Day: May 4, 2020

Background Briefing: May 4, 2020


Our Frontline Workers Fighting the Pandemic Are Still Not Protected

We begin with an update from an Emergency Medicine doctor who came down with Covid-19 and has recovered, to get an understanding of what patients go through when they are sick from the coronavirus, how their families cope with the highly infectious disease, and what lasting effects there may be. With recent studies indicating that this pandemic will be around for up to 18 months and that up to 60% of the population could end up getting the virus, we speak with Dr. Dara Kass, the founder of FeminEM, an organization that provides professional development, resources, and support for women who have been called to a life in emergency medicine who currently serves as a Professor of Emergency Medicine at Columbia University Center. We discuss how months into the pandemic these frontline workers, the emergency medicine doctors, are still not getting adequate personal protective equipment and as a result many are sick and a number have died. And while it appears that the daily death tolls in the worst-hit areas like New York and New Jersey may have peaked, some Republican governors at the urging of President Trump are beginning to open up the country, and we will assess what a re-energized spread of the coronavirus will do to these Red States where small rural hospitals have been closing and those that remain open are understaffed and ill-equipped.


 How Trump, Kushner and Mnuchin Relied on a Compliant Economist’s Absurd Model

Then we get an analysis of the extensive Washington Post investigative article published on May 2, “34 Days of Pandemic: Inside Trump’s desperate attempt to reopen America” which has gotten under the administration’s skin having revealed how Trump, Kushner and Mnuchin relied on a model by a compliant White House economist Kevin Hassett who predicted far fewer deaths from the coronavirus than the 70,000 so far which encouraged Trump to believe he could reopen the country with minimal collateral deaths. Jeff Madrick, a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books whose books include Seven Bad Ideas: How Mainstream Economists Have Damaged America and the World, joins us to discuss the collection of cranks, charlatans and grifters advising Trump which has resulted in the dumb leading the blind.

Using Bad Intel to Start a War of Words With China, Sound Familiar?

Then finally we examine the escalating charges Trump and Pompeo are hurling at China using dubious intelligence to start a war of words as an election strategy to force the Democrats to either believe China’s coverup or Trump’s lies as the administration tries to pin their manifest failures to protect America from the pandemic on China. Michael Fuchs, who served as deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs joins us to discuss how Trump’s bungling has allowed the Chinese Communist Party to change the subject from the Chinese people’s anger at how their government handled the outbreak to stoking nationalist pride at the comparison between China’s competent handling of the pandemic compared to America’s fumbling fiasco.