Tuesday CoronaBuzz, October 6, 2020, Part 1: What’s Up at the White House. 29 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Trying to do this newsletter right now is like trying to wash dishes during a tornado. I’ll keep pegging away. Please wear a mask. Wash your hands. Stay at home if you can. Please be careful. I love you.


New York Times: As Virus Invades West Wing, White House Reporters Face Heightened Risks. “Visitors to the White House will notice a makeshift sign taped to the door of the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, entry point for the reportorial corps that regularly covers President Trump and his administration. ‘Masks Required Beyond This Point,’ it reads. ‘Please wear masks over both your nose and mouth at all times.’ The sign was not put up by the White House. The correspondents had to do it themselves.”

CNN: ‘It’s recklessness out here’: White House reporters are furious with the White House for having ‘endangered’ their lives. “Reporters covering the White House are furious with top administration officials who they believe have, in grossly mishandling the West Wing coronavirus outbreak, recklessly endangered their lives, according to interviews Monday with nine journalists who cover the White House. Several of these journalists said they do not feel safe at the White House and are actively avoiding the grounds unless absolutely necessary.”

Washington Post: ‘Epidemiologists just wanna vomit’: Doctors disturbed after Trump removes his mask at the White House. “Shortly after being discharged from the hospital treating him for the novel coronavirus, President Trump on Monday climbed onto a White House balcony — and then peeled off his mask to salute Marine One as it flew away. After waving, Trump turned to go inside, still maskless. Following a weekend of mounting horror among medical professionals and commentators fretting over Trump’s handling of his own infection, his actions Monday — particularly removing his mask and walking into a room frequented by White House staff — left them worried and frustrated yet again.”

New Yorker: The Recklessness of Trump’s Return to the White House. “After his discharge, Trump arrived at the White House, where he posed, maskless, on a balcony overlooking the South Lawn. He is in the midst of an active coronavirus infection—and so, in the coming days, there’s a good chance that he will pass the virus on to others who work at the White House, which has now become a viral hot zone. He seems determined to be the Superspreader-in-Chief.”

The Daily Beast: Trump Actually Believes He Can Sell Himself to America as a COVID-Conquering Hero. “The president repeatedly claimed that once he recovers from the coronavirus—for which first lady Melania Trump, his campaign manager, debate sparing partner, press secretary, and other aides also tested positive—he’ll be able to present himself as a conqueror of it, both personally and politically. The notion might seem far-fetched, considering the poor marks Trump’s received for his handling of the pandemic. But according to the knowledgeable sources, the president insisted that this would be a campaign asset, as he’d be able to say ‘I know what people are going through,’ one of the sources recounted him saying.”

New York Times: White House Is Not Tracing Contacts for ‘Super-Spreader’ Rose Garden Event. “Despite almost daily disclosures of new coronavirus infections among President Trump’s close associates, the White House is making little effort to investigate the scope and source of its outbreak. The White House has decided not to trace the contacts of guests and staff members at the Rose Garden celebration 10 days ago for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, where at least eight people, including the president, may have become infected, according to a White House official familiar with the plans.”

USA Today: White House rebuffed CDC offer to lead contact tracing investigation of Trump outbreak. “The White House rejected on Monday an offer from the nation’s public health experts to lead the effort to track down and notify Americans who were exposed to a growing coronavirus outbreak linked to President Donald Trump and several top aides.”

Axios: With Trump’s return, risks rise in the West Wing. “White House aides have advised President Trump to avoid the Oval Office while he’s still infected. But they’re making arrangements for him to work out of the Diplomatic Reception Room in the West Wing, and use it as a backdrop for future televised remarks, two White House officials tell Axios.”

AP: DC government unable to connect with White House on outbreak. “Officials with the Washington, D.C., Department of Health have been unsuccessful in trying to connect with the White House to assist with contact tracing and other protocols regarding the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak that has infected President Donald Trump and several senior staff members.”

CNN: Democratic leaders accuse Trump team of ‘deliberately’ withholding information about White House outbreak. “Senate Democratic leaders charged Tuesday that the White House has been ‘opaque and secretive’ in providing information about the coronavirus outbreak that sickened President Donald Trump and several other people at the White House, demanding details about the timeline and contending that details are being ‘deliberately withheld in order to minimize public scrutiny.'”

Voice of America: Trump Returns to White House After 72 Hours in Hospital for COVID-19. “U.S. President Donald Trump returned to the White House Monday evening after 72 hours of hospitalization for COVID-19. In a show of fitness, he climbed the steps of the South Portico, standing on the Truman Balcony where he removed his mask, gave a double thumbs-up gesture and saluted the Marine One helicopter as it prepared to take off from the South Lawn. Without putting his facemask back on, the president then walked into the White House where others were awaiting his arrival.”

CNN: Trump mounts bizarre and misleading White House return despite warnings. “A strongly medicated President Donald Trump bolted from his VIP hospital bubble Monday, staging a bizarre White House comeback that included an irresponsible mask removal and a reckless pronouncement there is nothing to fear from Covid-19, which has already killed 210,000 Americans.”

Vox: The White House won’t say when Trump’s last negative coronavirus test was. Here’s why it matters.. “The White House’s refusal to answer a very basic question with serious implications not only for the president’s health but for the health of those around him — when did President Trump last test negative for the coronavirus? — is raising questions about when Trump was first infected and how many people he may have exposed to the virus.”

BNN Bloomberg: Trump’s Doctor Has Job of Containing Patient Eager to Campaign. “Donald Trump’s physician, Sean Conley, faces the daunting task of trying to keep the most powerful Covid-19 patient in the world from worsening his illness or infecting others, even as the president itches to return to the campaign trail to rescue his struggling bid for re-election. Whether Conley and his White House Medical Unit can succeed remains an open question. In a West Wing where politics has taken priority over recommended public health measures, Conley’s office was unable to protect the White House staff, visitors or the president himself from the virus.”

TIME: Donald Trump, M.D.: How the President Is Shaping His Own Treatment. “Medical doctors warn Trump could still be a few days away from what can the most dangerous part of the COVID-19 disease cycle, called the cytokine storm, when the body’s immune response rages and can overwhelm its own function. ‘He’s a high risk individual and he is now entering a potentially unstable part of his clinical course,’ says Dr. Howard Koh, a Harvard professor on health policy who was a senior health official in the Obama Administration. ‘The last thing we want for his health is to be discharged too early and be readmitted.'”

Washington Post: Concern rises for White House residence staffers as their workplace emerges as a virus hot spot. “Charles Allen’s late father, Eugene Allen, who was the subject of the 2013 film ‘The Butler’ and served eight White House families from the Trumans to the Reagans, never missed a day of work in 34 years of government service. But if his father were still working in the White House residence today, Charles says he would have very simple advice: ‘I would implore him to retire.'”

AP: 210K in US have died from virus. Now Trump says he ‘gets it’. “Now that he has contracted COVID-19, President Donald Trump says he does ‘get it.’ That revelation, seven months into the pandemic and after almost 210,000 American deaths, is not the first time he has relied on personal experience to shape his views. He said he now ‘understands’ the virus. But because of his own experience, as a patient at one of the nation’s finest medical facilities with treatment options available to very few, the president also reinforced that he has struggled to relate with everyday Americans, millions of whom have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus.”

Vanity Fair: “Don Jr. Thinks Trump Is Acting Crazy”: The President’s COVID Joyride Has the Family Divided. “According to sources, Don Jr. has told friends that he tried lobbying Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and Jared Kushner to convince the president that he needs to stop acting unstable. ‘Don Jr. has said he wants to stage an intervention, but Jared and Ivanka keep telling Trump how great he’s doing,’ a source said. Don Jr. is said to be reluctant to confront his father alone. ‘Don said, “I’m not going to be the only one to tell him he’s acting crazy,”‘ the source added.”

Politico: Working for Trump: Tweet-firings, subpoenas and now coronavirus. “The White House’s Covid-19 dragnet, which has caught at least 14 White House staffers, top campaign and party officials, Trump advisers and Republican senators, has highlighted the extent to which Trump has put his orbit in harm’s way with his desire to project pre-pandemic normalcy with frequent traveling and events that eschew mask-wearing and crowd-size restrictions.”

CNN: Senate Republicans split on the need for coronavirus testing. “Eighty-seven-year-old Sen. Chuck Grassley — who as the most senior Republican in the chamber is third in the line of succession to the presidency — will not be tested for coronavirus despite three of his GOP colleagues being positive and spending last week on Capitol Hill with the infected senators.”

New York Times: Trump’s Campaign Saw an Opportunity. He Undermined It.. “Over the weekend, Mr. Trump’s political advisers said they were cleareyed about who they were dealing with: Mr. Trump is widely seen as a figure incapable of empathy. But the hope was that discussing his own experience would help him manage the pandemic going forward, and could have political benefits. Mr. Trump did little to adhere to the narrative aides were hoping would emerge, one that would benefit him politically.”

Washington Post: ‘Unjustifiable hysteria’: Republican recalcitrance about the virus persists even as GOP faces growing turmoil. “Widespread Republican recalcitrance about federal health guidelines showed few signs of waning on Monday, even as the party faces growing turmoil following President Trump’s hospitalization and as more White House aides test positive for the novel coronavirus.”

CNN: Trump’s reckless return met with a dramatically changed White House. “Instead of a bustling hive of pre-election activity, the West Wing has become a breeding ground for viral contagion. At least 11 of the President’s aides or allies have either contracted the virus or — in the case of his daughter Ivanka — are working from home. Entire suites of offices sit vacant as Trump’s aides work to isolate him in the residence and out of the West Wing.”

Washington Post: Pence, Harris teams at odds over plexiglass at debate. “Vice President Pence is requesting that no plexiglass dividers be placed on his side of the stage at Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate, after an announcement Monday by the Commission on Presidential Debates that dividers had been agreed to as a safety measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Marc Short, the vice president’s chief of staff, said the vice president’s team does not view plexiglass dividers as medically necessary, given other safety measures at the debate, including a 12-foot distance between Pence and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) and daily testing of both candidates.”

CNN: Trump calls for stimulus negotiations to stop until after Election Day. “President Donald Trump has ordered his negotiators to halt talks over a new stimulus package, after the two sides have struggled for months to reach a deal. ‘I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,’ Trump wrote in a series of tweets Tuesday afternoon.”

Washington Post: In a few days, more people in Trump’s orbit tested positive for coronavirus than in all of Taiwan. “In President Trump’s personal orbit, the coronavirus case count continues to creep upward. More than a dozen White House officials have recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus, including some who are among the at least nine guests and two journalists who tested positive after they attended Amy Coney Barrett’s Sept. 26 Supreme Court nomination event in the Rose Garden.”

CNN: Senior Pentagon leadership quarantining after exposure to coronavirus. “The top US general, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, and several members of the Pentagon’s senior leadership are quarantining after a top Coast Guard official tested positive for coronavirus, several US defense officials tell CNN.”

AP: White House staff, Secret Service eye virus with fear, anger. “President Donald Trump’s decision to return home from a military hospital despite his continued illness is putting new focus on the people around him who could be further exposed if he doesn’t abide by strict isolation protocols. Throughout the pandemic, White House custodians, ushers, kitchen staff and members of the U.S. Secret Service have continued to show up for work in what is now a coronavirus hot spot, with more than a dozen known cases this week alone.”

HuffPost: White House Testing Scheme Was Doomed To Failure From The Start. “Instead of using a test with an effective 10% to 20% ‘false negative’ rate as a screening tool, as it was designed, epidemiology and public health experts said, the White House used it as the sole means of determining whether employees and visitors alike were coronavirus-free ― and rejected other measures, such as masks and social distancing.”

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4 replies »

  1. Your site is for posting Research not be a tertiary liberal rag sheet, CNN/Times talking head. If this is your new mission instead of providing your core mission, I will not have you or your mislead editors waste my valuable reading time with this garbage.

  2. Okay. I do this and ResearchBuzz. It should be simple to filter out this from your feed or your email and review ResearchBuzz only. If you don’t consider that worth your time and effort, I understand and wish you the best.

  3. Hola. Is there a way to subscribe JUST to CoronaBuzz, or to this new edition of it? I’ve recommended this edition to a private FB group I admin, but can’t figure out how to tell them to get JUST this edition, if that’s what they want. (They’re not necessarily techies, so I can’t reasonably tell them, like, “Okay, first install Feedly” (or whatever) “and then do X, Y, and Z to narrow the scope.”)

    Of course, I ALWAYS recommend RB itself. I figure every little Patreon Buck (or whatever they call it) helps! 😉

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