Letters May 28, 2020

Trump fiddles

New York Times/Donald McNeil, 10/25/19): “In a move that worries many public health experts, the Trump administration is quietly shutting down a surveillance program for dangerous animal viruses that someday may infect humans. Ending the program, experts fear, will leave the world more vulnerable to lethal pathogens like Ebola and MERS that emerge from unexpected places. The program, known as ‘PREDICT,’ and run by the United States Agency for International Development, was inspired by the 2005 H5N1 bird flu scare.

ABC News: U.S. intelligence officials warned the White House that the coronavirus outbreak could turn into a “cataclysmic event” as far back as November. Concerns about what came to be known as the novel coronavirus pandemic were reportedly outlined in a November intelligence report by the military’s National Center for Medical Intelligence, and then briefed to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon, and the White House.   

The report is said to have warned about a disease sweeping through China’s Wuhan region and posing a threat to the population. “Analysts concluded it could be a cataclysmic event,” one of ABC’s sources said. The report warned of a serious threat to U.S. forces in Asia, and indicates that the Trump administration could have ramped up containment efforts far earlier. The Pentagon, National Security Council, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence each declined to comment on the report.

The Nation magazine (as reported by  Chauncey DeVega for Salon 4/2/20: The Pentagon was aware of the likelihood of a pandemic brought on by a novel coronavirus years ago, predicting with startling accuracy shortages of masks, hospital beds and ventilators that could occur in an outbreak, according to a 2017 internal document.   

The 103-page document – which The Nation describes as an update to an earlier Defense Department pandemic flu response plan – cites a novel respiratory illness as the “most likely and significant threat.” The document also warns that shortages of masks and ventilators would have a “significant impact on the availability of the global workforce.”   

Nation reporter Ken Klippenstein told NPR’s All Things Considered that within intelligence circles, a coronavirus has been viewed as a likely threat going back at least five years. And while President Trump has said the current pandemic “came out of nowhere,” Klippenstein says it is “inconceivable that the White House did not receive this,” (information contained in the 2017 Pentagon report).  

The report’s conclusions have foreshadowed many of the concerns currently being voiced by both elected officials and medical professionals over hospitals beds and medical equipment.

Last Monday on CNN, a medical expert warned that starting the country up too fast, would cause deaths in America to rise from 1,400 deaths/day to 3,000 deaths/day. Trump’s only concern is winning the next election, and staying in power.  New Zealand is up to 19 deaths as we pass 100,000. Trump wanted the chaos of the virus, and continues to lie about everything, everyday. More than 18,000 and rising.

Trump fiddles, while America burns.

Gary Burt

Marble, Minnesota