Corona Update: Trump Presses the Big Red Button

Yesterday, President Trump declared the Corona virus a national emergency. Now, Mr. Hannity you may properly compare Obama waiting six months from the time he declared a public health emergency on H1N1 to the time he declared a national emergency (April 26, 2009 and October 26, 2009 respectively) versus Trump doing it about six week later (January 31, 2020 to March 13, 200 respectively).

Folks, what’s bothered me is why did Trump do it? After consulting with my wife, I decided that its because Trump wants to solve this, get it behind us, and move on. He doesn’t want to leave this lingering but has chosen what basketball calls a “full court press.”

Knowing that I keep calling Corona “just the flu” (which it is) and saying I think these precautions are overblown, my liberal buddy wanted to know if I thought the declaration for a national emergency was right or wrong. My answer, in his eyes, was evasive. I said, some decisions are clearly right or wrong and sometimes we need some time to lapse to know if it was the right call. I said in this case, I think the decision is in the latter category. Trump made the call and that’s why he gets the big bucks. Let’s just wait and see.

A Whole New World

What I marvel at is the widespread shutdown of our way of life because of this virus. As I keep saying, its not Ebola. We have cancelled more air travel than during the 9/11 attacks. Stopped cruise ships, shutdown churches, concerts, baseball, football, soccer, basketball, hockey, golf, conventions, movie theaters, schools, etc. This decision has impacted a huge number of businesses and people’s lives. Those parts of society that have not shutdown have changed how they do business. We look with suspicion on strangers and are prone to avoid interacting with people.

If Trump had declared Martial Law and suspended, elections, Congress, and the Courts, would it look much different? Yet he not only has the support of Congress but the Courts and all 50 States. How did we get here? What really bothers me is how easy and willing we were to allow all this. Trading freedom for perceived safety is the stock and trade of Liberals.

The great irony in this disruption is that Trump is being praised by the very Democrats that have been fearmongering that he would suspend liberties and become the ultimate ruler, dictator, monarch, etc. In the last few days, Trump has been praised in glowing terms by California Governor Garvin Newsom and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Heretofore, both men have been adversaries of the Trump Administration on almost every issue.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

So too, local and State governments and their agencies are looking eagerly to the Federal government for aid and leadership. They have set aside partisanship and are praising the federal response.

I guess when the niceties are over, you know that the crisis has passed.

Vaccine News

Meanwhile, yesterday Johnnie Does sent me word that one company says they have a vaccine for Corona ready to start testing.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ +1.3%) unit Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies is collaborating with Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center on the development of a preventative vaccine against COVID-19.

Preclinical testing is underway. The parties expect to identify a candidate by month-end and commence a Phase 1 study by year-end.

The vaccine will be based on Janssen’s AdVac and PER.C6 technologies.

J&J launches COVID-19 vaccine program

In addition, another company has announced a possible vaccine.

March 12, 2020 /CNW/ – Medicago, a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Quebec City , announced today that they have successfully produced a Virus-Like Particle (VLP) of the coronavirus just 20 days after obtaining the SARS-CoV-2 (virus causing the COVID-19 disease) gene. Production of the VLP is the first step in developing a vaccine for COVID-19 which will now undergo preclinical testing for safety and efficacy. Once this is completed, Medicago expects to discuss with the appropriate health agencies to initiate human trials of the vaccine by summer (July/August) 2020.

Medicago announces production of a viable vaccine candidate for COVID-19

Even more Test Kits on the way

Also, yesterday, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma said he is donating 500,000 Corona test kits and 1,000,000 face masks to the United States.

Chinese billionaire and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma said he will donate 500,000 coronavirus testing kits and 1 million masks to the United States and urged international cooperation to fight the health crisis.

Jack Ma to donate test kits, masks to U.S. in fight against coronavirus

In addition, Ma has made an even larger donation to the EU.

Testing… Testing… 1… 2… 3…

Lastly, I’m wondering what effect the declaration of a national emergency is having on FDA protocols and vaccine approval. One of the dumber things that our civilized nations do is not recognize each other’s testing methods of drugs and medical procedures. Here in the US, our FDA will not respect any testing done by the EU nations and vice versa. Ditto for other nations. I think that we need an international body, treaty, something, that allows a testing regime that is respected by everyone. It would also need some sort of patent and liability protection too. Curing people should not be so dependent on which country that you live in.

Also, it is clear that too many of our pharmaceutical eggs are in the Chinese basket and the Corona crisis is another opportunity to illustrate this.

Eighty percent of active ingredients in America’s pharmaceutical and OTC drugs — you know, the stuff that actually makes your medicine work — come from China and India, according to Rosemary Gibson and Janardan Prasad Singh, authors of the new book China RX: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine.

China is Quietly Becoming the World’s Pharmacy — and There Are Big Risks

Many of the drugs that Americans depend upon, including birth control pills, antibiotics like penicillin, vitamin C and even cancer drugs, are made in China with little regulation.

… Gary Cohn, then chief economic advisor to President Trump, argued against a trade war with China by invoking a Department of Commerce study that found that 97 percent of all antibiotics in the United States came from China.

U.S. Dependence on Pharmaceutical Products From China

While the Department of Defense only purchases a small quantity of finished pharmaceuticals from China, about 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) used to make drugs in the United States are said to come from China and other countries like India.

In order to address the growing security and safety concerns about Chinese-made pharmaceuticals, some suggest that the United States switch to India as an alternative API supplier. However, doing so would be no different from rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It is true that many Indian pharmaceutical firms are leading API manufacturers but India depends on China for sourcing nearly three quarters of APIs in generic drug formulations. The disruption in the supply chain notwithstanding, switching to India for the supply of APIs would only make the drugs sold in the United States more expensive: APIs and chemical intermediates from China are 35 to 40 percent cheaper than Indian ones.

Final Thoughts

Besides Disney which owns ESPN, theme parks, and 40 percent of Hollywood movies, the person getting most hurt by the Corona crisis is Bernie Sanders. States are moving or considering cancelling primary elections and cancelling further debates with he and Joe Biden. Bernie just can’t catch a break.

The biggest winner in all this besides the President is the Babylon Bee. They have done parodies of banning all travel to California and what will parents do if the government won’t raise their kids for them. Both of which are legit news stories this week. Is it any wonder that Snopes gets mad when people think their stuff is real news?

Fake news is now real news Example #1

Nation To Use Coronavirus As Convenient Excuse To Quarantine California

President Trump is not ruling out the possibility of travel restrictions to California.

According to the New York Times, the president said he could restrict travel to hard-hit states including California and Washington.

Pres. Trump Could Ban Travel To California, Washington To Slow The Spread Of Coronavirus

Fake news is now real news Example #2

Parents Worried They’ll Have To Raise Their Own Children As Government Schools Shut Down

Schools are closing their doors across the area sending a seismic shockwave for parents scrambling to find child care for the next few weeks.

Sacramento County public schools have a quarter-million students and 400 schools. Even if only half of those parents would have to stay home, you could see how it would impact our economy.

Coronavirus School Closures Leave Parents Scrambling To Find Child Care

Fake news on November Surprise?

Trump Cancels 2020 Election Over Coronavirus Concerns

Fake news that’s totally right on

Devout Atheist Playing ‘Minecraft’ Patiently Waits For Complex Structures To Build Themselves

Enjoy your weekend.