I swear that headline sounds like the scariest opening to a new Stephen King novel ever.
Courtesy of NYT:
The White House moved on Thursday to tighten control of coronavirus messaging by government health officials and scientists, directing them to coordinate all statements and public appearances with the office of Vice President Mike Pence, according to several officials familiar with the new approach.
But on a day that the White House sought to display a more disciplined strategy to the administration’s communications about the virus, Mr. Trump used an evening event honoring African-American History Month to rail against the news media, claiming it is overstating the threat, and to congratulate himself for keeping the number of cases low.
“I think it’s an incredible achievement what our country’s done,” Mr. Trump said, noting that he had moved quickly to ban travel from China after the emergence of the virus. Even though a total of 60 people infected with the coronavirus are in the United States, he ignored all but the 15 who did not initially contract it overseas.
“Fifteen people is almost, I would say, a miracle,” the president bragged.
The comments came just a few hours after Mr. Pence convened a meeting of the coronavirus task force composed of some of the nation’s top public health officials. The vice president made it clear that they would report to him.
“I’m leading the task force,” Mr. Pence told reporters at the Department of Health and Human Services, even as he promised to rely on the guidance of experts.
It is crystal clear that the main focus for Mike Pence and his boss is to keep information away from the American people that might affect the economy or Trump’s chances of winning reelection.
They are not interested in keeping us safe, they just want to keep us in the dark.
As for how well they are keeping us safe, just take a look at this story from WaPo:
Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services sent more than a dozen workers to receive the first Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, without proper training for infection control or appropriate protective gear, according to a whistleblower complaint.
The workers did not show symptoms of infection and were not tested for the virus, according to lawyers for the whistleblower, a senior HHS official based in Washington who oversees workers at the Administration for Children and Families, a unit within HHS.
The whistleblower is seeking federal protection, alleging she was unfairly and improperly reassigned after raising concerns about the safety of these workers to HHS officials, including those within the office of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. She was told Feb. 19 that if she does not accept the new position in 15 days, which is March 5, she would be terminated.
The whistleblower has decades of experience in the field, received two HHS department awards from Azar last year and has received the highest performance evaluations, her lawyers said.
Trump himself has also been going after news outlets for trying to keep people accurately informed.
“Diagnosis positive: @CNN is infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome. I’m calling out CNN for irresponsibly politicizing what should be a unifying battle against a virus that doesn’t choose sides.” @trish_regan @FoxNews Like I say, they are Fake News!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2020
So the approach of the Trump Administration is to punish or ridicule those trying to raise the alarm about careless responses to this virus?
Yep, we are several shades of fucked.