Marble Halls & Silver Screens With Sarah Lee Ep. 49: The 'Rise of: COVID Cases, A Starting Point, and Aeronauts' Big Balloon' Edition

 

I had intended to talk on today’s show about the absolute mic-drop of a resignation letter that journalist Bari Weiss wrote to her New York Times bosses as she presumably tossed her hair and checked her nails while walking out the door of the building (virtually). I even had brilliant and thoughtful notes about it on my yellow legal pad where I keep such things.

And I just…forgot. Skipped right over it. So that topic will have to come next week. But don’t worry: it’ll still be fresh. Cancel culture is always fresh.

But I did manage to cover the other things jotted on my legal pad, including the slowly breaking news that all those horrible COVID case numbers we keep hearing about that are leading to retroactive lockdowns and mask mandates might actually be…well…how to put this delicately…overstated a bit.

And for those who can handle the weirdness of politics: the numbers are bunk, inflated, sometimes drastically, and they’re being used to justify all the bad things we’re dealing with right now, including keeping fans out of sports stands, kids out of schools, and businesses from opening.

Fortunately, the White House has apparently decided to switch things up a bit to try to identify if the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) — either through incompetence or malfeasance — is the culprit in the case of the sketchy data. So they’ve announced that state health departments should begin reporting their collected data to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rather than the CDC.

And they must be onto something because the Democrats are righteously indignant about it.

Senate Democrats sent a letter Friday to Vice President Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx, who run the White House coronavirus task force, urging them to “withdraw your confusing and harmful changes to hospital reporting requirements” for COVID-19.

“These changes pose serious challenges to the nation’s response by increasing data management burden for hospitals, potentially delaying critical supply shipments, compromising access to key data for many states, and reducing transparency for the public,” states the letter, which was organized by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and signed by 44 out of 45 Senate Democrats and the chamber’s two independents.

House Democrats also sent a letter Friday to Alex Azar, HHS secretary, objecting to the new hospital data reporting system and urging the Trump administration “to rescind it immediately.” The letter describes the CDC as “the sole agency with the expertise and objectiveness to protect the integrity of this data and provide accurate analysis,” and raises concerns about transparency, accountability and public access to the data collected by the TeleTracking portal.

The letter was organized by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and was signed by 69 Democrats. No Republicans signed.

So…is this the first step in a 12 step process of rolling back some of the COVID scare so we can start to actually see people’s faces again?

I’m praying for it. I really am.

I also attempt to review “Aeronauts” (trailer below), an adorable and very English film about — of all things — meteorology. Recommending it, especially if you have a preteen girl at home who needs some inspiration. And there’s also an overview of Chris Evans’ new foray into politics, “A Starting Point.” Also recommended, and for very similar reasons.

The show lives below on Spotify and you can also find me at iHeart radio, Apple PodcastsFCB Radio’s Spreaker, and Deezer.