As Donald Trump ignores deepening coronavirus crisis, Joe Biden calls for urgent response

The persevering with energy battle between two males with diametrically completely different philosophies on how the US ought to deal with the virus has left the nation rudderless at this crucial second — pressured by Trump right into a governing disaster as he refuses to let the transition to the Biden presidency proceed and go on information that may very well be crucial to slowing the unfold of the virus subsequent yr.

This previous week, some Republicans in Congress lastly appeared to pay attention to how the President’s blockade was threatening nationwide safety — as Republican Sens. James Lankford of Oklahoma, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Senate Majority Whip John Thune of South Dakota, amongst others, stepped up to say that the President-elect ought to start receiving intelligence briefings as is customary in the course of the transition of energy.
But there isn’t a indication that prime GOP leaders are making use of that very same logic to the lethal improve in coronavirus instances, despite the fact that the variety of sufferers in US hospitals hit an all time pandemic excessive final week, based on knowledge from the Covid Tracking Project. As of Saturday, greater than 69,000 Americans have been hospitalized, based on the group’s tallies.

The President continues to be adhering to the identical hands-off strategy that led so many citizens to reject his management on Election Day, inaccurately stating that the rise in instances is the results of elevated testing as he tries to focus public consideration on his administration’s efforts to hurry up a vaccine via Operation Warp Speed.

The President spent most of Saturday {golfing} and tweeting his baseless and debunked conspiracy theories about how the election was rigged, and driving by a crowd of his supporters who gathered in Washington to protest the election outcomes on the idea of his lies and propaganda.

He barely addressed the virus on Twitter Saturday, tweeting: “Congress must now do a Covid Relief Bill. Needs Democrats support. Make it big and focused. Get it done!”

Amid that management vacuum, many medical doctors and prime medical consultants are bracing for even better vacation spikes, noting that Americans have merely let their guards down and given in to the will to return to regular life. The President unquestionably performed a job in these attitudes because the administration deserted its coronavirus job pressure briefings months in the past and he tried to win reelection by advancing the falsehood that the US was “rounding the corner.”

Given the complexities of fast vaccine distribution and the potential for catastrophic penalties if medical doctors, hospitals and first responders do not have what they should deal with the present rise in Covid-19 instances, Democrats — and even some Republicans from previous administrations — are sounding the alarm concerning the want for extra communication between the outgoing and incoming administrations on this grave second of nationwide disaster.

“We have a president who has gone AWOL,” mentioned Leon Panetta, who served as White House chief of employees below former President Bill Clinton and as CIA director and secretary of protection below former President Barack Obama. “AWOL from the election and its results, AWOL from Covid-19 and the impact it’s having, AWOL from the transition and frankly AWOL from the presidency.”

“That has created a dangerous moment here,” Panetta advised CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Saturday night time on “The Situation Room.”

Lack of communication raises alarm about virus response

Trump is obstructing any significant trade of coronavirus info — starting with the refusal of his appointee on the General Services Administration to ascertain the election, step one that will enable the circulate of transition funds and streamlined background checks for incoming employees.
That’s pressured the Biden team to get up to speed on the pandemic response by back-channeling with governors, members of the non-public sector and the medical group as they attempt to form the nation’s coronavirus response plan for subsequent yr.
While Biden is publicly projecting calm concerning the governing disaster — permitting the Trump marketing campaign’s election challenges to work their manner via the courts, the place they’re amassing a growing string of defeats — he referred to as for “urgent action” Friday by the Trump administration, together with an acknowledgment of how critical the present Covid-19 scenario is.
As Trump refuses to concede, his agencies awkwardly prepare what they can for a Biden transition

“This crisis demands a robust and immediate federal response, which has been woefully lacking. I am the president-elect, but I will not be president until next year,” Biden mentioned, underscoring the constraints of his place. “The crisis does not respect dates on the calendar, it is accelerating right now…. Right now is a moment for shared responsibility and shared action. Together, we have the power to rein in this virus. And I promise you, from the moment I am sworn in on January 20, I will do everything in my power to lead this unified national effort.”

The President-elect’s advisers have been more and more vocal about their considerations concerning the ignorance sharing between the present and future administrations.

“This is truly a national security threat,” Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious illnesses specialist, epidemiologist and Biden Transition Covid-19 board member, mentioned on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” Friday night. “I cannot even imagine another situation — if we were in the midst of a war — that you wouldn’t have handoff of information and plans to a succeeding president.”

As the US smashed via one other set of coronavirus information on Friday night, Dr. Vivek Murthy, co-chair of Biden’s transition coronavirus advisory board, advised Blitzer it was “a grim day for the country.”

“We’re at a point now, even pre-Thanksgiving, where we are surging beyond any level that we have seen over the last eight months,” Murthy, a former surgeon common below President Barack Obama, mentioned on “The Situation Room.” “What we do over these next few weeks is going to have a profound impact on whether this spread increases or whether we ultimately control the spread of this virus.”

Local leaders weigh stronger measures to curb the virus

In the absence of a vigorous federal response, native leaders are as soon as once more contemplating extra dramatic motion to regulate the unfold, which might create main financial and logistical disruptions.

The 2.4% check positivity fee in New York City is now shut sufficient to the three% threshold that would lead the town to shut faculties and transition college students to distant studying, a chance that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo mentioned throughout a name with journalists Saturday the place he added that some faculties would possibly be capable of “test out” of closures if they’ve a a lot decrease positivity fee than the encompassing space.

The resurgence in Oregon, the place instances topped greater than 1,000 a day for the third day in a row Saturday, led Gov. Kate Brown to announce a “two week freeze” on Friday that may restrict social gatherings to 6 folks and two households, shut eating places and bars and place new limits on the quantity of people that can collect inside faith-based organizations. The freeze will span from November 18 to December 2.

“I know it’s hard and I know everybody is weary but we are trying to stop this ferocious virus from spreading,” Brown mentioned.

In Los Angeles, the place instances have surged from a couple of 1,000 a day three weeks in the past to just about 4,000 on Saturday, in accordance Mayor Eric Garcetti, officers created the most important testing heart in America at Dodger Stadium — ushering some 8,000 folks via the testing routine on a single day this previous week.

On Saturday, the Navajo Nation ordered a brand new three-week stay-at-home lockdown, proscribing journey and solely permitting residents to depart their properties for emergencies or to choose up groceries, drugs and firewood.

“We are inching closer and closer to a major public health crisis in which we could potentially see our hospitals filling up with patients,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez mentioned in an announcement. “Our health care system on the Navajo Nation cannot sustain a long-term surge in Covid-19 cases. The safest place to be is at home.”

CNN’s Elizabeth Joseph, Sheena Jones, Jenn Selva, Konstantin Toropin and Paul Vercammen contributed to this report.

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