The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, Austin, and Washington, D.C., April 8 – Montgomery County presently has 160 active cases of Chinese coronavirus with four (4) deaths and thirty-three (33) recoveries. It does appear the County government may be under-reporting cases, because it has come to the attention of this newspaper that at least one known case did not appear on the County government’s list of positive test results for approximately two weeks after the United States Centers for Disease Control and after the County Judge’s office had received specific information about the positive test result and ongoing case.
Meanwhile conservative Republican talk show host Apostle Claver Kamau-Imani began referring to the current situation as the “Chinese coronavirus pan-panic.”
Trump blasts world health group, defends early virus steps
President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to freeze U.S. funding to the World Health Organization, saying the international group had “missed the call” on the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
Trump also played down the release of January memos from a senior adviser that represented an early warning of a possible coronavirus pandemic, saying he had not seen them at the time. But he turned his anger on the WHO, first declaring that he would cut off U.S. funding for the organization, then backtracking and saying he would “strongly consider” such a move.
Trump said the international group had “called it wrong” on the virus and that the organization was “very China-centric” in its approach, suggesting that the WHO had gone along with Beijing’s efforts months ago to minimize the severity of the outbreak. The WHO has praised China for its transparency on the virus, even though there has been reason to believe that more people died of COVID-19 than the country’s official tally.
“They should have known and they probably did know,” Trump said of WHO officials.
Throughout his presidency, Trump has voiced skepticism toward many international organizations and has repeatedly heaped scorn on the WHO. In its most recent budget proposal, in February, the Trump administration called for slashing the U.S. contribution to the WHO from an estimated $122.6 million to $57.9 million.
The organization’s current guidance does not advocate closing borders or restricting travel, though many nations, including the United States, have enacted those steps. The WHO declared COVID-19 a public health emergency on Jan. 30, nearly a month before Trump tweeted that “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA” and a full 43 days before he declared a national emergency in the United States.
Health experts have suggested that the weekly death totals will reach a new high in the United States this week. More than 12,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S.
Vice President Mike Pence said that the Centers for Disease Control will release new guidelines this week for returning to work for people with potential exposure but who may not be displaying symptoms.
Trump continued on Tuesday to defend his actions in the early days of the crisis. He played down memos written by Peter Navarro, a senior White House adviser, that were made public this week. In the late January memos, the most direct warning as yet uncovered in the upper levels of the Trump administration, Navarro warned that the coronavirus crisis could cost the United States trillions of dollars and put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death.
Trump said Tuesday that he was not aware of the memos back in January but that he unilaterally followed some of their recommendations, including taking steps to curtail travel from China. But he said he wouldn’t have wanted to act prematurely when it was not clear how dire the situation would become.
“I don’t want to create havoc and shock and everything else. I’m not going to go out and start screaming, ’This could happen, this could happen,'” Trump said. “I’m a cheerleader for this country.”
Governor Abbott Announces Temporary Closure Of State Parks And Historic Sites
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has directed the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Texas Historical Commission (THC) to close all state parks and historic sites as part of the state’s efforts to strengthen social distancing practices and prevent gatherings of large groups of people. Historic sites and state parks will close to the public starting at 5:00 p.m. yesterday evening and will reopen at the direction of the Governor.
“Social distancing is our best tool to curb the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” said Governor Abbott. “The temporary closure of our state parks and historic sites will help us achieve this goal by preventing the gathering of large groups of people. I urge all Texans to continue to stay at home except for essential services as we respond to COVID-19. By following these social distance practices, we will overcome this challenge together.”
While the THC closings may make sense, the closing of state parks doesn’t, because large groups of people don’t gather in those parks regularly, as people seek solace and nature.
TWPD issued a statement yesterday, “While parks are closed to the public, staff will be working to help maintain the standard upkeep, maintenance, stewardship, and continued regular cleaning of site facilities.” In other words, the TWPD employees will draw salaries while regular Texas citizens are losing their jobs as a result of government mandates.