A leftover from the other evening, but well worth your time. In his opening monologue, Tucker Carlson spelled out the very real risks of Coronavirus -- cautioning against panic, while also warning that shrugging off or underplaying the threat would be a serious mistake. He dings leftists for their contributions to the dysfunction and politicization, particularly noting the absurdity of claiming that it's racist to refer to the disease as the 'Wuhan Virus.' That moniker applies to the epicenter of the global outbreak, which was made worse by Chinese officials' opacity and dishonesty (and Carlson's aside about China's rampant ethnic bigotry is earned). Rich Lowry skewers this frivolous, woke talking point with a quick history lesson:
Naturally enough, the virus is associated with Wuhan, and indeed has commonly been referred to as “the Wuhan virus” in the press (at least prior to the World Health Organization’s formally naming the virus and the disease). Naming a virus after the location of the outbreak that first brought it to attention is hardly unusual. The West Nile virus emerged in the West Nile district of Northern Uganda in the 1930s. It is similar to the St. Louis encephalitis virus, which broke out around St. Louis, Mo., in 1933, and the Japanese encephalitis virus, which caused outbreaks in Japan beginning in the 1870s. Coxsackie in New York state, Marburg in Germany, and Hendra in Australia all have viruses named after them. MERS, caused by a virus first identified in 2012, stands for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or even more offensively, the camel flu. No one had a fainting fit over any of this, but we live in a more sensitive, and absurd, time.
After slapping down the Left, Carlson criticizes the other side of the aisle for downplaying the dangers of the virus as a political calculation. He faults leaders that are trusted by many of his viewers, including "people you probably voted for," for wrongly and even harmfully minimizing the scope of what's happening, and turning a blind eye to how things could get worse. He doesn't name the president directly, but it's heavily implied. It's almost as if Carlson is trying to nudge not only his viewers writ large, but perhaps a Viewer-in-Chief, away from the current trajectory in terms of attitudes and actions. All seven minutes are worth your time:
"Our country is likely to experience a painful period we are powerless to stop. None of this is justification to panic; you shouldn't panic. In crisis, it is more important than ever to be calm. But staying calm is not the same as remaining complacent. It does not mean assuring people that everything will be fine. We don't know that. Instead, it is better to tell the truth. That is always the surest sign of strength. As they level with us, our leaders ought to prepare the public for what may come next."
Allahpundit wonders what's motivating Carlson to stray from the more prosaic paint-by-numbers pro-Trump/anti-media talking points, in favor of a come-to-Jesus, "no, really, this is serious" message. Three theories, which are not mutually exclusive: Civic duty, genuine nationalism, and a desire to push Trump to at least partially course correct. Another crucial point Carlson makes is about America's insane dependence on Chinese supply chains for drugs and pharmaceutical products. That is an actual national security risk that must be addressed urgently and deliberately. On a more optimistic note, while Carlson points out particularly disastrous national responses (Italy, Iran) to Coronavirus, other places are having much more success:
I started off fairly sceptical in HK's social distancing. I wore masks, worked from home but wasn't sure how well it worked. It looks like I was wrong. More than half of HK's 109 reported coronavirus cases discharged and the regular flu season flattened https://t.co/WN0kwVVsOY— Mike Bird (@Birdyword) March 8, 2020
Social distancing. Good hand hygiene. We don't have to be Italy, folks. We just have to get serious. https://t.co/JUnJrDZPDX— Megan McArdle (@asymmetricinfo) March 10, 2020
It takes seriousness and fairly dramatic, coordinated action -- on which various federal and state-level responses seem to be lagging behind (this National Review editorial offers additional good advice to the president, complementing Carlson's segment). With multiple members of Congress in self-imposed precautionary quarantines, including the incoming White House Chief of Staff, I'll leave you with this 'yikes' moment from our cousins across the pond:
EXCLUSIVE— Steven Swinford (@Steven_Swinford) March 10, 2020
Nadine Dorries, a health minister, has become first MP to be diagnosed with coronavirus
She has been in Westminster for past week, met hundreds of people, and attended a No 10 reception hosted by Boris Johnson on Thursdayhttps://t.co/3seuE2NGYE
It's going to be bad and disruptive. Adjust behavior and expectations accordingly:
WATCH: "We would like the country to realize that, as a nation, we can’t be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago," says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. pic.twitter.com/JWyP663g44— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 10, 2020