Tucker Carlson warns of those who would use the coronavirus to profit off of it whether it be financially or politically. From Friday's edition of 'Tucker Carlson Tonight' on the FOX News Channel:
Good evening and welcome to Tucker Carlson Tonight. President Trump has signed the $2.2 trillion coronavirus package that Congress just passed. It’s the largest aid bill in the history of the world. Will it help the people who need it? And where is all the money coming from? We’ll have details just ahead.
But first: It’s been a very long week. On Monday, we told you it would be. Early that morning, the Surgeon General of the United States appeared on television to warn Americans to expect the worst:
JEROME ADAMS: I didn't expect that I'd be on the "Today" show for such a somber occasion. I want America to understand, this week it's going to get bad.
“This week it’s going to get bad.” Sobering words from the country’s top doctor. So was he right? How bad was it? This seems like a good time to assess that. In a moment like this, events move bewilderingly fast. It can be hard to keep track of where you are, relative to where you thought you’d be. Perspective becomes impossible. But tonight we’re going to try, because we think it’s important. Clearheadedness is always the first casualty of crisis. That’s how bad decisions get made. So here are some facts to consider as we move forward:
When our show opened on Monday night, there were just over 40,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States. Tonight, at the end of the week, that number has more than doubled, to over a hundred thousand cases. Over the course of Monday, 141 Americans died from coronavirus. Today, about twice as many died. That’s awful. Every death is. And it’s a steep and ominous curve. But in absolute numbers, it’s fewer than many predicted. Most of the deaths have been concentrated in a few hotspots: Seattle, Louisiana, and above all, in and around New York. In the city alone, 450 people have died. One New York doctor recently described the situation in his hospital as worse than 9/11:
Dr. Steve Kasspidis: Hell. Biblical. I kid you not. People come in, they get intubated, they die, the cycle repeats. The system is overwhelmed all over the place. The system is overwhelmed all over the place... 9/11 was nothing compared to this. On that day we were open and waiting for patients to come who never came. Now – they just keep coming.
We’ll speak to the doctor you just saw in just a moment. His hospital in Queens seems completely overwhelmed by this. How is the rest of the country doing? The concern for months has been, once large numbers of people started to get sick, our system would collapse. We’d run out of doctors, beds, equipment and drugs, and people who’d otherwise be saved, would instead die. That could still happen. It’s always something to worry about. But so far, thank god, it hasn’t happened, at least on a large scale. Doctors and nurses are working under tremendous stress, and at risk to themselves, but they’re still saving people. Even in New York, the scariest predictions haven’t happened. And when they have, the truth — and this is almost always the case — has turned out to be more complicated than it seemed at first.
For example, last night, we told you about nurses who donned trash bags because there wasn’t sufficient protective gear. That’s pretty shocking, but it’s not new. According to a report in New York media, nurses in New York have complained about supply shortages for at least a year. In other words, this is a longterm problem. We’ve also worried, along with a lot of other people, that there wouldn’t be enough ventilators in hospitals — breathing machines to keep Coronavirus patients alive. So far, there have been more than enough. Last night we told you that the Federal government has sent thousands of additional ventilators to New York, many of which remain in warehouses. New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo was apparently watching when we said that, and he didn’t want to hear it. His staff called our show last night to complain. But today, Cuomo conceded it was true:
CUOMO: Somebody said on one of the cable news shows that the ventilators new York needed aren’t even being deployed, they’re in a stockpile. Yes, they’re in a stockpile, that’s where they should be, we don’t need them yet, we need them for the apex, the apex isn’t here so we’re gathering them in the stockpile so when we need them, they’ll be there.
Saving ventilators for the apex of the epidemic isn’t crazy. It maybe be smart. The question is: when can we expect the apex? The truth is, we can only guess. Three months ago, no one apart from scientists had heard of this strain of Coronavirus. We still know relatively little about it. We can’t say with precision how easily it spreads. We don’t know how many people have it. Most importantly, we’re not at all sure how many people will die. If this week is as bad as it gets, we’ll be fine. If deaths keep rising at the rate they are, we’re in trouble. It will be a calamity.
You could make arguments for either scenario. Informed people are. The national shutdown we’re living through was based, in large part, on fears that the virus could have an overall death rate of two, three, or even four percent. That’s a devastating rate of fatality. It would change the country’s demographics. But not everyone buys that assumption. In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal this week, two Stanford medical professors suggest that coronavirus infection may be far more widespread than we thought. Using a series of formulas, they conclude that America may already have millions of cases right now. That would be very good news. It would mean the virus is far less deadly than we thought. If true, total American deaths could total in the tens of thousands, rather than the millions.
Every decent person wants to believe this is true. It certainly may be true. It also may not be. Outside our country, there is evidence coronavirus is a very deadly disease. Italy, for example, reported 919 coronavirus deaths today. At one point, we thought deaths in Italy might be dropping. They’re not. Today was a new record. And it could be worse than that, thanks to undercounting. In the Italian town of Dalmine, for instance, 70 people have died in the last few weeks. Officially, only two of them had coronavirus. Yet last year, only 18 people total died during the same span of time. That doesn’t seem right. In a town called Bagnatica, 18 people have died in the last month. Last year, only 28 people died all year. Coronavirus? We may never know.
That’s the problem, and why it’s so hard for anyone to make wise decisions right now. We’re operating with too little information. Informed guessing is usually the best we can hope for. Many of our leaders are trying their hardest under the circumstances: Scientists, epidemiologists, doctors, nurses, even occasionally politicians. They want the best for the country, even if they’re reaching different conclusions about how to get there. Others aren’t even trying. They’re getting rich manipulating the markets, plotting to seize political advance, or wasting our time giving pompous little lectures about how great they are. Remember their names. They ought to be punished when this is over. Here’s someone you shouldn’t forget. She’s the health commission of New York City. She’s one of the most criminally incompetent officials in the history of municipal government. As the plague bore down on New York, she told citizens that everything was absolutely fine, then urged them to spend time in crowded public places Watch:
Dr. Oxiris Barbot: The important thing for New Yorkers is that in the city currently, the risk is very low and our city preparedness is high. We know this virus can be transmitted from one individual to another but it’s typically people that live together. There’s no risk at this point in time – we’re always learning more – about having it be transmitted through casual contact. So we’re telling New Yorkers to go about your lives. Take the subway. Go out, enjoy life and practice every day precautions... If it were transmitted casually, we would be seeing a lot more cases.
“Take the subway.” There’s a lot still don’t know about Coronavirus. But it is clear that in a lot of places, we need new leadership.