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Trump failed to heed early COVID-19 warnings due to his ‘Deep State’ skepticism and White House chaos: NYT

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On Saturday, The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump blocked out multiple early warnings of the coronavirus pandemic — in part because he believed it was part of a “Deep State” plot to ruin his presidency.

“A week after the first coronavirus case had been identified in the United States, and six long weeks before President Trump finally took aggressive action to confront the danger the nation was facing — a pandemic that is now forecast to take tens of thousands of American lives — Dr. Mecher was urging the upper ranks of the nation’s public health bureaucracy to wake up and prepare for the possibility of far more drastic action,” wrote Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger, Maggie Haberman, Michael D. Shear, Mark Mazzetti, and Julian E. Barnes.

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“His was hardly a lone voice. Throughout January, as Mr. Trump repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and focused on other issues, an array of figures inside his government — from top White House advisers to experts deep in the cabinet departments and intelligence agencies — identified the threat, sounded alarms and made clear the need for aggressive action,” the report continued, noting that the officials trying to warn Trump included HHS Secretary Alex Azar and his disaster response chief Dr. Robert Kadlec.

“The president, though, was slow to absorb the scale of the risk and to act accordingly, focusing instead on controlling the message, protecting gains in the economy and batting away warnings from senior officials,” said the report. “Even after Mr. Trump took his first concrete action at the end of January — limiting travel from China — public health often had to compete with economic and political considerations in internal debates, slowing the path toward belated decisions to seek more money from Congress, obtain necessary supplies, address shortfalls in testing and ultimately move to keep much of the nation at home.”

“Unfolding as it did in the wake of his impeachment by the House and in the midst of his Senate trial, Mr. Trump’s response was colored by his suspicion of and disdain for what he viewed as the “Deep State” — the very people in his government whose expertise and long experience might have guided him more quickly toward steps that would slow the virus, and likely save lives,” said the report.

Trump was also slow to react because he was trying to hammer out a trade agreement with China, and was worried decisive action against the virus could involve actions that would antagonize Beijing.

You can read more here.

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Here’s why the coronavirus spike is especially devastating to rural communities

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The first coronavirus hot spots in the country were densely-populated cities with international ports of entry, like New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle.

But the virus has now penetrated deep into rural areas around the country. And according to Politico, a new study has shed light on the catastrophic problems this has created for rural communities: more than half of U.S. rural communities have no ICU beds, forcing hospitals to transfer patients far away to other facilities that can accommodate severe COVID-19 cases.

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Joy Reid medical expert blasts the president’s lies on coronavirus: ‘Trump needs to stay in his lane’

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MSNBC anchor Joy Reid interviewed Dr. Bernard B. Ashby about the latest coming from the White House on the coronavirus pandemic.

"If, for instance, you did not test for pregnancy, does it mean you are not pregnant?" Reid asked.

Ashby, a cardiologist from Miami, praised the anchor on her new primetime show, "The ReidOut," but did not directly answer the question.

"And in terms of the whole discourse, the fact that I'm having to respond to Trump about clinical medicine is ridiculous," Dr. Ashby explained.

"Trump needs to stay in his lane. Like, we went to medical school for a long time, we did training for a long time to speak on exactly what ... we have the expertise to speak on and the fact that Trump is asserting himself in academic medicine, into clinical medicine is ridiculous," he explained.

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GOP governor blocks local officials from forcing private schools to only hold classes online

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On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) is overriding a local order from Montgomery County restricting private schools to operating online only, as a safety precaution against the coronavirus outbreak raging in the area.

"Hogan issued an emergency order Monday that said private schools’ reopening would be up to individual schools and not mandated by the state," reported Madeline Charbonneau. "'The blanket closure mandate imposed by Montgomery County was overly broad and inconsistent with the powers intended to be delegated to the county health officer,' Hogan said."

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