Quoting Benjamin Franklin (“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”) Sen. Tom Cotton announced today he has closed his Washington, D.C., office to protect his staff from infection from what he is calling the “Wuhan virus.” (The name of the novel coronavirus that jumped from animals to people in China is SARS-CoV-19, not “Wuhan virus,” and he’s been taken to task on Twitter for that characterization. He might as well have called it the “yellow peril.”) He did repeat his claim that the virus could be a bioweapon invented by the Chinese.
Cotton and other wingnut Republicans are using the phrase “Wuhan virus” for patently racist reasons and catching flak for it.
He and his flunkies justify it because a New York Times headline writer once used the phrase days ago. Cotton’s in a frenzy vowing the U.S. will get even with China and depicting Joe Biden as China’s candidate. Call the insanity the Cotton Virus.
On the home front, Trinity Village Retirement Center in Pine Bluff, where the state’s first COVID-19 patient (presumed until final word from the CDC) is at Jefferson Regional Medical Center, is under lockdown: no visitors in, no residents out.
More coronavirus economic fallout: Arkansas Business reports that Murphy Oil will cut its budgeted spending by 35 percent this year because of the oil market dive. The Dow continues its free fall.
A New York Times article reporting that actor Tom Hanks and his wife have tested positive for the virus in Australia said that testing is “free and widely available, thanks to early and coordinated planning for a pandemic.”
The state Arkansas Department of Health said yesterday that while it hopes to up its testing to 20 cases a day, it will not be able to handle the load if there is widespread outbreak in Arkansas, and that private labs will have to pick up the rest. Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said the department will provide private lab testing information to hospitals and that he hopes the health department can be “focused on testing that helps guide us in investigations” into the virus. The state legislature has decided to provide $6.9 million to the ADH for the increased expense of its public health response, including pay for personnel working around the clock in the lab and others.