Day: November 12, 2020

Background Briefing: November 12, 2020


The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos Profiles Joe Biden

We begin with Evan Osnos, a staff writer with The New Yorker since 2008 who previously reported from China and Iraq for the Chicago Tribune where he shared a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. He joins us to discuss his new book, just out, Joe Biden: The life, the Run, and What Matters Now and offer his insights into who the 46th president of the United States is and what has shaped the life of a politician who has been described as the luckiest and the unluckiest of men. After suffering deep personal losses and disappointments, along with the triumph of eventually succeeding in the goal he had as a young man, Biden has now become president of the United States. Having spent a lot of time with Biden, Evan Osnos recounts how when Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition and equated Democratic votes with fraud, Biden told him “I feel good about where we are. But I know it’s going to get really, really ugly.”  


Americans Will Die as Trump’s Task Force is Not Allowed to Speak With Biden’s Covid Task Force

Then we examine how Trump’s Operation Warp Speed task force is being prevented from communicating with Biden’s new Covid-19 task force which could mean 150,000 Americans will die needlessly between now and January 20th due to the lack of logistical coordination in distributing vaccines and accessing inventories of PPE etc. With estimates that by February the first we will have 400,000 deaths by Covid, we speak with Dr. Stanley Perlman, a professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Iowa. He has studied coronavirus pathogenesis for decades and joins us to discuss America’s deadly vacuum of leadership with Trump holed up in the White House watching TV and stewing over the final election results going against him and feeling betrayed that foreign leaders like his “friend” Boris Johnson are calling Biden to congratulate him. Meanwhile as a pandemic rages out of control, there is no government plan or policy to deal with it and the incoming administration which will be left holding the bag, is unable to coordinate with the Department of Health and Human Services which Trump has tasked to find out why Pfizer announced its vaccine a week after the election in an act he considers treachery by “deep pharma.”  


Assessing the Growing Coronavirus Death Toll and How to Reverse It

Then finally we assess the alarming growth of the rates of infections and deaths in the U.S. as Tuesday’s one day total of infection of 136,000 was surpassed by Wednesday’s total of 144,000 and speak with an expert in how life course exposures and events influence the morbidity and mortality experiences of the adult population. Mark Hayward, a professor of sociology and a research associate at the Population Research Center at the University of Texas and a member of the Committee on Population at the National Academy of Sciences, joins us to discuss the growing death toll and how it can be reversed.