And Mike Pence, the man in charge of US response to the novel coronavirus? Let's talk about his public health chops. When Pence became Indiana's governor in 2013, it was clear that the Southern part of the state was vulnerable to an HIV outbreak among IV drug users.
So experts suggested needle exchanges, which Pence suggested he was open to. Except he wasn't, and state law still prohibited them. Perhaps more damning, the only HIV testing provider in that part of the state had been shuttered? Why? Because it was a Planned Parenthood facility.
And 3% of its services included abortion, so the other 97% - 97% which ultimately included the lives and health of hundreds of Hoosiers - was deemed acceptable collateral damage.
Between November 2014 and January 2015 17 new cases of HIV appeared in a county with only 23,000 residents. By March Pence was still refusing to allow needle exchanges. On the 25th, he finally allowed it. By the end of the month, an HIV testing clinic opened.
But by 2017 215 cases had come to Southern Indiana. The CDC and NIDA admit that the Scott County outbreak was mishandled.
Donald Trump tells us that Mike Pence and the rest of the administration is doing an "incredible" job handling the novel coronavirus.
But I'm not sure. It is impossible to separate health from politics. Our health, our bodies, have always been political. Mike Pence facilitated a public health crisis in Indiana in 2015. This administration is treating the CDC as expendable.
I hope Mike Pence learned from his mistakes and I hope that the administration as a whole realizes that you will not have a country to run into the ground unless you address the severity of epidemics as they happen and prioritize a response.
#COVID19 is not nearly as dangerous as the administration's response.
You can follow @heyneyer.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: