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Devastating analysis shows how Trump officials ‘engaged in a coverup’ of the COVID-19 pandemic

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In late February, even as it became clear that the novel coronavirus was poised to rage like wildfire across the United States, President Donald Trump and his administration systematically tried to downplay the threat the disease posed to the American public.

In a devastating timeline compiled by New York University School of Law professor Ryan Goodman and NYU School of Law student Danielle Schulkin in the New York Times, it becomes clear that the president and his administration tried to cover up the threat of the virus, despite the fact that government agencies internally were sounding alarms about the dangers it posed to Americans’ well being.

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In their analysis, Goodman and Schulkin trace what was known about the disease’s spread in late February and contrast it with statements and actions that were being taken by the administration.

“At the time, senior officials knew the coronavirus was an extreme threat to Americans,” they write. “Thanks to information streaming in from U.S. intelligence agencies for months, officials reportedly believed that a “cataclysmic” disease could infect 100 million Americans and discussed lockdown plans. The warnings were given to Mr. Trump in his daily brief by the intelligence community; in calls from Alex Azar, the secretary of health; and in memos from his economic adviser Peter Navarro.”

However, these dire warnings were not at all communicated to the public — and the administration continued to falsely claim that the virus had been “contained.”

“That Wednesday, the president used the day’s news conference by the coronavirus task force, with Dr. Fauci alongside him, to lie to the public,” they write. “‘You have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That’s a pretty good job we’ve done,’ he told the American public. He and Mr. Azar would continue to make such assurances over the next two days — Mr. Azar in remarks before lawmakers and the president in statements from the White House and bellowed at political rallies.”

The analysis also doesn’t spare Fauci for trying to adhere to the administration’s preferred narrative in the face of the facts.

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“Dr. Fauci might now regret how he tried to thread the needle, but he also knew to expect the question and he repeated the party line,” they write. “In effect, for five days, the president along with some of his closest senior officials disseminated an egregiously false message to Americans. The messaging would continue well beyond those days until the stark images of refrigerated morgue trucks and spiked lines on colored graphs showed the escalating numbers of cases and dead.”

Read the whole analysis here.


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Major hospital chains reap billions in federal bailout money while sitting on piles of cash: report

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According to a report from the New York Times, a substantial amount of federal funds that were designated to support hospitals overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic ended up being shipped off to major hospital chains already flush with cash in the bank.

The report begins by noting that Providence Health System, one of the country’s largest and richest hospital chains, was the recipient of $509 million in government aide even though the company is loaded with so much money it invests its excess cash and reaps big rewards.

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Tolerance and violence: The fate of religious minorities during the plague under Christianity and Islam

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Pandemics are nothing new—they scythed through the ancient world as they did the pre-modern and, as we know to our grief and confusion, they are still mowing us down today.

We might think that human nature is fairly invariant across time and space, and expect the response to these catastrophes to be perennially the same. Certainly, in the 21st century there are disturbing echoes of the way Jews were blamed by European Christians of the 14th century for the Black Death. From the US to the UK, from Iran to Indonesia (the largest Muslim country in the world), there has recently been an escalation of abuse and violence against Chinese and Asian-looking people. And not just Asians. Political groups and politicians have latched on to coronavirus as a weapon in their anti-immigration policies, urging their partisans to hunker down and suspect the alien minority. In a bid for votes President Trump seems to be using coronavirus to whip up anti-Chinese feeling. In India, egged on by the BJP, the ruling Hindu nationalist party, Muslims have been viciously attacked and accused of conspiring to kill Hindus by deliberately spreading the disease.

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‘It’s always Republicans’: Conservative bashes his own party’s hostility to democracy

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Conservative David Frum blamed the Republican Party for undermining U.S. democratic institutions.

The former speechwriter for George W. Bush told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that President Donald Trump's hardcore base was hostile to democracy, and both they and the president pose a real threat to constitutional law even if he loses in November.

"I think he'll issue a spate of pardons to his intimates, relatives and to himself," Frum warned, if Trump loses the election. "We've never had to test the question, whether a president can pardon himself. I imagine, I expect that we will be testing that question."

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