Chief Health Officer Fumbles

In an exchange yesterday between Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf (another acting secretary, rather than a permanent one), at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Wolf got the statistics for the death rates of coronavirus and influenza wrong (it appears to be around 2% for coronavirus; the death rate from influenza is about .1% annually), admitted he had no idea how many hospital beds or masks America has, and generally seemed completely over his head.

“Kill the Beast”

By that, Republicans don’t mean the coronavirus, they mean the government:

With people distracted by news of coronavirus, administration officials are not slowing down their determination to destroy the New Deal government that we have come to rely on. Far from shying away from their destruction of the activist government as it becomes apparent to most of us that slashing funds for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and getting rid of the pandemic specialists on the National Security Council were a colossally bad idea, the administration has used the crisis to continue to downsize government. The administration wants $2.5 billion to pay for the emergency response to the coronavirus, but it only wants $1.25 billion to be newly appropriated emergency money. It wants to transfer the rest from existing programs, including $535 million from money appropriated to containing Ebola. It has also informed Congress that it intends to fund the emergency response to coronavirus by taking $37 million intended to provide heat to almost 750,000 low-income families. If it persists in this demand, it is essentially holding our safety hostage in order to achieve the goal of dismantling the New Deal government. Democrats say they want a clean emergency funding bill.

Quotations from the Daily Blog of historian Heather Cox Richardson.

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