With most of the oxygen being sucked out of the room by Donald Trump’s totally normal attempts to overturn the 2020 election—which got a boost Tuesday afternoon from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—you might have forgotten there’s a pandemic still raging in the United States. But surprise! There is, and it’s worse than it was this spring. On Monday more than 59,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, the country’s highest number ever, while new infections hit a record level for the sixth consecutive day. As head of the federal government’s coronavirus task force, Mike Pence was presumably made aware of these statistics when he convened a meeting of the group yesterday for the first time in almost a month. And apparently what he’s decided to do in light of these extremely worrisome numbers is…pack a swimsuit and flip-flops, because the V.P. is headed for a little beachside vacation, baby!
That’s right, the man ostensibly in charge of the government’s response to a deadly disease that has infected 10 million in the U.S. is putting up his out-of-office message and getting some much-deserved R&R!
To be fair, it’s not as though Pence has been doing a bang-up job controlling the virus to date, so his absence will seemingly have little impact on the situation, which is to say: It’ll probably continue to spiral out of control whether or not he’s sipping a virgin daiquiri and yelling at Mother to pass him a beach towel so he can hide his eyes from the heathen displays of flesh on the beach. Under his tutelage, hospitalizations have surged an astounding 73% in the last 30 days, with experts predicting the U.S. could soon hit 200,000 new infections daily. It also appears that the administration held another super-spreader event on election night, with multiple people testing positive after attending Trump’s viewing party. The administration has of course claimed the virus is under control, which is a lie, and on Monday, tried to take credit for the news that a vaccine from Pfizer proved more than 90% effective in early trials, before the company promptly told it to fuck off.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden has announced his COVID-19 task force. Shockingly, it’s comprised of actual physicians and health experts, one of whom has a bleak warning for the country. Speaking to CNBC, infectious disease expert Dr. Michael Osterholm said the next several months will be “the darkest of the pandemic,” predicting that the number of new daily infections is “going to continue to increase substantially.” He added that “we have not even come close to the peak and, as such, our hospitals are now being overrun. The next three to four months are going to be, by far, the darkest of the pandemic. I don’t think America quite gets this yet. This is going to get much worse.” All of which makes it exponentially more fucked up that the Trump administration is actively blocking the handoff of transition resources to the Biden team, as though there’s nothing pressing for its members to get started on.
But hey, Mike Pence is getting a nice little vacay!
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