Trump pivots on COVID-19 containment strategy and goals. The president has a depressing new vision for defining a coronavirus job well done.
In a televised Sunday night news conference, Donald Trump did an about face from downplaying the number of possible COVID-19 deaths in America, now suggesting that 2.2 million people here could die. Considering the circumstances, he said, getting that number "down to 100,000" deaths would be "a very good job."
Trump is "reframing the crisis," tweeted CNN reporter Daniel Dale. One might also call it moving the goalposts, to cover for federal missteps and hubris in handling the virus crisis so far.
But MAGA propaganda aside, the change in Trump's rhetoric is a welcome one. Last week, Trump was promising that most of America would be back open for business as usual by Easter Sunday. Last night, Trump announced that voluntary social distancing recommendations would stay in place for the month of April.
"Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won," Trump said. (Full remarks here.) He added that "on Tuesday, we will be finalizing these plans and providing a summary of our findings, supporting data, and strategy to the American people."
Stay tuned 'til then! And expect more reality-style rollout of U.S. COVID-19 policy, as Trump becomes enamored of the "ratings" that being a crisis-time president brings…
"President Trump is a ratings hit. Since reviving the daily White House briefing Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of 'The Bachelor.' Numbers are continuing to rise…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2020
- COVID-19 is causing a run on jigsaw puzzles.
- A spiraling number of New York City police officers have caught the coronavirus:
Today 13% of the NYPD is out sick, 4,651 officers. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said he expects 900 to have tested positive for coronavirus by tomorrow morning.
— Erin Durkin (@erinmdurkin) March 29, 2020
- In some good news, Seattle may be starting to see turnaround in its COVID-19 outbreak. Some observers are attributing this to early containment measures. Seattle was "home of the first known coronavirus case in the United States and the place where the virus claimed 37 of its first 50 victims," notes The New York Times. Yet "deaths are not rising as fast as they are in other states….Hospitals have so far not been overwhelmed. And preliminary statistical models provided to public officials in Washington State suggest that the spread of the virus has slowed in the Seattle area in recent days."