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Presidential concerns rose with hotel impact

Why Donnie Trump's sudden turn to concern about coronavirus? From January to September 2019 the Department of Health and Human Services ran a series of simulations, code name "Crimson Contagion", of an influenza epidemic. The results were published in October for policymakers but stamped "not to be disclosed," according to reporting in the New York Times in a story headlined "Before Virus Outbreak, a Cascade of Warnings Went Unheeded." The results were not very flattering. "The United States, the organizers realized, did not have the means to quickly manufacture more essential medical equipment, supplies or medicines, including antiviral medications, needles, syringes, N95 respirators and ventilators," the Times reported. Congress was briefed in December on some of these findings, including the inability to quickly replenish certain medical supplies, given that much of the product comes from overseas."

We know from NBC News -- "On Trump's calendar, just 17 intelligence briefings in 85 days" -- that Donnie Trump does not take the daily intelligence briefing every day, so perhaps he missed this. In any case, he ignored and publicly downplayed the intelligence reporting and press reporting in January and February about the possible severity of the coronavirus. David Leonhardt's "A Complete List of Trump's Attempts to Play Down Coronavirus" documents this. The denialism persisted until March 11.

Is it a coincidence that hotel occupancy rates started falling in the first week of March? According to Jennifer Yellin, writing on The Points Guy website, "US hotel occupancy rates are plunging due to coronavirus," hotel occupancy rates fell 7.2% and revenue per available room fell by 11.6%. On the Trump organization webpage, hotels are front and center. Did Trump's switch from indifference to concern about coronavirus stem from public health worries or private financial worries?

Mark Weaver


'Era'-based description not worth recognizing

Vietnam War Veterans Day is fast coming [March 29] and I for one deeply appreciate the recognition given to those of us who are actual veterans who served in this "conflict." I do realize that Veterans Day is for all veterans, but when I stand in front of the [Vietnam Veterans Memorial] wall, I also recognize those who gave all as Vietnam veterans.

My point is very simple. I recognize all persons who served in the military as veterans. Having said that, I resent the title of "Vietnam-era veteran" for one simple reason: They were never in any danger of being shot, hit with mortar fire, exposed to Agent Orange or malaria, let alone being killed.

There is no reason to recognize those veterans as anything other than what they are: veterans.

Carl Heffner

Bella Vista

Commentary on 03/25/2020

Print Headline: Letters to the editor

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