I know that we have a number of important primaries tomorrow, but I want to take a moment to write about the growing threat of COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus — something I will be discussing at a roundtable in Michigan at 3:15pm Eastern today. I hope you will tune in online to watch.
Then, at the end of the email I am going to ask you to take action to make it clear that once a coronavirus vaccine is developed, it will be made available for FREE — something Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary could not agree to. And, any testing, treatment, or quarantine should be free too.
If you’re ready to sign that petition, you can do so here. And then I’ll talk more about this crisis and the steps we must take as a country going forward.
Right now in the United States, reports suggest over 500 confirmed cases across many different states and Washington, D.C., and at least 22 deaths. But the truth is, we cannot be sure about these numbers because the Trump administration has completely mismanaged making coronavirus testing available, and local clinics and hospitals are still woefully unprepared to diagnose potential cases.
And, unfortunately, the more we know about this developing crisis, the more it is becoming clear that not only is the Trump administration incompetent, but that our current dysfunctional health care system is vastly underprepared for this pandemic.
To start, we should not be having someone like Vice President Pence leading the task — somebody who, to be charitable, is not a great advocate for science in general.
Sadly, I have very little confidence in the Trump administration to do anything that is right or decent, or certainly based on science.
I know that we have a brilliant president who has clearly studied this issue very intently, but this is the guy, Donald Trump, who thinks climate change is a hoax, and just last month was telling us that this crisis would somehow magically end in April.
This is the guy, Donald Trump, who said he didn’t “necessarily agree with proactive testing,” and that we’d find out where people were infected “by waiting”.
This is the guy, our president, who said that we have “hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know sitting around and even going to work.”
And this is the guy who, at the Centers for Disease Control, said, “maybe I have a natural ability” to understand the deadly illness.
So no. I am not very confident in the president’s ability to manage this crisis.
The truth is, we need real scientists and health care professionals in charge of the coronavirus response and communicating updates to the public.
But we also need to acknowledge what the Trump administration has not been able to ignore: under our current, dysfunctional for-profit health care system, people don’t go to the doctor if they cannot afford it. And during an infectious health crisis like this one, that means that potential carriers of the virus may not get checked out if they’re showing symptoms.
And the truth is, even the Trump administration has figured out that maybe it’s not a great idea to have people who might have the virus walking around the streets and going to work if they can’t afford health care and to get a checkup from a doctor.
I think even they have figured out that it’s a good idea to make sure that people who feel sick or may have some of the symptoms actually go into a doctor’s office.
They’ve even proposed using federal funds to pay for medical treatment of people who lack insurance.
Sounds a little bit like Medicare for All.
But I’m glad at least that they recognize it’s totally insane and dangerous to our society that if you’re walking around and infecting other people and you’re not going to the doctor when you should because you don’t have insurance that is counterproductive for the whole society.
I’m glad they at least recognize that.
So yes, this crisis is another clear example of why we must guarantee health care as a right for every single man, woman and child in this country. While some won’t get the treatment they need because they can’t afford it, others will be hit by massive medical bills simply for doing the right things. People will face bills in the hundreds of thousands for hospitalization, treatment and quarantine if they need it. That must end.
This crisis is another example of why we need universal paid family leave in this country, so people who are sick can stay home, recover, and prevent the virus from spreading.
This crisis is another example of why we must take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry. It is outrageous that during his Congressional testimony, Trump’s HHS Secretary would not guarantee that a coronavirus vaccine would be affordable to all.
The vaccine, once developed, should be free. And testing, treatment, and quarantine should be free too.
Health experts agree that the spread of the coronavirus will likely get worse before it gets better.
Donald Trump must stop spreading lies and fear, and leave the science to scientists and health professionals, not politicians. We must make certain that we are prepared for a pandemic, just as we do with FEMA and natural disasters.
Thank you for reading.
This crisis has made clear that we need to guarantee health care as a right, universal paid family leave, and the need to take on the greed of the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
Sign my petition: tell the Trump administration that any coronavirus vaccine, as well as testing, treatment, and quarantine, must be FREE.
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