BY KEITH M. JUDGE
2020 is the perfect year for a general strike. It’s a nice round number, sequential, and it’s the year that global leadership, and leadership, globally, was squarely tested and found sorely lacking.
In the middle of December, 2019, The People’s Party of China silenced doctors in Wuhan, who attempted to warn each other and alert the public to the threat of COVID19, the virus that has forced the world to shelter at home. Li Wenliang, the most notable of the whistleblowers, died two months later from the disease. This was especially poor timing for the coverup of a deadly virus since a colossal flux of human life coursed through the metropolis of Wuhan prior to The Chinese New Year, right in time for Spring Break, when college students would be returning to their homes across the globe.
After the virus escaped mainland China and embroiled the planet in a carbon-record-changing, historical event unleashed by a coughing plague, The People’s Party finally arrived at the realization that there was no covering up a global pandemic, so they christend Li Wenliang a martyr, which is ironic because The Party had been censoring internal communications since The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission leaked knowledge of the virus on New Year’s Eve. After they ignored the first coverup, they blamed the second on bureaucratic error, and there may be a third coverup. We may never arrive at an accurate tally of the dead in mainland China.
I guess that’s also a bureaucratic error.
December 31st, 2019 is the dull thud at the door that goes largely ignored by authorities worldwide. Donald Trump receives his copy of The Intelligence Briefing Book that includes “formal assessments” from public health experts on intelligence gathered as early as November of 2019. He has also already been directly informed by American physicians employed at The World Health Organization that a novel coronavirus is spreading across mainland China. News reports emerge around the world in the following weeks. January 14th, The World Heath Organization says “there is no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” with regard to COVID19. One day later, WHO does an about-face and issues a situation report detailing the spread of the virus to countries across Asia. January 21st, a patient is diagnosed with COVID19 in Washington state.
For the next 50 days, Donald Trump gaslights the public before acknowledging the threat posed by the pestilence spreading in our midst. Indolence, self-congratulatory shoulder-patting, a tragically stunted imagination, inferior intellect and a verifiable, sociopathic disregard for life are the reasons why The United States is ground zero of the 2020 Trump Pandemic. January 22nd, Trump says, “We have it totally under control.” January 23rd, After 50 days of censorship, China enforces a draconian quarantine in the city of Wuhan. January 29th, Peter Navarro, Donald Trump’s trade advisor, delivers a memo to the mass murderer-in-chief that says, “The lack of immune protection or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless in the case of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak on U.S. soil. This lack of protection elevates the risk of the coronavirus evolving into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.”
January 31st, Trump bans entry to foreign nationals entering from China and quarantines Americans who recently visited China, the first of a hodgepodge of travel bans that comprises the entirety of Trump’s defense strategy to combat the pandemic. February 2nd, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China,” he says. February 14th, “When it gets warm, historically, that has been able to kill the virus,” he says, jack-booted brownshirts of The National Border Patrol in attendance, but the virus had no history before December of 2019. That’s why epidemiologists called it, “novel.”
Even today, we’re still not quite sure what we’re up against.
February 21st, The World Health Organization reports nearly 77,000 cases worldwide in 27 countries. February 23rd, Italy quarantines and the stock market begins a hard tumble. February 26th, a resident of Solano County, California presents the first case of community spread in The United States. Donald Trump delegates responsibility for the pandemic response team to Vice President Mike Pence, who proved his incompetence during an HIV epidemic in 2015, when he was governor of Indiana and delayed a needle exchange program for people who have so few prospects, they peddle narcotics, their bodies or succumb to the same drugs they’re selling to help themselves forget the perverse lack of opportunities in today’s global marketplace. February 27th, Donald Trump promises African American leaders “a miracle,” then performs a rhetorical single axel and says, “We’ll see what happens. Nobody really knows,” all in a single breath.
February 28th, Trump calls the virus a hoax at a rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, and the stock market rebounds. March 3rd, Trump promises, “not only the vaccines, but the therapies. Therapies is sort of another word for cure,” he says, and we’re still waiting for the mysterious, healing elixirs today. They sound absolutely magical. March 4th, Trump deflects blame for the central government’s lack of preparedness on his predecessor, President Barack Obama, who left office three years prior to the pandemic, and in an interview with Sean Hannity, Trump dismisses the virus as, “very mild.” He casually suggests that a person infected with COVID19 could continue to attend work despite the potentially fatal consequences of such a policy.
“ . . . it’s very mild. … So, if we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”
March 5th, Trump denies he ever said, “people that are feeling sick should go to work,” but his Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, goes ahead and beats that horse to death. “The risk right now is low to the average American,” Mr. Adams says on Fox to a nationally syndicated audience. March 6th, After touring The Center for Disease Control, Trump claims, “anybody that needs a test can have a test” despite widespread shortages throughout the country, credited in no small part to The CDC’s refusal to adopt The World Health Organization’s blueprint for a COVID19 test. The central government instead opted for an in-house design, an ultimate failure that lead to a 3 week delay in testing nationwide. Mike Pence, Team Leader of Trump’s Pandemic Response Team, verbally anticipates the shortage. “We don’t have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward,” he says.
Governors in highly impacted states confirm an inadequate number of tests have been made available by The Federal Governmernt. Trump’s false confidence in the arena of testing invites confusion and could potentially crowd clinics and hospitals with unfulfilled requests for tests that don’t exist, Cuomo says, leading to an unnecessary, additional loss of life. New York State requested permission to supplement test procedures with the aid of local, private laboratories a week before Trump uttered his bold-faced lie that “anybody [who] needs a test can have a test,” Governor Cuomo recalls. JB Pritizker, Governor of Illinois, drops a particularly scathing criticism on social media sixteen days later that captures the national temperature with special regard to this subject.
You wasted precious months when you could’ve taken action to protect Americans & Illinoisans. You should be leading a national response instead of throwing tantrums from the back seat. Where were the tests when we needed them? Where’s the PPE? Get off Twitter & do your job.
March 9th, Donald Trump praises the border wall for its special contribution to his pandemic response strategy. He seems to think the abomination slinking around arid tracts of land, destroying monuments and devouring taxpayer money is actually a highly-advanced, protective shield that thwarts dangerous pathogens on contact. March 11th, The World Health Organization declares COVID19 a pandemic, The Dow dips into Bear country and Trump speaks to the nation from The Oval Office, to apprise us of his decision to ban travel to and from Continental Europe. “We are responding with great speed and professionalism,” he says. The following day, Americans discover neither Trump nor his government has moved with anything resembling “great speed and professionalism” after a large number of disembarking Americans are subjected to a series of tests that don’t detect COVID19. Trump reassures us that industry titans have agreed to waive co-pays for COVID19 treatments, but is summarily dismissed by a spokesperson for the lobbying firm, America’s Health Insurance Plans, who corrects The President’s claim. Insurance companies will cover the cost of testing, but not treatment, which could put you under as much as 35 thousand dollars or more.
March 15th, in a press briefing, Trump congratulates CEOs for all the necessary hard work their employees are doing and reassures us that “we’re going to all be great. We’re going to be so good.” March 16th, Trump claims that he and his administration were caught off-guard by COVID19. March 17th, Trump places the nation under a stay-at-home order. “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic,” he says. “All you had to do is look at other countries,” which begs the question: if you knew it was a pandemic, why didn’t you do more to stop it?
And that concludes Trump’s 50 days of lollygagging, chicken choking and bullshitting his way through a massacre of his own device, and that’s a conservative estimate of the time it took for him to destroy the country. The CIA was aware of the emergence of an unknown disease in China since the second week of November, 2019, but The Trump administration “did not deem it of interest,” yet that didn’t prevent them from sharing the information with NATO and Israel. So the Trump Administration knew about the emergence of a previously unknown illness in mainland China 124 days prior to enacting any serious measure to combat it. If he bothered to learn anything whatsoever about the virus, he would have halted flights to China before December 31st of 2019. He simply “did not deem it of interest.” He could have halted flights to China the day an American citizen was first diagnosed on American soil, but he waited ten days. The correct response would have been to nip it in the bud in the second week of November of 2019, when it was first reported to authorities in The United States, but the one authority that matters doesn’t read. He certainly appears to struggle with teleprompters, general communication and basic comprehension.
Or maybe Trump read the memo and decided to stage a fascist coup instead . . .
[This work is licensed under a creative commons attribution-sharealike 4.0 international license. Originally published in August, 2020 by Keith M. Judge in Chicago. This is a free culture license! If you like what you’ve read and would like to support the author, subscribe at Patreon or Substack!]