You might want to sit down for the upcoming pronouncement I am going to deliver here, as I am about to write out a comment sure to upset and/or dismay many. It’s not an outlandish declaration, but one that defies most of the coverage of the pandemic and the actions of the White House, but regardless -- here goes.
Donald Trump, the administration, and the Covid-19 Task Force have done amazingly successful work in response to the coronavirus and dealing with it on a national scale.
Stick with me here—I am not resorting to spoon-fed talking points from the Trump War Room. This assessment was made from the details and advice dispensed from medical professionals—experts in their field—and were found not in arcane community college opinion papers but from the highest reaches of our media complex.
First, let’s deliver a few items the press has been working at keeping a lid on in 2020. Despite claims to the contrary, the Trump administration had undertaken a number of steps early to address the spread of Covid-19 in the states. He put in place a travel ban from China, he formed the Coronavirus Task Force, and he worked with businesses to begin ramping up production of needed medical supplies for healthcare workers. There were also a number of executive orders passed to tear down government restrictions that blocked businesses from manufacturing products outside their designed purpose.
These are laid out to show that the initial narrative we heard from the media of the president “doing nothing for 70 days” was completely false. The press has been adept at selling false narratives during this pandemic. As just one example, recall the hysteria months back over ventilators. We were told there was a national shortfall, that the president was lax in addressing the problem—while he was getting businesses to work on production—and that Trump was possibly restricting deliveries to certain states over political squabbling. New York was said to be in dire need of 40,000 of the devices and was woefully short.
As Mike Pence noted during the GOP convention, not a single patient in need of a ventilator was denied the use of one due to lack of availability. Not long after the press was blaring about the ventilator crisis something began to take place the press barely addressed. States began sending their surplus ventilators to areas in need, as the promised overflow of patients to ERs across the country did not materialize. Those 40,000 New York was lacking in dire fashion? The state began donating its surplus machines to Mexico after employing just a few thousand.
This sets up the practice of the media during this crisis. Note that as the ventilator crisis ebbed we were never delivered the same breathless reporting over the success. There were one of either two explanations for this and possibly both apply. Either the administration acted quick enough and met the demand—something the press would never dare detail—or the hysteria of the need was completely overblown, something to which the press would never admit. These traits also play out regarding the projections we had been delivered and today’s Covid realities. One of the early and loudest accusations from the press concerning Trump’s reaction to the pandemic was his refusal to listen to medical experts on the matter. With this charge in mind, we can go back and listen to what those medical experts told us, as delivered by the properly attentive media complex.
Back in March, the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota declared that he was estimating Covid deaths in the U.S. would be approaching the 500,000 plateau. As we are about to see, this was one of the more rosy predictions by the experts.
As the coronavirus reached our borders and began to entrench itself in our society the epidemiologists and virologists looked into the spread and began to deduce what we need to do and what could possibly transpire. In March the media’s favorite practitioner, Dr. Anthony Fauci testified to Congress that coronavirus was ten times more lethal than the flu, with a mortality rate around 1%. Another source the press adores, the World Health Organization, had placed that rate even higher, at 3-4%. Dire figures, to be sure.
Congress has its own medical professional who weighed in on the matter, Dr. Brian Monahn. At the time of Dr. Fauci’s hearing in March, Dr. Monahan projected that up to one-third of the country was expected to contract the virus. Based on the lethality this meant that we could be facing close to 1 million deaths in the United States. Chilling to consider, but these prognostications were not outliers.
A short time after Fauci’s testimony, The New York Times had a report detailing the projections from Dr. Neil M. Ferguson, a British epidemiologist. Dr. Ferguson is regarded as the preeminent source on disease outbreak modeling. He looked at probable and possible influences and came up with high-and-low end estimates to what the United States was likely to face. He stated there was a possibility of 2.2 million deaths, in his worst-case scenario. But this was a scare figure, based on what may occur with little action taken. The press, however, latched on to this number, and used it to bludgeon President Trump.
But the Times also asked the doctor about the best-case result. Based on factors such as a summer lull, a possible mutation of the virus, and some herd immunity taking effect, if all went well the U.S. would ‘”only” see about 1.1 million deaths. This estimate was based on the factors already in place and the steps that had been taken at that time.
Tellingly there was another highly regarded source coming out with similar figures. Andrew Slavitt is a former Obama administration official who was the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Slavitt came forward with death rate figures more glaring. Slavitt was involved in a series of conferences with teams of medical professionals looking into the outbreak and assessing what would take place. The panel ran scenarios where they declared containment was no longer a possibility. They projected higher infection estimates, where they saw 40-70 percent of the U.S. population becoming infected, leading to at minimum 1.5 million deaths, and reaching to 2 million, or higher, if the virus could not be controlled. Slavitt promised cities across the country would be “overrun” with cases they could not handle.
To repeat, these are all the people the press has told us that we NEED to listen to, medical experts trained specifically in the field of epidemiology and other related viral fields. These are the minds we have been lectured about paying serious attention to in this crisis. So I am paying attention. We were assured that 1 million deaths in this country was possibly the best hoped-for result.
To date we are still below 200,000 Covid-related deaths, with the curve flattening rapidly. We have gotten past the worst stage of the outbreak and we stand at roughly 20 percent of the assured figure that had been delivered from various expert sources. This has to be regarded as good news, comparatively speaking.
That will never be the judgement from the press. Either Trump has done a better job at handling this crisis, or the press had overblown what they described as lax action taken early on, leading to these error-prone estimates. The only accurate prediction we can make today is the media continuing to disseminate inaccurate details on the pandemic.