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The opposite of crying wolf

Friday, Apr 3, 2020

* Let’s start out by stipulating that Mayor Lori Lightfoot has done a tremendous job of convincing Chicagoans to stay home. She has inspired her city like no other mayor before. Nobody could ever dispute that.

But, Lightfoot also has a habit of saying things that appear to be so rosy as to flatly contradict the evidence at hand. For instance, this is from February 26

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday she’s “very disappointed” in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for fanning the flames of fear about the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, is warning Americans to start preparing now for “the expectation that this might be bad,” triggering a severe disruption in their daily lives.

Messonnier argued the question was no longer if the coronavirus will start spreading in the United States, but when.

That may require what she called, “social distancing measures” that include smaller classes or closing schools, canceling meetings and conferences and allowing employees to work from home. […]

“I will candidly tell you that I was very disappointed with the comments of the CDC yesterday and members of the Trump administration around coronavirus,” Lightfoot said.

* You’ll recall that she resisted closing schools.

And then she said this on March 23rd

Lightfoot also said the city is OK right now with hospitals, bed counts and ventilators.

“So far, we’re fine,” Lightfoot said.

But Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite of the Army Corps of Engineers said this yesterday about the new hospital beds at McCormick Place

“At the end of the day, though, the single biggest reason why we would come to Chicago or somewhere else is that governor feels that there’s a very, very critical requirement,” Semonite said. […]

About a week ago, Semonite said he was notified by the secretary of the Army that Pritzker was “very, very concerned about the bed shortage up here.”

A division commander, Major Gen. Mark Toy, then met with Pritzker, and construction was launched on the McCormick Place’“alternative care facility,” which is short of a full-blown hospital.

So at about the same time Lightfoot was saying “we’re fine,” the governor was frantically urging the federal government to stand up a massive field hospital in the city.

* As we discussed yesterday, Mayor Lightfoot claims the city budget is just fine, even though it’s undoubtedly not fine.

Also from yesterday

“We prepare all year round for these kinds of emergencies. I mean, this is unprecedented, of course. But we are doing OK in terms of our stockpile of the personal protective equipment, the PPE that you hear a lot about. Ventilators, we’re in pretty good shape for now. But all of it is with a qualifier – I just don’t think the federal government has kept up its strategic stockpile, so I don’t think they have the resources and equipment to actually help us if they were so inclined.”

I just don’t think I believe the city’s PPE and ventilator stockpile is adequate.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

8 Comments
  1. - SSL - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 2:13 pm:

    Well one of them is wrong.


  2. - Blue Beard - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    A local, controversial blog pointed out Lightfoot’s February 26 statement earlier this week.

    She definitely walked into a mess, but she hasn’t helped herself with several of these moves.

    I’m betting a lot of the candidates that lost are breathing a sigh of relief they didn’t win.


  3. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 2:24 pm:

    Tribune is live-streaming the Mayor’s press conference today, and I’m watching what appears to be a press staffer explain to the human props how to stand 6-feet apart. Hilarious.


  4. - Pundent - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 2:30 pm:

    Turning on the hose when a house is on fire is commendable. Installing a smoke detector os commendable. Lightfoot’s response to the crisis has been solid. Her planning however remains questionable.


  5. - revvedup - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 2:44 pm:

    If we all do the right things, and the supply stream increases, the City would be ready for the flattened curve scenario. No place on the planet could handle the spike scenario, even with far more equipment, PPE, and people. I think Lightfoot also was somewhat misled by the tone the CDC took; it was not direct and forceful enough at that time. It is possible politics initially caused the CDC to soft-peddle their message and their preparation.


  6. - TR - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 2:44 pm:

    The city is not sharing that PPE with private ambulance personnel, claiming they don’t have enough, even though state law requires them to do so. Those private ambulances transport patients between hospitals and nursing homes and will be called on to shuttle COVID patients to McCormick Place and the other back up hospitals. They can’t do it without PPE. This could become a real problem when we hit the peak.


  7. - TAI - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 3:26 pm:

    My wifes a nurse at U of C. If the city has ample stock of PPE, they should let the hospital admins there know about it because they’re rationing and reusing masks like they’re going to run out very soon. Christ is in Oak Lawn, but treats a lot of south side Chicago residents and their situation is basically the same. Each nurse gets one mask and keeps it on all day including between patients. Then you are required to sanitize your mask at home before your next shift. This is not the way hospitals with ample stockpiles operate.


  8. - Randolph House - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 4:29 pm:

    PPE is in short supply nationally and everyone is struggling. Hospitals, doctors, nurses, patients, everyone. There isn’t much anyone can do about it, except the President.


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* ISP Director: Job is to allow people to be heard and not be drowned out by crime - "We've had requests for assistance from every part of the state" - No indication "of an organized structured group" - More ramp closures than anyone can recall - Says "different tone and tenor" today, and "we hope it stays that way" - Limitations of ILEAS prompts resource shifting - "This is different than other protests" - "We have to be different" - Three regions - "We are going to be ready for anything and we are ready for anything"
* Pritzker calls up 250 more IL National Guard members, deploys 300 more ISP troopers for areas outside Chicago - Issues disaster proclamation for 9 counties - Says Trump has"fanned the flames instead of bringing peace and calm" - Chicago requested "limited role" for National Guard - Of Trump: "I really think it is time to call for calm" - All community-based COVID-19 testing sites closed - "We're being responsive as municipalities have asked us to step in" - "I don't want to dominate peaceful protesters who have legitimate grievances" - On Trump spat: "I think people should know what we stand for" - ISP has "several different missions" - Disaster declaration gives flexibility
* Rep. Maurice West has an 8-point plan
* A quick programming note
* Question of the day
* 974 new cases, 23 additional deaths
* *** UPDATED x1 *** ISP seals off expressway exits
* Some dummies will believe absolutely anything they see on social media
* A quick look around
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Not sure what to even say about this
* Rep. Chris Welch outlines a way forward
* Statehouse, SoS offices to close today ahead of BLM rally
* Jacobson sues
* Looking for something to do?
* We need a national system
* With mandates off, pray for common sense
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Pritzker implores protesters to "not force a difficult second rebuilding on our small businesses in the course of expressing your very justified pain"
* Yesterday's stories

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