Pandemic Timeline

This is a timeline of how we got here and identifies the reasons for our massive failures compared to other countries. The timeline starts with the George W. Bush administration. It seems that while on vacation, President Bush read a popular book on the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. It freaked him out and lead him to launch a major effort of planning and pandemic preparedness. A very detailed “playbook” for the response of the federal government was prepared. A playbook, that in the event, was largely ignored.

A major thread in this timeline is “health communication.” Not just Trump but other leaders come in for some serious criticism. Bill DiBlasio gets a particularly hard thumping.

Trump supporters will immediately scoff because, you know, the New York Times is “fake news.” I recommend you get over that. Watch. And learn something. It won’t hurt.

12 thoughts on “Pandemic Timeline

    1. Not exactly an embrace. Just reporting the fact that he was responsible for the creation of our detailed government pandemic response plans. And he did not do so based on an immediate threat but because he had learned something and saw that there was a weakness he could address.

      But speaking of Bush, he displayed another shining moment that by comparison makes the current President look very, very bad. In the aftermath of 9-11, anti-Muslim sentiments and behavior were starting to become evident and he did his best to stop it. Not exploit or exacerbate as Trump has been doing.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Your video omits many key details. Four stand out:

    • The prior administration had a plan, but depleted the Strategic National Stockpile of PPE and equipment (e.g., ventilators), with no effort to replenish it.
    • China did little to prevent international spread of the virus early in the pandemic when its own quarantine efforts might have been effective.

    • The administration’s “two weeks to slow the spread” policy, initiated in mid March was based on the “best science.” The goal was to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed and, in fact, they never were.

    • The so-called “lockdown” policies implemented in Europe and by states in the U.S. were never based on the “best science,” but reflected ad hoc political decisions. The science has always said that lockdowns may “flatten the curve,” but they also extend the duration of an epidemic.

    This last point has implications for the per-capita death rate graph that so concerns the speaker in the video. We should expect that when the virus finally burns out everywhere, the final per-capita death rates will be roughly the same everywhere. Until then, geographic comparisons are not particularly meaningful.

    In light of these things, yes, I’d say the NYT video is “fake news.”

    Like

    1. Thanks for a fairly reasonable response up until your last sentence. It is hardly “fake news” because of the peripheral criticism that a reasonable person might offer.

      1. GOP controlled Congress held the purse strings and turned down Democratic legislation to replenish the stockpiles of PPE and ventilators.
      2. China was far too secretive at the beginning of the pandemic and the video calls them out for that quite strongly so this item does not really belong on your list.

      3. There was never any “best science” to support the idea that a two-week half-assed lockdown would do much good. You referred to ad hoc political decisions – that was this.

      4. Your fourth statement is simply false. Lockdown, social distancing and mandatory masks are not only the “best science” for stopping the explosion of such a disease, absent a vaccine they are the “only science”

      If there is no success in developing a vaccine then you are undoubtedly correct that the final death per capita will level out. The purpose of the measures enforced in Europe and most Asian countries and ignored here was to buy time. So, come, say June 2021 when a vaccine may be available for widespread distribution the final per capita death rates will be locked in and ours will be a multiple of most other advanced countries. We will have sacrificed hundreds of thousands of lives for virtually nothing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Every one of your counterpoints is wrong:

        RE: “GOP controlled Congress held the purse strings and turned down Democratic legislation to replenish the stockpiles of PPE and ventilators.”

        Fact: Congress trimmed Obama’s SNS budget requests slightly, but Obama prioritized approved spending in a way that didn’t replace the supplies his administration consumed. For example, the administration purchased pharmaceuticals instead of N95 facemasks. This failure of replenishment caused problems in the Covid-19 response.

        RE: “China was far too secretive at the beginning of the pandemic and the video calls them out for that quite strongly so this item does not really belong on your list.”

        FACT: Secrecy was not the most important issue. China literally exported Covid carriers to Europe and the U.S. Your video doesn’t address this fact or its consequences. That’s why it’s on my list.

        RE: “There was never any ‘best science’ to support the idea that a two-week half-assed lockdown would do much good.”

        Fact: Social distancing as a public policy was a feature of the Bush and Obama pandemic response plans. The policy had never been tested empirically, but it was considered state of the art when the plans were written. The “two weeks to slow the spread” plan was developed by Dr.s Fauci and Brix and approved of by most public health experts, both state and federal.

        RE: “Your fourth statement is simply false. Lockdown, social distancing and mandatory masks are not only the ‘best science’ for stopping the explosion of such a disease, absent a vaccine they are the ‘only science’.”

        Fact: Your assertion is simply wrong. The standard model or conventional approach to an epidemic had always relied on quarantining the sick. Lockdowns represented a deviation from established science in the sense that they effectively quarantined everyone, including the well and the not-at-risk. Far from being the “only science,” lockdowns weren’t science at all.

        RE: “If there is no success in developing a vaccine then you are undoubtedly correct that the final death per capita will level out.”

        Irrelevant. The point is that geographic comparisons of per capita death rates don’t tell us much about different policy approaches at this time, and they won’t anytime soon. A central theme of your video is without merit.

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        1. The central theme of the New York Times piece is thoroughly grounded in hard data. The PER CAPITA death rates of the United States versus Western Europe. These are not small differences. Our failure has been huge and is easily seen on the chart they started with I am not going to quibble with you further about peripheral issues. As the sign on President Truman’s desk said . . . “The Buck Stops Here.” Trump is the President and this country has blown it. It is plain to see.

          And by the way, I made a very valid point about the goal of buying time. I recommend you work a little harder at trying to understand it before simply dismissing it.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, skipped right over the part where the Obama administration used up the strategic reserves of PPEs and didn’t replace them over 7 years.

    Pretty much lied about the WHO’s statements denying human to human transmission.

    Left out the attention in Congress due to the impeachment farce and the failure of testing by the CDC, which was give a monopoly by the FDA.

    Forgot about how putting COVID patients into nursing homes was a large part of that second peak.

    Compares shutdowns in largely urban Europe with the US as a while, including huge, sparsely populated areas. You cant really shut down a wheat field.

    Didn’t mention at all the widespread and early use of hydrochloroquine on an outpatient basis almost everywhere but the US. HCQ is OTC in much of the world.

    All very dramatic, but logical garbage and yes, fake news.

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    1. I didn’t realize how effective the responses were.

      211,000+ dead. Next closest is India and they have 41/2 times the population, are an emerging nation and a lot of poor people in packed cities.

      CDC problems are administration problems after 3 years of regime rule.

      Obama tried to get funding for the supplies. GOP said “Nyet”.

      Trump had 3 years, repeat 3 years, to at least check on supplies. HHS could have done that after a simple meeting or phone call from the golf course.

      Trump pitched the pandemic teams we had in place.

      Impeachment? Forget it. Trump didn’t do squat for that. His lawyers took care of every detail. Clinton passed budgets, tax increases, presided over a budget surplus, ran a booming economy all while he was investigated for 6 years.

      But you know all this.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Well, Dr. Tabor, the analysis of your partner Mr. Roberts far outshines yours on this one. He mainly stayed away from lame excuses developed by Team Trump. Passing the blame to . . . uh, let’s see. Obama. China. WHO. Congress. CDC. Did I miss anyone?

      “Compares shutdowns in largely urban Europe . . .”
      That argument makes no sense whatsoever. Rules about social distancing, wearing masks, closing bars, banning meetings have NOTHING to do with wheat fields. Or whether an area is thinly or heavily populated. They affect wherever it is that people gather whether it is Billings Montana or Cologne Germany. Sounds “truthy” but does not make a lick of sense.

      It is remotely possible that HCQ might have some therapeutic benefits at some stages of the disease, but those pesky scientist just can’t find enough evidence – even after looking explicitly – to support it and especially not enough to justify the known risks and denying it to those who need it. More to the point, even if having it OTC MIGHT have saved a few lives, that says nothing about the failure we are discussing – the uncontrolled spread of the disease.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. According to the Ford Clinic, which used HCQ early in hospitalization, the mortality was cut in half. Used on an outpatient basis it likely would have done even better.

        Saving 100K lives would be pretty big.

        Like

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