Glenn talks to one of the few good journalists left in Washington, DC: Jake Tapper

On this morning's radio show, Glenn invited veteran reporter Jake Tapper onto the show. Regarded by many as one of the few good reporters in Washington, Tapper is often one of the only ones to ask the tough questions that matter regardless of who is in office. He talked to Glenn about his experience in Washington as well as his new book The Outpost: A Tale of Uncommon American Valor.

 

Transcript of interview is below:

GLENN: I remember I was working at CNN the day that we found out that Tim Russert had died and I was struck by the conversation in the newsroom because the CNN journalists were saying, "Well, they don't make him like anymore, they sure don't make them like Tim Russert." And I thought to myself, well, A, there's no printing press where people are ‑‑ you know, where somebody's making good journalists. It's up to the journalists to become good journalists. And their conversation wasn't just that he was a decent guy but he was fair and he was ‑‑ he was honest in his approach.

The way I can always tell a good journalist is they piss me off about half the time. They ask the tough questions and they'll ask it consistently no matter who it is. So a good journalist like Tim Russert will say the things and you're never really sure because he will ask the really tough questions and you're never sure is he ‑‑ is he a liberal or is he conservative? Which way does he go? Because he's just asking the question that should be asked. And as Tim Russert used to do, he will ask the tough questions that will make you cheer and then the next ‑‑ he will follow up with the next question and you're like, "Oh, come on, that's unbelievable."

We were talking the other day before the election. We were joking that, well, Jake Tapper's going to start pissing us off because Mitt Romney's going to win and he's perceived to be our guy and so now he'll ask the tough questions and we'll be like, oh, jeez, don't call on Jake Tapper. But that's the sign of a good journalist, one that asks the tough questions no matter who is in office. I believe Jake Tapper is the only one close to Tim Russert and I believe he is probably the best, most honest journalist out there and I think he probably despises me. But that's okay.

Jake Tapper is a senior White House correspondent and author of a new book called The Outpost: The Untold Story of American Valor and he's on program with us now, surprisingly. Hello, Jake, how are you, sir?

TAPPER: Well, let me just first of all thank you for having me on. I do not despise you, Glenn.

GLENN: I don't know. I just assumed that anybody who was in ‑‑

TAPPER: No. No, no, my ‑‑ I have limited reservoir of loathing and you do not earn any of it.

GLENN: All right. Well, that's a smart man. So Jake, I want to talk about ‑‑ I want to talk a little bit about your book because I think you have unique insight to many things, but one of them is what's happening in Afghanistan. And your book is called The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor. Tell us about the story and why you wrote it.

TAPPER: I was in the hospital room, the recovery room with my wife and my newborn son Jack. This is October 3rd, 2009. Jack was a day old. And out of the corner of my eye, I caught a news report on, I think it was CNN, maybe Fox, of an outpost I had never heard of, combat outpost Keating that had been overrun by the Taliban that day. And I was holding my son and hearing about eight other sons taken from this world. And there was something about that moment that just captured me. I don't know if it was, you know, the Ecclesiastes nature of something being born while others are being killed or what it was, but the mystery of the outpost, of why it was put in the vulnerable place it was put, at the bottom of three steep mountains 14 miles from the Pakistan border, I waited for reports about why it was put there. And I wanted to hear about the soldiers who fought that day, 53 U.S. troops facing up to 400 Taliban. So outnumbered 7 or 8 to 1. And I never heard. I never heard. No one ever told me. The people covering the war had other things to cover. There were certainly no shortage of battles and things to cover in Afghanistan. So I'm not begrudging war reporters, but the media never provided the information for me and it just gnawed at me and I wanted to know more. I wanted to know who these men were who died, I wanted to know why the outpost was there. That became a mystery that I needed to solve. Ultimately ‑‑

GLENN: So explain why it was because I mean, here ‑‑ this is a camp where our troops are sitting ducks.

TAPPER: Yeah, they were.

GLENN: Why was it put there?

TAPPER: Well, when the outpost ‑‑ the book traces the whole history of the outpost from 2006 through 2009. And when it was first put there, the idea was to put a lot of these little remote outposts all over Eastern Afghanistan for a lot of reasons, one of which was to stop insurgents from flowing across the border from the country that dare not speak its name, Pakistan, with bushels of weapons to kill U.S. troops. Another reason was to connect the locals with the Afghan government even though the locals in this part of the country didn't know there was such a thing as the Afghan government. And ultimately one of the reasons it was put in this spot was because this is a very mountainous part of Afghanistan, the base of the Hindu Kush mountain range and it needed to be near the road. And if you're going to be near a road, then you're going to be at the bottom of a mountain. The reason it needed to be near the road, not just to be close to the locals and also to monitor insurgents coming, using those roads was because most of the helicopters were in Iraq. So the only way to resupply the camp was on the road in a convoy and so that's why it was put there. And it was put there at a time when insurgent activity in that area was not that strong. Was ‑‑ you know, it was certainly something, nothing that you or I would like but certainly nothing like what was to come.

So it was a decision that was questionable in retrospect but more importantly the decision to keep it there, to keep that outpost there became increasingly questionable as the years went on.

GLENN: Do you even know why we're over in Afghanistan anymore?

TAPPER: The mission now ‑‑

GLENN: Not as a journalist. Not as a journalist. As an American. As a dad.

TAPPER: Yes. I do, I think, which is we are over there for two reasons. And this is ‑‑ one of them is a direct answer and one of them is more of a theoretical answer. The direct answer is we're there to train the Afghan forces so that they can take control when our troops leave. The theoretical answer is that we're there because we've been there for are so long, we need to make sure that when we leave, it wasn't all for naught. I think that's part of it.

GLENN: Do you believe ‑‑ I mean, Jake, I don't know how much, you know, you know about me really besides, you know, YouTube clips and everything else. But I'm a guy who has been questioning us in Afghanistan with great vigor since Bush was in office.

TAPPER: I know. I know.

GLENN: Nobody in the Bush administration was a fan of mine, either. So this isn't about, you know, parties. This is just about wars that just don't make sense. It just doesn't ‑‑ we're not ‑‑ it's, you know, this idea that we can sacrifice our own to try to give something to a people that don't even begin to understand freedom the way we do and try to, you know, "Here, here's a gift," they don't, many of them don't want it or don't understand it and couldn't protect it. How do you suppose this ends?

TAPPER: That's a great question, Glenn. I think, I think it ends, first of all, it's not going to end in 2014 as you know even though Vice President Biden said, you know, count on it: We're going to leave by 2014. That's not really honest in terms of our true presence because we will have troops there after that. They won't be quote/unquote combat troops. They will be counterterrorist troops. They'll be elite forces of Green Berets and Navy SEALs ready to engage in, you know, counterterrorist missions.

I think it ends over several years. I think it ends with U.S. troops coming home, you know, most of U.S. troops coming home in 2014. I think it ends with a lot of fighting in Afghanistan and there will be I think setbacks and there will be some, some good news, not all bad news, and I think the U.S. will be there for some time. In the same way that, you know, Iraq is what it is but it's not ‑‑ you know, I wouldn't ‑‑ you know, I don't think you and I are planning any vacations there anytime soon.

GLENN: No, that's not exactly a paradise.

TAPPER: Right. But I mean, I think it's going to be long and drawn out before things settle down there, if they ever do.

GLENN: We're talking to Jake Tapper. Jake, you don't have to go very far in this book. You make it to Page 82 and you tell a master story, as a master storyteller. Tell the story about how the death of one soldier reaches his wife.

TAPPER: Do you want me to read it or ‑‑

GLENN: That's up to you.

TAPPER: I'll tell it.

GLENN: Yeah.

TAPPER: Joe Fenty is a character in the book. He was a lieutenant‑colonel and he and his wife, he was a career military. He and his wife Kristin had gone, they were college sweethearts and they had not had a child. Kristin had had some health issues but then she finally got pregnant and she was 40 and Joe Fenty, lieutenant‑colonel Fenty was commander of 371 cav pushing in order into this part of Afghanistan. And their baby was born, Lauren, in just a few weeks before this one mission that Joe Fenty went on when he was extracting his troops from these mountain ranges. One of the things I think a lot of people don't understand about Afghanistan, probably because we in the media don't cover it well enough, is that one of the things that's so dangerous over there is not just the Taliban. It's the land. The mountains are difficult. The roads are narrow and weak. And they're not ‑‑ our combat equipment is not designed for this mountainous terrain.

So Joe Fenty ultimately on this mission, which he did not have to be on but he wanted to be there to command and control from the helicopter as they were extracting U.S. troops from these mountains if killed in a helicopter crash. Ten American soldiers are killed that day, it's May 2006. And in fact, you may recently have heard just a few days ago, and maybe it was even yesterday, there was a suicide attack by Taliban soldiers at forward operating base Fenty, named after Joe Fenty in Jalalabad.

So a major, Timmons, Rich Timmons gets permission from his boss and lieutenant‑colonel Fenty's boss, colonel Nicholson, Mick Nicholson, who's now a general, to go up on top of a mountain and using his satellite phone call his wife to make sure that she, who is on vacation with their kids in Disney World and I guess at that point in Pennsylvania racing back to Fort Drum in New York so that she, Gretchen Timmons, can be by Kristin Fenty's side. Kristin Fenty has a three‑ or four‑week‑old baby Lauren and her college sweetheart has just been killed in a helicopter crash and he wanted to make sure that she had support around her. That's against army protocols but Colonel Nicholson let Major Timmons do that. He reaches his wife, she gets in her car with her mother‑in‑law and kids and races back to Fort Drum. She races up to Kristin Fenty's home, you know, to be there for her. Kristin Fenty opens the door, smiling, happy, holding Baby Lauren. Oh, my God, Gretchen Timmons says to herself. She doesn't know yet. Gretchen Timmons makes small talk to Kristin Fenty, comes inside, they spend the day hanging out, watching TV. Gretchen Timmons watches Kristin Fenty pack a care package for the husband who will never get this care package. A news report comes on TV about this helicopter crash. They knew that there are only 20,000 troops in Afghanistan and the tenth mountain division is a major part of that. Probably somebody they know was killed in that crash. But Kristin Fenty is not told. The reason it takes so long is because the bodies were so badly burned on that mountainside, it took a long time to identify each one of the ten. In any case Gretchen Timmons ends the night at Kristin Fenty's. Kristin Fenty still doesn't know. Gretchen Timmons goes back to her house at Fort Drum and tells her mother‑in‑law Kristin still doesn't know. And it was one of the worst and most surreal days of Gretchen Timmons' life.

The next day she goes back, you know, before 7:00 in the morning, which is not so unusual for Army wives, and Kristin Fenty still doesn't know. Invites her in but now she's starting to suspect something's up because Gretchen Timmons makes up a ridiculous excuse about not having coffee and Gretchen Timmons is the kind of person who always has coffee. And then eventually there's a sound at the door. Kristin Fenty hears it and she thinks maybe that's just the wind. At this point she knows but she's lying to herself. Maybe that's just the wind at the door. But then she goes to the door and she sees Lieutenant‑colonel Mike Howard from across the street and a chaplain and she hands her baby to Gretchen Timmons and starts crying. And that's the end of that scene.

GLENN: The name of the book, The Outpost: The Untold Story of American Valor well worth the read by one of the only real functioning journalists I think in America that is left, Jake Tapper. Jake, let me switch gears here. You going up against Jay Carney and Robert Gibbs, pretty legendary. You're the only guy that seems to keep going in and keep questioning and using common sense and logic. The conservatives will say the press is either in bed, refuses to look at common sense and logic, or they're afraid of the administration. Why do you think you stand alone so often?

TAPPER: Well, you know, obviously I hear a lot of good questions from my colleagues. I ‑‑ it may be that I was early on asking tougher questions than others since a few others maybe. I don't know. You know, I do hear tough questions asked from my colleagues. So I mean ‑‑

GLENN: But it's not ‑‑ I will tell you this, that it's unusual and they're not the kind of questions that would have been asked by any other ‑‑ to any other administration. And if there are tough questions, they usually don't press them. They will say, "Well, that's because we have magic bunny rabbits in the backyard that are making more eggs." And you're like, "Oh, okay. No followup questions." Why is it, does it seem at least, or defend that it's not, why does it seem that there's just really, there's not a lot of pressure on this administration?

PAT: When it certainly seemed like there was pressure on Bush?

GLENN: Or anybody else, anybody else?

TAPPER: I mean, I think, you know, there is an argument to be made that the media didn't ‑‑ first of all let me just say there's no upside in my answering that question.

PAT: Yeah, that's ‑‑ either way that's what I was afraid of.

TAPPER: But I will say I think one of the things that informs how I ask the questions ‑‑ well, there are two things. One is substantive and one is stylistic. Substantively I don't think the media asks enough tough questions about WMD in the buildup to war in Iraq. I just, you know, I just think that is a matter of fact that the media at‑large failed in challenging intelligence assumptions leading up to the war in Iraq. So that informs everything I do because that's a responsibility that I feel the press didn't meet. Stylistically I'll just say that, like, I think early on ‑‑ see, when Gibbs was doing it, Gibbs and I, you know, we would spar all the time but nobody was filming it. So the first couple of times we did it and then I realized that there were TV cameras on us I think got some notice. And then I realized, you know, you can actually be more effective by asking tougher questions in a lower key voice.

GLENN: I have to tell you, I have to tell you, Jake, this ‑‑ I can't believe I'm saying this to you but I'm out of time. I would love to have you on another time because I really have profound respect for you. All of us do. Even though we may come from ‑‑ I have no idea and I don't really care, different political viewpoints, please keep going. Please keep doing your job and we'd love to talk to you again, sir.

TAPPER: Thanks, Glenn. Anytime. Sounds great. Happy holidays. Merry Christmas.

With all the panic surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, it's important to stay calm and remember where we are as things begin to get worse in the US. We are currently around 50 days behind China in the course of this illness and you won't believe some of the stories and headlines that were out there at the time. Check back each day as we update these stories, here are a few:

February 4th — 63 days ago

The city of Taizhou and three Hangzhou districts will only allow one person per household to go outside every two days to buy necessities, city officials said. The areas between them account for more than nine million people.

Nationwide, despite China's extensive surveillance network with its facial recognition systems and high end cameras which is increasingly used to track its people, the gov has turned to familiar authoritarian techniques - such as setting up dragnets and asking neighbors to inform each other.

Victor Lam, the government's chief information officer, said the wristbands will be connected to a phone plugged into the mains at the wearer's home. If the wristband moves too far away from the phone, an alert will be sent to the authorities.

However, Lam was spotted wearing a mask on Tuesday morning when receiving petitions outside her office from protesters angered at her government's response to the outbreak, just before meeting reporters.

Viruses mutate all the time, but most changes are synonymous or "silent", having little effect on the way the virus behaves. Others, known as nonsynonymous substitutions, can alter biological traits, allowing them to adapt to different environments. Two nonsynonymous changes took place.

China says it has more than 20,000 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus, representing a huge leap from the 4,400 cases reported as of last week.


February 13th — 54 days ago

Health authorities in China's Hubei province – the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic – reported on Thursday 14,840 new confirmed cases, almost 10 times the number reported a day earlier, and new deaths attributable to the contagion rose to 242, more than double on the day.

"At some point, we are likely to see community spread in the U.S. or in other countries," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "This will trigger a change in our response strategy."

The coronavirus outbreak may be peaking in China where it was first detected in the central city of Wuhan but it is just beginning in the rest of the world and likely to spread, a global expert on infectious diseases said on Feb. 12.

Global health experts are divided on whether the coronavirus outbreak has peaked or worse is to come, but a more fundamental problem for front-line hospitals and laboratories is identifying when a person carrying the virus becomes infectious to others.

Wuhan's overburdened health workers are unable to confirm many of those who died were suffering from Covid-19, so they will not show up in official figures

Hong Kong schools will remain closed until March 16 at the earliest and an important exam for primary school pupils has been cancelled, the education minister said on Thursday.


February 14th — 53 days ago

Medical personnel in Wuhan, outfitted in protective suits as they battle the coronavirus outbreak, wear diapers as they work through gruelling shifts, often until skin irritation from their masks leaves bloody marks on their faces.

The new cases bring the number of passengers and crew members infected with the virus to 218.

A Japanese health official who visited the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess in Yokohama has been diagnosed with the Wuhan coronavirus, Japan's health ministry reported Wednesday.

A cruise ship that spent two weeks at sea after being turned away by five countries over fears that someone aboard may have the coronavirus arrived in Cambodia on Thursday to the relief of passengers and the praise of global health officials.

A labeling mix-up was to blame for a San Diego hospital mistakenly releasing a patient infected with the coronavirus, officials said Tuesday.

Bats, rats and snakes are still flying off the shelves at an Indonesian market known for its wildlife offerings despite a government request to take them off the menu over coronavirus fears.

"This was a sneak attack, like a thief in the night."

"A wartime President."

"A great battle, against an invisible enemy."

"We will win and declare a great victory for our country."

All of these are direct quotes from President Donald Trump, all uttered since March 1st of this year.

And of course, all of them ring decidedly true and make perfect sense. Even Trump's most ardent opponents have referred to the current situation in which America finds itself as a once in a generation emergency, and that we should be on a wartime footing. They've called for more and more power to be handed to, no, more explicitly they've called for more power to be taken by the President to do battle against "The Invisible Enemy," everything from commandeering manufacturing plants to logistics and shipping companies to pharmaceutical manufacturing and research, to nationalizing the banking sector and all mortgages.

On the other hand, the President has preferred to form a partnership with private industries to wage the war. Turning to America's great companies to produce masks, respirators, ventilators, medicine and vaccines that will ensure our country can and will prevail.

The United States – and the entire world – is engaged in a great battle, against an unseen enemy. An enemy that threatens to kill our people and destroy our nation and our way of life. It's an enemy that we have seen and fought before, as a people. We have faced this enemy throughout human history, over and over we've had to battle it. All of us are descendants of survivors of the countless previous wars that humanity has had to fight against this hidden enemy of man.

The enemy is a disease. The enemy is a virus.

The enemy is not SARS-CoV-2, Coronavirus.

No, the virus we're battling against is Slavery.

Call it what you want. Socialism. Collectivism. Communism. Statism. Despotism. A one-world government. Those are all forms of the same thing: some people's individual liberty captured for the betterment and benefit of others. All of those are forms of enslaving some men to the will and needs of others.

A virus is a biological construct. It's a biological disease caused by a virus, an unliving, unthinking sliver of organic material and takes over cells to turn them into factories that produce more viral particles to take over more cells until, ultimately, the host is killed. Doing battle against a virus requires treating both the symptoms caused by infection as well as finding a vaccine that can destroy the virus itself.

But slavery is a political and moral construct. It's a social disease caused by an immoral idea, spread by unthinking, unfeeling human beings who transmit the disease to others turning them into factories that produce more unthinking, unfeeling human beings. They take over the lives of more and more people within a society or a country until that country is destroyed. Doing battle against slavery requires treating both the symptoms caused by the infection within a society as well as finding a cure that can destroy the idea itself.

President Donald Trump is absolutely correct. This is a war.

President Donald Trump is absolutely correct. This is a war. He's also correct, we have fought this type of war before.

But this is not a war against a coronavirus. That's child's play. Terrible though it may be and despite the thousands of lives we may lose to COVID-19, it's relatively straightforward how to defeat it. Prevent the spread, find a cure. And we will. America and the world will survive this pandemic as it has survived a million others in our past. Each of us is the descendent of survivors of a thousand biological plagues.

The President rightly stated, we cannot let the cure for COVID-19 be worse than the disease itself. And he has the right idea in terms of the outcome here: we can't let our response to coronavirus destroy the American economy.

But saving the American economy isn't really the objective. A healthy, productive American economy that enables people to generate wealth and accumulate things is a consequence, an outcome, it's not a cause in itself. What has enabled the American economy to be the most robust and powerful engine for human ingenuity, productivity and wealth generation in world history is individual liberty? Men free to think and build, to seek new achievements and to be rewarded for doing so, to collaborate with each other, to challenge and compete with each other, driving each other to be smarter, to work harder, to find the better way to solve problems.

That is America. That is the battle we're in, what we're fighting to save. Beating COVID-19 is easy, it's only a matter of time. This particular virus may be new to us, but we know the formula for its defeat, much like the long-march to destroy the NAZI war machine in World War II, the writing was on the wall long before Berlin fell. Germany's defeat was inevitable once America entered the war. So too, the defeat of SARS-CoV-2 is already a foregone conclusion, the application of human ingenuity and thousands of years of human inventiveness and knowledge ensures our ultimate victory over this latest scourge.

But that is not the great threat. If the cure for COVID-19 is the slavery of some men for the benefit and betterment of others, then perhaps it would be better for COVID-19 to take us all. If the cost of defeating the biological virus is that we succumb to the political and moral disease of collectivism, then Trump's fear will have been proved right and the cure will have been worse than the disease.

Look at what's being proposed here. In the US, the government should take over every major industry, from healthcare and pharmaceutical companies to grocery and food delivery to airlines to shipping and transportation. Construction, take it over! Banking system, take it over! Stock market, take it over!

And on the global stage, the United Nations is now calling for a permanent 10% global tax on the GDP of every country.

And on the global stage, the United Nations is now calling for a permanent 10% global tax on the GDP of every country.
Ostensibly designed to fight COVID-19, but made permanent to enable the UN to fight future pandemics, as well as the ongoing pandemic of Climate Change…oh, and Poverty and Income Inequality, and sexism and nationalism and a thousand other isms they believe are unfair.

The United States is less than 5% of the World's population, but we represent over 25% of the world's GDP. So, the UN is effectively proposing that about 4% of the population transfer 10% of our wealth each year to support the remaining 96% of the human race, including supporting countries who are our enemies and who seek our very destruction.

What is proposed here is nothing short of the permanent enslavement of the United States for the betterment and benefit of every other national on earth.

There is no doubt the human race will survive COVID-19. Human beings have survived a thousand similar pandemics with barely more than a blip in our progress as a species.

But the plague of collectivism, the idea that some men should be slaves to others, that some people have some sort of right to lay claim to the intellect and productive energy of others, that is the real battle. That is the true invisible enemy that we must yet again defeat.

Ask yourself, would you have some right to charge into Mike Lindell's My Pillow bedding factory and point a gun at him and his workers to force them to produce cotton face masks to avoid being shot? No, of course the idea sounds preposterous and all rational thinking human beings would clearly see that as an immoral, criminal act. And yet many people are proposing that we do exactly that, just the gunman wears a blue UN Helmet or carries a US Marshall's badge.

Alternatively, does Mike Lindell have the right to choose to convert his factory over to making cotton face masks, at his own expense and to pay his workers to make those masks instead of making pillows? Yes, that is moral, that is a human being engaged in activity that he believes to be virtuous and right and, yes, for the love of all that is holy — profitable.

Just as with COVID-19, the defeat of all forms of slavery should be an inevitability. And yet from every corner of our country, the call is for the forced enslavement of some people for the benefit of others.

President Trump has this right. We cannot let the cure for COVID-19 come at the cost of our economy. And if that is the objective, then it is our original principles: individual liberty, freedom of movement and speech, that is what must be defended. That is how we protect and restore our economy and our country. That is how we ensure that our children's children will also be descendants of survivors of plagues and pandemics, whether they are the biological - or the moral kind.

UPDATE: Here's how the discussion went on radio. Watch the video below.


YouTube youtu.be

Glenn gives the latest coronavirus numbers, updating YOU on everything needed to know as Americans and officials monitor China's new COVID-19 virus:

Daily Stats as of 5:30 AM CT (from John's Hopkins)

  • Total Confirmed Cases Worldwide: 1,284,805 (up over 250,000 from 1,030,324 Friday)
  • Total Confirmed Deaths Worldwide: 70,328 (up 16,100 from 54,226 Friday)
  • Total Confirmed Recovered Worldwide: 271,782 (up from 219,896 Friday)
  • 5% of Active Cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization) Steady from 5% Friday, but down from 19% high back in February
  • Note that about 11% of US Confirmed Cases require Hospitalization, roughly on par with Italy at 12% requiring hospitalization but lower than Spain, where 17% of patients require hospitalization.
  • US has 336,851 Confirmed Cases and 9,620 Deaths, up from 245,380 cases and 6,095 cases Friday
  • The US currently has 309,254 Active Cases of COVID-19, with about 1% of the US Population tested
NY Times: Official US Death Toll Off a Bit...By About 100% https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICO0KwPFWcI, https://www.wsj.com/video/in-ecuador-epicenter-families-forced-to-leave-dead-outside/B35D7405-55AC-4876-821F-8B995AAEF1BD.html
  • In one Italian village, a Mayor reported he had more than 300 bodies, presumed COVID-19 deaths, which officials had not picked up or counted in Italy's official numbers. "The army told us Friday, then Sunday. We're still waiting," he said.
  • Virus Can Contaminate Facemasks up to 7 Days https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3078511/coronavirus-can-remain-face-masks-week-study-finds
    • The pathogen that causes COVID-19 is gone within three hours from surfaces like printing and tissue paper, but can last for days on banknotes, stainless steel and plastic, researchers from University of Hong Kong find.
    • The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can adhere to the outer layer of a cotton surgical face mask for a week, according to a study by researchers from the University of Hong Kong (HKU).
    • "This is exactly why it is very important if you are wearing a surgical mask you don't touch the outside of the mask," Dr. Peiris, research lead, said.
    • "Because you can contaminate your hands and if you touch your eyes you could be transferring the virus to your eyes."
    • In the instance where the public or health care workers must be forced to reuse masks due to short supply, the study recommends using surgical gloves and frequently washing hands immediately after using facemasks.
    USA Today Factcheck: Did Obama Deplete US National Stockpile of N-95 Masks? True! https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/04/03/fact-check-did-obama-administration-deplete-n-95-mask-stockpile/5114319002/
    • USA Today researchers Fact Check Daily Wire article from last week that the Obama Administration failed to replenish the National Stockpile of N-95 masks after using for Swine Flu (2009) and Hurricane & Flooding clean up operations (2012).
    • The article notes available funds were used not to replenish masks: "With limited resources, officials in charge of the stockpile tend to focus on buying lifesaving drugs from small biotechnology firms that would, in the absence of a government buyer, have no other market for their products, experts said.
    • Masks and other protective equipment are in normal times widely available and thus may not have been prioritized for purchase, they said."
    • Overall, USA today flags the Daily Wire story as True, lending credence to the Trump claim that the stockpile program was 'in a shambles' when his Administration took over.
    "Most Comprehensive Pandemic Response Plan In History" Bush Plan Based on Spanish Flu Book in 2005 https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/george-bush-2005-wait-pandemic-late-prepare/story?id=69979013
    • In the summer of 2005, President George W. Bush was on vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he began flipping through an advance copy of a new book about the 1918 flu pandemic. He couldn't put it down.
    • When he returned to Washington, he called his top homeland security adviser into the Oval Office and gave her historian John M. Barry's "The Great Influenza," which told the chilling tale of the mysterious plague that "would kill more people than any other disease in human history."
    • "You've got to read this," Fran Townsend remembers the president telling her. "He said, 'Look, this happens every 100 years. We need a national strategy.'"
    • Thus was born the nation's most comprehensive pandemic plan -- a playbook that included diagrams for a global early warning system, funding to develop new, rapid vaccine technology, and a robust national stockpile of critical supplies, such as face masks and ventilators, Townsend said.
    • The effort was intense over the ensuing three years, including exercises where cabinet officials gamed out their responses, but it was not sustained.
    • Large swaths of the ambitious plan were either not fully realized due to lack of funding from Congress, or were entirely shelved as the 2008 financial crisis took hold.
    The Latest Casualty: Corona Beer Officially Stops Production https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/03/business/corona-beer-production/index.html
    • Production of Corona beer is being temporarily suspended in Mexico because of the coronavirus pandemic.
    • Grupo Modelo, the company that makes the beer, posted the announcement on Twitter, stating that it's halting production and marketing of its beer because the Mexican government has shuttered non-essential businesses.
    • This week, the Mexican government announced the suspension of non-essential activities in the public and private sectors until April 30 in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. The country has more than 1,500 cases and 50 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins, but researchers fear the actual number of infected and dead could be much higher than reported as almost no testing has occurred in Mexico.
    • Grupo Modelo stated it is ready to enact a plan to "guarantee the supply of beer" if the Mexican government decides to include breweries as essential, according to a statement.
    Japan, Hong Kong May Declare States of Emergency After Virus Researgance https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/3078542/coronavirus-japan-set-declare-state-emergency-amid-surge, https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3078491/coronavirus-hong-kong-may-have-impose-wider-lockdown
    • Both Japan & Hong Kong saw new waves of COVID-19 cases as travel and work restrictions were lifted about 10 days ago.
    • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to declare a state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic, a government official said on Monday, as a recent surge in infections sweeps Tokyo and other major cities.
    • The news comes after Japan officially moved the 2020 Olympics to 2021.
    • In Japan, An Emergency eclaration, the first of its kind in that Nation, would restrict individual rights and allowing prefectural governors to call for specific limitations on people's activities.
    • It has been made necessary by a rapid nationwide spike in cases that poses significant risks to lives and the economy, an official said.
    • In Hong Kong, officials report they may have to impose strict lockdown with people told to stay home, government adviser says, amid warnings of third wave of infections swamped hospitals over the weekend.
    • The Government put Hong Kong residents on notice for hardline approach to coronavirus seen in countries including Italy and Britain.
    • Epidemiologist Dr. Kwok-yung of The Hong Kong Medical University warns of a third wave of infections as mainland Chinese had resumed work with some traveling to Hong Kong last week.
    • Dr. Kwok-yung recommends reinstating the travel restrictions from Mainland China.
    Dark Days Ahead https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/05/politics/jerome-adams-coronavirus/index.html
    • The US Surgeon General said this week is going to be the "hardest and the saddest" for "most Americans' lives," describing the upcoming grim period of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States.
    • "This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it's not going to be localized, it's going to be happening all over the country and I want America to understand that," Vice Admiral Jerome Adams said on "Fox News Sunday."
    • Adams continued: "I want Americans to understand that as hard as this week is going to be, there is a light at the end of the tunnel."
    • Doctors are expecting peaks in Death Rates to occur in some of the hardest-hit areas, including New York, Louisianna, and Chicago.
    • Washington State, one of the earliest hit states, experienced a peak in cases and deaths nearly two weeks ago, and now new cases and deaths have declined for 2 weeks straight.

    Bill O'Reilly joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Friday to talk about how he thinks President Donald Trump will fair in the 2020 election given the current struggling economy due to the coronavirus crisis.

    O'Reilly said he believes President Trump will win in November if the coronavirus pandemic is under control by this summer, but if schools and businesses are still closed by September, it may be trouble for Trump -- even with former vice president Joe Biden's seemingly declining health.

    "What I've said from the very beginning of this whole ordeal, is that if Donald Trump can get the pandemic under control this summer, he wins. If by September, it's not under control, the kids cannot go back to school in many places, people are not opening up businesses again, he loses," O'Reilly said.

    However, the Democrats have a major problem because Joe Biden ... is tottering. His mental acute is not what it used to be and everyone around him knows that. That's why Andrew Cuomo is warming up in the bullpen," he added. "But Trump knows that his whole future in politics depends on getting this pandemic to subside."

    Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

    BILL O'REILLY: Trump 2020 Election Based on Controlling Coronavirus Pandemic by Summer youtu.be


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