I’m not panicking over the coronavirus

It has the potential to be a serious pandemic, but with a strong medical infrastructure, robust public health response, and a sensible, informed public, we can minimize…wait. What the heck…PANIC! Not over the virus, but over the ongoing dismantling of those very things vital to keep the citizenry as safe as possible.

Trump is making massive cuts in biomedical research.

Multiple organizations expressed shock and disappointment at Trump’s budget proposal, which adds $54 billion in defense spending but would slash nearly $6 billion from the National Institutes of Health, which funds most basic medical research in the country, as well as eliminate entirely dozens of other agencies and programs.

It would cut the overall Health and Human Services department budget by 18 percent, including the 20 percent budget reduction at NIH, and reassign money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to states.

In response to concerns that we might not have enough doctors if a crisis arises, he has said that we’d just hire more doctors in that case. Doctors are not fungible. They require years of training, and their expertise requires constant maintenance.

Trump seems to think creating a task force and appointing a “czar” is a smart response. We already have experts in infectious disease at the NIH and CDC…you know, those agencies he is defunding. Appointing an ignoramus like Mike Pence, who has no qualification and has a history of botched public health management does not inspire confidence. Nor does having Ken Cuccinelli, Steven Mnuchin, and Larry Kudlow on the task force.

Also, this:

As for our informed public, Corona, the Mexican beer, has taken a substantial hit to their revenues because people are associating it with the virus.

Please note that the beer and the virus have nothing to do with each other.

We’re gonna die.


  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    We’re gonna die.

    Well, that’s what happens in a society with stupidity is not only legal, but constitutionally protected.

  2. mcgeekan says

    I’m working as a dentist in Australia. I’m following Dr Ian MacKay by twitter and his blog virology down under.

    HAND HYGIENE and cough etiquette are the most useful factors in protection from COVID-19, seasonal influenza, and other respiratory viruses.

    Although the majority of us wont have permanent health issues from this latest viral threat, I’d have thought that Trump and his minions would be listening to the ECONOMIC risks from losing workers, having goods shortages . COVID-19 isn’t easily able to be treated as a (foreign/ Chinese) illness now.
    Take a look:

  3. ospalh says

    Why Pence? I find it truly baffling that what little is done isn’t done by the Health Secretary.
    Take Germany: of course it was the Health Minister, together with the Interior Minister (who happened to be Minister of Health in the past) who organize the COVID-19 response.

    Oh. And i’ve heard that the beer brand has come up with a way to deal with the confusion: A new name: “Ebola”. 🤪😀https://www.the-postillon.com/2020/01/Corona-Ebola.html

  4. says

    Apparently Trump doesn’t realise that if the US needs to hire a bunch of doctors at short notice they’ll come from places he thinks are “shithole” countries, like India and Nigeria.

  5. davidc1 says

    HAHA ,i had thought us Brits had it bad with bojo at the controls ,the country is flooded ,and the Environment agency which deals with such things has had it’s budget cut for the past two years .
    Don’t know how all this right wing fuckwiterlly will end ,cretin in the WH ,cretin in No10 ,cretin in Brazil ,cretin in Australia .

  6. christoph says

    It’s a good thing there aren’t two of Mike Pence. Because then you’d have…a pair of Pence!

  7. says

    Can we get rid of the whole “insert problem”, add Czar to it thing? This goes back to the first Bush years when he declared a “Drug Czar”. Really a term from the first lady, Barbra Bush, because of her weird obsession with drug abuse. Since then we have tons of Czars. It’s stupid and meaningless. So we have a Coronavirus Czar now, who cares? Another meaningless figurehead “assigned” to address a problem with no actual skill or power to do anything.

  8. Akira MacKenzie says


    Why Pence?

    Most of the armchair political analysts I’ve read suspect that Trump doesn’t want Pence as his VP for his next hypothetical term. So Trump’s setting Pence for failure so he can replace him with someone more acceptable. If not that’s not the case, then I can’t think of a damn reason why either.

  9. microraptor says

    In addition to Corona beer, Chinatowns across the US have been hit with massive decreases in the number of people going to restaurants and shops well before any cases of the virus being recorded in the US.

    People are so stupid.

  10. raven says

    Pence the cosmically dumb and evil oogedy boogedy xian, has already imposed a gag order on all federal scientists.

    Requests for comment from the CDC on Thursday went unanswered.
    The New York Times reported that the Trump administration has ordered that all statements on the coronavirus be funneled through the office of Vice President Mike Pence,..

    This is what China did initially and what Iran is doing now.
    It was a disaster and partially explains why China has 2,800 dead and an almost dead economy.

    F‌uck these guys.
    Silence can and will kill.

  11. raven says

    Xpost from Dispatches.
    The tl;dr version.
    Another country that has dropped the ball big time is, the USA.
    The Trump regime is way behind the curve on this epidemic coming like a freight train.


    Before Thursday, a perfect storm of problems in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s development of test kits — and the agency’s reluctance to expand its recommendation of who should be tested given the limited availability of kits — meant very little testing has been done in the country. As of Wednesday, the CDC said that 445 people had been tested — a fraction of the number of tests that other countries have run.

    The new case in California makes it clear the virus is spreading undetected in at least one area of one state.

    .1. The USA is way behind on testing infrastructure for the virus.
    As of a day or so ago, they had maybe 8 labs in the USA capable or running these tests.
    (BTW, these testing kits are simple and the technology is decades old. There is no excuse for this.)
    There should be in the hundreds by now or soon.
    Every hospital should have the ability to run these sorts of tests.
    .2. We are short of personal protective gear.
    This matters a lot because medical care people need it and need to know how to use it.
    Asking docs and staff to risk their lives to treat patients is asking too much.
    And if they get sick and don’t know it, hospitals can and have become focuses for the epidemic.
    .3. Hospital beds are expensive infrastructure and there are never many extra.
    This winter, the local hospital was sometimes full.
    Every place is going to have trouble with where to put the coming patient deluge.

    The years of cutting the budgets of CDC and the other alphabet agencies that deal with epidemics is on display right now.

  12. says

    @#9, Ray Ceeya:

    I think it’s because America has grown used to the idea that politicians do not solve problems. (Not just as a Republican talking point — it has been a Democratic talking point for a decade or so that “we’d love to solve problems, but the Republicans won’t let us do anything at all unless we have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, so we’re just going to sit on our hands because we know you’ll continue to vote for us anyway”.) Since large-scale problems can’t be solved without government intervention, and we have accepted that the government can’t solve them, we accept theater instead to let us pretend that progress is being made.

    Look! A new general in charge of a new “surge” in our pointless, failing war! Look! A radical new policy program to fix an issue which really boils down to “we need to spend more money but refuse to”! Look! A new czar in charge of a problem which arose as a complication of our existing problems! Look! A healthcare plan which purposely isn’t universal and doesn’t contain costs, because we want to protect private insurance!

    Because god forbid we tax a few rich people, get the money, and actually pay to fix things.

  13. says

    Of course Corona beer is taking a hit. Remember in the early days of the Iraq war when French’s, the mustard company, had to keep telling people they’re an American company and not French? When ISIL started making the news, businesses like hair salons that named themselves after the Egyptian goddess Isis started getting vandalized and receiving death threats.

  14. says

    Cross posted from the Political Madness thread.

    About Trump’s delusional idea that he can just rehire all the global health security experts he previously fired:

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

    Georgetown’s Don Moynihan had a good tweet along these lines the other day, adding, “I’m a public management professor: once you have gutted institutional capacity, you cannot, in fact, quickly restore it.”

    The president, who’s never shown much of an interest in how government works or is supposed to function, seems wholly unaware of all of this. It’s yet another reason to question the White House’s competence and capacity as the public-health emergency continues.


    From The Washington Post:

    Former federal officials and public-health experts argue that an effective response to a epidemiological crisis demands sustained planning and investment. While the administration’s response to coronavirus has been criticized in recent weeks as slow and disjointed, people in and outside the White House have warned for years that the nation is ill prepared for a dangerous pandemic.

    Additional info posted on the Political Madness Thread: “Whistleblower Claims Retaliation After Alleging Reckless Coronavirus Response”

  15. unclefrogy says

    from what I heard on TRMS yesterday about the evacuees from the cruse ship and how they were handled it appears that the quarantine was broken in California by actions ordered by the WH
    Lets get this strait this guy is not a successful businessman nor has he ever been one he played one on the TV. He has proven his ability by heading and “managing ” a good number of business ventures that have gone bankrupt. He is a crook and a con-man and a phony rich man, if it was not for the russian mob and money laundering and crooked tax lawyers he would be brook by now. In fact we do not know now what his actual status is how much his debt exceeds his ability to pay it off. he touts the stock market but he is not himself an investor and I doubt he knows or cares much about it.
    but rest assured “he learned his lesson”
    uncle frogy

  16. says

    WHO raised the coronavirus threat assessment to a higher level.

    The World Health Organization on Friday increased its coronavirus risk assessment to “very high” and warned foreign governments not to underestimate the threat.

    Cases of the coronavirus have continued to spread outside China, but WHO officials said there is still a chance of containing the virus if action is taken quickly.

    “The continued increase in the number of cases, and the number of affected countries over the last few days, are clearly of concern,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday.

    In the past 24 hours, China reported 329 cases — the lowest number in more than a month. Still, the country has reported nearly 79,000 total cases of the virus to WHO, including 2,791 deaths.

    Outside China, the WHO said there are now 4,351 cases in 49 countries, and 67 deaths.

    Since yesterday, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Netherlands and Nigeria have all reported their first cases. All these cases have links to Italy. […]

    Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said the rapid spread of the virus should be a wake-up call for the world.

    Ryan said the WHO is not trying to alarm people, but to get countries to pay attention.

    “It’s really not much of an excuse at this point to get caught unawares. We’ve been dealing with this virus for two months now,” Ryan said.

    “This is a reality check for every government on the planet: wake up, get ready, this virus may be on its way and you need to be ready. You have a duty to your citizens, you have a duty to the world to be ready.”


  17. says

    From the Washington Post:

    Fears that a coronavirus pandemic could tip the world economy into recession sent global stocks into a tailspin Friday, with markets on track for their worst week since the financial crisis that began in 2008.

    European indexes fell sharply, led by losses in the travel and resources sectors, continuing the slump in Asia earlier in the day. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 700 points after the open. The Standard & Poor’s and Nasdaq composites dove 2.7 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield also hit a record low Friday morning.

    While there were indications that the outbreak may be slowing in China, France and Germany reported upticks in infections and South Korea’s tally surpassed 2,300, as more events were canceled and airlines said they would cut flights. In Japan, officials declared a state of emergency on the northern island of Hokkaido and told residents to stay indoors as the country reported its 10th death from covid-19, as the disease caused by the virus is known. […]

    Here are the latest developments:

    Stocks in Europe and Asia tanked […]. Swiss authorities on Friday banned all events with more than 1,000 participants until mid-March […]

    Olympic organizers indicated that they would announce plans next week to scale back the torch relay.

    An Italian man diagnosed with the virus in Nigeria marks the first confirmed instance of the virus in sub-Saharan Africa.

    […] China announced 327 new cases and 44 deaths. South Korea announced 571 new cases Friday, bringing its total to 2,337, while France and Germany confirmed new infections.

    […] Trump tweeted that the virus was spreading “very slowly in the U.S.” and suggested that his political opponents were blaming him for the outbreak. […]


  18. petesh says

    Doctors are not fungi? Ah, now I know why the administration keeps them in the dark and covers them with bullshit — it’s a simple misunderstanding that I’m sure they will fix immediately.

  19. raven says

    …but WHO officials said there is still a chance of containing the virus if action is taken quickly.

    Technically true, but almost certainly not going to happen.
    The Covid-19 virus has already broken worldwide containment.
    The country that dropped the ball the most is…Iran.
    They have community spread and have almost no ability to deal with a pandemic like this.
    The world is about to see a theocracy in action, or rather, in inaction.

    Xpost Dispatches

    Cidrap February 26, 2020:
    They estimated that the outbreak (in Iran) might have been under way for the past month and a half. When they reran the numbers with the newest exported cases, they estimated that Iran may have 11,520 to 41,280 cases.

    .1. The Covid-19 virus is out of containment worldwide now.
    The country that dropped the ball the most was…Iran.
    .2. As of two days ago they had maybe 20,000 cases.
    .3. They have no idea where the vast majority of them are.
    .4. Which means the virus is spreading rapidly in Iran and has been exported to a dozen other nations.

    .5. You don’t hear much of this outside of Iran.
    Part of that is because their cleric leaders are totally lost and they don’t know what is really going on either.
    Part of it is because they aren’t releasing much in the way of real information.

    This is a case where silence can and will kill.
    They are going to lose thousands or tens of thousands of people because of this.

  20. wzrd1 says

    Don’t worry, the God-King, Emperor Trump, long may he reign, has proclaimed that the virus will disappear forever in April.
    His Head Priest, Pence, will of course, foolow the ordained path of shuttering the heretics organization down at the NIH and by extension the CDC, as prayers to the God-King are far more effective than mere mortal medicine.
    Pence will do for COVID-19, realizing that it’s new and the real threat is NCOV, doing for a nation what he did for Indiana with HIV infection.

    The God-King, Emperor Trump is also considering sending his newest Czar for Russian issues, naming the position the Russia Czar, who shall replace all Department of State envoys to represent the interests of Emperor Trump, which of course, are those of the Imperial States of America, with an eye for employment at half of US minimum wage in Trump Tower Lefortovo, where non-believers will be sent for reeducation and alignment with the God-King, Emperor Trump.
    “I’m quite sure that Russia will love my new Russia Czar, rather than forcing me to smite them!”, said the God-King, Emperor Trump, Lord of lards of the universe and beyond.
    No comment has been heard from Soviet officials, which has surprised the administration, but has not surprised anyone who knows anything about geopolitics, as Soviet anything has been long extinct, but said unsurprised officials are at a quandary over how to comment and not commit black heresy.

  21. raven says

    Xpost Dispatches
    What the US government is doing is what China first did and Iran is doing now.
    Lying about an epidemic.

    Dailybeast February 27, 2020
    Following is the full IranWire article written by Aida Ghajar:

    IranWire can exclusively report that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have threatened Iranian medical specialists with reprisals if any of them were to disclose information regarding the spread of coronavirus in Iran.
    The doctor said Iran’s government has no plans for containing the crisis. Officials have “no other choice except secrecy,” …

    Iran has made it a crime to tell the truth.
    It is going to kill thousands of people.

    The Trump regime and Pence are now going to try the same thing.
    Not smart and it won’t work in the USA.

  22. vucodlak says

    @ Tabby Lavalamp, #15

    When ISIL started making the news, businesses like hair salons that named themselves after the Egyptian goddess Isis started getting vandalized and receiving death threats.

    Worse: actual human beings named after the goddess (of whom there were/are a couple of thousand in the US) were threatened and assaulted. I remember reading about a young child who had to change schools because she kept getting beaten up by older kids. She was named Isis.

    The media, naturally, gave zero fucks about this and continues to use the entirely inaccurate acronym “ISIS” because mainstream journalism is nothing but a hack-infested propaganda machine. They’ll continue to call this the Coronavirus, rather than a more precise name with less splash damage, for the same reasons. This isn’t like the Swine Flu, when they changed to the more accurate H1N1 because pig flesh sales were dropping- unless it costs someone who “matters,” they’ll keep right on with this bullshit.

  23. JoeBuddha says

    Unfortunately for Drumpf, the WHO is not constrained by his bullshit, so info will keep getting out.

  24. hemidactylus says

    I will refrain from Corona-bashing in the brand’s current time of need. Suffice it to say I have never been a fan. That’s not to say I would flat out refuse to drink it as a matter of common courtesy if offered by an acquaintance with no alternate choices. The goofy association with coronavirus has zero effect on my low opinion of Corona. Is it Mexico’s version of Fosters sold abroad or do Mexicans actually prefer it to other home brands?

    I guess in a way I support Corona’s overarching corporate body when I drink Negra Modelo, which is IMO a pretty good dark Mexican beer. Grupo Modelo seems associated with Anheuser-Busch InBev. WTF? I can appreciate the popular trend toward microbreweries. I’d assume Mexico must have a vibrant less corporate beer culture.

  25. hemidactylus says

    I must admit the little Coronita miniature bottles are kinda cute and easily repurposed into salt and pepper shakers among other things.

  26. raven says


    Hot spots outside China tied to COVID-19 in 4 more nations
    Filed Under: COVID-19
    Lisa Schnirring | News Editor | CIDRAP News | Feb 26, 2020

    Iran Can’t Hide Its Coronavirus Explosion, But It’s Trying Hard …
    2 days ago – As The Daily Beast’s partner publication, IranWire, revealed in an exclusive report Thursday, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has tried …

  27. KG says

    COVID-19 is likely to kill many people, and bereave many others, but also to be a severe test of systems of governance worldwide, whatever the political nature of the regime. This does not encourage optimism: we seem to have an exceptional number of incompetent – and malevolent – fools in charge of major countries.

    We can be certain that fascists and their like worldwide will use the epidemic to direct further hatred at their favoured targets (they’ve already started); we know that governments which take emergency powers are often noticeably reluctant to abandon them after the crisis that justified them has passed. It’s a truism among the relevant experts that the global economy has remained fragile ever since the financial crash of 2007-8, and we have already seen a steep fall in share prices (and even gold prices – apparently investors are having to sell precious metals to cover their losses elsewhere). A full-scale war between Syria (backed by Russia) and Turkey (backed by NATO) looks possible, close to the very area where the virus has established a secondary centre, and where civil wars and persecutions are already entrenched; and also to the vital arteries of global capitalism. Meanwhile, increasing climate disruption causes floods, droughts and fires around the world.

    And the single most powerful person on the planet, the one whose actions have more potential to influence the future, is Donald Trump. You really, really, couldn’t make it up.

  28. davidc1 says

    @30 I suppose the next thing that will happen is that Chinese businesses are going to get torched .

  29. brightmoon says

    I live in Queens NYC . There is a Corona in Queens next to a very very large East Asian population. I work near there and I’m starting to dread going to work . Not because of all the Chinese ( the virus isn’t in NYC) but because I’ve already seen the knuckleheads . I’m too old and fat to break up a fight over stupid especially since I never really learned how to fight because I’m a woman . ( yeah I’m dumb enough to try)

  30. wzrd1 says

    @27, as much as I loathe the taste of Corona, Simpatico is far nastier, simpatico, nunca.

    @32, COVID-19 is still holding at 3%, when appropriately treated by supportive care, TCM is massively elevating the morbidity and mortality in the PRC. While that’s still unpleasantly high, SARS and MERS, it is not, so I’ll thank goodness for small favors of random mutations!
    BTW, for those who have missed it, two non-travel or close contact case have arisen in the US. One in Oregon, the other in California.
    At least the one in Oregon isn’t occupied in a high risk occupation, working in a school for minor children instead.
    Yeah, oh shit. :(
    Where I wasn’t exceptionally concerned previously, this incompetent administration, who is currently claiming that COVID-19 was invented by the Democrats to “get Trump” has successfully scared the living hell out of me. That whole sending workers without PPE to meet the cruise ship petri dish experiments, erm, passenger and random travel after meeting them, yeah, someone needs to be fired – with real fire.
    Pick a long, long, long string of obscenities, yeah, that’s where I am now.
    Thanks for nothing, Trump!

  31. publicola says

    Don’t worry. If we need more doctors, Comrade Trumpski will just call Comrade Putin to send us a bunch of their best. Either that, or he’ll get them where he gets his own, from some crack house.

  32. says

    That whole sending workers without PPE to meet the cruise ship petri dish experiments, erm, passenger and random travel after meeting them, yeah, someone needs to be fired – with real fire.

    Indeed. Do they not understand what “quarantine” means? What’s the point if you’re just going to let people walk in and out with no testing or precautions? It’s so monumentally stupid, it’s hard to know what to say, really.

  33. says

    Regarding that video of Pence, I noticed that he wiped his nose with his left hand, and shook hands with his right hand. Bad behavior to be sure, but not as bad as if he had wiped his nose with his right hand.

  34. Owlmirror says

  35. Owlmirror says

    I’ve never tried Corona beer, and my disinterest arises from something told me long ago by someone who seemed knowledgeable: The reason that most beer is sold in dark bottles is because there are chemical reactions that can occur due to light interacting with the beer, which can negatively affect the taste. Corona’s clear glass bottle for summer drinking is thus kind of perversely self-defeating.