We're All In This Together, Right? Surviving This Crisis With Dignity

According to the latest YouGov poll for The Economist, just 20% of Americans think the pandemic is not a national emergency and 15% are unsure. And 22% say they are either not very concerned or not concerned at all about the pandemic. Forget those people they're probably going to die anyway--or vote for conservatives.

One question in the poll was "Do you approve or disapprove of Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak?"

Strongly approve- 25%
Somewhat approve- 20%
Somewhat disapprove- 15%
Strongly disapprove- 31%
Not sure- 8%

The poll also asked some questions about the election to, like the one above, to all registered voters regardless of party. Pay attention:

If the election for president were held today with Donald Trump as the Republican running against a Demo- cratic Party candidate, who would you vote for?
The Democratic Party candidate- 48%
Trump- 40%
It depends- 11%
I would not vote- 1%

If an election for president were going to be held now and the Democratic nominee was Joe Biden and the Republican nominee was Donald Trump, would you vote for?

Trump- 41%
other- 4%
not sure- 5%
I would not vote- 2%

If an election for president were going to be held now and the Democratic nominee was Bernie Sanders and the Republican nominee was Donald Trump, would you vote for?

Trump- 41%
other- 3%
not sure- 6%
I would not vote- 2%

Another thing-- voters were asked which issues were important to them. Here are the 5 issues for which respondents over half answered "Very Important" as opposed to "somewhat important" or "unimportant" in one version or another:

Healthcare- 72%
Jobs and economy- 66%
Taxes and government spending- 57%
Terrorism- 54%
Education- 53%

Asked which issue is flat-out the most important, numero uno is health care (29%), followed by job and the economy (18%) and climate change and the environment (13%), No other missed were rated #1 by 10%. or more.

This is an important question asking if each of these candidates is honest and trustworthy:


yes- 32%
no- 55%
not sure- 13%


yes- 35%
no- 41%
not sure- 24%


yes- 43%
no- 33%
not sure- 25%

Yeah, Bernie is seen as the most trustworthy and honest. And he's also as likely to beat Trump as Biden is. Democrats who don't vote for him in the next batch of primaries are out of their minds. And about that honest and trustworthy thing, Frank Rich highlighted why we need a unifying and trustworthy person at the helm for... well, catastrophes like the one we're going through now: Trump Lies His Way Through a Pandemic. "The president who is leading this country into battle cares about no one but himself, continues to lie to Americans daily about the most basic imperatives of a public-health catastrophe, and presides over an administration staffed with incompetent, third-tier bootlickers and grifters. And I am not just talking about Mike Pence, Jared Kushner, and Wilbur Ross. There are now three college seniors serving in White House positions, thanks to a new purge of ostensibly disloyal staffers being conducted by Trump’s former body man, the 29-year-old John McEntee, recently installed as director of the Presidential Personnel Office. Trump calls himself a “wartime president,” but his only previous wartime experience was partying during Vietnam, when he was spared military service because of “bone spurs.” Those bone spurs long ago migrated to his brain. If America rises to the occasion, it will be despite him, not because of him. We’re at the point where even if Trump were to start telling the truth, no one except the most mad-dog MAGA-ites would believe him."

Right now the country is waiting for a bomb to drop: that much-predicted turning point when the metastasis of illness and mass death in the U.S. could match the curve we’ve seen in Italy. Trump’s nonstop lies-- and those of toadies like Pence-- are not just intended to cover up the many failures to prepare for the looming apocalypse (“I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic”), or to blame those failures on China and Obama, or to luxuriate in unearned self-congratulation (“I’d rate it a 10”). What the lies are doing now is throwing gasoline on the gathering fire. Why in heaven’s name would Trump, having previously lied about the fast arrival of a vaccine, now tell anxious and desperate Americans two days in a row that unproven and unapproved drugs for malaria and arthritis might rapidly be a “game changer” for treating the coronavirus? Why would Pence, having previously made up fictitious numbers for the amount of tests available, now promise millions of hospital masks even as hospitals from Washington to Washington, D.C., say they will have to reuse masks because of the shortage and the government’s own Centers for Disease Control is suggesting that under-equipped hospitals use bandanas instead? Why does a president cite the Defense Protection Act, which allows him to commandeer industry to produce emergency supplies, while simultaneously telling the states to find much-needed ventilators on their own?

Trump’s answer to that last question was that the federal government is “not a shipping clerk.” He seemed not to understand that it’s ventilators that the nation’s hospitals urgently need, not the postal service. Such is his minimal comprehension of the urgent tasks at hand that Trump’s level of competence doesn’t rise to that of the skipper of the Titanic. The Titanic’s captain may have hit an iceberg, but at least he recognized the scientific reality that icebergs exist.

Up until now Trump’s motives for lying have been to (1) cover up what may prove the most catastrophic failure in the history of the American presidency; (2) to distract the country from the continuing failure in the effort to keep his reelection campaign afloat; (3) to boost the stock market. But another motive is emerging that’s entirely in keeping with the history to date of Trump’s kleptocratic White House: rewarding his family and cronies financially.

A couple of days ago NY Times writers Mark Lander and Stephen Castle, reporting from London looked at what jarred Boris Johnson and Señor Trumpanzee out of their lethargy and indifference about the pandemic and spurred them both-- too late-- into action. They point to "a startling new report on the virus from a team at Imperial College in London. The report, which warned that an uncontrolled spread of the disease could cause as many as 510,000 deaths in Britain, triggered a sudden shift in the government’s comparatively relaxed response to the virus. American officials said the report, which projected up to 2.2 million deaths in the United States from such a spread, also influenced the White House to strengthen its measures to isolate members of the public."'

The project at Imperial College is led by epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who said that his country "has struggled in the past few weeks in thinking about how to handle this outbreak long term. Based on our estimates and other teams’, there’s really no option but follow in China’s footsteps and suppress." That means shut down everything which no one has done in the U.S. yet-- not even the governors of California, Illinois and New York, who are pretending to do that, while there are so many exemptions that it's just a joke.

[O]ther experts said the burden on hospitals was clear as far back as the original outbreak in Wuhan, China. Lancet, the British medical journal, published an article in January, based on studying a small group of patients, which found that a third of people had to be admitted to intensive care units.

“I can’t help but feel angry that it has taken almost two months for politicians and even ‘experts’ to understand the scale of the danger from SARS-CoV-2,” said Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of Lancet, on Twitter. “Those dangers were clear from the very beginning.”

Some said governments should treat the report’s projections about suppression policies with the same caution. It says social distancing measures might have to be imposed for 18 months or more, at least intermittently, until a vaccine is developed and tested. But the report acknowledges this is uncertain, given the possibility of drug treatments and the mystery of how the virus is transmitted.

“We’re all using the 1918 pandemic flu handbook,” Dr. Sridhar said. “But we’re in a different position than in 1918. We’re in 2020.”

After days of confusion about the wisdom of encouraging “herd immunity,” the government sought to play down the dispute, arguing that this was not a deliberate part of its strategy but a byproduct of it. But it shifted to a policy of urging people not to go to pubs, restaurants, theaters or museums.

On Tuesday, the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said he expected these new, more stringent restrictions to last for months-- and that the authorities would have to monitor very carefully what would happen when they are eventually lifted.

British officials recognize that their health service faces a moment of truth. All non-urgent operations in England will be postponed for at least three months, starting April 15, to free up 30,000 beds to help tackle the coronavirus.

Britain lags behind other European nations in its supply of ventilators. Plans are underway to ramp up their numbers from over 8,000 to 12,000, though officials are reluctant to promise that even this is sufficient.

Underscoring the change in tone, Britain’s finance chief, Rishi Sunak, announced a gargantuan fiscal stimulus to salvage reeling British businesses and to try to stem job losses. The package, worth £330 billion, or $422 billion, will include government-backed loans and tax breaks for companies and a three-month break in mortgage repayments for strapped homeowners.

“We have never in peacetime faced an economic fight like this,” said Mr. Sunak, who also promised support for airports and airlines in the coming days, after Britons were advised against all non-essential travel.

Mr. Johnson hinted on Tuesday that schools could be closed soon. But he still faces criticism for a lack of clarity, including his decision to urge people to avoid pubs and restaurants but not to order their closing. In fact, the government now intends to relax laws to allow pubs to stay open and produce takeout food.

To Mr. Johnson’s embarrassment, one of those promising to visit his local pub was his own father, Stanley Johnson.

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