President Barack Obama delivers the State of Union address before a joint session of Congress in the House chamber Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Larry Downing, Pool)
After President Trump rolled back an Obama era fuel efficiency standard on Tuesday, the former president took to Twitter. Obama tweeted, “We’ve seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can’t afford any more consequences of climate denial. All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall.” He attached an L. A. Times article about the story.
First of all, I’d call that quite a leap. A pandemic is to global warming as an apple is to an orange.
Secondly, I’d call it a cheap shot.
We've seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can't afford any more consequences of climate denial. All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall. https://t.co/K8Ucu7iVDK
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 31, 2020
Coming from Obama, who presided over the 2009 H1N1 swine flu, that’s really rich.
The H1N1 flu was first detected in the U.S. in April 2009 and it began to spread immediately. By the end of the month, American health officials “had declared it a public health emergency.”
President Obama addressed Americans briefly (1:27) at the end of April. He said that U.S. health officials were monitoring the situation. He recommended that if a student becomes infected, his or her school should consider closing down temporarily to contain the disease. Obama said he had requested $1.5 billion from Congress to support the government’s efforts. Finally, he called on Americans to take the same precautions they would to prevent any other flu. “Wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough. Stay home from work if you’re sick.” And he assured us the government would do whatever it takes to keep Americans safe.
Frankly I don’t recall, but I’d be willing to bet no one accused him of not doing enough to keep Americans safe.
By October, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC told CNN, “millions of people in the United States have been infected, at least 20,000 have been hospitalized and more than 1,000 have died.”
President Obama finally declared H1N1 a national emergency on October 24, 2009. He issued a statement which read, “The 2009 H1N1 pandemic continues to evolve. The rates of illness continue to rise rapidly within many communities across the nation, and the potential exists for the pandemic to overburden health care resources in some localities. Thus, in recognition of the continuing progression of the pandemic, and in further preparation as a nation, we are taking additional steps to facilitate our response.”
On November 12, 2009, the CDC reported an estimated 22 million Americans had been infected with H1N1 and 4,000 Americans had died.
The final CDC estimates of confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths from April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010 were breathtaking.
During that pandemic, the CDC estimates that there were approximately 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million) in the U.S.
There were 274,304 hospitalizations (195,086-402,719) and 12,469 deaths (8868-18,306).
The Democrats had far more important things on their mind at the time. They were preoccupied with passing The Affordable Care Act in the spring of 2009 and the swine flu was an unwanted distraction.
Outside of reminding us to wash our hands, and to stay home when we were sick, the Obama administration did little to try to contain the H1N1.
Although the passage of the ACA was the focus of his administration, other health care measures were not a priority.
They repeatedly ignored the recommendations to add to the national supply of ventilators by government agencies.
CNN reported on Friday that on ten occasions, the Government was warned by agencies between 2003 and 2013 about a lack of ventilators in the event of a pandemic. Neither the Bush, nor the Obama administrations acted on any of those warnings.
So, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the previous two administrations ignored ten warnings, and Democrats are criticizing President Trump for ignoring one in July 2017. I wrote:
It is worth noting that, at the time of the 2017 NIH/CDC study, the DOJ was initiating a bogus Special Counsel investigation against our new President which continued on for two years. After a brief respite of several months, the House of Representatives began ramping up an impeachment inquiry to remove him from office. This was followed by an impeachment trial in the Senate which ended with his acquittal. Maybe if his administration hadn’t been so distracted by needless investigations, he might have paid more attention to the study which concluded we needed more ventilators in case we were hit by a pandemic.
President Trump has been “on it” as far as this pandemic is concerned, even though he is attacked every step of the way. In fact, the majority of Americans approve of the way he’s handled the crisis.
He was heavily criticized for imposing a travel ban on January 31st, not only from politicians, but from health officials.
Public health experts warned that travel bans “are not effective at stemming the spread of a virus and can make responding to an outbreak more challenging.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended against the travel ban. WHO spokesperson Tarik Jašarević said, “Although travel restrictions may intuitively seem like the right thing to do, this is not something that WHO usually recommends. This is because of the social disruption they cause and the intensive use of resources required.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also condemned the move. She tweeted, “The Trump Admin’s expansion of its un-American travel ban is a threat to our security, our values and the rule of law. Barring more than 350 million people from predominantly African countries from traveling to the US, this rule is discrimination disguised as policy.”
She even promised to bring the “NO BAN Act” to the Floor “to prohibit religious discrimination in our immigration system and limit the President’s ability to impose such biased and bigoted restrictions.”
Thank God he enacted that ban, because the U.S. outbreak would be even worse.
Barack Obama should thank his lucky stars that the H1N1 flu wasn’t as highly contagious as the coronavirus, because for him, it was a low priority.
Particularly at this time, the last person we need to hear from is him.