There’s a flurry of reporting about how South Korea’s early success breaking the COVID19 epidemic in the country has now ‘dimmed’, as the The Wall Street Journal puts it, with a new potential outbreak. This stems from a new case in which one 29 year old man hit five different bars last weekend in one part of Seoul and exposed as many as 2,000 people. More than fifty new cases have now been identified tied to this one man.
But there’s a more optimistic way of looking at this new rash of cases.
TPM Reader DB reports in from the Shenandoah Valley …
So I was listening to your podcast tonight and I wanted to share some things I’ve been seeing. You have been talking about covid turning points, and I will get to that in a second, but I wanted to say I was also struck (dumb) by this warrior bullshit. Like, what the actual fuck? Here’s what the actual fuck: Trump instinctively knows that he does not have what it takes to deal with this crisis. He just doesn’t. We all see that. But he is a betting man, and he always doubles down.
After walking us through a series of COVID19 turning points over the course of the spring (out of work in the entertainment industry, MAGA protestors, college applications, Zoom school board meetings) in a rural/suburban area on the border of Los Angeles and Ventura counties in Southern California TPM Reader AH comes to this turning point this week …
And the reason why is my other May turning point. My graduating senior checked his friend’s Instagram (also a graduating senior) to see what college he picked on decision day. Instead he discovered that this friend’s dad, a PhD teacher/professor in management and planning, has been hospitalized with COVID since mid April and is in a medically induced coma with organ failure.
From TPM Reader ANON …
Your brief write-up is true as far as it goes, but doesn’t even scratch the surface of what a long-term catastrophe this will be for the Justice Department. I’ve been around federal law enforcement for virtually all of my career — as a federal prosecutor, defense lawyer, official at top levels of Main Justice, and judge — and I don’t think the Department has ever suffered a greater self-inflicted wound.
This week President Trump had a new message: he’s bored with the COVID19 epidemic. Or perhaps putting it a bit differently: it stopped being fun. He had already ramped back his daily coronavirus briefings which, for all the ‘ratings’ he crowed about, his aides decided were cratering his poll numbers. He first announced that he would disband the White House coronavirus task force before later saying he might continue it indefinitely because he found it was popular and “appreciated by the public.” He began telling friends and associates he doubted the the COVID19 death toll numbers – claiming they may be inflated to damage his political prospects or pad hospital earnings. He suggested that the price of federal aid to COVID-ravaged states would be a treasure trove of rightwing goodies: full compliance with ICE, defunding Social Security and Medicare and sharp reductions in taxation on investment income.
Putting these different messages together one aim seemed clear: after denying the existence of the epidemic, then fully immersing himself in its messaging and optics President Trump decided to disclaim ownership of it entirely. It’s really something happening in blue states, the fault of governors who didn’t prepare, states that were long fiscally mismanaged and economies shattered by refusing to reopen as quickly as he demanded. More than anything it’s just old news and not his problem. It’s happening somewhere else and, he hopes, not to ‘his’ people.
From TPM Reader MM …
My story is like many others — not dramatic in itself but important to me. In February 2019 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Treatment included surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, physical therapy, and follow-up surgery. I lost count of the medical appointments in 2019, but it was somewhere north of 70. Needless to say, last year didn’t include much fun.
From TPM Reader IS …
Like the professor who first was so wrapped up in his move to France that the reality of the whole situation didn’t hit him right away, our family was so wrapped up with some big changes that initially had no connection at all to COVID 19 that we too didn’t connect it with what would happen just a few weeks later. We are the parents of a 37 year old daughter who has Stage 4 breast cancer.
From the beginning of the COVID19 epidemic in the United States the epidemic has been dominated by an outbreak in the New York City metropolitan area. That outbreak is distinct from the progression of the disease in the rest of the country. It has its own intensity, timeline, arc. The New York City metro is an integrated economic, transportation and population reality – and thus a distinct epidemiological reality – even though it is spread over three different states. So to understand the NYC metro outbreak and the progression in the rest of the country it is helpful to separate them out visually.
Here are the latest numbers as of yesterday evening, plotted out for the number of new cases per day as well as the new fatalities reported each day.
I am making my way through your COVID19 turning point emails. And really … they are so good. I struggle to know which to absorb myself and which to share in posts. I can’t post them all and many, in the nature of things, are similar. But each captures some unique angle on the story or human experience of it. There are entirely unexpected scenarios which aren’t turning points so much as collisions with life, like the – one imagines – quite awkward necessity of broaching with your fiance the possibility of postponing your wedding. That’s the experience TPM Reader JL shares.