General Info
Chart Video: Coronavirus vs SARS/MERS/Ebola/Swine Flu

WHO raises risk assessment of coronavirus to ‘very high’ at global level

C.D.C. Officials Warn of Coronavirus Outbreaks in the U.S.
Clusters of infection are likely in American communities, health officials said. Some lawmakers questioned whether the nation is prepared.

…cities and towns should plan for “social distancing measures,” like dividing school classes into smaller groups of students or closing schools altogether. Meetings and conferences may have to be canceled, she said. Businesses should arrange for employees to work from home.

What is coronavirus and what should I do if I have symptoms?
What are the symptoms caused by the virus from Wuhan in China,
how does it spread, and should you call a doctor?

What Would Happen If US Schools Close Because of Coronavirus?
Closures could mitigate contagion but would hurt workers and the economy



It’s here…
First coronavirus case of ‘unknown origin’ confirmed in US. What does that mean?

A second coronavirus case of unknown origin has been confirmed in California,
indicating that the virus is spreading in the state.

U.S. military says soldier based in South Korea tested positive for a new virus,
the first U.S. service member infected.

Coronavirus case of unknown origin confirmed in Oregon…

Washington state health officials say 1 person has died from new virus;
first person to die from disease in US.


Washington Gov. Jay Inslee today declared a state of emergency in response
to new cases of COVID-19, directing state agencies to use all resources necessary
to prepare for and respond to the outbreak.

The coronavirus has probably been spreading undetected for about six weeks
in Washington state, a study says.

Rhode Island health officials confirmed the state’s first case of coronavirus on Sunday,
signaling a widening spread of the virus a day after the first death in the U.S. was reported
in Washington state.

“The Rhode Island patient, the 25th confirmed local case in the U.S., is a person in their 40s
who had traveled to Italy in mid-February, the state health department said in a press release.”

Person in New York City Tests Positive for COVID-19: Officials

Second man in King County (WA) with coronavirus dies

2 Bay Area (CA) healthcare workers test ‘presumptive positive’ for COVID-19, officials say

The Trump administration has called off a major summit of Asian leaders next month in Las Vegas amid growing alarm over the coronavirus, two U.S. officials tell NBC News.

Trump didn’t cut off travel to China. (The airlines did.) He barred entry by foreign nationals who had recently visited China:

– Elizabeth Warren is calling on Trump admin officials to explain its handling of the evacuation of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, after 14 passengers infected with the coronavirus flew on a plane with other travelers despite a warning from the CDC.

2018: How Quickly Can You Really Catch an Illness on an Airplane –
and How Much Should You Worry?

Officials at HHS sent more than a dozen workers to receive the first Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China without proper training for infection control or appropriate protective gear, according to a whistleblower complaint.

“The whistleblower is seeking federal protection because she alleges she was unfairly
and improperly reassigned after raising concerns about the safety of these workers
to HHS officials, including those within the office of Health and Human Services
Secretary Alex Azar.”


A uniquely American obstacle in the fight against #COVID-19: patients face high insurance deductibles at the start of the calendar year. We have a lot of academic research showing that high deductibles make patients reticent to seek care, even when they need it.

“America is alone among advanced economies in not having a national guarantee of paid sick leave for workers. As the @ceprdc reported in 2009, most developed economies give workers at least five days off to recover from flu-like symptoms.” #coronavirus


An American Evacuated From China Was Quarantined on CDC Orders, Then Got a Bill for It


Houston, we have a problem…
Context: US intel agencies warned of rising risk of outbreak like coronavirus
In 2017 and 2018 threat assessments (during the Trump administration), intelligence analysts even mentioned a close cousing of coronavirus by name, saying it had “pandemic potential.”

Trump’s cuts to national security staff may hurt the U.S. coronavirus response, say
former officials. “For the first time since 9/11 you don’t have someone directly
reporting to the president responsible [for threats like] pandemics,”
said an ex-official.

Trump Reinvents Pandemic Response Wheel After Scrapping Team Obama Left Him

Trump’s coronavirus problem: “Having hollowed out senior leadership of so many depts
of the government – especially in the scientific community – (Trump) is now in
desperate need of professional guidance among people he has abused for three years.”



“You build a fire department ahead of time. You don’t wait for a fire,” said Tom
Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “There is an
underappreciation for the amount of time and resources required to build a
prepared system.”

Nearly 700 vacancies at CDC because of Trump administration’s hiring freeze
Health and Human SErvices is one of several federal agencies to maintain the freeze on their own

The CDC designed a flawed test for COVID-19, then took weeks to figure out a fix
so state and local labs could use it. New York still doesn’t trust the test’s

As the highly infectious coronavirus jumped from China to country after country in January and February, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lost valuable weeks that could have been used to track its possible spread in the United States because it insisted upon devising its own test.

The federal agency shunned the World Health Organization test guidelines used by other countries and set out to create a more complicated test of its own that could identify a range of similar viruses. But when it was sent to labs across the country in the first week of February, it didn’t work as expected. The CDC test correctly identified COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. But in all but a handful of state labs, it falsely flagged the presence of the other viruses in harmless samples.

  US isn’t ‘remotely prepared’ to test for coronavirus, experts say
The United States is lagging when it comes to testing for the new coronavirus.

Here’s the clip of Azar not assuring Rep. Schakowsky a covid-19 vaccine
will be affordable to all. (video)


Production of vaccines has long been contingent on investment from one of the handful of giant global pharmaceutical companies. At the Aspen Institute last week, Fauci lamented that none had yet to “step up” and commit to making the vaccine. “Companies that have the skill to be able to do it are not going to just sit around and have a warm facility, ready to go for when you need it,” he said. Even if they did, taking on a new product like this could mean massive losses, especially if the demand faded or if people, for complex reasons, chose not to use the product.

Making vaccines is so difficult, cost intensive, and high risk that in the 1980s, when drug companies began to incur legal costs over alleged harms caused by vaccines, many opted to simply quit making them. To incentivize the pharmaceutical industry to keep producing these vital products, the U.S. government offered to indemnify anyone claiming to have been harmed by a vaccine. The arrangement continues to this day. Even still, drug companies have generally found it more profitable to invest in the daily-use drugs for chronic conditions. And coronaviruses could present a particular challenge in that at their core they, like influenza viruses, contain single strands of RNA. This viral class is likely to mutate, and vaccines may need to be in constant development, as with the flu.

…The real problem is that preparedness for this outbreak should have been happening for the past decade, ever since SARS. …

On Saturday, Politico reported that the White House is preparing to ask Congress for $1 billion in emergency funding for a coronavirus response. This request, if it materialized, would come in the same month in which President Donald Trump released a new budget proposal that would cut key elements of pandemic preparedness-funding for the CDC, the NIH, and foreign aid.

Sen. Ed Markey has announced plans to introduce legislation to conduct or support comprehensive research for the creation of a universal coronavirus vaccine. It would call for a total investment of $1 billion for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


Ezekiel Emanuel, special adviser to the director general of the World Health Organization, told @MSNBC he found “most” of what Trump said at his (first) briefing on the novel coronavirus “incoherent.”


…media is covering up Trump’s terrifying incoherence in a time of emergency

What I’d like to hear from the president on the coronavirus:
1. This is a real problem.
2. We will follow the guidance of the scientists and public health experts
who will lead the response
3. I will move heaven and earth to get them the resources & support they need.
That’s all.

Last week the Trump Admin admitted infected Americans to the US because of optics.
This week Trump projected his administration’s failure upon his opponents (video)

Trump calls coronavirus criticism Democrats’ ‘new hoax’ and links it to immigration
The president was in South Carolina where he falsely called ‘the Democrat policy
of open borders’ a threat to Americans’ health

Note: It’s the Democratic Party’s policy, Donald. Leaving off “ic” and emphasizing “rat” is childish and disrespectful behavior… all the more so during the initial stages of a possible pandemic.

Why is the president holding a second press conference on the coronavirus
if the virus is Democrats’ “new hoax,” as he falsely claims?

Short video summary…

Pence has a long record of flat-out rejecting science.
Azar is a former pharma executive who oversaw the price-gouging of insulin.
Kudlow is infamous for his extremely wrong financial predictions.
All three men are leading Trump’s coronavirus response.


The Vice President is starting off by not allowing the head of the NIH to speak
. I will try to be as precise and non shrill as possible with my language
here: It is essential in times like these that experts are allowed to tell us
what’s really going on in their own words.

This decision to have (politicians) screen health info comes on the heels of the
White House declaring it wants to purge Feds it deems insufficiently loyal to
Trump (instead of to the Constitution) and will target any of the “millions”
of Feds in the “bowels of the government.”


What’s on Mike Pence’s schedule as coronavirus point man? A fundraiser in Florida.

Responding to Sen Blackburn (who recently blocked election security bills)…
No senator. We fear that our family members will die because Donald Trump put a guy  who doesn’t believe in science in charge of containing coronavirus. …

A guide to right-wing media reactions and conspiracy theories surrounding coronavirus

Again, last week the State Dept made a political decision related to infected patients.

The most important thing to do is to keep informed and be prepared.

Regarding the “hoax”…
Question: If true believers ignore health warnings because various far right politicians / commentators called the problem a hoax  – then contracted the virus and died… can their survivors sue those responsible?

In addition to the moral issue, Dean Baker pointed out why their political strategy might not work…

Thread on Trump’s / GOP’s “snow in the streets” problem (page up)

Corrected a misspelling…

And then there’s the hypocrisy…

During Obama’s administration…
Five Crazy Conspiracy Theories About Ebola That Conservatives Actually Believe

July 31, 2014 …
Ebola patient will be brought to the U.S. in a few days – now I know for sure
that our leaders are incompetent. *Keep them out of here!* – Donald Trump

Compare / Contrast that 2014 Trump with this 2020 Trump…

Republican Benghazi Committee ends with a whimper

…I’ve long found the Republicans’’Benghazi Committee to be ridiculous, but I’m not suggesting the deadly terrorist attack in Libya, which left four Americans dead, was unworthy of investigation. Just the opposite is true – Congress had a responsibility to determine what happened and take steps to prevent similar attacks in the future.
But therein lies the point: seven separate congressional committees investigated the Benghazi attack before the Select Committee was even created. This was already one of the most scrutinized events in American history. Republican lawmakers, however, didn’t quite care for what the evidence told them, so they effectively concluded, “Seven committees didn’t tell us what we wanted to hear, so maybe the eighth committee will.”
Except, it appears this one came up short, too.
The Select Committee on Benghazi lasted longer than the investigations into the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassination of President Kennedy, the Iran-Contra scandal, Church Committee, the Watergate probe, and the 9/11 attacks. In fact, it’s of interest that the 9/11 Commission, investigating every possible angle to the worst terrorist attack in the history of the country, worked for 604 days and created a bipartisan report endorsed by each of the commission’s members.
The Benghazi committee, meanwhile, worked for over 700 days to create a partisan, election-year document, rehashing revelations that have been known and documented for years.
History will not be kind.


6 in 10 Nevada caucus-goers report in exit polls that they support eliminating private insurance & creating a single-payer system, per WaPo gurus @sfcpoll
& @EmGusk. Same result in both NH and Iowa. Health care *the* top issue in all 3 states

In Nevada, two top candidates, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, both put deceptive ads on the air attacking Medicare for All. They campaigned explicitly against Medicare for All. And they lost by 30 points

Yale Study Says Medicare for All Would Save U.S. $450 Billion, Prevent Nearly 70,000 Deaths a Year:
Medicare for All: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

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