I See Dead People

Bill Clinton was the president who famously said he didn’t inhale. Donald Trump is the president who won’t stop exhaling; traveling from sea to shining sea, gathering large boisterous crowds, and acting as a modern day Typhoid Mary. No one expected Trump to rise to the moment and effectively fight the pandemic. But few expected him to be an active super spreader. Watergate, meet Propa-gate. Want to predict where Covid-19 hotspots will pop up? Just follow the path of Err Force One. USA Today: Trump’s campaign made stops nationwide. Coronavirus cases surged in his wake in at least five places. We know the president yearns to go viral, but this is too much. His admirers see a rally. I see dead people.

+ Not to be outdone, five of Vice President Mike Pence’s aides (otherwise known as the braintrust behind the Coronavirus Task Farce) including his chief of staff and his senior political adviser, have tested positive for Covid-19. (Pence tested negative, proving that Trump’s ass is the safest place to avoid the virus.) “In consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel.” (If Pence’s were an essential worker, he’d be paid a lot less and Stephen Miller would be trying to deport him.)

+ “One campaign follows best pandemic practices. The other doesn’t. It’s not that Biden and Harris can’t draw a big crowd. It’s that they’re choosing not to. And scenes Saturday from both campaigns clarified the divergent and disorienting state of the presidential race 10 days from Election Day.” Donald Trump rallied in a town that canceled its beloved pumpkin festival because of the coronavirus. Donald Trump speaking at a rally is a pumpkin festival. Except even a jack-o-lantern wouldn’t “push a conspiracy theory that hospitals are over-classifying coronavirus deaths because ‘doctors get more money and hospitals get more money.'”

+ “There are different ways of holding the we-all-gotta-go-sometime view. Someone who grasps it lightly might incline a little more toward risk-taking than caution in her personal choices. But over the course of the pandemic, the President and many of his followers have come to cling to it tightly, even triumphantly, brandishing it as a kind of ideology.” Dhruv Khullar in The New Yorker: How Trump Became the Pro-Infection Candidate.

+ Mark Meadows, the White House Chief of Staff (Infections). “We’re not going to control the pandemic.” San Francisco: We are. Jacinda Ardern: We did.

+ NYT: The Trump Administration Shut a Vaccine Safety Office Last Year. What’s the Plan Now? (Operation Warped.)

+ Why is all of this so bad right now? Because The Third Wave of Covid-19 in the U.S. Is Officially Worse Than the First Two. And the administration’s performance is worse than ever.

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