It’s All Up to Jared Now

Politico reports on discussions within the White House:

President Donald Trump is reluctant to declare an expansive emergency to combat the escalating coronavirus outbreak, fearful of stoking panic with such a dramatic step, according to three people familiar with the situation….Trump’s concern at this point is that going further could hamper his narrative that the coronavirus is similar to the seasonal flu.

….Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is pushing for the designation but Vice President Mike Pence, who Trump tapped to lead the administration’s coronavirus response, doesn’t want Trump to act until Congress passes a stimulus package, according to two of the people.

There’s no deadline for a decision, but one of the people familiar with the talks said the task force will not give Trump its final verdict until Jared Kushner, the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law, finishes his research and comes to a conclusion himself.

We are doomed. Trump doesn’t want to confess that he was wrong. Pence wants to use the pandemic as leverage for a tax cut. And the “final verdict” rests on the shoulders of Jared Kushner, who hasn’t proven himself competent at anything over the past three years, let alone matters of infectious disease control.

Speaking of which, here’s a chart from the Financial Times showing the spread of coronavirus in various countries. This is similar to the one I showed you this morning except that it displays the raw number of cases, not percentage of the population:

The important thing about the United States is neither the current number of cases nor the percentage of the population that’s infected. Those are both probably underestimated anyway due to lack of test kits. What’s important is the growth rate, and this is where the US stands alone. If we’re lucky, this is being overestimated as more test kits finally become available, but I wouldn’t count on it. It’s more likely that cases are skyrocketing because we’ve had no national response from the Trump administration, which wants to continue pretending that coronavirus is “just like the seasonal flu.” This is better for Trump’s reelection chances, you see.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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