Updated 9:03 PM to correct COVID-19 Numbers.
Editor’s Note: All pertinent links are at the bottom of this post so they don’t interrupt Eshrink’s Straight Talk. Eshrink confided in me that he was concerned this post might be too sarcastic, it might offend some people, it might be too negative. I reminded him that sarcasm is a powerful literary device that has been used by scores of Pulitzer Prize Winning authors. I reminded him that Eshrinkblog.com is a censorship-free zone. I reminded him that he has earned the right to write whatever he sees fit. So fasten your seat belt loyal eshrink readers, this retired psychiatrist who dedicated six decades to a career in medicine is unplugged and uncensored.
Yesterday, I tuned into the latest White House dog and pony show. The big dog was absent. Apparently, keeping him away was the only way to prevent Donald Doofus from screwing up this latest campaign event masquerading as a report by the White House COVID-19 task force. However, the ass-kisser-in-chief, Mr. Pence, did an admirable job in explaining in great detail what a wonderful job the president has done in managing the pandemic and saving “thousands” of lives. He outlined in great detail how the administration has provided the leadership responsible for the control of the pandemic. He touted the marvelous job done by federal agencies in providing needed medical equipment and protective gear. Even more amazing was the “tremendous” success in providing COVID-19 testing.
All in all, the Veep’s chat was very reassuring (unless you are person who dares to look at the facts).
- The United States accounts for about 4.3% of the world’s population, but has 25% the worldwide COVID-19 deaths.
- We are #1 in COVID-19 Confirmed Cases. 2.6 million.
- #1 in COVID-19 related deaths. 126,493 in the USA out of 507,166 worldwide
- We are #1 in COVID!
No wonder I didn’t feel reassured. Having years ago, read a bit about the risk of world-wide pandemics, I likewise was not reassured when Trump early on minimized the seriousness of the “Kung Flu.” Furthermore, I doubt that those who have survived this illness, lost loved ones to it, or witnessed their last breaths, would see the humor in that term. It was not until the very end of Pence’s lengthy introductory remarks that he spoke a truth when he said: “We still have more work to do.” Talk about an understatement!
Next up was Dr. Birx – the lady of the $600 Hermes neck scarves. She serves as one of the experts on pandemics. Back in the days before all the world’s information was available on the internet, physicians attended a lot of conferences in order to stay on top of the latest poop in medicine. We laughingly defined an expert as someone 50 miles from home with slides. In addition to her scarves, Dr. Birx proved her bonafides as an expert with an array of slides, which were dazzling in their quantity and complexity. She flipped through them in such rapid succession that even if I were smart enough to understand them, it wouldn’t have helped.
Next up, the always sensible and understandable Dr. Fauci, who usually leaves me wondering as to what he thinks about the crap he hears coming from the mouths of Doofus and his sycophants. Dr. Redfield, the CDC director was next up. He was all in favor of Motherhood and Apple Pie. There has been some suggestions that he has been muzzled by the great one, but how could anyone even consider that all these elite scientists who have dedicated their lives to learning about science, infectious diseases, and medicine, could know as much about this stuff as our own very stable genius President.
The Veep’s closing remarks and “question-no-answer” session was blessedly brief, generally following the maxim: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” The Q & A session ended rather abruptly when the press corps insisted on real answers. In the absence of the big dog who would have been courageous enough to confront them about their audacity to seek information for the public by asking questions, the only option for the little dog (Pence) was to walk away. After watching to the bitter end, I took a few minutes to calm my raging anger, and attempted to make a list of all the distortions, half truths, and misinformation spewed out by Pence to be used in this blog, but I was soon overwhelmed by the sheer volume.
While watching the performance, this tired old brain did light up with an insight. It suddenly occurred to me that therein may lie the answer to a question which has bothered me for some time i.e. how in the world did this COVID thing become politicized. After all, the virus does not belong to a political party and we are all equally susceptible to infection, yet red state and blue state responses seem to be different. Charades like this “press conference” along with Trump’s insistence that everything is under control and his constant assertion that the “fake news media” is exaggerating the seriousness of the pandemic must be factors which lead to the false sense of security which is so often seen in those who proudly wear their red baseball caps. The message is undoubtedly enhanced by Trump’s own propaganda machine – Fox News (not to mention his own tweets).
Loyal Trumpers show up by the thousands to watch their hero’s one man shows. They are absolutely fearless and crowd in shoulder to shoulder. Their naked faces are a testament to their disdain for all that overblown scientific stuff and they insist, as does VP Pence, that they have a constitutional right to refuse a face mask. I did not realize the constitution said anything about a right to disseminate disease, but what do I know? However, the “breaking news” today was that not only was Pence seen wearing a mask, but he announced that everyone should follow his lead and wear face masks. The pundits made a big deal about this being a break with Trump, but I can’t imagine Pence having the gonads to challenge his highness.
This was the first White House production by the task force in more than a month, but was improved only due to the absence of Trump. Fauci did provide useful and straightforward information, but I was left wondering how many more lives may be lost as a result of the failure to adequately portray the seriousness of the situation in which we face with this highly infectious serious illness for which we have no effective treatment. Without a treatment, our only hope is to contain it until a treatment or preventative vaccine is available.
As Fauci pointed out, such strategies require sacrifices on the part of people to which they are unlikely to adhere if they are not appraised of the danger we face. Self aggrandizement can wait. For now let’s focus on solutions please.
Link to Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Map
Link to White House Task Coronavirus Task Force Briefing June 26, 2020, with video
Blast from the Past: Editor’s Pick | The Priceless Video of Dr. Birx when Trump wants her to confirm she is looking into injecting disinfectants into the human body and or inserting a powerful light into human beings to fight the pandemic
One thought on “No Filter | Straight Talk from Eshrink | Pandemic Unplugged”
Well done commentary…