Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Playing the blame game

Testing. It’s the latest obsession by the mainstream media. Not that there’s anything wrong with testing someone for coronavirus, it’s crucial if you think you have it. The truth is testing has been pretty widespread for quite some time. You wouldn’t know that from watching the press frenzy at the daily White House briefings.

Although they’ve tried to get the message out, it still doesn’t seem to make it past the media firewall. Testing for coronavirus, or any other disease, is not the function of the federal government. In most cases it’s not the full function of the state and local governments. It’s a combination of local health departments and hospitals.

President Trump, in his frustration, displayed a print-out of 5,000 testing centers across the country. Some governors were still not aware that testing was available in their states, as amazing as that might sound. One governor had ordered tests from South Korea. Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, used the influence of his South Korean-born wife to get 500,000 coronavirus tests flown in from South Korea. As Trump and Vice President Pence pointed out, there were already numerous testing sites all across Maryland. Many test sites across the country have been operating at only ten percent capacity.

A quick Internet search found news stories dating back to March with testing site locations all over Maryland. So what happened? Nobody’s quite sure. Pence said he’d been in contact with Governor Hogan but wasn’t sure why he ordered the tests from South Korea. Trump said of Hogan, “He could’ve saved a lot of money. He needed to get a little knowledge, that would’ve been helpful.” The Guardian characterized that as an attack on Hogan. It wasn’t an attack. It was an obvious point.

In Tennessee, there are testing sites all over the state. Some are run by hospitals like Vanderbilt that have walk-in clinics. You’ve been able to walk in since at least early March and get tested if the doctor on duty thinks you need it. The problem in mid-March was getting the results in a timely manner. What was supposed to take a couple of days ended up taking two weeks in some cases. That was presumably because of the backlog at places like Quest.

When this coronavirus first hit we were told by the health experts to not get tested unless you had all the major symptoms like shortness of breath, a dry cough, and a fever. Now we know some people don’t exhibit all, or sometimes any, of those symptoms. Some people simply have flu-like aches and congestion. Now they’re advising anyone with any symptoms to get tested.

It’s amazing how quickly the medical advice is evolving. First they said no masks. Now they’re advising everyone to wear a mask. That’s nobody’s fault. This disease is, in many ways, unlike anything we’ve dealt with before. The mainstream media love to take the luxury of current knowledge and apply it to situations weeks or even months ago. It’s not fair to do that to our health experts and it’s not fair to do it to President Trump.

Remember when this thing was just a curiosity? It was an outbreak, we were told, contained to Wuhan, China. The Chinese communist leaders chose to downplay the outbreak and not level with the rest of the world. That cost tens of thousands of lives.

I don’t think there’s anyone—Democrat or Republican—who isn’t acting with the best interest of the people at heart. It’s time for everyone to stop trying to score political points.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Showon SuperTalk 99.7WTN in Nashville. He's also co-host of The PodGOATs podcast and I'm Calling Bovine Scatology.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

The war on hydroxychloroquine

I’ve often said that political correctness was going to get us killed. The coronavirus is a prime example. Because President Trump suggested on March 19 that hydroxychloroquine might be a viable treatment for coronavirus, mainstream media outlets have waged all-out war on the drug. This malaria drug, that’s been approved for use in the U.S. since 1955, has shown promising results with doctors all around the world. The FDA even issued an emergency use order. Governor Cuomo was the first governor to insist the drug be allowed in New York the day after President Trump mentioned it in a press briefing. 

Even a Democrat lawmaker from Michigan is crediting Trump with potentially saving her life. State Representative Karen Whitsett of Detroit was diagnosed with coronavirus on March 31. While in the hospital, Whitsett learned Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer had issued an order prohibiting the use of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus patients. The governor backed down several days later. Whitsett told Laura Ingraham on Fox News, “If President Trump had not talked about this it wouldn’t have been something that would be accessible for anyone to be able to get right now.” Within hours of her first dose she was on the road to recovery. “It has a lot to do with the president…bringing it up,” she told The Detroit Free Press.

She’s not alone. Doctors around the world are having great success with hydroxychloroquine in combination with other drugs like azithromycin and zinc. Many have been on death’s door, and this anti-malaria drug has been a life-saver.

Still, outlets like CNN and MSNBC continue to try and scare people away from the drug. Both outlets even went so far as to link an idiot in Arizona who ingested fish tank cleaner and died to Trump’s comments about the possibility that this drug might help. Hydroxychloroquine and fish tank cleaner are not even remotely the same thing. And the guy in Arizona and his wife ingested the cleaner even when they didn’t have coronavirus. You can’t fix stupid.

But you can fix disinformation. The mainstream media were spectacularly wrong when they attacked Trump for giving “false hope” on a “potentially dangerous drug.” There’s nothing at all dangerous about hydroxychloroquine. Reported side effects are nausea and vomiting. Sure beats the hell out of dying. 

That’s not the point with the mainstream media. The objective is to blame Trump for the coronavirus and give him no credit with coming up with any solutions. There are two major decisions President Trump has made during all of this that were game-changers. Pushing this anti-malaria drug was one of them. The other was curtailing travel from China way back in January. Those two decisions alone probably saved thousands of American lives.

Did the liberals and the media admit their mistake? No, they doubled down. They ratcheted up the hysteria. One unhinged state representative from Ohio claimed she’d contacted The Hague to bring charges against the president for “crimes against humanity” for continuing to push the drug. This even after Governor Cuomo of New York reported encouraging results in his state.

Then Mika Brzezinski on “Morning Joe” hit an even lower low. She suggested Trump was pushing the drug because he was making money from it. All of this is designed to keep doctors and patients away from the drug for fear that it might actually work. These people, as usual, have become part of the problem.

The question is how many people have needlessly died because the liberal media and Democrat lawmakers didn’t want to admit that Trump was right?

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Showon SuperTalk 99.7WTN in Nashville. He's also co-host of The PodGOATs podcast and I'm Calling Bovine Scatology.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Coronavirus vs. civil liberties

We’re in an odd time, some would say a dangerous time, when public health concerns and civil liberties collide. A pastor in Tampa was arrested for holding a church service. What’s interesting is not one of the parishioners was arrested. Personally, I think it’s irresponsible to organize a large gathering these days, regardless of the purpose. I’m also troubled that governments that claim over and over that they’re not declaring martial law are behaving like governments that have. If you’re arresting someone for leading a group of people in a worship service then martial law is already here.

It does appear that stay-at-home measures are working. Kinsa Health produces internet-connected thermometers (a little concerning in and of itself). Their national tracking map showed fevers holding steady or dropping all across the country with two notable exceptions, parts of New Mexico and a ring around New Orleans. The latter is believed to have been set off by Mardi Gras. Fevers have been dropping rapidly in the West, and with stay-at-home orders in those two hot spots of New Mexico and Louisiana they’ve seen those regions start to cool.

Which brings us back to civil liberties. I completely understand the concern over governments enforcing restrictions on your movements. The governor of Kentucky is prohibiting anyone from leaving the state unless you’re going to visit family members or crossing the border for groceries. How in the world he expects to enforce that on every interstate and highway in Kentucky is a mystery. I suspect it’s more bluster than anything else. I can just imagine Kentuckians being smuggled under tarps in the trunks of cars into Tennessee in some dystopian COVID-19 underground railroad. Such measures only serve to scare people rather than offer any real solutions.

What’s also interesting is the same folks who have advocated open borders between the U.S. and Mexico are all of a sudden hellbent on restricting travel from state to state. Many of the same concerns of the spreading of dangerous diseases have fueled the push for stricter border control with Mexico. Now border control is all the rage.

But what about that pastor in Tampa? Should he have been arrested? There’s an old saying with civil libertarians that “my liberty ends where your nose begins,” meaning you have full and unfettered liberty as long as you don’t infringe on mine. Exposing someone to coronavirus literally fits the description of “where your nose begins.” Yes, you have the right to congregate for a religious service, but you do not have the right to expose me to a potentially deadly disease. It’s curious that no one in the audience of that church service has been required to quarantine just in case they were exposed.

We may look back on this time and realize that we all overreacted. Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of hindsight. Were it up to me I would urge all who are elderly and/or experiencing underlying health issues to shelter in place and refrain from contact with the outside world. I’d send the rest of us back to work. But I’m not in charge. Those who are are doing everything they possibly can to keep the death toll as low as possible.

At some point tough decisions will have to be made. Is it worth destroying a country in order to save it? That becomes the reality at some point. Where that point is nobody really knows. One thing is clear. We all must learn a lesson about preparedness. That’s if the country survives to learn the lesson. 

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning talk radio show, 
The Phil Valentine Showon SuperTalk 99.7WTN in Nashville. He's also co-host of The PodGOATs podcast and I'm Calling Bovine Scatology.