Many Legal Insurrection readers know I have a degree in biochemistry, and have donned the full-body protective suit during responses to releases of body fluids during my career as a hazardous materials specialist.

So, I listened to President Donald Trump’s press conference with extreme interest today. Immediately, I noted something fascinating: Rod Rosenstein’s sister was nowhere to be seen, and one of the featured members of Trump’s coronavirus response task force as the reasonable and rational HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

Clearly, this press conference was a masterful response by Trump to gain control of the flow of facts and provide full information to the American public without the distortions of media infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome.

While there is much to analyze here, I would like to laser-in on a few key points.

One of the biggest questions I have had while preparing my Wuhan Virus Watch posts is: Exactly what is the current health status of the 15 Americans who were infected while within this country? The number will help us gauge exactly how lethal this virus is, as we clearly cannot rely on the Chinese data.

According to the President, the news is good.

The president revealed that of the “15” Americans confirmed to have the virus, eight have “returned to their homes to stay in their homes until fully recovered, one is in the hospital, and five have fully recovered; and one is, uh, we think in pretty good shape, and is in between hospital and going home.” Trump later said the person was “pretty sick and hopefully will recover.”

The means that the virus isn’t quite as deadly as many have feared. Factors that could work in our favor include great sanitation, access to excellent medical care, and good diet…all of which play a role in recovering from illness.

Another aspect of Trump’s announcement that I found encouraging was that he wasn’t appointing a “Coronavirus Czar”. I recall the antics of the “Ebola Czar” during the previous administration. The position, which as filled by an Obama operative, didn’t enhance one aspect of an initially chaotic response to the American cases of the deadly hemorrhagic fever.

Vice President Michael Pence is the perfect choice to head up the Task Force. Firstly, Pence clearly has not acted to undermine Trump in the past 3 plus-years of their partnership.

Secondly, like Azar, Pence will not engage in fear-mongering, and his demeanor will make it difficult for the press to go into panic-mode. But if Pence tells you its bad, chances are that the assessment won’t be based on fake videos or edited graphics.

Thirdly, this is a real chance for Pence to shine on his own despite the bright light of Trump’s charisma. Many of us are looking ahead to 2024, and a successful response by Pence would make him a formidable candidate if he opted to seek the Oval Office.

Perhaps the best moment in the press conference came when Trump, a known germaphobe, discussed being hugged by a sick man.

In that exchanged, Trump gave the public a real-world view of the virus’ spread. In my view, his suggesting that Americans use the same protocol for protecting themselves against a flu for which there was no vaccine…and describing the approach so vividly…was pitch perfect.

On the topic of vaccines: Also on stage was the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease (NIAD) Dr Anthony Fauci, who noted that trials are set to begin for a vaccine for coronavirus, a record-setting three months after the virus was sequenced.

He added that the vaccine won’t be ready for a year to a year-and-a-half.

At that point, it will make little impact on the current outbreak but, in the likely event that the virus is here to stay in coming years, Dr Fauci expects a vaccine will be ready.

I appreciated Trump focusing on each member of the panel, and providing evidence that the United States was the best prepared country, in terms of dealing with an epidemic. And while more can always be done, the press conference sent the message that whatever action taken will be as effective as possible.

On the other hand, the press covered itself with shame. Most of the questions were not an attempt to gather more information, but to create “gotcha” moments and to politicize this particular crisis. Trump had the best cure for this tactic, as he dismissed the trite narratives and replaced them with his own…including the fact that his travel ban helped us keep our current infection numbers low.

 

 
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