There is an official pandemic happening around the world and the U.S. is blowing our chance to contain it. This is largely because Donald Trump and his administration are anti-science and dismantled the department that deals with pandemics years ago. Rich and poor alike, regardless of age, can get this highly contagious virus, as has already been seen. But if only the rich can get treatment, the virus is likely already spreading like wildfire everywhere.
Andy Slavitt, who was the Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for Obama, is trying to warn people about how big a deal this is: a lot of people will likely die. It’s already being seen in Italy and other places where containment has been lagging. He started a thread about what is going on and how Trump is trying to keep people in the dark.
“Currently experts expect over 1 million deaths in the U.S. since the virus was not contained & we cannot even test for it,” he wrote. “This will be recorded as a major preventable public health disaster. I will try to relate what I learned from a long day of calls about what is happening.”
He explained how this connected to Trump’s dismantling of public health programs:
The public health infrastructure could have been prepared. What does that mean: nasal swabs, respirators, ventilators, RNA kits to read tests, machines, gloves.— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) March 13, 2020
We can at best do 10,000 tests/day. We should be able to do millions. 3/
And how anyone with real competence or morals have found it impossible to work for him:
If you don’t think that’s right, remember only weeks before Trump firing justice department officials who weren’t loyal to him. But worse, tweeting out their names for savage mobs to attack. 5/— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) March 13, 2020
And the ones who do work for him aren’t allowed to tell the truth:
That story will get told. But I’d like to shift who’s responsible to what we do about it. I’ve offered help to this Administration, Congress, governor, mayor, health official, lab or hospital. I’m nothing special but it is time to pull together & put aside differences. 7/— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) March 13, 2020
So what can we do? Get the truth out:
1— get the truth out. It doesn’t matter if Trump does, every governor and key public health leaders (Fauci, @ScottGottliebMD, Hopkins, Gates Foundation) will become trusted sources. 8/— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) March 13, 2020
Focus on the most vulnerable populations. Not only the elderly, but also people living in close communal situations:
2- Continued: This means all communal living situations— elder care, homeless, prisons, low income communities with multiple residences, frail elderly, chronically ill. As we have tests these communities must be highest priority. 11/— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) March 13, 2020
Alleviating stress on hospitals: no more elective stuff, do over the phone check-ups whenever possible or remote testing for other conditions:
4- Hospitals will need to free up capacity in: ventilators, ICU rooms, negative pressure rooms & will need to build tent facilities quickly. This means delaying elective things (smart to stay out of there anyway) and coordinating capacity. 12/— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) March 13, 2020
And socially isolate! Keeping apart will slow contagion so hospitals can deal with patients who need intensive care:
6- Social isolation. Not kinda, but for real. It’s too late and there aren’t enough tests to do anything but. Assume it is deeply in your community. If you were a Senator, movie star or basketball player you would know you had it. Otherwise assume it. 14/— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) March 13, 2020
It’s going to be a long couple of months. Citizens should be able to depend on the government to step in during a crisis, but in lieu of that, we have to depend on and support each other.