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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― The United States federal government is making preparations in case the local COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic lasts more than 18 months.
Washington’s 100 page plan, obtained by news agency CNN, does not assume the epidemic will last over 18 months, but has merely prepared for that contingency. It is also preparing for “multiple waves of illness” to strike the U.S. population. Most people who contract the Covid-19 virus will have no symptoms or very mild symptoms, but some people will indeed become very sick and need hospitalization. The elderly and younger people with other health issues are considered at risk. Evidence from other nations, particularly Italy, suggests that young people showing no symptoms may be spreading the virus to their elderly relations.
The federal plan, signaling a reversal of President Trump’s early policy to downplay the pandemic, is considered necessary to cope with the lack of sufficient medical supplies and personnel. Dr. Irwin Redlener, 75, an expert in disaster preparedness, told CNN, “We are so incredibly underprepared for a major onslaught on hospitals.”
In a “moderate outbreak,” 200,000 Americans will need ICU beds, and 64,000 will need ventilators. However, the nation’s current capacity is fewer than 100,000 beds. The U.S. has 62,000 ventilators in its hospitals and 8,900 in the national stockpile, but many ventilators are already in use. Redlener added that the U.S. doesn’t have the staff to operate them.
CNN also reported that elective operations are being suspended and hospitals are now rationing their medical supplies.
Since the first American case of the COVID-19 coronavirus was discovered two weeks ago, infections in the U.S. have risen to 9,415. At least 150 people in America have now died of the disease. Americans are being asked to be careful of not getting infected and of not spreading the virus to others. In some places, schools have been closed, bars and restaurants have become delivery-only establishments, and mass gatherings have been banned. In hard-hit California, some mayors have asked residents to “shelter in place.” Every Catholic diocese in the U.S. has dispensed Catholics from their obligation to attend Sunday Mass and has suspended all public Masses.
During a press briefing yesterday, President Trump likened the struggle to stop the coronavirus from overwhelming the nation’s health system to a war.
“I view it as, in a sense, a wartime president,” he said.
“I mean, that’s what we’re fighting. It’s a war. … It spread violently. It’s a very, very contagious virus.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said earlier this week that he is expecting the number of people needing hospitalization for the coronavirus to peak in a month and a half. He, too, likened the battle with the virus to a war.
“This is a war. This is a long-term war,” he told his journalist brother Chris Cuomo on March 17.
“This is not a few weeks. We have to get the American people set for it. They have to get the facts,” he continued.
“They all talk about flattening the curve… I don’t see a curve. I see a wave. And the wave is going to break on the healthcare system and, I’m telling you, my little brother, it is going to be a tsunami.”
Cuomo said that New York has 3,000 ICU beds, but that New York needs 100,000. He wants the Army Corps of Engineers to help build temporary hospitals.
“We’re up to about 900 cases in New York,” he said. “It’s doubling on a weekly basis.”
Tucker Carlson: I warned Trump about this
Conservative pundit Tucker Carlson has been talking more and more about the dangers of the pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, since he first mentioned it in January. According to a recent interview he gave to Vanity Fair magazine, the popular Fox News host went to President Trump to tell him that the coronavirus posed an “existential threat” to the U.S.
Carlson blamed the incessant media attacks on President Trump for many Americans’ refusal to believe that the pandemic is actually a serious threat.
“So a lot of Trump voters believe that all news about Trump is designed to hurt Trump. And they’re absolutely right about that,” he said.
“It’s been monomaniacal, the coverage of Trump. So when the moment came, when there was something that ultimately really didn’t have anything to do with Trump, which is the emergence of a weird new virus from Eastern China, they were trained to believe that all coverage was designed to hurt Trump. Because that’s been true,” he continued.
“So it was very hard to convince a lot of those news consumers that this was fundamentally not a political story.”
When asked by his interviewer not to blame the media, Carlson rebelled.
“Oh, I’m definitely blaming the media and very much including Vanity Fair, and I hope you put that in there,” he said.
“And I also think, and obviously I think this or I wouldn’t have gone there in the first place, that it’s part of the role of leaders to look beyond the media and to look at the data that’s coming in from the intel agencies—who have also been discredited and justly so—but still, look at the numbers and look at the reports coming in and to make cool and rational judgments about what that means.”
Carlson, who said he was reluctant to take on the rule of presidential advisor, told the president that the epidemic “could be really bad.”
“I said exactly what I’ve said on TV, which is [that] this could be really bad,” he informed Vanity Fair.
“My view is that we may have missed the point where we can control it. Once you get cases of community transmission, as we have all over the country now, by then it was clear it was happening,” he continued.
“I know someone very well who was in the ICU—a personal friend of mine who I had just had dinner with a month and a half ago was in the ICU with double pneumonia and struggling for life. And so I just want to make it clear this is totally real; people you know are going to get it. And I’m concerned based on conversations I’ve had that we don’t have the medical capacity to deal with it. I think it’d be very hard to keep it from spreading given the nature of American life.”