The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

What Trump Did and Didn’t Do

Posted on | March 17, 2020 | Comments Off on What Trump Did and Didn’t Do


At a press conference Monday, President Trump issued “guidelines” to slow the spread of the coronavirus. What should be noted, however, is what Trump didn’t do — he did not announce a nationwide quarantine order. You see, the consensus opinion inside the CDC was that such a nationwide action was advisable, but as Trump noted at the press conference, the threat of the disease is not evenly distributed nationwide. So what he did was to defer to state and local governments to take whatever actions they deemed necessary, based on local circumstances. In the San Francisco area, for example, six counties just got a “shelter in place” order prohibiting any non-essential activity. In Maryland, the governor ordered the closing of all bars, restaurants and gyms. The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut also imposed shutdowns Monday. Restaurant chains also responded: McDonald’s closed its dining areas, offering takeout and drive-through orders only.

For the next couple of weeks, then, much of the country will be in emergency shutdown mode, but not on federal orders. These are state and local decisions, and also decisions by private businesses, so that constitutional federalism is preserved. We are now in a wait-and-see posture: If these measures succeed in slowing the spread of the virus, no further action will be necessary. On the other hand . . .

Well, I don’t want to indulge any worst-case-scenario speculation.

As of 10 p.m. ET Monday night, there had been 4,459 coronavirus cases reported, with 86 deaths. More than half of that death toll (48 people) was in Washington State, where one nursing-home patient who had traveled to China was the source of a disastrous outbreak. Five states — New York (950 cases), Washington (909), California (448), Massachusetts (197) and New Jersey (178) — account for 60% of U.S. coronavirus cases. Given how disproportionately the disease has been confined to a handful of states on the two coasts, it seems absurd to take drastic action affecting rural states in the Midwest. However, until the outbreaks in the coastal urban centers are brought under control, the rest of the country will be forced to go along with the crisis mentality.

We must err on the side of caution. So I’ve got 28 rolls of toilet paper, and the means to defend my family against any marauding bandits. That’s all I can do, except perhaps to urge readers to remember that the Five Most Important Words in the English Language are:


Thanks in advance for your contributions. I’ll be here in the bunker, hunkered down to protect our toilet paper stockpile.



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