Well I, for one, am relieved:
President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that the U.S. is “very, very ready” for whatever the coronavirus threat brings, and he put his vice president in charge of overseeing the nation’s response.
Trump sought to minimize fears of the virus spreading widely across the U.S., saying, “I don’t think it’s inevitable.”
What could possibly go wro…
In late 2014, health officials belatedly became aware of an HIV outbreak in Scott County, Indiana. With fewer than 24,000 people, this rural county rarely saw a single new case in a year, according to The New York Times. But by the time government agencies tried to stop the transmission of the virus a few months later, some 215 people had tested positive.
One man seemed responsible for needlessly letting the situation get out of control: Indiana’s then-Governor Mike Pence. In 2015, when the virus was seeming to rapidly move through networks of people who use intravenous drugs, even the reluctant local sheriff encouraged the governor to authorize a clean-needle exchange, a proven tool to reduce such an outbreak.
But, as the Times reported when he became Donald Trump’s running mate, “Mr. Pence, a steadfast conservative, was morally opposed to needle exchanges on the grounds that they supported drug abuse.” His opposition was based on an incorrect belief; while research has long shown that needle exchanges do reduce HIV and hepatitis, it has also shown that they do not encourage drug use.
This should work out great. In related news:
It’s now looking like coronavirus is threatening a potential public health emergency. And a battle has broken out between the White House and Democrats over how much money to allocate to the crisis, with the White House pushing for less than Democrats think is called for.
But at the core of this dispute is something that’s hasn’t yet gotten public exposure — and is potentially very troubling.
House Democrats tell us they are outraged by one aspect of the White House response in particular: The White House appears to have informed Democrats that they want to fund the emergency response in part by taking money from a program that funds low-income home heating assistance.