On March 24th, I was one of 35 conservative leaders that Vice President Mike Pence briefed on COVID-19.
I was very encouraged by what I heard, and I think you will be too. The Vice President first reviewed the actions that President Trump has taken thus far to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.
- President Trump stopped travel from China in late January and then Italy and South Korea. Even though he was advised that these were unprecedented actions, he decisively imposed them based on sound medical counsel in order to help slow the spread of the virus here in the U.S.
- While the President has the authority to direct American industry to make critical supplies by the force of law, he has instead simply asked American business leaders to help. And they have done so enthusiastically and effectively.
- The President has stripped away regulatory red tape that had prevented the redeployment of industrial masks for medical uses. The masks are safe and effective, but bureaucracy was keeping these resources from being redirected efficiently. Safety and common sense prevailed.
We are halfway through the 15 days designed to slow the spread. We should all be committed to doing our part for the remainder of the 15 days by continuing to follow the recommendations of the White House.
While the exact timetable remains uncertain, the Vice President emphasized that we would be getting back to business in weeks, not months. Continue reading
President Trump, who is doing everything he can to fight the coronavirus, called for a Day of Prayer recently. He proclaimed, “We are a country that, throughout our history, has looked to God for protection and strength in times like these.”
But David Hogg, a Parkland shooting survivor, tweeted: “Don’t let this administration address COVID-19 like our national gun violence. [Expletive] a National day of prayer, we need immediate comprehensive action.”
U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, famous for her declaration to “impeach the [expletive]” even retweeted Hogg’s message. Dr. William Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, notes: Tlaib, as a U.S. Representative, should be censured for her “obscene assault on people of faith.” Continue reading
Businesses across Oregon are laying off employees and shuttering their doors, triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak and Kate Brown’s executive order requiring social distancing and closing specified businesses. Unemployment claims jumped by around 3,200% in Oregon last week and unemployment could reach 20% in the coming months.
Due to the outbreak and increased statewide demand, the state is relaxing requirements for some occupations. For example, the state will be expediting the licensing process for daycare providers and will “waive, suspend or amend existing administrative rules pertaining to child care while allowing for emergency child care to be established.”
Easing the burden and costs of licensing for daycare workers is a good first step, but the state can go farther to help more Oregonians access jobs they otherwise would be locked out of due to costly fees and lengthy processes. Oregon has the 8th most burdensome licensing laws in the nation and licenses 69 of 102 lower-income occupations identified by the Institute for Justice. Continue reading
Hope for the coronavirus is here. We don’t have to wait for it. We don’t have to wait for a year and a half to get a vaccine developed and tested. There is an inexpensive, readily available drug which has already cured its first coronavirus patient. It is cheap, effective, and available today.
The drug, choloroquine (or hydroxycholoroquine), has been used to treat malaria since 1944. It can safely be used with patients of all ages, including children. Scientists in China and South Korea began testing it on patients diagnosed with coronavirus, and discovered that it is something of a wonder drug in dealing with this disease.
China’s daily rate of new infections has dropped virtually to zero, and the entire world looks at South Korea as a model of how to respond to this virus. Perhaps the use of choloroquine has something to do with that.
South Korea has never resorted to the “incarceration in place” edicts that are keeping the American people imprisoned in their own homes while criminals are released from jail so they won’t catch the virus from other inmates. Continue reading
Updated orders for individuals, businesses, public organizations, and outdoor spaces to prevent COVID-19 spread
Governor Kate Brown today issued Executive Order 20-12, directing everyone in Oregon to stay at home to the maximum extent possible and adding to the listof businesses that will be temporarily closed to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon.The order is effective immediately, and remains in effect until ended by the Governor.
“We are learning more about this virus and how people react to it every day. Not just from a medical standpoint, but from a social and behavioral standpoint.
“I started by asking Oregonians to stay home and practice social distancing. Then I urged the public to follow these recommendations. Instead, thousands crowded the beaches of our coastal communities, our trails, our parks, and our city streets, potentially spreading COVID-19 and endangering the lives of others across the state. Now, I’m ordering it. To save lives and protect our community. Continue reading
My search for coronavirus artifacts began in the vast sedimentary sludge of late Holocene reporting from national health centers around the world. (That is, not quite a week ago.) I noted, for example, how the very high death rate from the virus in Italy contrasted with the very low death rate in Germany. Specifically, 8% of infected Italians were dying, while only 0.3% of infected Germans were dying. That is a ratio of more than 25 to one, and I concluded it could not possibly be accounted for by the various explanations offered—the smoking rate in Italy, an older population, less frequent hand washing, closer personal space etc. There had to be something else at work.
On the morning of March 19th I wrote to family and friends: “I have a suspicion that the data on the coronavirus epidemic is being misapplied. Looking at the exponential growth in the number of new coronavirus cases, it strikes me that this could simply be an artifact reflecting the exponential growth in the number of people being tested.” (An “artifact,” in this sense, is a misleading or confusing creation or application of data.) I explained that as the number of people tested increases, the number of new cases will fall off because we will reach a point of diminishing returns. “It will be like picking cherries,” I wrote, “slow at first until you bring out the ladder, and then increasing rapidly until only the most difficult fruit to access is left on the tree. The more rapidly the tests are being deployed, the more dramatic this data artifact will be.” Continue reading
Democrats, it seems, will take every opportunity to fund their No. 1 cause, even when the nation is focused on an unprecedented crisis.
When the emergency bill was introduced in Congress to address the coronavirus pandemic, it was no surprise that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi included millions of dollars for abortion.
But when President Trump threatened a veto, she blinked and the provision vanished.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, recounted the behind-the-scenes fight in which Trump emerged victorious over Pelosi. He noted the final version of the relief bill remains to be seen. But Republican “leaders won’t have to contend with at least one thing: abortion funding.”
Under Pelosi’s direction, “in the wee hours of Saturday morning” the House Democrats “had tried to tack on a secret slush fund for abortion.”
“Even MSNBC couldn’t hide its shock,” he wrote, with host Joy Reid asking, “What does that have to do with COVID-19?” Continue reading
Every Child, in direct partnership with the Oregon Department of Human Services, is launching a comprehensive statewide emergency response to the fast-growing needs of children and families in Oregon’s foster care system. The initiative—My NeighbOR—launches at 7:00pm on Sunday, March 22 and will be fully operational by Monday, March 23 at 9:00am. Oregonians across all 36 counties are being asked to step forward and meet the tangible needs of foster families and youth in foster care.
Foster families across Oregon have needs due to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Systems and networks meant to care for those in foster care—and the foster families who serve them—are being challenged and taxed with growing needs. School closures, significant economic changes, and a limited pool of foster homes are adding additional strain to our state’s current capacity. We need the community to step up. Continue reading
Our system may not be the fastest, but it’s giving us trustworthy answers
Federal officials recently testified before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform about government responses to the COVID-19 crisis. Committee members exhibited concern and frustration, and engaged in politicized finger-pointing, over what they said was needlessly slow development and distribution of diagnostic tests – particularly as compared to some other countries.
Some praised South Korea for testing more people in one day than the U.S. did in the past two months. Italy and the U.K. also got positive mention. One wonders whether these Oversight Committee members have any real appreciation for the system that they and their predecessors created.
In response to one question, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said “the system is not really geared to what we need right now” and “the idea of anybody getting it easily the way people in other countries are doing it, we are not set up for that.” He added, “that is a failing.”
Committee members and the media seized on this widely misquoted and misinterpreted response as evidence of the government’s failure to provide needed tests. Some background about our system, and facts about the federal government’s actual actions, should correct at least some of the fake news that quickly dominated many articles, editorials and talking head comments. Continue reading
The UN, environmentalist pressure groups and their financial backers have a lot to answer for
The ChiCom coronavirus and COVID-19 outbreaks, deaths and responses continue to dominate US, European and Asian news. Meanwhile, a very different infestation is devastating East African crops and leaving tens of millions at risk of starvation and death. If COVID hits these weakened populations, amid their malaria and other systemic diseases, it would bring tragedy on unimaginable scales.
“Across Somalia, desert locusts in a swarm the size of Manhattan have destroyed a swath of farmland as big as Oklahoma,” the Wall Street Journal’s Nicholas Bariyo reports. “In Kenya, billions-strong clouds of the insects have eaten through 800 square miles of crops and survived a weeks-long spraying campaign. They have “swept across more than 10 nations on two continents.” In parts of East Africa they “are destroying some 1.8 million metric tons of vegetation every day, enough food to feed 81 million people.”
East Africa has a Desert Locust Control Organization. But it, the region and the individual countries were totally unprepared for the onslaught, unaware the hordes were coming, irresponsibly underfunded, with almost no pesticides or aircraft to spray them. By the time they acted, it was too little, too late.
The massive swarms are hardly unprecedented. Locusts “covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt.” [Exodus 10:15] Locusts pillaged long before that, and have returned hundreds of times since. Continue reading