These replies, amounting eventually to a general and multi-faceted defense, started when I read a Facebook post from one of my Canadian cousins who is very dear to me (I am half-Canadian; my father was born there) . . . expressing Canadian anger over Trump ordering a company (3M) to stop selling N95 masks to Canada.
I will temporarily suspend my resolution to not talk politics during Lent. :-) Only for you . . .
I’d really like to understand your thinking and why you (and at least two more of my cousins) are angry about this. I just read from an article with today’s date:
The U.S. is facing a dire shortage of N95 face masks, and they are only going to be more difficult to find as COVID-19 cases keep accelerating and manufacturers struggle to keep up with skyrocketing demand.
Major retailers, including Home Depot, [have] stopped selling these masks in store in order to free up more inventory for health care workers and those working in high-risk environments; smaller sellers with limited supply are running prices through the roof; and the federal government has nearly depleted its stockpile of N95s as well as other personal protective equipment (PPE).
So this is our situation. We have a severe shortage of these masks: needed especially by all the selfless health care workers.
As of an hour ago, we have 7,152 deaths from coronavirus, and 277,953 cases. Canada (as you have pointed out on my own page) has far fewer cases and deaths (188 and 12,545). By my math that is 38 times fewer deaths in Canada and 22 times fewer cases.
Because of this, we have a severe shortage of medical supplies, including these masks. Now, I’m sure that that will change soon, because lots of people are cranking them out, just as the Willow Run plant near us [metro Detroit] cranked out the bombers that helped win World War II. We’ll get it done, and it won’t be long. Then I say, send them all around the world to whomever needs them.
Once we get a handle on our own severe crisis and have adequate supplies, I’m quite sure we will send you whatever you need. No one in the history of the world has helped other countries as much as we have: not even close. We even do that with countries who tried to devour us in a world war (Japan, Germany). Mark my words: when we are under control, Canada will get all she wants from us, no questions asked.
But right now, in our state of national emergency, we have these dire shortages, and so are not exactly in a position where we can help others with the very medical supplies that we are dangerously short of, costing even more lives, for sure. Probably soon, when our pandemic winds down, we can help you, when your numbers start rapidly rising (as they likely will, but I pray not), but not now in the midst of it.
So in this present dire situation for the US, you are mad about one of our companies selling you these masks, so they can make more profit? That’s not the view of Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and no conservative Republican (who is helping to produce many thousands of these masks himself). He stated four days ago about 3M, the company in question (i.e., before this current controversy happened):
“3M lists all its distributors online, the ones buying and selling these things, and these distributors are making as much money as they possibly can. It’s wrong, it’s criminal,” Cuban said in the interview. “It’s operating like an illegal drug market, not a legitimate market. I get wanting to make millions of dollars, but people are dying.”
You say you helped us after 9-11, and so you did, and we are grateful, as we are about your military partnership on many occasions as well. But I don’t see how this is analogous to the situation today at all. Saying you helped us then, so we should help you right now is like saying that New York City should have been concerned about helping Canada the day after 9-11.
Obviously, it could not have been expected to do so. Our deaths are now over twice those of 9-11 and we don’t know who is carrying the virus but not showing symptoms. This is what they are feverishly working on right now.
So I respectfully and lovingly submit to my cousins: give us a break! I’m sure we will be able to help you after we get over our own health crisis, or at least when we are over our supply crisis in the midst of the health emergency (around 1,000 deaths per day right now).
I actually live in one of the currently three worst places in the US. Our Wayne County alone has 223 deaths so far: more than your entire country. Neighboring Oakland and Macomb counties add 201 more deaths. Cobo Hall, the big convention center in Detroit (my high school graduation was in its arena, and we used to go to the big Christmas display there every year, sometimes with the Youngs [our cousins who lived across the river in Windsor, Ontario] ) is now a field hospital.
So in effect you would be arguing: “don’t send those masks to places like Wayne County and New York City, where people are dropping like flies. After all, Canada needs them!”
I confess that this makes no sense to me whatsoever. Perhaps you can explain to me what I am missing in your reasoning.
Tons o’ Love 2 ya, as always,
Cuzzin Dave, the Southerner with half-Canadian blood running through my veins.
I have “come to realize” it is a problem? [laughter] I supported Trump’s decision to stop flights from China on January 31st. Eight days earlier, the World Health Organization stated that the virus was not yet a global health emergency. The US had only five cases on January 26th.
Joe Biden condemned Trump as a xenophobic bigot for stopping China flights. But now we know for sure that the influx of Chinese visitors totally caused that tragic outbreak to occur.
Two weeks later on Feb. 15th, China (if we are to believe them, which is another issue) was reporting 143 deaths from the virus: less than we have in my own county right now. The first death in the US occurred on Feb. 29th: almost a month after Trump shut down China travel.
I would say that is very early to take action in perhaps the best possible way he could have: a type of quarantine regarding Chinese visitors to the US. Trump stopped European travel on March 11th (which I also supported). He caught hell for that, too. So he was supposed to let thousands of Europeans (including Italians) into the country, just so he wouldn’t be called a bigot (which liberals will never cease calling him, anyway, because they call every Republican president a bigoted moron)? What kind of madness is that? On March 11th, Mark Landler wrote in The New York Times:
In an Oval Office address on Wednesday night, he imposed a 30-day ban on travel from Europe to the United States, claiming, without evidence, that the European Union’s lax initial response had brought more cases of the virus across the Atlantic, with “a large number of new clusters” seeded by travelers from the Continent. . . .
The same denigration of science and urge to block outsiders has characterized leaders from China to Iran, as well as right-wing populists in Europe, which is sowing cynicism and leaving people uncertain of whom to believe.
You want to blame Trump for this mess (rather than the lying Chinese Communist government, which is where the fault resides). But the worst area by far in the US is New York City. Why? Well, arguably, because Mayor Bill de Blasio (a very liberal guy) was absurdly late in responding to the problem. He declared on Twitter
as late as March 2nd: “I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives and get out on the town despite Coronavirus.”
On March 6th Mayor de Blasio stated: “the vast majority of places I’m going in the city, I’m seeing people going about their business.”
And on March 8th: “Based on the information we have today we are not, not altering our stance on public events.” Large public gatherings were still permitted.
On March 9th, Italy announced its national quarantine, but de Blasio wouldn’t even close public schools or discourage subway travel.
On March 11th, de Blasio said he was “telling people to not avoid restaurants, not avoid normal things that people do. . . . If you’re not sick, you should be going about your life.” This was just four days before the city finally closed its schools. And he said, “Ebola makes, if I could be so cold, coronavirus look like a walk in the park.” On the same day, the NBA suspended its season. But de Blasio was telling New Yorkers to go to restaurants and maintain a normal life. Hundreds were surely passing along the virus by then.
On March 16th The New York Times reported that for the past week, the mayor’s “top aides were furiously trying to change the mayor’s approach to the coronavirus outbreak. There had been arguments and shouting matches between the mayor and some of his advisers; some top health officials had even threatened to resign if he refused to accept the need to close schools and businesses, according to several people familiar with the internal discussions.”
On the same day, Governor Andrew Cuomo limited gatherings to 50 people and closed bars and restaurants:
On the 18th, he ordered businesses to keep 50 percent of their workers at home, then increased that to 75 percent the next day. On the 20th, he ordered all nonessential businesses to close.
By March 23rd, there were already more than 20,000 coronavirus cases in New York state.
Also on March 16th, on the advice of pandemic experts Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, President Trump issued his 15-day guidelines
, which followed to a tee the standard model accepted by most scientists: the Imperial College study
spearheaded by Neil Ferguson. This called for voluntary isolation as much as possible, avoiding groups larger than ten people, lots of washing of hands, not touching your face, staying home if you are sick, or if anyone in your family tests positive, etc.
By March 27th, “New York City’s coronavirus death toll hit 365. The city’s number of confirmed cases is 23,112, jumping 3,101 cases from the day before. Makeshift morgues are set up outside the hospitals in refrigerated trailers. New York City doctors were describing the situation as “hell . . . the system is overwhelmed . . . worse than 9/11.”
The death toll now in New York City is 1,867, with 1,035 more deaths in other parts of New York state (total of 2,902 and continuing to grow). 2,996 died on 9-11. And there are several hundreds more in neighboring New Jersey.
I think Trump was relatively fast in his responses, according to how the virus was proceeding.
In the United States, where COVID-19 has sickened more than 800 people and killed at least 30, sports teams are playing without crowds, several concerts have been cancelled and some schools and universities [shortly after, even churches] are shutting down in an effort to keep the virus from spreading.
Canada, meanwhile, has seen very limited domestic transmission of the virus, and event planners say it’s largely business as usual until that changes.
So it is pretty much the same response on the same timeline. When there are few cases and far fewer deaths than cases, both the US (including evil, wicked Trump) and Canada took a cautious “wait and see” attitude. As the cases and deaths grew, then they clamped down and instituted strict measures. This very article links to another in the same magazine form the day before
. Note what it stated:
The coronavirus could hit 35 to 70 per cent of the Canadian population, making “a huge number of people ill,” many critically, and makeshift hospitals and quarantine centres could be needed to shore up a health system that has virtually no give, experts predict.
According to a disease-transmission model developed by University of Toronto researchers, the virus’ overall attack rate in Canada, without public health interventions, could exceed 70 per cent. That number drops sharply, by about half, “if we add modest control,” said epidemiologist Dr. David Fisman, one of the model’s creators, but it will take “aggressive social distancing and large scale quarantines” to reduce it further, he said.
So all this was known about the coming situation in Canada by that date, yet the prevailing mentality was still “it’s largely business as usual.” Meanwhile, in the US we were shutting down sports events, churches, schools, and other large social events.
Sorry, I see no big difference there, and it’s quite unfair to blame Trump for things that your country seems to have done in almost exactly the same way (though later than we did, because you had less cases). But your experts were still saying that the virus was on its way and could infect 70% of Canadians.
So your shutdown corresponded almost exactly with ours. It was the same day Michigan Governor Whitmer shut down Michigan gatherings above 250, and the archdiocese of Detroit suspended all Masses. President Trump declared a national emergency
on this same day (March 13th). At that time there were 1,701 confirmed cases and 40 deaths. Again, I see little difference at all. Countries respond proportionately to how much of a crisis they think they are in.
So it seems to simply boil down to your personal dislike of Trump, which, of course, is not itself an argument. So many arguments come down to personal disdain of him. But it seems to me a crisis like this has to be about much more than our personal dislikes. There were many Brits who didn’t care for Winston Churchill at all, but in the grave situation of 1940, he became everyone’s leader and the political antipathies went by the wayside, while the very existence of western civilization was being maintained. Then after the war he was booted out and the country went for the Labour Party . . .
Meanwhile, even Democrat governors have been praising Trump’s response to the crisis; for example, ultra-liberal California governor Gavin Newsom:
I’d be lying to you to say that he hasn’t been responsive to our needs. He has . . . And so, as a question, as a sort of an offer of objectivity, I have to acknowledge that publicly. The fact is, every time I’ve called the president, he’s quickly gotten on the line.
“We had a private conversation, but he said, ‘We’re gonna do the right thing’ and ‘You have my support, all of our support, logistically and otherwise,'” Newsom told reporters at a Monday news conference.
“He said everything I could have hoped for,” the governor asserted. “And we had a very long conversation and every single thing he said, they followed through on,” he noted.
“Every single thing… has been consistent with expectation we’d repatriate these passengers and do it in a way that does justice to the spirit that defines the best of our country,” the governor said.
Newsom said that he has received “consistent” support from Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“His team is on it. They’ve been responsive . . . I want to say thank you.”
The Democratic governor said that he spoke to Trump on Tuesday and that the president is “100 percent sincere” in his desire to work with the state to control the virus outbreak, which has mushroomed in the U.S. over the past week.
The administration is “ready and willing to help,” Cuomo said, “especially on the hospital capacity issue.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo praised the president’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak during a press conference Wednesday, saying “we’re fighting the same war… we’re in the same trench.”
“He is fully engaged on trying to help… He’s being very creative & very energetic and I thank him for his partnership.”
Cuomo said Trump was doing a “really good job” and specifically praised him for sending a U.S. Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds to New York.
Even Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota: an extreme critic of the president and one of the most liberal members of Congress, praised him on March 19th
Politics aside, this is incredible and the right response in this critical time, . . . we should never let politics get in the way of good policy. This is a great start and hope others will be part of a united front to push for good policies that will help us work through the economic anxiety the country is feeling right now.
Looks like he’s doing a great job to me.
Lastly, even an expert as widely praised (across the political spectrum) as Dr. Anthony Fauci, was talking very differently back between January 21st and February 21st. Very few (if anyone) could see what was coming in March until it was upon us. It makes it all the more remarkable that President Trump closed travel from China on January 31st. And he also saw early on the potential life-saving capabilities of hydroxychloroquine: now increasingly endorsed by many medical experts and doctors. It’s irrational and unjust to the extreme to place all the blame on the President for the virus.
My cousin opined: “You yourself as well as your president have been…… up until a few days ago insisted it was under control.”
I did not think this. I don’t know where you are getting this idea. I’ve been making various statements about many aspects of it, but they have to be understood in context.
Our family has totally agreed with and have observed all the recommended guidelines about social distancing and quarantine, and that goes back to mid-March. I have fought conspiratorial hysteria on the far right and anti-Trump hatred and intransigence on the far left. Neither implies that I am contending that no problem exists. I am contending that hysteria and anger do not solve anything.
I have written about the graph curve starting to flatten, not because I am denying that the crisis exists, but because — by nature — I try to look for hopeful signs to encourage my readers. I’ve been tracking the daily deaths since March 22nd. Again, this isn’t denying anything about the crisis. It’s simply looking to see when the light at the end of the tunnel might appear.
So please kindly desist from claiming that I am in some kind of massive denial of the problem. There are Republicans and committed Christians (too many) who do that. I am not one of them. I have condemned them for doing so.
For example, opposing the opinions of the far ecclesiological right on March 17th, I wrote
What I am contending is that if Taylor Marshall wants to argue this way about God’s judgment, and apply it to the current pandemic tragedy (complete with absurd, ludicrous charges that the suspension of Masses — even in pandemic-ravaged Italy? — is also part of God’s judgment), then he has to explain this anomaly of the “good guy” being afflicted and the arch-enemy “bad guy” and antichrist, Pope Francis, walking the streets of Rome virus-free thus far.
I can hardly call the coronavirus a “pandemic tragedy” while at the same time deny that it exists as a major problem and claim it is “under control.” So the fact that you have this notion in your head about me only shows that you have either not read much of my writing about it, or have wildly misunderstood it.
In my first blog article about it on March 13th, I was merely noting that most of the deaths were of elderly persons with existing conditions, and saying that we need not “panic” and that “hysteria” wouldn’t help at all. It doesn’t follow, however, that I was denying the seriousness of the pandemic, for in the same article I wrote:
That’s not to deny the deeply and profoundly serious nature of what we face over the next few months at a minimum. We need to take sensible, rational precautions (most importantly for the elderly and those with any medical condition) — thoroughly wash hands, avoid unnecessary contact and large crowds, stay home if sick, do whatever else is being recommended by the experts in the field.
That’s March 13th. So kindly please stop saying that I have supposedly come to my senses and accepted reality just a few days ago. Thanks!
Addendum (April 7th): I wrote on April 4th (three days earlier, as I write), to one of my Canadian first cousins (included above):
Once we get a handle on our own severe crisis and have adequate supplies, I’m quite sure we will send you whatever you need. . . . Mark my words: when we are under control, Canada will get all she wants from us, no questions asked.
The Trump administration has agreed a deal with the US manufacturer 3M to import more than 166m respirators from China over the next three months and allow 3M to continue exporting its US-made respirators. . . .
Meanwhile, the 3M statement said: “The plan will also enable 3M to continue sending US produced respirators to Canada and Latin America, where 3M is the primary source of supply.”