In the 1980s, when HIV/AIDS was becoming a public health crisis, what did Ronald Reagan do to stop the spread of the disease?
Nothing. For five years, he did absolutely nothing because the far right saw HIV/AIDS as a “gay disease”. They believed it would affect only LGBTQIA people and kill them off, leaving cishetero binaries unaffected. Then reality set in: HIV/AIDS spread to heterosexuals, to white people, to “middle america”. It was only when the disease affected everyone – and notably, white republicans – that Reagan’s corrupt regime took action.
It’s clear that Cheetolini and his corrupt cast of republicans have learnt nothing from history. Jared Kushner and those working under him had a national plan to address and deal with COVID-19, but chose not to implement it. Why? Because in March and April, the only states affected were predominantly democrat party states. They wanted democrat voters to die, just like Reagan wanted gays to die. They expected the disease to stay where it was.
But as spring turned into summer and republican states are now the ones most affected, that lack of a plan, lack of leadership and encouragement for the selfish and stupid to ignore scientists has caused the disease to run rampant in republican states. As the number of new US infections skyrockets (nearly 10,000 within Florida in just one day) and deaths are climbing again (half of Thursday’s US deaths in just three states: Florida, Texas and Arizona), that lack of planning now kills and incapacitates republican voters. Democrat states are doing a far better job.
This spring, a team working under the president’s son-in-law produced a plan for an aggressive, coordinated national COVID-19 response that could have brought the pandemic under control. So why did the White House spike it in favor of a shambolic 50-state response?
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Kushner’s team hammered out a detailed plan, which Vanity Fair obtained. It stated, “Current challenges that need to be resolved include uneven testing capacity and supplies throughout the US, both between and within regions, significant delays in reporting results (4-11 days), and national supply chain constraints, such as PPE, swabs, and certain testing reagents.”
The plan called for the federal government to coordinate distribution of test kits, so they could be surged to heavily affected areas, and oversee a national contact-tracing infrastructure. It also proposed lifting contract restrictions on where doctors and hospitals send tests, allowing any laboratory with capacity to test any sample. It proposed a massive scale-up of antibody testing to facilitate a return to work. It called for mandating that all COVID-19 test results from any kind of testing, taken anywhere, be reported to a national repository as well as to state and local health departments.
And it proposed establishing “a national Sentinel Surveillance System” with “real-time intelligence capabilities to understand leading indicators where hot spots are arising and where the risks are high vs. where people can get back to work.”
By early April, some who worked on the plan were given the strong impression that it would soon be shared with President Trump and announced by the White House. The plan, though imperfect, was a starting point. Simply working together as a nation on it “would have put us in a fundamentally different place,” said the participant.
But the effort ran headlong into shifting sentiment at the White House. Trusting his vaunted political instincts, President Trump had been downplaying concerns about the virus and spreading misinformation about it—efforts that were soon amplified by Republican elected officials and right-wing media figures. Worried about the stock market and his reelection prospects, Trump also feared that more testing would only lead to higher case counts and more bad publicity. Meanwhile, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, was reportedly sharing models with senior staff that optimistically—and erroneously, it would turn out—predicted the virus would soon fade away.
Against that background, the prospect of launching a large-scale national plan was losing favor, said one public health expert in frequent contact with the White House’s official coronavirus task force.
Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert.