I didn’t watch the debate (my vote is irrelevant here in Maskachusetts), but now it is time to look at the transcript…
Trump and Biden on COVID-19:
[1:03] Trump: So, as you know, more 2.2 million people, modeled out, were expected to die. We closed up the greatest economy in the world in order to fight this horrible disease that came from China. It’s a worldwide pandemic. It’s all over the world. You see the spikes in Europe and many other places right now. If you notice, the mortality rate is down, 85%. The excess mortality rate is way down, and much lower than almost any other country. And we’re fighting it and we’re fighting it hard. There is a spike. There was a spike in Florida, and it’s now gone. There was a very big spike in Texas, it’s now gone…
In other words, humans are in charge of the virus.
[3:12] Biden: 220,000 Americans dead. If you hear nothing else I say tonight, hear this. Anyone who’s responsible for not taking control — in fact, not saying, I take no responsibility, initially — anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as President of the United States of America. We’re in a situation where there are thousands of deaths a day, a thousand deaths a day. And there are over 70,000 new cases per day. Compared to what’s going on in Europe, as the New England Medical Journal said, they’re starting from a very low rate. We’re starting from a very high rate. The expectation is we’ll have another 200,000 Americans dead by the time, between now and the end of the year. If we just wore these masks — the President’s own advisors told them — we could save 100,000 lives.
Humans are in charge and it is as simple as wearing masks (why are the fully-masked-for-months Europeans now suffering from exponential infection?). If true and if obvious, why does it matter what a U.S. President says and does? State governors and mayors can and did order masks (typically starting in April and May; see also Dr. Fauci on masks).
The moderator then asks about a vaccine and when it will show up. Is this a fair question for politicians with zero training in biology or medicine? They’re supposed to have special insight into when a drug or vaccine gets approval and whether the drug or vaccine is effective? Trump eventually gets around to something that a politician could potentially influence, i.e., distribution:
I think my timeline is going to be more accurate. I don’t know that they’re counting on the military the way I do, but we have our generals lined up, one in particular, that’s the head of logistics. And this is a very easy distribution for him. He’s ready to go as soon as we have the vaccine, and we expect to have 100 million vials as soon as we have the vaccine, he’s ready to go.
[6:12] Welker: Vice President Biden, your reaction? Just 40% of Americans say they would definitely agree to take a coronavirus vaccine if it was approved by the government. What steps would you take to give Americans confidence in a vaccine if it were approved?
[6:25] Biden: Make sure it’s totally transparent. Have the scientific world see, know, look at it, go through all the processes. And by the way, this is the same fellow who told you this is going to end by Easter last time. This the same fellow who told you that, don’t worry, we’re going to end this by the summer. We’re about to go into a dark winter, a dark winter, and he has no clear plan and there’s no prospect that there’s going to be a vaccine available for the majority of the American people before the middle of next year.
Why would a U.S. president need to be involved in “transparency” regarding vaccine trials. Isn’t it likely that most of the vaccines will be developed outside of the U.S. and the results published outside of the U.S.? We don’t have a monopoly on pharma research.
An argument about who wanted to shut down China earlier ensues. Trump then makes my Your lockdown may vary point!
We can’t lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does. He has the ability to lock himself up. I don’t know, he’s obviously made a lot of money, someplace, but he has this thing about living in a basement. People can’t do that. By the way, I, as the president, couldn’t do that. I’d love to put myself in the basement or in a beautiful room in the White House and go away for a year and a half until it disappears. I can’t do that.
(See Town and Country for photos of Joe Biden’s mansions, the first of which was a 10,000 square foot former DuPont mansion purchased in 1974 “as a young senator”.)
Biden succumbs to gender binarism:
That man or wife going to bed tonight and reaching over to try to touch their, out of habit, where their wife or husband was, is gone.
What about spouses with the 48 other gender IDs who die from the Trump-caused Covid-19?
How about young slender healthy American Progressives voting themselves into another year or two of lockdown in order to protect old fat unhealthy Republicans?
[12:33] Welker: OK, let’s talk about your different strategies toward dealing with this. Mr. Vice President, you suggested you would support new shutdowns if scientists recommended it. What do you say to Americans who are fearful that the cost of shutdowns, the impact on the economy, the higher rates of hunger depression, domestic and substance abuse, outweighs the risk of exposure to the virus?
[12:51] Biden: What I would say is I’m going to shut down the virus, not the country. It’s his ineptitude that caused the country to have to shut down in large part — why businesses have gone under, why schools are closed, why so many people have lost their living and why they’re concerned. Those other concerns are real. That’s why he should have been — instead of in a sand trap at his golf course — he should have been negotiating with Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats and Republicans about what to do about the acts they were passing for billions of dollars to make sure people had the capacity.
[13:21] Welker: You haven’t ruled out more shutdowns
[13:24] Biden: Oh no, I’m not shutting down the nation but there are, look, they need standards. The standard is, if you have a reproduction rate in a community that’s above a certain level, everybody says, slow up. More social distancing. Do not open bars and do not open gymnasiums. Do not open until you get this under control, under more control. But when you do open, give the people the capacity to be able to open and have the capacity to do it safely. For example schools — schools, they need a lot of money to open. They need to deal with ventilation systems, they need to deal with smaller classes, more teacher, more pods, and he’s refused to support that money, or at least up to now
Is Biden disavowing his previous promise to listen to the Science Karens and shut down whenever they say to do so? (CNN, August 22, 2020) Also, if the schools needed better ventilation systems (like my idea!) and they are under state and local government control, why weren’t they already installed over the summer?
Maskachusetts is featured! We had a powerful shutdown in mid-March, masked city residents starting in April, and a statewide mask law with high compliance starting in early May. We’ve been at least as successful as the early-shut early-masked Peruvians!
[14:46] Welker: Let me follow up, President Trump. You’ve demanded schools open in person and insisted they can do it safely. But just yesterday, Boston became the latest city to move its public school system entirely online after a coronavirus spike. What is your message to parents who worry that sending their children to school will endanger not only their kids, but also their teachers and families?
[15:04] Trump: I want to open the schools. The transmittal rate to the teachers is very small, but I want to open the schools. We have to open our country. We’re not going to have a country. You can’t do this, we can’t keep this country closed. It is a massive country with a massive economy. People are losing their jobs, they’re committing suicide. There’s depression, alcohol, drugs at a level that nobody’s ever seen before. There’s abuse, tremendous abuse. We have to open our country.
Trump is totally out of step with his cower-in-place fellow citizens! He hits many of the same points as “The COVID-19 shutdown will cost Americans millions of years of life” (The Hill) without recognizing that Americans now care only about COVID-19 deaths, not deaths or loss of life-years from any other cause. Biden is more aligned with the American people that I recognize:
[15:51] Biden: Simply not true. We’re gonna be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. We ought to be able to safely open, but we need resources to open. You need to be able to, for example, if you’re gonna open a business, have social distancing within the business. You need to have, if you have a restaurant, you need to have plexiglass dividers so people cannot infect one another. You need to be in a position where you can take testing rapidly and know whether a person is, in fact, infected. You need to be able to trace. You need to be able to provide all the resources that are needed to do this and that is not inconsistent with saying that we’re going to make sure that we open safely. And by the way, all you teachers out there — not that many of you are going to die, so don’t worry about it.
In other words, trillions of dollars have been spent so far, but if Americans spend another few $trillion on Plexiglas, we will show coronavirus who is boss. Biden is also in sync with American priorities. Marijuana and liquor stores are essential and can never be closed. Schools should be the last institutions to reopen. (Contrast to Ireland; in the most severe lockdown so far, everything is closed except for schools, universities, and adult education.)
For a guy who owns hundreds of $millions of NYC real estate, Trump is not going to be selected by the Chamber of Commerce to promote the city:
[16:39] Trump: I will say this, if you go and look at what’s happened to New York, it’s a ghost town. It’s a ghost town. And when you talk about plexiglas — these are restaurants that are dying. These are businesses with no money. Putting the plexiglas is unbelievably expensive, and it’s not the answer. I mean, you’re going to sit there in a cubicle wrapped around with plastic? These are businesses that are dying, Joe, you can’t do that to people, which again, take a look at New York and what’s happened to my wonderful city. For so many years, I loved it. It was vibrant. It’s dying. Everyone’s leaving New York.
Joe Biden doesn’t see color:
[17:34] Biden: Take a look what New York has done in terms of turning the curve down, in terms of the number of people dying. And I don’t look at this in terms of what he does, blue states and red states. They’re all the United States. And look at the states that are having such a spike in the coronavirus. They’re the red states.
In other words, Biden beats up the red states (not that he looks at states in terms of “red” and “blue”) for doing exactly what the Full post, including comments