Earlier than even this New York Times report, Chuck Todd, host of NBC News's Meet the Press, on March 8 hailed China's supposed success in tackling the virus, asking whether the Chinese Communist Party's style of despotic governance deserves all the credit.
"How uncomfortable is it," Todd asked, echoing the sentiments of others in Western media, "that perhaps China's authoritarian ways did prevent this? Meaning, had China been a free and open society, this might have spread faster?"
The U.S. intelligence community determined last week that China has underreported both the total number of coronavirus cases and deaths, all of it in an attempt to conceal the full extent of the pandemic in its country.
Early on, China silenced doctors who raised alarms about the virus, denied access to foreign scientists who could have studied the virus, and falsely claimed that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission.
NBC breathlessly reported, "As the U.S. struggles to stem coronavirus, China asserts itself as global leader" on efforts by China to provide help to other countries. But the reality is that China has delivered faulty equipment around the world. In the Netherlands, the health ministry recalled 600,000 Chinese manufactured face masks despite their desperate need for medical equipment after their filters did not work properly, and they did not fit. Spain purchased hundreds of thousands of tests from China, only to learn that at least 60,000 did not work.
The American press's readiness to treat reports out of Beijing with little, if any, skepticism comes as actual Chinese communist propaganda videos cite members of the free press in conjunction with its broader, hyperaggressive effort to avoid blame for creating the coronavirus pandemic.
Whether they know it or not, the journalists who claim it is problematic to refer to the virus by its country and city of origin, and the ones who claim China has the pandemic mostly under control, and who praise China's efforts to help other countries are doing the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party, which is eager both to present itself as the world's leading superpower and scrub from the record its culpability in the spread of the virus.
"I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore."
Remember that line from the famous American movie "Network"? It's time for a rebellion. Every out-of-work American and every out-of-business American business owner needs to open their windows and shout it, shout it so loud it reaches President Donald Trump, Congress and every swamp politician from Washington D.C., to New York to Boston to Beverly Hills, California.
It's time for this madness to stop. Mr. President, do you understand how many suicides of prominent business owners are going to start piling up?
Here in Las Vegas, a business owner closed his business, laid off his 45 employees (with tears in his eyes) and then went home and committed suicide. Did you see that in the news?
It's happening across America.
Do you understand the pain of the employees? People can't even get through to file for unemployment benefits. The websites have been down for days on end. No one answers the phones.
Do you understand how many lives are being ruined, how many jobs are being killed, how many great businesses will never reopen? The people are getting desperate and despondent. They have no money for food, rent, gas or survival.
We can't stay closed. We have to open up the U.S. economy. There is no more time for debate. There is no more room for caution. I have ideas and compromise below.
First, these coronavirus "death counts" have to stop. You're scaring people half to death. I suggest new kinds of death counts be put up on the screens to compete:
-- JOBS KILLED by this complete business shutdown.
-- BUSINESSES CLOSED.
-- AMERICAN DREAMS DESTROYED.
Another Great Depression will destroy this great nation. And we're on the way, unless you open this economy again.
And why not open America for business again -- with tight restrictions? What is happening now makes absolutely no sense. We are allowed to shop at big-box stores like Costco, Walmart and Home Depot; health food stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts; grocery stores; pet stores; auto part stores; pawn shops; marijuana stores; liquor stores; and gun stores. And get this: Golf courses are open.
If all of that is allowed, why can't we open all stores and businesses but with the same health precautions and restrictions?
I love and appreciate the UPS drivers and Costco cashiers on the front lines. But if they can work, why can't the rest of us? Do Costco checkout guys and gals and supermarket cashiers have a big S on their chest? If they can face it and survive, why can't the rest of us?
The liberal Democratic mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, just recommended everyone wear masks and scarves. Isn't this the compromise to get us all back to work?
Here's the mantra for the day: Wear a mask. Get back to work!
We need to open the U.S. economy before it's too late, before we're all doomed -- not from coronavirus but from the fallout of a Great Depression. Here is the compromise. Here are the new rules.
Anyone who wants to stay home can. If you want to collect welfare, food stamps and unemployment, you can. Anyone at high risk -- seniors, the sick, the obese, those with illness -- should shelter at home.
But the rest of us (the working people of America) are willing to take the risk; to keep our businesses alive; to save jobs; to save the economy; to prevent a Great Depression; to prevent mass suicides, alcoholism, drug addiction, poverty and misery.
We can all work -- just like the Costco employees and supermarket cashiers and UPS drivers. We can all wear masks. Our customers can wear masks. We can all practice social distancing. Employees can stand 6 feet apart. Stores can limit customers. New customers can be allowed to only go in when others leave. We can sanitize our workplaces and stores like never before.
It's time to start organizing a mega call campaign to President Trump, Congress and local politicians across this country. It's time to tell them that the American people want to take precautions, that we'll accept restrictions but we need to get back to work. Or we're holding you accountable for ruining our jobs, careers, businesses, dreams, lives.
The pandemic is horrible. But we can't keep the economy closed. Your caution and fear are killing our lives more than any pandemic. The politicians are destroying America.
Shout it: "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
For a mid-week moment, it appeared Florida’s chief executive had accorded great regulatory and enforcement authority to local governments in issuing his statewide stay-at-home order.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decree allowed local governments to impose tighter restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic than levied by the state, other than those stipulated in the order.
The executive order bucked a decades-long trend in state Republican leadership’s use of “predatory preemption” to whittle away at home rule across the regulatory landscape.
DeSantis cleared away any confusion such a thing was to occur in a Thursday amendment memo that declared his order “shall supersede any conflicting official action or order issued by local officials in response to COVID-19.”
The revised order reinterprets a line in the original decree allowing local governments to implement restrictive orders by erasing it.
Nevertheless, DeSantis assured reporters Thursday, the revised order ensures “the baseline” and local governments can impose stricter measures if they choose.
Local governments “can go beyond what I’ve done. What we’re doing is setting a floor,” he said. “And they can’t go below the floor.”
Except when it comes to religious services.
DeSantis’ order defines "religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship" as “essential” and, therefore, preempts local restrictions on religious gatherings. The original did not do so.
“I don’t know that they would have the authority, quite frankly, to close a religious ... the Constitution doesn’t get suspended here. There’s got to be ways where you can accommodate,” DeSantis said.
The governor met with religious leaders and agreed “their work is important” and should be classified as “essential.”
“There is no reason why you can’t do a church service 6 feet apart,” he said. “In times like this, I think the service that they are performing is going to be very important to people, particularly coming up in the Easter season.”
Michigan, New Mexico, Delaware, Ohio, Texas and West Virginia are among states with stay-at-home exemptions for religious services.
Virginia and Maryland require places of worship to limit in-person services to fewer than 10 people, which is the same as President Donald Trump’s administration’s 30-day guidelines and DeSantis’ stay-at-home order – except, apparently, for religious services.
Local officials are on edge as some pastors, such as Brandon megachurch preacher Rodney Howard-Browne, threaten to defy stay-at-home orders to open their churches for services Easter Sunday, a little more than a week away.
The Evangelical pastor of The River at Tampa Bay Church was arrested on misdemeanor counts of unlawful assembly and violation of a county-wide order after he was warned to limit his congregation to fewer than 10 people in compliance with a county stay-at-home order.
Claiming the restriction violated his First Amendment rights, Howard-Browne staged two services Sunday at his megachurch south of Tampa, drawing up to 500 worshippers.
He has since hired Liberty Counsel attorney Mathew Staver. Staver represented Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay people in 2015.
In a live streamed call-in Thursday, Browne said he had closed the church “to protect the congregation, not from the virus, but from a tyrannical government."
He said the church would remain closed through Sunday, Palm Sunday, but did not dismiss hosting services on Easter Sunday on April 12.
"At this time, I have not made any decision about Easter Sunday or services thereafter," he said. "Adonica (his wife) and I are praying and seeking the Lord for wisdom. I will say, however, that the church cannot be closed indefinitely."