Mainstream media accounts simply don’t do justice to Donald Trump’s dishonesty and bloviation, a good case in point yesterday’s emergency declaration days after he’d declared the whole thing would disappear in days. From some accounts, you might think a dignified, rational man outlined reasonable ideas.
The White House cut off reporters asking tough questions. Trump dishonestly disclaimed knowledge of his 2018 firing of the White House pandemic team (though there’s a video of him justifying it at the time). He dodged questions about his exposure to the virus at his resort hotel, where four people who were at dinner with him have now tested positive. He lined up corporate executives to promise aid, including the CEO of Walmart, but they indicated afterward they weren’t sure exactly what they’d signed on for. He claimed Google was building a national website. It isn’t.
It begins with dealing with the right-wing-machine propagated myth about Obama administration handling of swine flu.
WHAT MR. TRUMP SAID
“If you go back to the swine flu, it was nothing like this. They didn’t do testing like this, and actually they lost approximately 14,000 people, and they didn’t do the testing. They started thinking about testing when it was far too late.”
False. This is blatantly wrong. Diagnostic tests for the swine flu were approved and shipped out less than two weeks after the H1N1 virus was identified and a day before the first death in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified the first case of the virus on April 14, 2009. The Obama administration declared swine flu a public health emergency on April 26. The Food and Drug Administration approved a rapid test for the virus two days later. At the time, the C.D.C. had reported 64 cases and zero deaths. The C.D.C. began shipping test kits to public health laboratories on May 1 (at 141 cases and one death) and a second test was approved in July. From May to September 2009, the agency shipped more than 1,000 kits, each one able to test 1,000 specimens.
To be sure, researchers found flaws and limitations in the tests but testing was conducted. A vaccine became available in early October but, amid reports of shortages, President Obama declared the outbreak a national emergency later that month. The estimated death toll in the United States from the H1N1 epidemic was 12,469 from April 2009 to April 2010.