Trump declares US ‘national emergency’, ramps up Covid-19 tests

President Donald Trump has just had a media conference in which he declared a ‘national emergency’ due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. there are rep[oets he is also invoking the Stafford Act.

  • The national emergency gives access to expanded authorities for the executive branch.
  • The Stafford Act is what frees up the extra federal funding and allows access to the funds.

Trump said this would “open up access to up to $50 billion,” which was “a large amount of money for states and territories and localities in our shared fight against this disease.”

Trump also urged states to set up emergency operation centres immediately.

Many states have already declared emergencies and taken significant steps to try to contain the spread of the virus.

After recently claiming virus tests in the US were ‘the best’ (and was contradicted by a top health official) Trump also announced a major increase in screening tests around the US – up to 5 million tests a month.

This is a major shift for Trump – but the media conference seemed heavy on PR in reaction to strong and widespread criticism of Trump and the US response.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases:

“We still have a long way to go. There will be many more cases. But we’ll take care of that and ultimately, as the President said, this will end.

But what’s going on here today is going to help it to end sooner than it would have.”

Trump: “We don’t want everybody taking this test. It’s totally unnecessary”.

CNN: President Trump continues to shake hands with corporate chiefs in the Rose Garden, even as health experts warn against the practice in a bid to prevent community spread.

“I’ve waived interest on all student loans held by federal government agencies, and that will be until further notice”.

He said he also directed the Secretary of Energy “to purchase large quantities of crude oil for the US strategic reserves.”

Vice-President Pence is talking a load of PR bull, praising Trump for everything he has done.

Meanwhile the US sharemarket has partially bounced back, recovering (currently 4.8% on the Dow Jones) from yesterdays 10% slump (it hasn’t reacted noticeably to the announcement yet). I expect the timing of the announcement had the close of the US markets in mind. Update – a late jump almost regained all of yesterday’s loss, closing up 9.36% (yesterday was down 9.99%), although it is still down nearly 3000 points over the week.

In response to media questions he criticises the Democrats, and slams the Obama for what he claims were failures over an epidemic, but when called on his claims by a reporter he shut them down.

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52 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson on Tuesday: “Trump”s US has an extremely low rate of infections per capita much to the chagrin of his clueless opponents.”

    On Tuesday America had 800 confirmed cases; last night it had over 1,700 confirmed cases, much to Alan’s chagrin.

    And adding to Alan’s chagrin, newly confirmed infections in New York alone jumped by 30% overnight to 421.

    Who knows how many cases will be reported if testing in America ever starts in earnest. But modelling indicates numbers could end up in the tens of millions:

    https://time.com/5801726/coronavirus-models-forecast/

    Honestly if there is one screaming lesson from this outbreak it’s that Trump’s instinct to spin and lie and minimize for his own political benefit is just about the most dangerous response one could take.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  14th March 2020

      Presuming the US death statistics are accurate you can calculate infections from the rates in other places. Those stats don’t seem far out of line. It seems common that a high proportion of tests return negative results often falsely. New tests may be better.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  14th March 2020

        The main thing, ignoring Trump’s usual rambling, excuses, & bs, & his playing Covid-19 down for weeks, is that his administration & Congress at last seem to be moving together to implement large scale testing & doing something to fund & mitigate the inevitable social & economic impacts of the pandemic spreading across the US.

        And at least one gets the impression that those best-qualified & equipped to track & manage the situation nationally there are finally more or less being permitted to do so.

        The responses by governments across the world are looking increasingly patchy & shambolic though. Denmark has apparently shut its borders to non-residents for now. Poland & Czech Republic too. EU solidarity is crumbling.
        https://www.ft.com/content/4e89ec5c-6565-11ea-b3f3-fe4680ea68b5

        Aljaz tv reports some African counties are now starting to report their first cases. Kenya’s first case seems to have got her infection in the US. As Griff noted yesterday, though, countries with huge populations of poor where only the middle class & elites can access more than rudimentary medical services surely have to be suspected of having far higher numbers of Covid-19 cases than just those small numbers currently reported.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  14th March 2020

          Six people in New Zealand have now tested positive for coronavirus.

          The 6th person is an Auckland man in his 60s who recently travelled back to New Zealand from the United States.

          The chief executive of Waitematā District Health Board Dr Dale Bramley confirmed the news on Saturday. Bramley said he received confirmation of the sixth case on Friday night.
          “We understand the man was in New Jersey, travelled home via Houston to New Zealand,”

          It was more than three days after he arrived back home before he became unwell. The public health assessment was that no-one else on the flight was considered to be a close contact.

          His partner who travelled with him was well, and was also in self isolation.

          When friends in the USA alerted him to their possible link to a Covid-19 case in the US, on Wednesday he phoned ahead to his doctor and told them of his travel history and his symptoms.
          https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/120280065/coronavirus-waitemat-dhb-chief-provides-a-live-update

          Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  14th March 2020

          Because you can be infectious before or without symptoms it is extremely difficult to shut it down and it is continuously likely to be reintroduced until a high proportion of the population are immune via vaccine or recovery.

          That leaves governments forced to control it at a level that health services can manage until that immunity is achieved. All without bankrupting the economy and population. Neither easy nor clear cut with many unknowns.

          Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  14th March 2020

          Probably too early days to tell much yet except Italy’s stats look bad. On the face of it the US death rate relative to.infections remains low so no indication many infections are undetected.

          Reply
            • Gezza

               /  15th March 2020

              ?

              “Townhall is an American politically conservative website, print magazine and radio news service. Previously published by the Heritage Foundation, it is now owned and operated by Salem Communications. The website features more than 80 columns (both syndicated and exclusive) by a variety of writers and commentators. The website also publishes news articles from the Associated Press.

              Townhall.com features commentary by various conservative columnists and guest commentary by politicians. Guest contributors have included Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Lara Trump.”

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  15th March 2020

              That alters the stats somehow?

            • Gezza

               /  15th March 2020

              With Trump playing down the impact for so long, & so little testing being done there to date, how reliable could stats for the US be for any kind of comparison with elsewhere at the present time? That read more to me like a straight out defence of Trump than any kind of worthwhile survey of the stats, Alan. Now that testing will be ramping up in the US there might be a better basis for comparison in future.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  15th March 2020

              As noted previously, it is unlikely the death stats are substantially in error and they line up pretty well with the infection numbers so I doubt increased testing will make much difference even if only because current methods seem to give a lot of false negatives in the absence of symptoms.

            • that article is so much jibber jabber, signifying nothing. For example,
              It claims Italy has a death rate that is 118 times as great as the US death rate, which is pure BS.

              The US death rate (deaths to confirmed cases as at March 15, 2020, 19:50 GMT) is nearly 1.9%: 3,377 confirmed cases, 63 deaths

              As at the same time and from the same source (worldometers.info) Italy had 24,747 cases and 1,809 deaths, yielding a death rate of 7.3%, which is only 3.9 times as great as the US death rate.

              Lott calls his article a quantitative comparison, but his comparisons are neither quantitative nor genuine comparisons. Gezza nails it: a straight-out defence of Trump, not a worthwhile look at comparative statistics.

          • One of the reasons why Italy’s death rate is so high: a week ago, Italy had the hospital bed capacity to be able to treat all its cases. Now it doesn’t.

            When Italy was experiencing a few hundred cases two weeks ago, each of those patients was getting the attention they needed, including respiratory specialists and specialised equipment. A week later, over 2,000 patients were still getting access to artificial ventilation for breathing difficulties.

            But a week after that, over 10,000 patients had overrun all of the available ICU beds in northern Italy. Not only were there no longer enough respirators to go around, but there also weren’t enough doctors. Or beds. Patients were left gasping for air in waiting rooms, and there was absolutely nothing that could be done for them.

            Italian doctors have been forced into a terrible position of triaging patients based not on the seriousness of their illness but on their age and prospects for remaining life years. Many patients over 65 or with additional medical complications such as diabetes or heart disease are simply being left to die. That’s not happening out of cruelty. It’s happening because there are other, younger patients at the same hospital who need the respirators … or they would die.

            This is only getting worse, because younger victims who initially tried to handle their illness at home are now struggling into hospitals after their symptoms have worsened.

            America is where Italy was ten days ago, and it is going to get a harsh lesson on the impact of exponential growth curves in the coming month.

            Reply
  2. David

     /  14th March 2020

    Market went up 5% during his press conference, quite surreal to watch it just steadily climb and climb with not a huge amount new being said.

    Reply
    • That‘s a response to a $1.5 trillion bailout from the Fed Reserve, not Trump. Trump confirmed that when he said he was not responsible.

      Never mind that Monday promises another bloodbath on the markets.

      Reply
    • David, did you also notice that the market dropped 200 points during the 11 minutes that Trump spoke and only started its rise after he stopped talking and handed over to the health experts?

      Reply
    • I’ll wait to see what happens next week on the markets. Immediate reactions often aren’t sustained.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  14th March 2020

        yes . These things are dominated by high speed automated trading now between Computers off Wall St.
        My Kiwisaver is up slightly this week over the Feb 29th numbers, I moved totally out of shares into NZ term deposits and cash back in first week of Feb so seem to have preserved my KS value at the peak.

        Reply
    • Federal Reserve has just cut interest rates to zero. Not good enough … US stock futures just dropped 5% their Sunday evening, hitting the “limit down,” meaning they can’t fall any further.

      Dow (INDU) futures plummeted and were last down 1,041 points, or about 4.5%. S&P 500 (SPX) futures were down about 4.8% , while Nasdaq (COMP) futures were down 4.5%.

      Half of the last-hour rally Friday has been wiped out, and plenty more drops to come… so much for Friday’s “steady, surreal climb”

      Reply
  3. Reply
    • Pink David

       /  14th March 2020

      People Trump fired are upset with Trump shocker. What special skills did Mc Faul have that were lost in this crisis?

      Reply
      • He worked in a place called the White House Pandemic Office. That’s a place that Trump closed down in 2018…. Seems like a reasonable skill-set in order to comment on the closure of the office.

        Reply
        • Pink David

           /  14th March 2020

          “Seems like a reasonable skill-set in order to comment on the closure of the office.”

          A rather shallow look at it. It was a name. McFaul is a professor of political science with extensive links to Russia, He knows nothing about pandemics.

          He was also the progenitor of the ‘Russian reset’ I’m surprised you would have felt safe with such a man in the White House. Russians! Russians! afterall…..

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  14th March 2020

            Knows nothing about pandemics ?
            Compared to Pence ……or did you have something else in mind.

            Reply
            • Pink David

               /  14th March 2020

              Compared to Robert Redfield

            • Duker

               /  15th March 2020

              McFauls bio doesnt include ‘White House Pandemic Prepardness office’
              ” He served five years in the Obama administration, first as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House (2009-2012), and then as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation (2012-2014).”

              Those were his jobs, not sure why hes now claiming Pandemic Office , as hes not qualified in health area. There was a different person as Obama ‘Ebola Czar’ as it was called . McFaul was the resident Russian expert at the time

  4. Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  14th March 2020

      Why would the White House have a permanent pandemic office? Surely that belongs in the CDC?

      Reply
      • You’d think so but Trump pretty much closed down the CDC’s ability to respond to pandemics as well, and at pretty much the same time.

        Obama set up anti-pandemic units that were run by the CDC in 47 different countries. Trump defunded and closed 37 of those operations in 2018, including… wait for it… the CDC’s anti-pandemic programme in China…

        And you know what else, of course… according to his budget director who testified at the congressional hearings held on Tuesday this week, Trump is still pushing ahead with additional funding cuts to the CDC in 2021: cutting US$1.2 billion from the CDC’s budget (a reduction of 15%) and eliminating US$35 million from the Infection Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  14th March 2020

          How on earth was the CDC running a public health operation in China. That’s nuts. No wonder it was closed down.

          All that should have given the CDC more focus on the US where it belongs. Seems like they blew it.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  14th March 2020

            White house has an Aids office, another office is for ‘Faith based affairs.
            You are confused about policy at the highest levels and medical reserach and processes at the CDC
            Who says CDC was running public health operation in China?…maybe it’s like FBI offices around the world…you know to coordinate crime fighting

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  14th March 2020

              Perhaps the CDC discovered email.

              Trump closed both of those WH quangos too. A lot of bureaucratic nonsense scrapped.

            • Caution: that’s a bit of misinformation from Alan.

              Trump left the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships dormant for the first 18 months of his administration but in May 2018, Trump issued an executive order to re-establish the programme and appointed prosperity gospel preacher Paula White to head up the initiative… making it the same “bureaucratic nonsense” as before, just rebranded by trump’s executive order.

          • the more you talk, Alan, the more you convince me that keeping the CDC operations going in China after the Swine Flu and after SARS would have been a very sensible thing to do.

            Just spit-balling here:

            – perhaps they would have picked up on the sudden rise in flu-like symptoms and deaths in Wuhan in December 2019 and put a precautionary plan in place for the US

            – perhaps they would have given us a better insight into the spread of symptoms in the absence of early honesty from the Chinese officials

            – perhaps they could have done what they were set up to do – help other countries with early containment and public education efforts

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  16th March 2020

              No. They would have been as dependent on Chinese data there as the world was everywhere else and no more able to do anything about it than those everywhere else.

    • David

       /  14th March 2020

      https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8110727/Biden-virtual-town-hall-marks-new-normal-campaigning.html

      Here is your guy, lets put a dementia ridden old buggar in charge who isnt quite sure where he is. Seeing as he has just beaten the communist who has just had a heart attack.

      Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  14th March 2020

    From tomorrow all inbound travellers except PIs will have to self isolate for 2 weeks.

    Draconian impact on economy. Why not let Chinese students back on those conditions?

    Reply
  6. Patzcuaro

     /  14th March 2020

    The buck stops elsewhere

    Reply
  7. Patzcuaro

     /  14th March 2020

    “I don’t take responsibility at all”, Trump blames Obama for testing failures.

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/13/trump-coronavirus-testing-128971

    Reply
  8. Patzcuaro

     /  14th March 2020

    “In the White House rose garden on Friday, the US president defied the advice of medical experts standing behind him and behaved like a one-man coronavirus cannon.”

    Reply
  9. Reply
    • Gezza

       /  15th March 2020

      Trump says he’s now been tested, results expected within 48 hours.

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  15th March 2020

        Let’s just hope it’s not an IQ test they give him by mistake. Apparently his score would be off the scale and that news would cause widespread shock and discombobulation. (The ‘apparently’ means according to him.)🙂

        Reply
      • Gezza

         /  15th March 2020

        Ttump’s White House physician has issued a statement saying that Trump has tested negative for Covid-19.

        Reply
      • wouldn’t it be reassuring to be able to rely on his word… sadly reality says no, a man who lies whenever he opens his mouth is not at all reassuring.

        Reply

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