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Riddle News: Covid-19 March 2020

10 22 2020

Welcome to Riddle News which is published every Monday and Friday. This is a Special review of the Trump response to Covid-19.

In my book Trump an Outsider’s View I have a timeline showing the Trump Administration’s action right up to August 31, 2020. The Timeline begins November 17, 2019 with the first known case and provides a daily look worldwide on the cases and deaths. I am enclosing excerpts from March here:

3 March

  • The CDC lifted federal restrictions on coronavirus testing to allow any American to be tested for coronavirus, “subject to doctor’s orders.”
  • The White House announced President Trump donated his fourth quarter salary to fight the coronavirus.

4 March

  • The Trump Administration announced the purchase of approximately 500 million N95 respirators over the next 18 months to respond to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
  • Secretary Azar announced that HHS was transferring $35 million to the CDC to help state and local communities that have been impacted most by the coronavirus.

5 March

  • On March 5, the FDA said anyone with a doctor’s order could be tested. As of March 25, at least 418,000 tests had been conducted, and by April 2 the number had reached 1,280,000.

6 March

  • President Trump signed an $8.3 billion bill to fight the coronavirus outbreak. The bill provides $7.76 billion to federal, state, & local agencies to combat the coronavirus and authorizes an additional $500 million in waivers for Medicare telehealth restrictions.

9 March

  • President Trump called on Congress to pass a payroll tax cut over coronavirus.

10 March

  • President Trump and VP Pence met with top health insurance companies and secured a commitment to waive co-pays for coronavirus testing.

11 March

  • President Trump announced travel restrictions on foreigners who had visited Europe in the last 14 days.
    • He also directed the Small Business Administration to issue low-interest loans to affected small businesses and called on congress to increase this fund by $50 billion.
    • He further directed the Treasury Department to defer tax payments for affected individuals & businesses & provide $200 billion in “additional liquidity.”
    • In addition, he met with American bankers at the White House to discuss coronavirus.
  • [But it appears that the primary reason is the speed at which it spread. According to WHO only 3.4% of people with Coronavirus have died. That is extremely low compared to other diseases.]

13 March

  • President Trump declared a national emergency in order to access $42 billion in existing funds to combat the coronavirus.
  • President Trump announced: Public-private partnerships to open up drive-through testing collection sites.
  • He announced a pause on interest payments on federal student loans.
  • He announced an order to the Department of Energy to purchase oil for the strategic petroleum reserve.
  • The Food & Drug Administration: granted Roche AG an emergency approval for automated coronavirus testing kits. And issued an emergency approval to Thermo Fisher for a coronavirus test within 24 hours of receiving the request.
  • HHS announced funding for the development of two new rapid diagnostic tests, which would be able to detect coronavirus in approximately 1 hour.

15 March

  • President Trumps begins voluntary shutdown for 15 days
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) told the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to plan to construct new facilities, including leased hotels and other buildings, and to convert them for use as hospitals and intensive care units.
  • President Trump held a phone call with over two dozen grocery store executives to discuss on-going demand for food and other supplies.
  • HHS announced it is projected to have 1.9 million COVID-19 tests available in 2,000 labs this week.
  • Google announced a partnership with the Trump Administration to develop a website dedicated to coronavirus education, prevention, & local resources.
  • All 50 states were contacted through FEMA to coordinate “federally-supported, state-led efforts” to end coronavirus.

16 March

  • President Trump held a tele-conference with governors to discuss the coronavirus preparedness and response.
  • President Trump participated in a call with G7 leaders who committed to increasing coordination in response to the coronavirus and restoring global economic confidence.
  • President Trump announced that the first potential vaccine for coronavirus has entered a phase one trial in a record amount of time.
  • President Trump announced “15 days to slow the spread” coronavirus guidance.
  • The White House advised against any gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • The FDA announced it was empowering states to authorize tests developed and used by labs in their states.
  • Asst. Secretary for Health confirmed the availability of 1 million coronavirus tests and projected 2 million tests available the next week and 5 million the following.

17 March

  • President Trump announced CMS will expand telehealth benefits for Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Relevant Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act penalties will not be enforced.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers is on “standby” to assist federal & state governments.
  • President Trump spoke to fast food executives from Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and Burger King to discuss drive-thru services recommended by CDC.
  • President Trump met with tourism industry representatives along with industrial supply, retail, and wholesale representatives.
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin met with lawmakers to discuss stimulus measures to relieve the economic burden of coronavirus on certain industries, businesses, and American workers.
  • Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a partnership between USDA, Baylor University, McLane Global, and Pepsi Co. to provide one million meals per weak to rural children in response to widespread school closures.
  • The Treasury Department contributed $10 billion through the economic stabilization fund to the Federal Reserve’s commercial paper funding facility.
  • The Treasury Department deferred $300 billion in tax payments for 90 days without penalty, up to $1 million for individuals & $10 million for business.
  • The Department of Defense announced it will make available to HHS up to five million respirator masks and 2,000 ventilators.

18 March

  • President Trump announced temporary closure of the U.S.-Canada border to non-essential traffic.
  • President Trump plans to invoke the Defense Production Act in order to increase the number of necessary supplies needed to combat coronavirus.
  • FEMA has been activated in every region at its highest level of response.
  • The U.S. Navy will deploy USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy hospital ships.
  • President Trump announced all foreclosures and evictions are suspended for a time.
  • Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed 1 million masks are now immediately available. 
  • The Army Corps of Engineers is in NY consulting on how to best assist state officials.
  • HHS temporarily suspended a regulation that prevents doctors from practicing across state lines.
  • President Trump spoke to doctors, physicians, and nurses on the front lines containing the spread of coronavirus. 
  • 130 CEOs of the Business Roundtable to discuss on-going public-private partnerships in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

19 March

  • In the United States the Department of State advised U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel.
  • President Trump announced very encouraging progress shown by anti-malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine for fighting coronavirus. 
  • Carnival Cruise Lines will make ships available for use as hospitals in impacted areas to use for non-coronavirus patients. 
  • Vice President Pence announced tens of thousands of ventilators have been identified that can be converted to treat patients.
  • The State Department issued a global level 4 health advisory, telling Americans to avoid all international travel due to coronavirus.
  • President Trump directed FEMA to take the lead on the Federal Government’s coronavirus response & visited FEMA HQ with Vice President Pence for a video call with Governors.

20 March

  • The U.S. and Mexico agree to mutually restrict nonessential cross-border traffic.
  • Secretary Mnuchin announced at the direction of President Trump that Tax Day will be moved from April 15 to July 15 for all taxpayers and businesses.
  • President Trump spoke with Sen. Schumer about coronavirus response & stimulus measures. 
  • Held a call with over 12,000 small business owners to discuss relief efforts. 
  • Announced the CDC will invoke Title 42 to provide border patrol with tools to secure the borders.
  • The Department of Education announced it will not enforce standardized testing requirements for the remainder of the school year.  
  • DOE will allow federal student loan borrowers to stop payments without penalty for 60 days.
  • Secretary Azar announced FEMA is coordinating and assisting coronavirus testing at labs across the country.
  • The CDC is suspending all illegal entries to the country based on the public health threat, via Section 362 of the Public Health & Security Act.
  • Secretary Azar sent a letter to all 50 Governors that the federal government is buying and making available 200,000 testing swabs.

21 March

  • Vice President Pence announced to date over 195,000 Americans tested for coronavirus and have received their results.
  • The Trump Administration announced HHS placed an order for hundreds of millions of N95 masks through FEMA.
  • The FDA announced it had given emergency approval to a new coronavirus test that delivers results in hours, with an intended rollout of March 30.
  • Adm. Giroir confirmed 10 million testing kits had been put into the commercial market from March 2 through March 14.

22 March

  • President Trump approved major disaster declarations for Washington State and California.
  • President Trump announced Governors will remain in command of National Guard forces & the federal govt will fund 100% of operations cost. 
  • He directed the federal govt to provide 4 large federal medical stations with 2,000 beds for CA & 1,000 beds for NY & WA.
  • President Trump confirmed his Administration was working with Peru & Honduras to return Americans stranded in both countries as a result of travel restrictions.
  • Vice President Pence announced the testing backlog will be resolved by midweek. 
  • The VP also announced that to date, over 254,000 Americans have been tested for coronavirus and received their results.
  • President Trump announced that the USNS Mercy will be deployed to Los Angeles.
  • FEMA issued guidance for tribal governments to seek federal assistance under the President’s emergency declaration.

23 March

  • President Trump signed an executive order invoking section 4512 of the Defense Production Act to prohibit the hoarding of vital medical supplies.
    • VP Pence announced 313,000 Americans were tested for the coronavirus & received results. 
    • FEMA established a supply chain stabilization task force, so Americans get supplies they need. 
    • HHS will have commercial labs prioritize testing for hospitalized patients.
  • The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy announced a public-private consortium to advance coronavirus research. 
    • Provide access to computing technology and resources for researchers.
  • Attorney General Barr announced the Justice Department held a National Task Force meeting on hoarding and price gouging. 
  • Each of the 93 U.S. Attorney General offices is designating a lead prosecutor to prevent hoarding.
  • President Trump announced HHS is working to designate essential medical supplies as “scarce” to prohibit hoarding of these items.
    • The Treasury Department announced it is working with the Federal Reserve to lend up to $300 billion to businesses and local governments.

24 March

  • President Trump muses over lifting shutdown. Because of the economic impact of the shutdown the President, who has the responsibility for both medical and economic decisions, wanted to mitigate impact as much as possible.
  • President Trump announced the Army Corps of Engineers & the National Guard are constructing four hospitals and four medical centers in New York.
  • President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for the state of Iowa related to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Vice President Pence confirmed FEMA sent New York 2,000 ventilators. 
  • The VP announced individuals who have recently been in New York should self-quarantine for 14 days.

29 March

  • President Trump extends voluntary shutdown through April due to medical expert’s concerns.

[March was a very active month highlighted by an explosion of the numbers of cases and deaths, the shutdown of the country, and New York becoming the epicenter. the total cases were now over 200,000 and deaths were 4,076. This is a death rate of 2%.]

Special Notice

If you watch TV and read the paper, you are aware of a resurgence in Covid-19 cases both abroad and here in the United States. They are calling it the second wave.

However, you need to take a closer look. It is not so much of a second wave as it is a continuation of the first wave. It is now hitting rural America. If you insist on calling it a second wave, I won’t argue with you. But to include it into the worldwide resurgence is simply not ethical.

I wrote a book, Trump an Outsider’s View, that covers Covid-19 and the Death Rate rather thoroughly. I still track the Death Rate and it is now down to 2.66%! That’s another 0.02% drop. And it is still going down. Dr. Fauci and others agree that the Trump Administration saved thousands of lives by restricting China travel in January, a fact which embarrasses Biden who opposed the restrictions. This is interesting since Dr. Fauci seems to now be in Biden’s camp (probably because he’ll have job security with Biden).

Another factor to be considered. Many liberals claim that the President said this and said that. I don’t have the time to argue each point. The truth is that action speaks louder than words. Both January and February were months of action that were wise and often. You can twist his words, but it is much harder to twist his actions (and not get caught!).

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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