Reporters from the Washington Post quoted Dara Kass, of Columbia University Medical Center, on the difference between this and Trump’s previous, now-discredited advice that people start taking a certain kind of pill:
“The difference between this and the chloroquine [pills] is that somebody could go right away to their pantry and start swallowing bleach. They could go to their medicine cabinet and swallow isopropyl alcohol,” Kass said. “A lot of people have that in their homes. There’s an immediate opportunity to react.”
Kass explained to the Post that people who ingest such chemicals often die, and those “who survive usually end up with feeding tubes because their mouth and esophagus were eroded by the cleaning agents.”
“It’s horrific,” she said.
Jack Holmes, politics editor of Esquire:
There is a need among some, particularly in Washington, to believe the president is not completely batty. The prospect that he has no idea what he's doing, and in fact may not be all there, is psychologically difficult for some to grapple with. It's also scary for some folks to think about just saying what's in front of them and feeling the backlash from his supporters. So evening-news programs and newspapers spend a lot of time cleaning up what the president says, pruning the overgrown hedges into something vaguely coherent in their reports.
But he's not going to get better. He's not going to grow into the job or become more "presidential". How many words, realistically, do you really believe he's read about COVID-19? How many pages of briefings? When are we going to demand more than a circus from the people in whom we now have so much of our futures invested, willingly or not? We should be calling for this guy to resign on a daily basis.
Michelle Goldberg, in the New York Times today:
As the coronavirus crisis has unfolded in America, [author Adam] Higginbotham has noticed other parallels. “The response that I see has followed a very similar trajectory: initial public denials or reluctance to publicly admit that anything was wrong, then attempts to minimize the severity of what was happening, rooted in an institutional inability to acknowledge failure,” he said. “The initial response was hampered by a lack of equipment and a breakdown in communication that revealed that despite years of planning, the state was hopelessly ill prepared for such a catastrophe.”
Yet one crucial difference also stands out to him. Soviet officials lied about Chernobyl and tried to shift blame but accepted that remediation was the state’s responsibility. “There was a lot of disinformation and cover-up, but as far as I know nobody in the Politburo was on the phone to the party leaders in Kyiv and Minsk saying, ‘You’re on your own — sort it out yourselves,’ ” said Higginbotham.
Chernobyl is now widely seen as a signal event on the road to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Coronavirus may someday be seen as a similar inflection point in the story of American decline. A country that could be brought to its knees this quickly was sick well before the virus arrived.
Dana Milbank, yesterday:
I can add clinical evidence, derived from searching the Mayo Clinic’s website for side effects of azithromycin, hydroxychloroquine and its cousin, chloroquine. Among them, I found: “change in hair color” (Trump has recently faded from orange to gray), “discoloration of the skin” (originally and mistakenly attributed to tanning beds), “trouble sleeping” (see his overnight tweets), “noisy breathing” (that gasping during his Oval Office address), “difficulty with speaking” (whenever using a teleprompter), “runny nose,” (the sniffing!) and “unusual facial expressions” (‘nuff said).
Also, consider the mental side effects the drugs can cause: Irritability. Confusion. Aggression. Anger. Hostility. Quickness to react or overreact emotionally. Unusual behavior. Unsteadiness. Severe mood or mental changes. Restlessness. Paranoia. Depersonalization (an emotional “numbness”). Feeling that others are watching you or controlling your behavior. Feeling that others can hear your thoughts. Feeling, seeing or hearing things that are not there.
Marina Hyde in The Guardian, also yesterday:
Another interesting thing to check would be the precise theoretical point at which deciding to ingest bleach becomes the tragically rational response to the fact that a sitting president is suggesting Americans ingest bleach. For now, though, let’s just include the presidential caveat. Pointing to his head, Trump went on: “I’m not a doctor. But I’m, like, a person that has a good you-know-what.”
Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis was always predictable pathologically. You’re asking a man who got to the Oval Office by going viral to disavow a virus. It’s not very surprising that Trump can’t bring himself to. You have to think he recognises something of a kindred spirit in the disease, which is indifferent to all human suffering, impacts disproportionately on ethnic minorities and is horrifyingly resistant to therapy.
And on April 11th, Der Spiegel had a long-for explanation of how the US has fallen from world dominance, in large part because of the president:
Again and again, Trump’s advisers have had to bring him to his senses, but even that often doesn’t work. When the president announced a week ago Friday that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was going to recommend people wear masks in public, he immediately added that he wasn’t even considering wearing one himself. "I don’t see it for myself, I just don’t.” His comments certainly didn’t clear up any confusion.
We will get through this. But whether "we" means you and me or "we" means some remnant of the human species cannot be predicted at this time.