Obama and the H1N1 Pandemic

Trump and Hannity keep lying to you. Here are the facts.

UPDATE: U.S. deaths from COVID-19 topped 12,000 today. In the past 24 hours, deaths surged by 731 in New York State alone. Meanwhile, Trump keeps lying.

In a tweet this morning, our Failure-in-Chief parroted more Shameless Sean Hannity misinformation, blaming Obama for 17,000 deaths in the “failed” H1N1 “debacle.” None of that is accurate. Not even the inflated death toll.

As readers of this newsletter already know, Obama’s handling of the H1NI flu pandemic in his first year as President is a texbook example that illustrates how the resources of the federal government can be marshalled to protect the American people and save lives. And remember: H1N1 happened Year One of Obama’s Presidency. In the midst of the Great Recession. Obama didn’t whine. He didn’t blame his predecessor. He just handled it. Truthfully. Competently. While fully embracing the advice of medical experts and scientists every step of the way.

In January, I contrasted Obama’s stellar response to that deadly pandemic to the disaster that was Trump’s first flu season in which it was originally reported that 78,000 Americans died. Trump’s incompetence played a large part in that disaster. (Years later, the death toll on the CDC website was mysteriously reduced to 61,000.)

Trump’s lies are an acknowledgment of his guilt

The fact that Trump along with his pal Hannity are still so desperate to spread lies about the mostly forgotten Obama-era H1N1 pandemic are, in reality, an acknowledgement of how badly they know they fucked this one up.

Lies are all they have left.

In the video at the top of this page, Kathleen Sebelius, former Health and Human Services Secretary under President Obama, tells CNN’s Don Lemon what really happened during the H1N1 pandemic. (That part starts at 3:04).

I’ll quote Sebelius at length here:

H1N1 was a strain of the swine flu not seen in 1918, and it emerged in Mexico. Within two weeks of identifying it, CDC, in our day, was able to produce a test that was produced by the millions. Not only (did) every state in the county (have) testing so we were able to track the flu virus but also we shared it globally across the world. We did lose almost 13,000 lives overall in the United States in what was estimated to be 61 million people infected. Those came before we got the vaccine. But the vaccine came quickly. We set up a national vaccination program and distributed vaccine and vaccinated people across the country and shared it, again, with the world. So there was a period, pre-vaccine, where unfortunately lives were lost, but it’s about 0.02% fatality rate. Too many lives, no question about it, but way lower than the common flu for a disease that hadn’t been seen since 1918.

Lemon also asked Sebelius about Trump’s whiny complaints about “the shelves being bare” in the federal stockpile. (Remember, this is happening in Year Four of President Fuckup’s term. We are long past the point where any legitimate leader could blame his predecessor for anything.)

Sebelius explained:

HHS runs the national stockpile. Part of what happens, Don, is that the national stockpile—the federal government—actually buys equipment, buys medicines that may never be used. We are the only purchaser because scientists are looking out over the horizon and looking at what may or may not come down the road. So there are always drugs in the stockpile that are going to need to be tossed away because they actually have overlived their shelflife. There’s equipment that needs to be updated and replaced. That’s the job of the federal government, to look at the stockpile, to figure out what’s needed, what’s missing. And even if we didn’t have ample supplies to start with, from the moment in early January that this virus was spotted, stocking up, making orders, using the muscle and leverage of the federal government to make sure that we had the equipment once we dealt with this disease was the important thing to do…. We (had) an administration that denied anything was happening, that denied that there was a problem and that did not test or restock the stockpile. So now we are in a situation where hospitals very accurately report they don’t have the equipment they need. They’re putting lives at risk of their healthcare providers and of patients every day.

Trump keeps claiming that COVID-19 is a virus “nobody ever thought possible.” He is lying. Even George W. Bush saw it coming. In 2005.

But Trump does have something in common with Bush. When it comes to the biggest disaster of his Presidency, he ignored every warning.

In January this year, Peter Navarro told Trump that hundreds of thousands of lives could be lost to this coronavirus.

Trump kept golfing. He kept partying at Mar-a-Lago. He kept holding rallies. He told everyone not to worry.

Today the death toll in New York City alone exceeds that of 9/11. Trump is still refusing to accept any responsibility—even though, just like Bush who ignored the ‘Bin Ladin Determined to Strike’ memo, Trump got a warning memo, too.

It’s no wonder that today grieving family members such as NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, who lost his mom to COVID-19, are saying that Trump has “blood on his hands”.

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