Show & tell in the Senate

I tuned into the Tuesday Senate committee hearing mostly to hear Dr. Anthony Fauci, the most plain-spoken member of America’s medical team. Several of his comments were newsworthy, but the show was stolen by Democratic Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.

He posted a graphic (above) that stunned me: In a brief timeline, the results of reactions by the U.S. and South Korea were contrasted, showing America mired in the mud.

On Jan. 21, each nation posted its first confirmed case of infection. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6% for the U.S., 4% for South Korea, which quickly broke out widespread testing and tracing.

About six weeks later, the U.S. registered 9 deaths, South Korea had 28. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.4%, versus 3.8% for South Korea.

The radical change was obvious two months later. South Korea lost 256 people, while the U.S. lost an astonishing 81,285. South Korea’s unemployment rate had barely budged, at 4%, while ours had shot through the roof to hit 14.7%.

These statistics are damning, and the fact that the U.S. now is testing more than South Korea hardly matters. South Korea did it early, when it mattered, and needs to do less now.

Having made a point, Kaine had to push it. He tried to get Fauci to say the death level was “unacceptable,” which then would have been used against President Donald J. Trump. (Fun fact: Kaine was Hillary Clinton’s VP candidate. Remember?)

Fauci didn’t take the bait and he, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, and HHS Assistant Secretary Admiral Brett Giroir all said their relationship with the president was “not confrontational.”

I believe that. I know people who wish the relationship was more confrontational, especially when the president says things that are not true, crazy, or both. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Before I get to Fauci’s newsworthy comments, got to share a few observations. The best quote came from Republican Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts: “Consumers are figuring out food doesn’t come from the grocery store.” It doesn’t — it comes from states like his.

Democratic Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I believe he still is a Democrat, for now) wanted to know — guess what? — if virus vaccinations would be free. None of the four had the authority to order that, but the admiral said he hoped so. Me too.

Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Liz Warren noted the 80,000 death toll and asked if the disease had been “contained.”

Fauci noted a “diminution in some places” but “spikes elsewhere,” but we are “going in the right direction.” Reporters scrutinize his remarks for daylight between him and the president.

Fauci was in his customary, button-down blue shirt, but without his wire frame glasses. Noteworthy comments:

+ The number of deaths is “almost certainly” higher than 80,000

+ Trial vaccines will go into production before they are tested

+ Some of these vaccines “could make things worse”

+ In reopened areas “there is real risk you will trigger an outbreak you will not be able to control”

+ If proper precautions are not instituted, a second wave is “inevitable.”

Something to brighten up your autumn.

20 thoughts on “Show & tell in the Senate”

    What we have here is a dilemma……… I forget what movie that classic line came from, but it fits the situation. We Americans are an impatient lot. We want our freedom, but at what cost. There is enough blame to go around Washington, and then some. I think that the Team that the President assembled is at the top of the game. One of the many problems that they are dealing with, is the political side wants to reopen the country. The medical side does not. The politicians will charge forward, hit a wall ( problem, catastrophe ) solve it or adjust to it, then continue the charge. The medical team is composed of scientists. That’s not the way it’s done on that side. Tests and more tests, then tests some more. Then slowly open up the country, monitoring everything as they slowly progress.
    These tests that are given now, same as checking your temperature, mean that you are good ( ill ) today. Tomorrows test may show otherwise.
    If the science is to be believed, this virus is highly contagious. That means in laymens’ terms, if we get lazy ( no masks, ppe ) we will be right back where we started.
    Of course, when I go down to the cemetery Saturday ( I’m out of Flags), I’ll let you drive the golf cart.

  2. In other words, no one really knows what the hell is happening or what the hell to do about it…yet.

    1. Vince,
      Hope you and your sons and the Better Half had a great Mother’s Day, as I had with my family.

      1. A great time was had by all! Hope you had the same good times. Four sons, eight grandchildren (4 of each), all checked in with Mom-Mom/Oma to wish her well.

  3. Dr Raoult of France, the infectious disease specialist in Marseille, reported that for France, anyway, the disease is losing steam (my words) and will not make a disasterous come back or seoond wave. You can put the French in a translation program to read his report.
    This is the first positive bit of news I have seen. What happens in Europe eventually happens here. Also, not all of the total of deaths were only due to covid19. There is a lot of comorbidity. The same might have happened with the flu. But any death is one more than we want to lose.

    1. I’m reminded of a line from My Fair Lady: “The French don’t care what they DO, actually, so long as they pronounce it properly.”

      1. Stu, when you consider all the starts and stops, reverses in course, outright lies, misinformation, bad guesses, etc. that have marked this ‘crisis,’ the idea of a second wave is as unknown as, well, what’s really happening right now.

      2. As I said before, from an acquaintance in pharmaceuticals, there are 20 known flus out there. Now 21. There are only cures for 4 of those flus. That flu shot we take each year is the best that they had to offer. Why, because until now, there was no money for research. Grant money from the Feds with some subsistence from the corporations. Normally, it takes years to find a cure , but because of this uniqueness, hopefully, the cure will be found by next year.

  4. Is it possible that S.Korea and Taiwan have better immunity built up over time due to more historic exposure to China-originating viruses? This would explain less morbidity in China and N.Korea if such is the case. Also preventive measures are more customary (eg. mask wearing).

  5. Hannity and his Fox News cohorts went after Dr. Fauci Tuesday night. Their latest mantra is that Dr. Fauci is not an elected official and should not be listened to.
    That is precisely why we listen to Dr. Fauci. He is not a politician. He has no personal agenda. As he stated himself when unibomber looking Ron Paul admonished the Doctor, “he is a scientist and a physician.” His non biased, honest, highly educated Reports are exactly what we should listen to Today and every day.

    1. Noted and agree. They are kind of stupid: “He’s not an elected official. Who is he to make the rules.” He doesn’t — he just gives advice.

  6. Dr Fauci hasn’t always been accurate with his advice about wearing masks…no in Feb, then yes in Mar. ( I think?) Also in Jan wasn’t overly concerned at all about the virus. (those Fox cohorts!) Politicians aren’t always wrong and if agenda driven, most are concerned with the economy agenda. That’s fair. All are human. On second thought, maybe not.
    But they sure know how to scare the hell out of us. The reports of many people at home refusing ER for fear of Covid. Or foregoing cancer treatment (if all true?)
    How many people are dying not from Covid who if hospitalized would have been treated and back home now? Well not all of them. On the brighter side, less traffic deaths, I wonder?? Less drownings! Less crime? More or less. Too many variables still.
    I pray Tony’s ‘cure by next year’ comes to fruition, and I like Vince’s take.

      1. You are correct Stu. It is unfortunate that many people who criticize him base it on politics and not facts.

        1. Stu, H,
          I observe which leads to some healthy skepticism. It is not politics nor ideology. I wish there were a round table of say 25 Fauci- like doctors duking it out. Every day seems there’s umpteen new opinions by the media, politicians, doctors (each network has its’ own medical doctors), etc. Make that a round table of a hundred, why not, we got money to burn. Not really, but more ‘official’ medical brains can’t hurt. The sooner the better.

          1. HAPPY THURSDAY !!!
            Tom & friend,
            In this case, “the more, the merrier” is not the solution. Far from it. There are only so many infectious disease doctors that are scientists. Some one of Dr Fauci’s caliper is running the department or business. He may wear a lab coat, but I doubt that he spends much time in a lab. Its more likely, that he’s in meetings all day, or answering the phone or worse, answering ridiculous questions from the peanut gallery.
            Stu’s view is correct. The Trump team took the best information that they had at any given time and, unfortunately, President Trump ran with it, causing a bit more embarrassment to heap onto the pile.
            As I said in previous reply and ( short ) speeches, finding the cure for such a flu takes time and money. Because the Gov is going “all in”,hopefully sooner rather than later, we’ll have the vaccine.
            in the mean time, stay well

          2. Thanks Tony
            I missed the scientist/doctor difference.
            Why I stay connected.
            I wish I was young.

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