Printable Page Headline News   Return to Menu - Page 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 13
Trump, Health Advisers on Separate Path10/30 06:20


   WASHINGTON (AP) -- A multi-state coronavirus surge in the countdown to 
Election Day has exposed a clear split between President Donald Trump's bullish 
embrace of a return to normalcy and urgent public warnings from the 
government's top health officials.

   It's the opposite of what usually happens in a public health crisis, because 
political leaders tend to repeat and amplify the recommendations of their 
health experts, not short-circuit them. "It's extremely unusual for there to be 
simultaneous contrary messaging," said John Auerbach, who heads the nonpartisan 
Trust for America's Health.

   The Republican president and the health officials appear to be moving 
farther apart since White House chief of staff Mark Meadows declared last 
Sunday "we're not going to control the pandemic."

   Since then, Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Adm. Brett Giroir 
has done a round of interviews warning that the country's situation is 
"tenuous" but that Americans can indeed control the virus by practicing what he 
calls the "3W's" --- watching your distance from others, wearing a mask and 
frequently washing your hands.

   White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Deborah Birx, touring the states to 
raise prevention awareness, lamented in Bismarck, North Dakota, that she hadn't 
seen such disdain for mask wearing elsewhere. "We find that deeply unfortunate 
because you don't know who's infected and you don't know if you're infected 
yourself," she told reporters. The state's positive test rate is 11%, above the 
level indicating widespread transmission.

   HHS Secretary Alex Azar, for his part, has a profile photo of himself masked 
up on his Twitter account.

   But Trump continues to ridicule masks and mask-wearing as he insists the 
U.S. has turned the corner on the virus. At a reelection rally Wednesday in 
Bullhead City, Arizona, the president painted a sardonic word picture of 
left-coast Californians trying to eat through their masks.

   "How about California ... where you are supposed to eat with the mask (and) 
can't take it off?" Trump said. "You see people and, boy, you know when you 
have spaghetti and meat sauce ... you walk out it looks like you got into a 

   That's not actually what the California governor's office recently 
recommended to restaurant goers. The advice was to keep the mask on when not 
eating, or "between bites." An illustration showed a diner masked while reading 
the menu and, later, while wiping her hands with a napkin after eating.

   It might all be considered political theater if the nation's situation 
weren't so serious.

   "We are in a third wave," said Marta Wosinska of the Duke-Margolis Center 
for Health Policy. "We are seeing pretty dramatic increases in the number of 
people hospitalized and an uptick in deaths."

   The White House insists there's no conflict between Trump and the health 
advisers who back in the spring shared the briefing room podium with the 
president on many an occasion.

   "As the president has said, the cure cannot be worse than the disease and 
this country should be open armed with best practices, such as social 
distancing, good hygiene, and face coverings, to limit the spread of COVID-19," 
spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.

   The health officials do not invoke Trump in their warnings, and they 
sidestep questions that might lead them into anything that could be perceived 
as a direct criticism. But their message reflects a different view of reality 
than what's coming from the president and senior White House officials.

   "I wasn't an English major, but 'tenuous' seems like the right word" to 
describe the condition of the country, Giroir said this week on NBC. The surge 
can be controlled by going back to the "3W's" but "if we don't do those things 
it may force local officials or government officials in the states to have more 
draconian measures."

   The numbers bear him out.

   According to data through Wednesday from Johns Hopkins University, the 
seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the U.S. rose over the past 
two weeks from 52,350 to more than 74,180. That marks a return to levels not 
seen since the summer surge.

   The seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths rose over the past two 
weeks from 724 to 787.

   Fifteen states have test positive rates of 10% or higher, considered an 
indicator of widespread transmission. The picture is not all bleak because 
there are also states that have succeeded in curbing previous surges.

   But test positive rates have been rising in 45 states, according to the 
COVID Tracking Project.

   Giroir also said the facts contradict the notion that that the U.S. has more 
cases because it tests so many people. That's an assertion often heard from 

   "We do believe, and the data show, cases are going up --- it's not just a 
function of testing," he said on NBC. Rising numbers of hospitalizations and 
deaths confirm that.

   Trump's clashes with science and the scientists around him have been a 
running story throughout the pandemic. He's often lashed out at Dr. Anthony 
Fauci, the government's top infectious disease specialist. He's called CDC 
Director Dr. Robert Redfield "confused" about the timeline for the availability 
of vaccines.

   But the split is only growing wider.

   With the arrival of cold weather, the virus risk is greater because people 
will spend time indoors where it can spread more readily. Contradictory 
messages from the top don't help.

   "The risk is enormous," said Auerbach. "We are literally talking about lives 
being at stake."

Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
All of our posted bids are subject to change. Call for up to the minute bids.
Powered By DTN