Our regulatory state is failing us, installment #1437

The Trump administration has stumbled in its initial push to implement the $2 trillion coronavirus aid package, with confusion and fear mounting among small businesses, workers and the newly unemployed since the bill was signed into law late last month.

Small-business owners have reported delays in getting approved for loans without which they will close their doors, while others say they have been denied altogether by their lenders and do not understand why. The law’s provision to boost unemployment benefits has become tangled in dated and overwhelmed state bureaucracies, as an unprecedented avalanche of jobless Americans seeks aid.

Officials at the Internal Revenue Service have warned that $1,200 relief checks may not reach many Americans until August or September if they haven’t already given their direct-deposit information to the government. Taxpayers in need of answers from the IRS amid a rapidly changing job market are encountering dysfunctional government websites and unresponsive call centers that have become understaffed as federal workers stay home.

Here is the full piece by Jeff Stein.  And here is me in WaPo:

Cowen said it’s inexplicable why the federal government, given all the warnings and evidence from China of a spreading pandemic, did not move more rapidly.

“You know, Trump was terrible, but you can’t just pin it on him. It’s far more systemic than that. The NBA [which suspended its season on March 11] really gets so much credit. I would put the NBA in charge of fighting climate change at this point.”

The piece there is by Dan Balz.


"but you can’t just pin it on him"

True. It took years of tax cuts and deficit spending to get where we are today, a nation filled with people that are not anywhere near as rich as they had been told they were.

As a dual national (EU and USA citizenship) I can tell you you do have a point. America's bureaucracy is almost as bad as Greece's. But in Greece we have health care that's at best probably "Bronze" level in the USA (though rated "Gold" here) at about $100 a month. It's decent coverage, and in severe cases they will fly you to Germany for treatment (not that doctors can really save you but they can maybe prolong your life). I'm afraid the USA has seen its salad days, recall the rule by Arnold Toynbee that civilizations last about 200 years, sad but true.

Bonus trivia: Greece celebrates its bicentennial as a modern state next year.

Keep in mind how much of the bureaucracy opposes Trump and wants to cause him to fail.

Short-sighted on the part of the Trump to destroy the trust of the people that work for him. People remember when you shut down the government. Poor execution all around.

Because there was never a govt. shutdown before Trump. History began on inauguration day 2017.

Because your when your boss behaves like a jerk, you bring out the best in your people. Management 101.

Some of the bureaucratic failings are sui generis, as it were — the institutions themselves have shown they may not be up to the challenge. This seems true of problems at the CDC and FDA. But other problems are a side effect of a coherent political plan to make our bureaucracy inflexible, inefficient, and incompetent. This would sound like a wild conspiracy theory if it weren’t so well documented:

"Reminder from north of the border: sclerotic, incapacitated governance is not inevitable":


This is the great thing about government, when it succeeds thats proof positive that big government works. When it fails, its proof that its not big enough to do the job.

Or it’s “Because capitalism.”

My reading of the Constitution is that this is in fact an executive failure. The legislature moves slowly by design. Unlike the other branches, the executive reports to a single person precisely to allow quick and decisive responses in situations like this one.
In business, you would absolutely pin this on the chief executive, with some blame due to majority of the board of directors for enabling an incompetent leader.

So if the captain of the Titanic had yelled “Turn!” with more force when the iceberg appeared, he could have averted the collision. I think it’s a combination of inept leadership and the inertia of an enormous bureaucracy built with little incentive to act.

It's more like the captain of the Titanic yelling "Everything is fine!" after everybody hears and feels the ship lurching into the iceberg.
Then when the ship is listing at a 10° angle he fires up the intercom again to announce that "we have more than enough lifeboats!".

Finally it has become possible to criticize Trump in public, as long as the proper rituals are followed, by pointing out that the president is not actually the man elected to sit at the desk where the buck stops.

Still, do not stop taking those small steps to a much better America. Maybe even steps involving a better health care system for America, one that does not cut hospital worker wages in the middle of a pandemic.

Or one that can make masks. The largest communist country is currently exporting their surplus while the largest capitalist country is facing severe shortages. This is the exact opposite of the 20th century.

The CCP first exported the coronavirus to the rest of the world because it could not manage to impose basic hygienic standards on its food markets.

The CCP then ending up throttling its own economy due to its malfeasance and incompetence in dealing with the outbreak, and China's economic rebound consists of exporting some medical supplies. Yep, that's socialist economic planning all right.

"The USA then ending up throttling its own economy due to its malfeasance and incompetence in dealing with the outbreak"


Even Singapore has been felt it necessary to impose a lockdown.

So you're just engaging in CCP or TDS hackery.

Simply pointing out the blindingly obvious. Though just as with the Old Guard, there likely will be those Americans who die in the name of Trump's incompetence, considering it a badge of honor.

All but a handful of Asian countries didn't do much until mid March, so the differences between countries is marginal. As TC correctly notes, institutions have had more influence than personalities, but that's not nearly as psychologically satisfying for your ilk.

There is nothing satisfying about ten of thousands of avoidable dead Americans, regardless of one's ilk.

@Vittorio - you're Italian right? Or European. So you know how things work, in a "Straussian" manner. Dr. Robin Hanson was onto this early: America never really intended to do a complete lockdown as they have here in Greece (and it is working, check out the few cases we have relative to population, though it's for six weeks not two). Instead, the USA was going to do 'business as usual'. Even Singapore initially did this (that's why they had to do a complete lockdown starting last Friday). "Business as usual", which worships the Almighty Dollar (for better or worse) means old people are going to die. Arguably even in China old people have died we don't know about (21M by one account). And that's the way America has been for years actually. Economics comes first, culture last. That's why most people work in the USA just to make money and live outside the USA or in sheltered communities in the USA once they retire. Same as it ever was.

Bonus trivia: US president Harry Truman, a failed haberdashery owner, had a sign "the buck stops here", since the US slang expression to "pass the buck" means to carry on, 'business as usual', just to get by and avoid having to solve difficult problems. We need a Harry Truman now. And "Mister we could use a man like Herber Hoover again" (who was excellent in disaster relief post WWI in Europe)

"We need a Harry Truman now. And "Mister we could use a man like Herber Hoover again" (who was excellent in disaster relief post WWI in Europe)"

You could've also cited this song by the rock group Chicago: "America Needs You Harry Truman":

"You know, Trump was terrible, but you can’t just pin it on him."

Trump is terrible and I have zero qualms pinning it on him. That's called accountability and being President means that the buck stops on your doorstep. People don't feel sympathy for weak leaders. They want things to work. They want results. America has plenty of able men and women. If you can't do the job, step aside so they can step up.

And he likely will lose his job in November, along with the 10 million Americans so far. No one in the government will lose their jobs. All the various bureaucracies will see their budgets triple along with extraordinary power to 'manage' things.

"No one in the government will lose their jobs." A now covid19 infected captain of an aircraft carrier was relieved of command because of his concern for this crew. Apparently because he cc'd too many people.

Strange how that works, isn't it? According to that captain's commander in chief, he should have used the phone.instead of e-mail.

Don't those boats have infection protocols? He had 200 sick, how would he have reacted if a missile took out his flight deck?

He commanded a serious percentage of the US Navy power. He broadcast to the world during a crisis that he was powerless, lost, didn't know what to do. Help!

Aww. He was scared, confused. He shouldn't be in command of anything. We all should feel so sorry for him.

That week over 6 million americans lost their jobs.

It involves docking and quarantining. Maybe you have never been on a naval vessel?

"He shouldn't be in command of anything"

The troops under his command seemed to have a different take on things. Interesting how the same people who claim to support the troops and despise government bureaucrats wind up supporting the bureaucrats just because Donald Trump tells them to.

it is interesting, indeed.

He didn't lose his job, he's just not the captain of the USN Theodore Roosevelt any longer. He hasn't been demoted in rank or pay. Certainly his rise in the ranks is over but he'll retire with a tax-payer financed lifetime pension of up to $8,529/month.

He did not lose his job. in the sense that he remains a USN captain. He has been relieved of command, that is, he no longer has the job of captaining the USNS Theodore Roosevelt.

More nonstop TDS from Tyler. Boring. You failed at impeachment and again with the virus. News for you. Trump is winning just look at those approval numbers. Big beautiful numbers.


And have MAGA inscribed free on each lovely made in America gravestone.

Operators are standing by.

And what would a different president have done?

Made masks starting in 2010? Or 2016? Nope. Obama passed on that.

Ordered ventilators in 2015-2019? Nope. Just about every state leader, including top dems, passed on that.

Closed the border sooner? Trump slammed the border shut even as the WHO was telling everyone there's no need to close borders. And Vox, NYT, Pelosi and Biden all joined in that chorus.

Closed the EU borders sooner? Ha. Same crowd all crowed that was un needed.

Remember, it took Obama 130 from the first death to get to 1M tests. Trump did it in 30 days.

Every plan the fragile and frail Biden came up with had been done by Trump weeks earlier. Biden was just too daft to know.

And, do you really think Bernie would have pulled in the private sector with the speed Trump did? Not likely.

Trump is perfect, read the transcript, it is a hoax, fear mongers, it will all go away, full churches are Easter, our tests are beautiful and everyone gets one, my ratings are beautiful, I am not wearing a mask.

Americans love reality TV - until reality intrudes, then sure, they start looking for scapegoats like the president.

Whatever you do, don't pick Hobby Lobby's management for any kind of leadership. These virtue signaling pro-lifers don't care much about the life of their own workers.


When the cowards too scared to oppose him in the past start joining the other side.

You want another example? New York's unemployment insurance system still uses fax machines:


How about another? New Jersey's unemployment system is stuck in the 60s so they are looking for COBOL programmers. They don't teach COBOL anymore and the guys that know it are old.


What a joke. NJ had decades to upgrade their systems and now they want free labor to do it for them? That's not how patriotism works. You don't let bad decisions compound and hope the public is gullible enough during a crisis to fix your problems for a song.

Oh, you wanna talk about an unemployment sh*t sandwich? Look at Florida's system which was admittedly, systematically destroyed by two R administrations so that it would not work for people. This is how it was designed.


The comparison to the NBA is bizarre.

The NBA suspended its season - which requires contacting 30 teams who are regularly in contact with the Commissioner's office - and then - what? Coordinated to get some of its players tested? Had teams and affiliated arenas keep some people on the payroll who were already there?

I would love for the federal government and banks to accomplish these things in a more accelerated fashion, but the reasons that there will be some issues with the small business lending program are abundantly clear. First, it didn't exist as of about 10 days ago. Second, neither banks nor the SBA are structured to provide a long to (what I'd guess) is somewhere in the range of 20% to 50% of the small businesses in America in a day. And, there clearly need to be at least some requirements for documentation - my understanding is that it's confirmation of historical payroll with payroll tax records.

The NBA is actually not a bad analogy. NBA owner Mark Cuban had the right idea. Make banks increase their overdraft limits and the government can pay the banks. Logistical problems are mostly solved. Why make small businesses apply for a loan from the government when they could instead leverage existing bank relationships? Even the most anti-regulation politician seems addicted to pointless red tape.


Cuban's idea, at least as he's quoted expressing it, would turn into a mess: "So effectively, if you have a small- or medium-sized business, we would just cover all your checks and then the Fed would reimburse your local bank for anything that you bounce."

There needs to be some limit to that overdraft line, which logically is tied to the size of the business. A business that was previously a $1 million annual revenue business shouldn't be able to write $2 million of overdraft checks. But, this program is for companies with up to 500 employees - and even larger for restaurants and hotels - so there are some companies that would need an overdraft of several million dollars just to cover a couple months' payroll. (Simple math to illustrate: 500 employees with average pay of $48,000 per year is $2 million per month of payroll, before benefits.)

The actual program sets this limit based on payroll, which is reasonable both (1) because keeping workers employed is an explicit goal and (2) because it can be verified for a business using payroll tax filings.

The NBA didn't do anything until a player who had *tested positive* was about to play a game. Mark Cuban is figuring how to pay the concession workers and hourly workers really feeling the pain from this. The NBA is not making that happen systemically, which would actually be commendable.

Stock up on cans, lots of water, and ammo. If this government fails to deliver the goods, society will break down and crime will spike. Civil society is a few meals away from cannibalizing itself.

Actually, it is our state that is failing us. Though since trying to shift blame is a hallmark of the Trump era, this sort of extraneous qualification fits perfectly into the zeitgeist.

A house of cards. A Chinaman eats a bat. It didn't take much to bring it crashing down.
I had been wondering when it would happen. Here it is.

5,000 extra people employed to administer benefits in Australia. That would be about 650,000 for the US population.

Ooops! Extra zero there. That's meant to be 65,000.

One of Tyler's worst takes lately. I would say this is almost certainly say this is an issue of leadership and lack of preparation due to poor management by political appointees and WHY.

But one possible agency-level reason for this "challenge"? IRS staff is down more than 15% since 2013 and its operating budget has been slashed: https://www.irs.gov/statistics/irs-budget-and-workforce

Didn't hear too many complaints when the IRS was told to focus on implementing the massive tax cuts that give us less room to fix this problem now. Wonder if IRS had an instruction or allowance from political appointees or Jared or anyone in this administration who is actually allowed to make a decision (usually idiotic ones) to make updates to their systems to be a little more nimble. I bet not.

Only in the Beltway does a less than 10% cut since 2013 constitute a "slashed" budget.

And if the tax filing deadline has been extend by several months, there should be some extra manpower available now.

Growth in budget of less than 4% is 'slashed'. 10% cut means the division has been dismantled.

We had the IRS humming back in the day.

You're free to do your share by sending a significant amount to the IRS.

Short-sighted on the part of the IRS to destroy political trust with half of the people it serves. Budget cuts resulted, and now it has no credibility to defend against the obvious charge that it's trying to undermine the elected leadership.

ah, yes! it is just so!

Why would anyone wait for the problem to travel all the way to the top before fixing it? Germany had a great testing responded because they had decentralized medical system, and they save the round trip. Now all of us are bitching at a Godot that we never should have waited for in the first place.

Germany had a good testing response because everyone was clear on the basics of public health measuring involving an infectious disease. No one was talking about a growing novel pandemic being a hoax or going away like a miracle or being hyped by opponents for political gain.

The fundamentals count much more than the details when it comes to government - function trumps form during a pandemic. South Korea has a highly centralized government in comparison to Germany, yet was able to react in even better fashion.

And yet, the USA is sitting at 30 deaths/million, Germany is at 20. France, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Spain are all in triple digits.

On a graph, the US and Germany are very, very close. Western Europe, about the same population as US, is very, very bad compared to the US.

The best states in the US are a tiny fraction of Germany's rate per million.

" Trump administration" are the gov't folks who agreed to the $2 tril give-out to all -- the gov't bureaucrats are mostly Dem deep state Trump-haters. Usually more lazy / incompetent/ rule following (when they like them).

No Rep admin can make deep state gov't "work well". Nor can a Dem admin, but the Dem media won't blame the Dem Pres for the same (failed website like) failures.

Here's a piece in the NYT about what economists are doing to help in the crisis: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/05/business/economy/coronavirus-economists.html

all the evidence from China? really?
Fact check me:
12/30/19 China collects samples as reported by WHO in 2/28/20 China/Who report on COVID-19
1/3/20 China formally notifies WHO of unusual respiratory cases
1/10/20 China shares genome sequencing of virus with the WHO
1/31/20 US bans China travel
2/3/20 Who declares travel bans not necessary
2/3-2/16/20 China and WHO form team to go to China to explore and collect insights to inform others and how to prepare
2/28/20 Joint China/WHO team report finalized and made available. Report contains epidemiological data including R0 (how contagious virus is) and recommendations on how to prepare
3/31/20 European travel ban instituted

I think your mistakes are to assume the only action the government needs to do is a travel ban and the only data it needs are from China and WHO. Rather than wait for the dribs and drabs from slow international authorities, the US had its own intelligence resources to figure out if the carnage in Wuhan was worth a look and there's probably an ignored early warning in a Presidential Daily Briefing rotting somewhere in a DC file cabinet. Even without that, there was plenty of info on social media and overseas media about how bad things got. That also would have been the right time to immediately ramp up orders for masks and ventilators.

At least you're honest enough to admit that you're just making up what you want to believe.

It's not so much what an internet nobody like me wants to believe but what Trump's own officials are saying.



But BN, the issue isn't absolute, it's relative. Trump far outperformed his peers around the world AND in the US. The intelligensia in the US (VOX, NYT) all said his actions were unwarranted, as did Pelosi, Biden, etc. In other words, they would have been much more flat footed in their response. They are hosed because they actively argued Trump's actions were knee-jerk, racist and un-needed. They did that over and over. For them to now claim "if only they'd been in charge" is rediculous.

The US performance will be made relative to western europe. And western europe didn't do so well here.

You forgot 1/14/20 WHO tells the world there is no human-to-human transmission.

+1, the WHO was the worst bureaucracy of the lot

No one should be surprised. The government at all levels is currently designed to be slow, cumbersome, and generally unresponsive. It comes out of a long line of reforms that started in the 1960s.

Why would anyone expect lifelong politicians and career civil servants to be able to be responsive and make quick decisions when every system in government is designed to prevent that.

40 years of tearing apart the safety net and government institutions got us here.

Tearing apart meaning the increasing expansion and swelling of personnel and budgets?

Trump is a dumpster fire. He should have the whole country on total lockdown. The longer we wait for that the longer everyone has to wait.

But tax cuts and spending roll backs aren’t why we are failing in this crisis.

None of these bureaucracies have ever proven any competence in the past, why would they be any better when we absolutely need them?

Let’s not forget that government is also extraordinarily incompetent at every level of American society-town, city, county, state and federal.

Because we’re a capitalist society we mostly just get on in spite of the horror show. Look at NYC under Deblasio, another dumpster fire, but the city was still keeping on.

Now we need effective leadership and no surprise-nothing works.

Hell we even got democrats and republicans to agree on 2 trillion of relief and we can’t even roll it out right....

The only thing that is sad is watching the Democrats think they could cut through the bureaucratic nightmare with anymore rapidity...

Democrats quickly spent all that stimulus money when Obama was President. Easy peasy. You have to give the Dems credit. They know how to spend, spend, spend. The Trump administration on the other hand looks frozen in the headlights. They make giving free money away as complicated as D-Day.

In fairness the Dems gave the stimulus money away to friends, family, and donors. Trump admin is working to give to everyone... Way more of an administrative nightmare.

The President can't just lock down the country. Remember during Katrina Bush had to repeatedly call the LA governor to ask her to order an evacuation. He couldn't do that or send in troops to help without her permission.

Now we need effective leadership and no surprise-nothing works.

How have you come to that conclusion? How is the response and its results measured and according to what standard?

We can have all manner of opinions about the strategy of federal and local responses to the situation but that's what they are, opinions, because no one can prove the effectiveness of the measures against an unknown. Even comparing US efforts to those of other countries isn't meaningful because those are other countries.

> Trump is a dumpster fire. He should have the whole country on total lockdown.

President is only allowed to regulate trade between states. He cannot shut down the activity inside states. The federal gov WAS telling states to lock down. Some (WA state) did, others took it as a badge of courage to go against Trump and refused (NY) by telling everyone to ride the subways and enjoy Chinatown celebrations.

Other mayors also said "EFF YOU" by telling everyone to enjoy St Patricks day and Mardi Gras. Rememember, when Mardi Gras took place huge international shows like Mobile World Congress had already shut down. Everyone knew.

But teh govs and mayors were more intent to "dunking" on Trump than doing what was right for their citizenry.

Anyone writing "None of these bureaucracies have ever proven any competence in the past" when looking at the history of public health in the U.S. is part of the failure too.

"It’s far more systemic than that": I assumed it was generally recognised that the US fedgov is unusually incompetent among advanced nations.

I suppose it's not surprising that a Permanent Government that failed in three different coup attempts against the President should prove to be hapless at its statutory duties too.

The federal government and many state governments are unusually corrupt and also obviously incompetent compared to other developed countries. But blaming the failures on "permanent government" is odd considering the number of appointed positions Trump has failed to fill. Trump had every opportunity to staff the upper levels of government with competent people he could trust. He didn't, because he is an incompetent manager himself and he obviously has few friends or associates he trusts.

I don't know how many of you have noticed, but

“CDC experts, who held regular briefings to update the public about previous health threats such as the H1N1 flu pandemic and the Zika outbreak, have been silenced. It has been nearly a month since the last CDC media briefing, which took place March 9.” - @JustinWolfers

But you know, chew some chloroquine.

There's a two hour briefing every day about covid-19. Those of you who only watch CNN for their news may have missed them.

yes, those glorious "briefings" where our strong powerful leader says things like, "oh yes, we have states, and don't forget the territories, we have those, too!"

jared must have loaned him his grade school civics text. Elmo Explains the Government.

That was exactly my point. Our genius Trump has decided to lead this.

He didn't do what he should have done, which was basically give a Queen's Speech and then let everybody tune into the CDC.

Or if he had to have it at the White House, introduce Fauci, and get the hell out of the way.

No, he is hands-on because he still wants this to be about him. So fine. I will judge it as about him, as he wishes.

See this is a quality critique as well as an honest assessment of the situation.

Right, but people like you were on me because I saw it coming from a million miles.

From 2016.

You may recall that just a couple months ago, one of you demanded that I tell you exactly how Trump's idiocy would affect me in my life.

I remember that phrase "Tell us exactly!"

Well maybe the problem was on the other foot.

Your identification that Trump would be a terrible POTUS was always correct. It was your obsession of triviality combined with asinine solutions that were and are the issue. Take the Gavin Newsome approach and lead instead of Monday morning quarterbacking. You should be proud he is your governor. Even if some of his ideas are terrible, atleast he is rising to the challenge. It’s much better than getting in a pissing match with POTUS.

Stupid comment.

We have mechanisms to remove bad presidents, and are you refused to use them.

You insist that it is an oddity, even after you admit Trump's failings, that anyone would want to use them.

I am not the one bringing cognitive dissonance to the table yet again today.

Because being a bad president ISNT impeachable. Removal from the Oval Office requires proof of the commission of high crimes and misdemeanors. Being mean and misspelling coffee in the Twitterverse are not impeachable offenses. We have these things called elections to remove people who are bad at their jobs.

There you go again. It's the two-step.

1) The President cannot be indicted for crimes, use Impeachment which is a political process.

2) You can't impeach the President for anything that sounds "too political," he has to be convicted of a crime. Go to 1.

I'd think you'd be smart enough to realize how stupid this loop is, by April 6th, 2020. But maybe not.

(Obstruction was actually the 'crime' to break this cycle, but you just didn't care. You still don't, right?)

Does anyone think Slappy had this "we can't impeach a President, because we just can't" worldview in 1998?

I mean were you literally one of those guys who told me in 2016 "it doesn't matter who's president?"

Yes, and it still doesn’t matter. President Clinton wouldn’t magically make people more resistant from COVID. Half the country still wouldn’t have listened to anything she had to say and Fox News and talk radio would be bad mouthing every step she took just like main-stream media is currently doing to Trump. The WHO would still say in January that there is nothing to worry about and the CDC would recommend against the public wearing masks. Clinton would have enacted the DPA and Alex would be writing blog posts about how bad of an idea it is. The stimulus package would have still passed, tho Senate Republicans would have tried to shrink it to keep Clinton from getting a victory. And people in my town would have still been out shopping at the stores like they were this weekend. The margin where a Clinton Presidency would have been superior is simply the coordination between high population states like California and New York. But she would have ignored any population outside of coastal cities as just flyover deplorables. So yes, at almost every margin, the actions of the President are irrelevant.

"Yes, and it still doesn’t matter."

Now there is a comment to leave rotting in the field.

Were you one of those guys who said "it doesn't matter" during impeachment "because the Senate will never convict?"

As if if the Senate's complicity freed you from civic responsibility?

See also:


We won't fully know the details until the inevitable Corona Commission, and even then I doubt we'll learn the full truth on who made what decisions and when. But based on what we know, we could list the concrete failures at the Federal level, and of course the buck ultimately stops with the POTUS for responsibility. YMMV on which of these would have played out differently with a different CIC.

1) 2009 - strategic stockpile of PPE depleted and never restocked. This was then ignored for 11 years
2) Indefinite - not renting domestic excess capacity for PPE in preparation for a pandemic
3) January 2020 - CDC taking its cues from the WHO, who insisted that there was no human to human transmission of Corona
4) Early February 2020 - CDC threatening Helen Chu via IRB regs for wanting to check community transmission in Seattle area
5) Early February 2020 - FDA/CDC policy to prevent any laboratory or University hospital from developing their own RNA test
6) Early February 2020 - CDC single point of failure inevitably means strict testing guidance, US massively behind peer nations on testing
7) February - CDC puts out guidance to not wear masks to the public
8) Late February - no federal guidance on quarantine procedures if a city undergoes an outbreak
9) March - no antibody testing plan by CDC
10) March - do we have an emergency FDA double blind study on antivirals yet?

What am I missing

"3) January 2020 - CDC taking its cues from the WHO, who insisted that there was no human to human transmission of Corona"

What you've left out of the timeline is the important point that Sure makes in his comments, the role of China in concealing the epidemic.

Why was WHO saying there's no evidence of human-to-human transmission? I'm not an insider, but it's easy to deduce that they were relying on data from China -- because no other country had data at that time.

And as Sure describes there's ample reason to believe that China did not share data as openly as it should have.

"President Trump spent a portion of Sunday’s press briefing yet again promoting an unproven treatment for the novel coronavirus, repeatedly asking, “What do we have to lose?”

So toward the end, a CNN reporter turned to Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, for his opinion on the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine with a sharper question: “What is the medical evidence?”

Standing at the microphone, Fauci opened his mouth — but before he could speak, the answer came out of Trump’s instead.

“Do you know how many times he’s answered that question?” Trump cut in. “Maybe 15.”

A tight smile stretched across Fauci’s face. His eyes, framed by a pair of wire-rimmed glasses, flicked quickly to Trump. He glanced back at the reporter, who was saying to the president, “The question is for the doctor. … He’s your medical expert, correct?”

Fauci’s smile, for just a moment, was all teeth now. Trump raised his finger sternly, telling the journalist, “You don’t have to ask the question,” and so Fauci didn’t answer it, and the news conference shuffled right along."

It is easy to pin it on Trump, even for the blindfolded.

What do you think the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine is?

What would it take for you to designate it effective? 18 months of rigorous FDA approved trials where p=0.05 has been tortured out of a spreadsheet?

A lot of people will be dead in 18 months, some of which might have lived if they had hydroxychloroquine. Let's provide it to doctors and let them decide without the FDA going through its usual overly long ass covering process. I've read enough "the FDA is too slow, too cautious, and kills people" posts on this website before.

The FDA and CDC botched testing. They wanted their "perfect" test that passed all their ass covering procedures...and the net result it we didn't have tests when we needed them even though others could have provided tests that worked fine and they wouldn't allow it.

In a fast moving pandemic, you've got to let doctors and individuals evaluated the pros and cons of different options in realtime, not 18 months later when the FDA approves.

"What do you think the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine is?" Unknown regarding covid19. Though there does seem to be some preliminary evidence that roughly 20% of covid19 deaths involve the heart muscle problems, a muscle the virus seems to attack.

And guess what? "Separately, the president of the American Medical Association, Patrice Harris, told CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer on Sunday that she would not prescribe hydroxychloroquine if she had a coronavirus patient, cautioning against Trump’s “What do we have to lose?” rationale. The drug’s well-known side-effects can cause fatal heart problems in patients who are taking other drugs that affect the heart’s rhythm, such as anti-depressants, or who have existing heart issues.

“You could lose your life,” Harris said. “It’s unproven. And so certainly there are some limited studies, as Dr. Fauci said. But at this point, we just don’t have the data to suggest that we should be using this medication for covid-19.”

You are welcome to try it, of course, since the drug was already legally approved by the FDA, there is absolutely legal barrier to it being used in the U.S. There might be a shortage after Trump's promotion of it as some worst of miracle cure, but don't blame the FDA for that screw up.

In light of the previous information, this is a more accurate rewording - "some of which might have lived if they had hydroxychloroquine, and some which died because they had hydroxychloroquine." As is the case with the husband of a married couple in Arizona, who lacked the knowledge to know what they were drinking was not the cure they believed it was.

The magic word remains efficacy - just because someone will sell you Laetrile does not mean it will cure your tumor.

If you think the risks outweigh the benefits, don't take it.

But say what those risks are, and try to back them up with evidence.

If the "bar" for "safe and effective" is FDA complaint studies 18 months from now, then nothing is going to pass that bar in time. The bottom line is that shouldn't necessarily be the bar we are using.

We just went through this with masks. Do masks block 100% of the virus. No. Do they block some of the virus (both coming in and going out). Yes. So the "medical experts" had to reverse their recommendation when they started using different criteria to evaluate (perfect vs net good).

"some of which might have lived if they had hydroxychloroquine, and some which died because they had hydroxychloroquine."

That's true of EVERY SINGLE DRUG.

The question is whether saved > died. You want to wait 18 months for some FDA study to prove that to p > 0.05. Should we wait that long? What level of confidence do we need that saved > died before it's wrong not to try it? There is the "cover my ass because I'll be blamed if it goes wrong and won't be blamed if nature takes it course" vs "likely to save lives on net".

"You want to wait 18 months for some FDA study to prove that to p > 0.05. "

Nobody needs to wait even a minute - the drug is currently legally prescribable in the U.S. Doesn't seem to be in stock, but that has nothing to do with the FDA. Heckuva job, Trump.

You seem to be conflating two things, honestly. Availability for treatment - currently exists with full FDA approval for a doctor to write a prescription. Efficacy against covid19 - completely unproven beyond anecdotes and hope. Initial trials are running, so more information will be available. Don't be too surprised if it turns out that hydroxychloroquine has no demonstrable efficacy against covid19. I don't believe in miracles, even if Trump does.

"completely unproven beyond anecdotes and hope"

I get the impression its more then anecdotes and hope, but it's up to medical professionals to decide that. On the ground making decisions, not covering their ass at the FDA. When I got tested for Covid, the doctor seemed to take the possibility seriously.

If the president wants to signal boost an opinion within the medical community, who are you to say he shouldn't. Describe the criteria by which you think he shouldn't be allowed to do that.

"Don't be too surprised if it turns out that hydroxychloroquine has no demonstrable efficacy against covid19"

Don't be surprised if it does. You appear completely unphased by the fact that doing nothing is itself harmful, only that you won't be blamed for such harm.

You remain fixated on the FDA, which fully allows the prescribing of hydroxychloroquine. Efficacy is not a meaningless medical term. Perhaps this helps - "But Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top doctor on infectious diseases and a key member of the White House taskforce, was adamant there was nothing to suggest the medicine had any benefit against coronavirus. “In terms of science, I don’t think we can definitively say it works,” he told CBS’s Face the Nation.

“The data are really just at best suggestive. There have been cases that show there may be an effect and there are others to show there’s no effect.”"

If it is proven to work, wonderful. And considering the number of people who have used it since the first mention from China several months ago, it would be a wonder if it is particularly effective. While looking for the history of its use in China, the first result offered by google was this - "On Saturday the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of two antimalarial drugs, hydroxychloroquine and a related medication, chloroquine, for emergency use to treat COVID-19. The drugs were touted by President Trump as a “game changer” for COVID-19.

However, a study just published in a French medical journal provides new evidence that hydroxychloroquine does not appear to help the immune system clear the coronavirus from the body. The study comes on the heels of two others - one in France and one in China - that reported some benefits in the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for COVID-19 patients who didn’t have severe symptoms of the virus."

We will see, obviously.

Is "definitive" the criteria we should use in this crisis. "Likely" is a less stringent standard than "definitive", but may be more appropriate than definitive.

So you want it to be "definitive" before anyone signal boosts the drug, and other people think "likely" is a good enough reason to discuss it. In a plague, "likely" is a better bar than "definitive", especially for an already approved drug whose side effects really aren't bad if the doctor administering it does so properly.

Of course it doesn't help the immune system clear coronavirus from the body. It isn't intended to do that! It's intended to lesson some of the symptoms caused by Coronavirus in order to limit the damage it does to the body. And it's most effective BEFORE someone is in critical condition.

People aren't calling it a cure. They are calling it an off-label use of a medicine to treat symptoms during a stage of the disease in order to help from it getting worse, which has clear benefits to a lot of people.

Tyler, your "Trump was terrible" obsession has become tiresome.

Tyler will finally catch up to events, and start saying Trump is terrible, not simply was.

I don't think history will be kind to Trumpists.

Nothing but endless complaints when people notice the tragedy, and zero claim of excellence.

Would anyone want to do support a politicians that requires so much excuse making? Isn't a good sign for a politician is that they act instead of react so much in order to avoid the need for so much excuse making.

...What politician doesn't require excuse making? Name a recent one.

Not to be a pedant, but the travel ban was 12 days BEFORE the NBA did anything. We'd be in a worse situation.

There's more to do than just a travel ban. Like getting masks, respirators, sanitizers and ventilators. Compared to the NBA's complete shutdown, Trump was woefully behind.

Tests. Don't forget the tests. Another ghastly failure for this administration. Captain Bolsonaro is doing a wonderful job for Brazil. As an American we must learn from their success.

I wasn't aware of the NBA's stellar record of getting masks, respirators, sanitizers and ventilators.

Bush warned in 2005 how we are unprepared for a padmenic. I wonder how much since then, we've spent on pandemic prep vs diversity training.

The pandemic has revealed a failure to invest in state capacity over the years. Millions of people were not receiving the EITC, child tax credits, SNAP benefits, unemployment insurance to which they were entitled long before the first case of Covid 19. Employers were not being incentivized to provide sick leave and family leave. ACA mechanisms and incentives were such that millions did not have health insurance.

I first talked to the CDC about Covid back in January. No cameras, no grandstanding, no BS - just part of our professional due diligence.

Initially I was assured by folks who are indeed the experts on this that there was no or minimal human to human transmission. I was later assured that the majority of transmission was from symptomatic individuals.

When these are your baseline assumptions, the system is not doing too terribly. PPE is nowhere near as dear because a temperature screen will reveal most of the people who require you to wear. Likewise, it is highly unlikely that multiple cities will have concurrent outbreaks because the majority of spread will come from rare individuals who either look less infectious or have odd social circumstances. Even testing is less important if a simple thermometer has a reasonably decent sensitivity/specificity profile; and this also sways the importance of scalability and how concerned you are about test reliability.

And lest we forget, the WHO declared a health emergency on January 23rd, and promptly told the world that there was no need for travel restrictions, like one would expect from any highly infectious outbreak (i.e. not even supporting measures like we took against Ebola back in 2014). The very weak efforts that Trump's administration took were promptly labeled as racist, violating human rights, and generally counter productive.

It was only on March 10th that we even slapped the pandemic label on Covid.

And lest we forget, Xi was briefed on all of this back on January 7th. Our regulatory regime believed the propaganda the CCP was spewing and the WHO echoing. Even if Trump did everything right, we would still be behind the 8-ball thanks to the CCP's lies and the WHO's dithering and politicking.

And it goes on from there. According to one of our PPE suppliers, Chinese companies bought up whole warehouses of PPE back in January, back when they maintained that there was no person to person transmission.

Our bureaucracy is not adaptable. This has been true for over three administrations. But our initial course was set by the CCP burning the first two months on active repression and then the next two on double dealing and lying. Over 95% of the blame for all Covid failures lies in China.

And we know this. The successful containments outside of China have been a handful of East Asian states where basically everything broke their way. South Korea had a large outbreak (pops up on surveillance), but it was easily traceable through a cultish social network. Taiwan basically flipped the bird at the WHO and got masks to all its citizens, banned mainland travel far more aggressively than Trump, and required mandatory quarantine when the WHO did no believe such was necessary.

Outside of those outliers, pretty much every country with every public health system has had a very rough go of it. Britain's NHS has taken a beating. Canada, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, and the Netherlands have all had fast doubling times, high death rates, and limited testing.

The dominant driver when so many different system with different bureaucracies fail is not going to be petty local politics. It is going to be something they all have in common, like perhaps listening to the WHO shill for the CCP for months.

Are there bureaucratic stupidities making things worse? Sure. The ACGME is still black balling over a thousand new US docs at a time when we need all of them in order to maintain its BS residency caps. We should have been masking everyone months ago with even cloth masks, but the experts warned us it could be actively harmful. And we still have not given enough blanket tort waivers for good faith efforts in times of crisis where waiting is death. But at the end of the day that is just pissing around with the last 4% of the dead. 95% of this lies with the CCP and having them actively subvert the responses of the rest world was the first, second, and third most important "failures".

We can blame China, but I think we can also compare ourselves against excellence. If Taiwan and South Korea did it better, why not us?

We know that US intelligence services were giving pretty good reports to the White House about what was actually going on in China.

So there is no reason we had to take literally The Party line.

South Korea and Taiwan are not geographically or politically similar to the US in any fashion. They have a proven bureaucratic competence that is also much more centralized than the US.

True, it is an abomination that testing is still so far behind. At this point you have to blame Trump for the continued delayed roll out. It’s a partial solution to this problem and he should do more on this front-whatever it takes at all costs.

To me, the scandal lies at the feet of the WHO. We all know that China has every reason to not be forthcoming, but the WHO?

Did this administration take the intelligence reports seriously and then use "every lever available" as they should?

Or are we just going to excuse Trump "because we know he doesn't like Intelligence?"

Stop acting like the President of the United States is a powerless bystander.

Funny, I seem to recall the initial travel ban back on January 31st be greeted by things like Joe Biden calling it rank xenophobia. Likewise, Pelosi opted to use the opportunity to call the action bigoted and used it to stump against Trump's earlier travel bans.

One of the simplest things to do in an epidemic is to ban travel from infected countries. Trump's ban likely would have worked two weeks earlier and bought us at least another month or two, but even a belated ban was opposed by basically everyone. And the talking point that the worries about racism were more important than actual health policy were utterly lost.

As far as the testing debacle, please. Sure it was a charlie foxtrot for weeks, but the US is has now run the most tests in the world, is rising on the cumulative tests per million (e.g. beating France last I checked and utterly crushing the British NHS), and is higher still on the new tests per million.

From the frontlines, I see very few people who got ahead of the curve. From my contacts at MSF it sounds like other OECD health systems are just as borked. The US response appears to be just about middle of the road. When I include the extremely high value of the vaccine work being done in the US and the timeliness thereof (at least relative to baseline), we are coming up above average.

Yeah Trump is not my first choice for this stuff, but he actually tried to do a damn simple thing back when it might have mattered. Instead we ended up in the same boat as everyone else.

As far as the intelligence reports, I am frankly calling BS. If we had had that sort of information it should have made it to the clinicians. Fauci has a security clearance, he should not have been saying this was low risk back when he was in front of the cameras in January and certainly by February he should have been sending me a heckuvalot more urgent guidelines. Because, do remember, intelligence goes to whomever has a need to know and reports about the most severe emergent infectious disease in generations should be routed to a bunch of players other than Trump, all of whom spent January and part of February telling me this wasn't as bad as I feared.

From the view on the ground, Trump is about two weeks behind his advisors and experts and they were about two to three months behind the CCP who were three months or so behind basic competency.

This is not where one man or even one system failed. The British NHS is doing worse at testing than we did. Canada is likewise behind the curve. Trump may be doing mediocre, but is along with a lot of other people and the real trouble, again, goes back to the CCP which created a totalitarian state where active information suppression was the *default* behavior of their CDC equivalent.

There does seem to be some differences between the Western media menagerie and Chinese managed news. At the same time, there's not much difference between Chinese and US governments attempts at secrecy at all levels, as in this example, also health related. We still are unable to read the final report on the Kennedy assassination from 1963. Generally mundane governmental communications are classified while the government itself demands access to every communication except for conjugal endearments, at least for the present.

The Chinese government is more secretive than that of the US but it's only a matter of degree.

One of Taiwan's institutional strengths for this situation - not the only one, by any means, but a factor IMHO - is that the Taiwanese government doesn't trust the WHO nor the CCP. The latter is for obvious reasons, and the former is because of firsthand experience with the WHO throwing Taiwan under the bus at the behest of the Communist Chinese government. (Specifically, exclusion of Taiwan from observer status at the World Health Assembly.)

Trump has been working with all the health experts the whole time. His distrust of China has served us well as he acted sooner than many nations, and quite a few health experts. Obama didn't declare an emergency for H1N1 until 1000 Americans were dead.

South Korea's ability to ramp up testing rapidly reportedly is due to changes made after a MERS outbreak in 2015 that wasn't handled very well. So, they had the relative good fortune to make mistakes in a situation where the consequences were 36 deaths, instead of many times that amount.

That said, I agree that in a perfect world we should learn from the experience of other countries.

Taiwan acted a week after we did. They do have better results obviously, but nobody knows why. We just don't know enough about it to understand. Since you know more than the CDC, please pass on your recommendations. The world is interested.

+10. By far the best comment on this thread.

There’s going to be - there already is in many of these comments - a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking, comparing what Trump and others, both in the US and elsewhere, did or didn’t do to an idealized perfect response, fully informed by hindsight. Most of that simply reflects prior political agendas, and should be assessed accordingly.

It suffers from the same hindsight bias. WHO is the problem. Xi is the problem. China is the problem. Public healthcare is the problem. ACGME is the problem (a new one for me personally). Democrats who called Trump a racist is the problem. Everybody is the problem except Trump who must not be blamed because blaming him is Monday quarterbacking, TDS, or Orange Man Bad.

Trump is a problem and he screwed up.

I am just not seeing all that many people who screwed up less. Very few countries have managed to make a dent in the exponential growth of Covid within their borders before the death rate hit 1 in 100,000.

Given the OECD average and the complete and utter meltdowns in Spain and Italy, the formal root cause analysis which I am required to follow for any M&M suggests to me that the most important factor is the CCP.

Trump sucks. His opponents suck. The media has been extremely counter productive. But all of them are small fry compared to the CCP.

Trump has never listened to anything the Europeans have to say so why would he now all of a sudden hang on to every word from WHO? This is a deflection. A red herring. They are bad but Trump could have flipped the bird as you put like Taiwan and the rest of the Asian nations and protect the nation. He didn't do that not because he was scared for being labeled a racist (he's been called that since day 1 so why would he all of a sudden be ashamed in his 4th year) but because he didn't want to sink the economy. Yet that hesitation will cost him and the country the economy anyway because the time for getting tests, masks, and ventilators approved and manufactured was months ago.

I neither know nor care why the WHO was trusted an unreasonable degree during the critical window of this pandemic.

What I do know is that when I asked for professional guidance, I was given direct quotes from the WHO by the CDC. When we made our PPE ordering plans back than we followed the anticipatory guidelines established based on WHO data.

Maybe Trump had his bureaucrats hide behind the WHO to protect the economy. All I know is that I was told specific, actionable things hat came out of the WHO that screwed us over on the frontlines.

And as far as being worried about being called a racist, please. The US has a tripartite government. Exactly which section of the National Emergencies Act would you have had Trump use to overrule the FDA safety guidelines? Which of these is not subject to congressional oversight? Which of them would you like for Trump to have used to institute a federal quarantine?

All I know is that China lied, I was fed courses of actions that appear to be based on those lies, and there was no one, including my local Democratic representation in Congress, who put forth any sort of action plan that was consistent with reality rather than CCP lies.

+1, good informative post.

"All I know is that I was told specific, actionable things hat came out of the WHO that screwed us over on the frontlines."

Like that WHO test, right? Plenty of blame to spread around in the U.S., but to blame the WHO for screwing over SK or Germany seems a bit odd.

The South Korean's ignored the WHO regarding masks and travel restrictions. And Germany is only slightly better than the US.

One of the few things the WHO did correctly, was publish the instructions on the Landt (a German) test.

Why no mention of Germany or Austria? Because it makes it easier to maintain the U.S. healthcare system is on a level with 'Europe'?

Or is it because they make this seem less than actually accurate - "It is going to be something they all have in common, like perhaps listening to the WHO shill for the CCP for months."

There is the WHO test that the U.S. rejected, developed in Germany using Chinese data by mid-January. Almost as if there is a tad more to the story than China evil, America blameless for trusting in a leader saying that this will go away like a miracle, or in April.

Germany followed a different path, crippled though they are by being a nation that rations medical care without the world leading pharma companies and talent found in America. A simple timeline -

The initial outbreak was first reported in China on December 31. By January 10, a Shanghai laboratory had sequenced the virus' genome.

German scientists produced the first diagnostic test a week later. The researchers started developing candidate tests before the COVID-19 genome was announced using genetic sequences for SARS-related viruses. Once the COVID-19 sequence was available, they quickly released a diagnostic test on January 17.

Almost as if the Germans did not care about Chinese double dealing or lying even before the first case in Europe occurred on Jan. 27 - in Germany. Basically, blaming the Chinese for 95% of America's problems is simply not realistic, since so many of America's problems regarding this pandemic are so clearly made in America. As surprises no one after three years of watching the Trump Administration.

Okay, first US case was 14 days earlier. Let's be very generous to the Germans and say that the doubling time for Covid is 4 days. Germany currently has 1,602 deaths while the US has 9,697. If Germany had their current trendline with a first case on January 15th (i.e. the first case known in the US), then they would be expected to have 18,124 deaths today.

When dealing with exponential functions weeks and days matter. And Germany is doing better than the US. And better than Switzerland. And massively better than Luxembourg. Almost as though there was a large stochastic component and some countries are going to get luckier than others with their early transmission chains for no real reason.

Trump is average. And that is catastrophic. Which is also what we are seeing in France, Spain, the UK, Italy, and basically every other major economy. Germany and Japan are clear outliers and good for them. But we apparently are living in a world that requires competence and lots of luck and we are only in that world because the CCP actively thwarted a containment response and then lied about it.

The German trend line (at least as seen at worldometer) would in no way, shape, or form lead to a higher death toll than Italy's today. And currently, though making predictions from a few days is a mug's game during this pandemic, Germany (along with Italy, and possibly Spain) are seemingly going down the slope.

"because the CCP actively thwarted a containment response and then lied about it'

That testing timeline means nothing to you, does it? The CCP covered up what was going on, but the first usable genomic data was provided on Jan. 10, and a test was ready on Jan. 17, regardless of whatever the CCP wanted.

My point is that a two week lag can cover a multitude of sins. I doubt Germany would have continued and hit the world average course, they likely would have instituted stronger measures if they were curve leader rather than Italy.

But nonetheless, we should expect the first hit countries outside of China to do worse than those hit later. If nothing else, they have less data about how other countries fared taking different measures. At the end of the day, US and German mortality per case appears similar. At the end of the day the US had patient zero sooner and is more likely to have more simultaneous independent outbreaks.

And no the testing timeline does not do it for me. I live in the real world where test performance is highly dependent on incidence and prevalence. I also live in a world where China's data, which I read in real time, does not match epidemiological data from South Korea, Italy, France, Spain, Saudi Arabia, The UK, The Netherlands, or a host of other country's. Based on what I was told back in January, the cost, sensitivity, and specificity I wanted from tests was vastly different when I was being assured that the vast bulk of transmission would happen from symptomatic cases.

Oh and about the sequencing date. On the 10th they released the sequence. On December 27th the CCP suppressed sequencing efforts in China and ordered the destruction of samples per sources that have proven more correct than official CCP announcements about rather important things (e.g. human to human transmission, asymptomatic spread). Now maybe I am completely wrong, but I have been told that it takes about three days to sequence a virus. This jives with the fact that we fully sequence over 5,000 flu samples each year for surveillance. So let's be generous and give the CCP till January 1st to fully sequence the virus (i.e. whatever time they had invested by the 27th and then four whole days after). Okay somehow they sat on this for another 10 days. Again using 4 day doubling rate that means that by the date they belatedly released a sequence it had last 82.3% of its timely value.

So yeah, again, the CCP's decision to kill sequencing efforts in December and then take unconscionably long in January are easily an order of magnitude worse for global health than everything Trump has done wrong.

Again when I say 95% of the "errors" occurred in China I am not just picking a big number. That is literally the ballpark of the impact of making early, large, and long errors compared to everything else.

Some of those errors are unavoidable and sometimes the dice come up snake eyes. But the CCP committed more errors and malfeasance than the entire rest of the world combined, by an order of magnitude.

"But nonetheless, we should expect the first hit countries outside of China to do worse than those hit later."

Germany had the first case in Europe.

'If nothing else, they have less data about how other countries fared taking different measures.'

The Germans followed standard public health methods, which seemed to be working until the start of community spread in Italy led to community spread in Germany.

'I live in the real world where test performance is highly dependent on incidence and prevalence.'

The German experience starting in Jan. 27 suggests they had a better view of the real world involving a novel pandemic virus, even with the CCP apparently being responsible for 95% of what went wrong in other countries.

Heard this morning...

“Oh look, at least the SBA website had the time to add cute little bunnies to the website”

I'm wondering what Trump could have realistically done differently, including political constraints as a part of "realistic." National lockdown order is probably unconstitutional. Trump was floating quarantines weeks before Fauci et al even acknowledged that was a possibility. If he'd tried, back when CDC et al were still saying "the risk is low," how would that have gone over?

Moreover, elections and political rallies are all potential "super spreader" events. What if Trump had attempted, in February, to cancel the Democratic primaries, and prohibit his potential opponents from holding political rallies? How would that have gone over? Especially when the official word from the public health crowd was that the risk from Covid to Americans was "miniscule," and not as threatening as flu?

Why not declare a MAGA movement to kill the virus through social distancing?

Maybe "social distancing" is too prissy a phrase for that.

Manly solitude?

So Trump shuts down flights from China on Jan 31, and the NBA cancels its season Mar 11.

To Tyler, this is proof that Trump is terrible, and the NBA is amazing.

Sure thing, spanky.

Sometimes civilizations become too stupid to survive.

2020 started with the spectacle of an impeachment attempt which revolved around the exposure of a Democrat presidential candidate who seems to have run an influence peddling operation with his son. The problem wasn't the influence peddling operation, but the exposure which happened to involve someone outside the country.

Somehow I'm to believe that around the 20th of January Trump was supposed to take emergency powers and lock down travel and commerce because of a virus from China. Sure.

But it gets even more ridiculous. The Democrats winnowed their field by enforcing a rigid ideological test; no one who advanced policies that would be popular among more than 1/3 of the citizenry could apply.

Then a savior showed up, someone who made a fortune providing information to the financial industry. He spend just short of a billion dollars, yes, A BILLION DOLLARS to get a few votes in the next primary. The level of ridiculousness of this spectacle is astounding. One of the key foundations of his policy plank was an edict dispatched to his powerful and influential medial operation that they were not to criticize him.

While this was going on, the FDA and CDC were working furiously to prevent anyone from developing a testing protocol that wasn't their own.

The Best and Brightest among us all were diligent in making sure that the horrors of Wuhan didn't reflect badly on the Asians who live in the US. We won't let them get into Harvard, but damned if we will prevent large crowds in our largest cities from celebrating the Chinese new year.

And now we find out that lying on FISA applications, the ones that give permission to law enforcement to spy on Americans, is commonplace. So lying to spy on the Trump campaign wasn't unusual; it was par for the course. And I'm to be surprised that the reaction and execution in the face of this virus by the US federal government is sloppy?

All we need is a different figurehead. Maybe someone who is confused and obviously past his prime. Who incidentally showed his prowess at governance and organizing resources by running an influence peddling scheme with his family. Sure.

The third crisis of globalization in the century. It looks like we might survive this one, early yet.

The most encouraging sign that I've seen so far is people like Tyler and many like him waking up to the perfidy of the systems that they are part of. A righteous anger. The problem is that these situations are very much like this influenza; far easier to deal with early, really early when there are only hints of what it could become and there is extraordinary risk of being wrong.

So our failed regulatory state is because of Joe Biden? Got it.

What a weird takeaway, you didn't read this did you?

It would be an interesting journalistic endeavor to look at the specific regulations and legislation that has prevented a timely response to this crisis and see what names are attached.

I don't think anyone who has been around for a while would feel secure anywhere near a lamp post.

Bothsiderism Dan Balz can come all the way to Chicago and kiss my ass. That MFer should have been fired a LONG time ago. Dinosaur mofo. Him, Rich Cohen and all the rest of them should have been fired by Bezos as soon as he bought WaPo.

The IRS is supposed to allow people to enter direct deposit info on their web site for those of us who haven't received a refund in that manner lately (that's me -- I've had to pay for years, other than in 2015). They really need to get on that. It shouldn't be too difficult since they already have the capacity to do that for people getting refunds.

I was just talking with a client that is doing shrimp genetic improvement in Florida. He has automated genetic testing machines that are doing 10,000 genetic tests per day on shrimp (8 hr easy shift). All he needs to convert these machines to detecting SARS-CoV-2 virus RNA is just changing the primers he is using (trivial) and some minor sample processing changes.

He contacted the FDA and just ended up in a regulatory swamp where his lab is not human certified and the number of approvals became much to complex. He then sent a huge amount of the required chemicals to Ecuador where laboratories and facilities working with shrimp genetics also have the same high throughput testing hardware and they have shifted to doing Covid-19 testing.

Our bureaucratic delays and regulations are killing us.

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