of decision some low level Chinese bureaucrat would make, allowing the situation in Wuhan to get out of hand.
WHAT THE F*CK!!!
I hope there is enough popular pressure to make sure the CDC and USG does the right thing here. I am sure that the families and communities of the evacuees would want assurance that no one is infected, too. As far as I know, the evacuees themselves are ready for the 14 day quarantine. Their current accommodations are comfortable, no want wishes to cause unnecessary anxiety to others.
@YY_Sima Qian: :(((
My friend, whose aunt in Beijing told her not to visit, is feeling much the same way as you.
Our little group of Chinese-American friends is so cynical about any information coming out of the PRC that we would be totally unsurprised if it turned out that there were way more deaths of hitherto healthy young adults that the CCP covered up. Take care
PS; good ‘nym, you’re my kind of person.
Major Major Major Major
I thought we were anti- bullshit whataboutism here?
Thanks so much for the inside information! Hope that you and your family come through this unscathed and things get back to normal before too long. I would like to hear more about what it is like in Wuhan, and what kind of information you are getting.
A smart boss choses the people who work for him/her to be smarter, better skilled at the job hired for because it makes their job easier and better. A moronic, narcissistic boss will only choose people who are totally subservient and who at least act stupider than himself because he thinks it elevates his person, which to him is far more important than the job hired for.
And this is the republican party. Their leader is to be followed right off the cliff, like lemmings. Questioning the leader is just not done. Democrats recognize that we are hiring a person to work for us, republicans believe they work for him. And yes it is overwhelmingly a man because of course women can not lead, only obey. They don’t respect equality because that is in direct opposition to their base concept of humanity. The republican party can not grow because they are stuck with their own dogma of conservation of the white male “mystique.” And trump is the embodiment of that. It matters not that he is nothing like what his mind’s eye sees, it is what he projects that is important. To the true conservative that is the entire point of life.
@YY_Sima Qian: Marsh ARB? I think you mean March AFB (Air Force Base). It’s in Riverside, California and not far from Ontario. This is probably a good destination because of the hospital there. ETA: ARB is correct. It’s now an Air Reserve Base.
But, I agree with you that these people should be isolated and kept for observation for 14 days.
MallWart is going to stop buying shovels and buckets from China because a fraction of the factory workforce might get sick? This guy is dumber than lint.
@Emma: There has been no evidence that the 2019-nCoV poses a significant threat to the younger and healthier populations. For them, the symptoms present as a moderate to very severe flu, until their immune systems fight it off. Regardless of whether and how the Chinese government may be messaging the data, it will not be able to hide a large number of deaths, not in the heart of the country dominated by Han Chinese. All of the anecdotes we are hearing of people who have been infected seem to support that the elderly and those with health complications are the most vulnerable. If I had any suspicion that the young are more vulnerable, I would have taken my daughter onto the evacuation flight…
@opiejeanne: You are correct. By the way, CDC/USG seem to have come to their senses and decided on the full 14 day quarantine for the evacuees. It is the right course of action, and should have been a no-brainer.
@ziggy: I plan to post more about the situation in Wuhan (at least my perception, holed up in our apartment for the past week) in future posts by Anne.
@YY_Sima Qian: thanks again for the inside scoop, and welcome to commenting! All the jackals are glad you’ve joined us ?