H/T Graphic: Buzzflash.com.

Fox 10 in Phoenix reports, Harvard epidemiologist says Arizona is currently the worst off amongst U.S. states in terms of COVID-19:

Harvard University epidemiologist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding says Arizona holds new records for cases, positivity percentages, hospitalizations and ICU beds in use.

Arizona is the currently the worst off,” Feigl-Ding said, adding, “In terms of a per capita basis, on a 7-day average, Arizona has 212 cases per million population and Arizona ranks number one.”

He says the numbers in the state are now exceeding Brazil and Peru, and he’s expecting the state to be one of the hardest-hit regions in the world he wrote in the Twitter post.  The state’s numbers are exceeding all European countries as well, Feigl-Ding said.

“So all the terrible things you heard about Lombardi, Italy, Arizona per capita has surpassed Lombardi, Italy. That is where I became worried yesterday,” he said.

These numbers are not due to increased testing in the state, he explained, saying, “The rise in cases is outstripping the rise in testing and you can see that in positivity percentage.”

The reason for these numbers, he says, is because Arizona has opened up quickly and many in the state are not following social distancing guidelines or wearing masks.

On Wednesday, Gov. Ducey announced in the news conference that local governments will be given the power to create mask mandates and allow for enforcement.

Feigl-Ding says it’s important to realize that while many will recover from COVID-19, there will be many injuries to your body, including long term damage to lungs and blood clots.

It is in this context that the Donald Trump death cult brings its “spread the pandemic tour” to Arizona today.

On Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as David Atkins explains at the Political Animal Blog, Trump Just Admitted to a Crime Against Humanity (excerpt):

[A]mong the bizarre statements and absurdist pieces of performance art Trump displayed onstage (including a 10-minute riff on his own ability to walk down a gentle ramp, and a strange demonstration that he can actually drink a glass of water–if only slowly and carefully) came one of the most shocking admissions by a president in all modern history. Trump boasted that he had asked his officials to slow down COVID-19 testing because the rising number of cases was making him look bad.

“Here’s the bad part: when you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down please.”

He then emphasized the point by implying that many of the positive test results didn’t really matter if they were among young people likely to recover. He spoke dismissively of a “young man, 10 years old” who “got the sniffles–he’s gonna recover in about 15 minutes.” And then he waited for applause … Trump’s dismissal of the importance of testing him speaks volumes about his lack of understanding of the pandemic and of his callousness in placing his own political interest ahead of public health.

But let’s come back to the main shocking statement: “I said to my people, slow the testing down please.” It is hard to overstate the sheer evil of it. The only way to stop a widespread pandemic is through mass, universal testing, aggressive contact tracing and isolation measures. To slow down testing for any reason virtually guarantees the deaths of thousands, to say nothing of broader damage to the social fabric and to the economy. To slow down testing for political reasons is particularly abominable.

It constitutes a criminal, negligent abuse of power so unspeakable and so unthinkable that there isn’t even a law, federal or international, to adequately cover the case. It is the sort of high crime that impeachment was explicitly designed for, because the potential for abuses of power by a chief executive potentate is so vast and variegated that it would be impossible to write laws for all the potential scenarios. But to explicitly slow walk testing in a once-in-a-century pandemic, just to reduce the number of publicized cases for purely political purposes, allowing the virus to spread unchecked just to keep the economy humming along a little longer and to make his own response appear somewhat less incompetent, is the essence of a high crime. Because the consequences are so deadly–potentially killing literally hundreds of thousands of his own fellow citizens and endangering the entire interconnected world–it constitutes nothing less than a national and global crime against humanity.

[Just] listen to the audio again. It is very clear that Trump wasn’t joking, and that the moment was anything but light. Trump was blithe, sarcastic and dismissive, but that’s very different from engaging in pretense. Trump clearly meant every word he said at that moment.

Governor Doug Ducey as well is criminally negligent for his weak response to the coronavirus pandemic, and his ending the lockdown too soon. This is not the “second wave” anticipated this fall, White House Says It’s Bracing for an Autumn Wave, but is a resurgence in the initial wave because Ducey ended the lockdown too soon.

Or as Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director for the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota now says, the wave model doesn’t seem to apply to this disease — because that would imply it’d take a breather at some point. Osterholm: Forget waves, this pandemic is a ‘forest fire’: “I don’t think we’re going to see one, two and three waves — I think we’re just going to see one very very difficult forest fire of cases.”

Arizona currently ranks 40th in the nation in testing according to ongoing research conducted by Johns Hopkins University. Donald Trump would say, “slow the testing down please.”

On Saturday, Arizona residents were forced to wait in line as long as 13 hours in 104 degree heat for free drive-up COVID-19 testing in the neighborhood of Maryvale in southwest Phoenix. Almost 1,000 people wait up to 13 hours for COVID-19 testing in Maryvale. The demand was so tremendous that they had to begin turning people away.

Trump is first going to Yuma to talk about his “big beautiful wall with Mexico” that Mexico is still not paying for, and is only a little over 200 miles of fencing and barriers completed -almost all of the 216 miles built so far have been replacements for older, existing border barriers that were constructed under the Secure Fence Act of 2006 – well shy of the 450 miles of new wall he has pledged to have built by the end of this year. Trump in Yuma to mark 216 miles of border wall, still a work in progress.

McSally loving on her top political priority

Sen. Martha McSally, R-Arizona, [said] she was “looking forward to showing him (Trump) the completion of 200 miles of the border wall in Yuma.”

“Representing a border state, I know firsthand how important this barrier is to our nation’s border security as cartels and drug traffickers attempt to take advantage of a porous border,” she said in a statement Monday.

UPDATE: Fact Check from CNN reporter Daniel Dale:

Screen Shot 2020-06-23 at 10.35.50 AM

Yuma is also where Arizona’s record breaking recent surge in COVID-19 cases first emerged over Memorial Day weekend. Arizona saw highest single-day ER visits; Yuma sees spike in cases related to COVID-19 over weekend: “A spike in cases at the Yuma hospital contributed to record-high levels of hospitalizations and ER visits related to the coronavirus statewide over the weekend.” It is doubtful that Trump will address his pandemic failure in Yuma.

Despite headlines like this, Clusters around the U.S. have been increasingly linked with social and religious gathering places, Trump’s second stop is at an evangelical megachurch, the Dream City Church, for an event hosted by Students for Trump, which is a project of Turning Point Action, the activist arm of Charlie Kirk’s far right-wing group Turning Point USA.

The pastors who run this church are con men just like Donald Trump, as the Phoenix New Times reports. Phoenix Megachurch Hosting Trump Rally Says It Has Special Coronavirus-Killing Air System:

Dream City Church, the north Phoenix megachurch set to host a Donald Trump rally on June 23, claims it has solved the pandemic problem in its auditorium, making it safe for anyone who wants to attend.

In a video posted on Sunday, Senior Pastor Luke Barnett and Chief Operations Officer Brendon Zastrow announce happily that the church has installed a new air-purification system that kills 99.9 percent of the coronavirus. The technology, they say, was developed by members of the church.


Dream City Church reportedly has 3,000 seats, though it’s unclear whether that many Trump supporters intend to attend tomorrow afternoon’s rally; headlines from Trump’s event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday focused on the many rows of empty seats. But those who do wish to attend won’t have to worry about that virus that’s going around, Barnett and Zastrow say.

“We’ve installed Clean Air EXP,” Zastrow says. “We have a local Arizona company. It was a technology developed by some members of our church. And we’ve installed these units. And it kills 99 percent of COVID within 10 minutes.”

The system achieves this bit of magic with air “ionization,” a word that the pair mangle as they try to pronounce it.

“So when you come into our auditorium, 99 percent of COVID is gone,” Barnett says. “So you can know when you come down here, you’ll be safe and protected.”

The Clean Air EXP website has a blurb about COVID stating: “COVID-19 REPORT: Lab tests confirm that CleanAir EXP eliminates 99.9% of coronavirus from the air in less than 10 minutes.*”

The footnote states, “* Biosafety lab analysis performed on active coronavirus 229E test surrogate.”

Coronavirus 229E is one of the viruses responsible for the common cold that’s often used in virus studies.

But even if the technology can eliminate the surrogate virus in 10 minutes, such studies are done in controlled laboratory settings. They don’t necessarily apply to something like the interior of a megachurch.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) took to Twitter asking the megachurch, “Did you clear your statement with your lawyers?”

Noting that “the church has indicated that they will be handing out masks to eventgoers and taking temperatures upon check-in,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego issued a statement on Monday saying she still doesn’t believe “an event of this magnitude can be held safely,” particularly with case numbers spiking in the city and elsewhere in Arizona.

Could the miracle of ionization really help Trump supporters at the rally? An April article in Business Insider dubbed “bipolar ionization” (BPI) a “secret weapon” against COVID-19 that airports and hospitals have been using.

Dr. Philip Tierno, a clinical professor of pathology at New York University, told Business Insider that “ions produce a chemical reaction on the cell membrane surface that inactivates the virus… It can reduce 99.9% of microbes in a matter of minutes.”

Reached by New Times, Dr. Tierno said the concept has to be put into context, and that no system can protect someone against an infected person sneezing in the seat next to them.

“The short answer to your question is NO, you will ABSOLUTELY NOT BE SAFE AND PROTECTED. When you are dealing with hundreds or thousands of people in an AUDITORIUM, some of whom will carry the virus you WILL NOT BE absolutely PROTECTED,” Dr. Tierno, using all-caps to help make his points, wrote in an email.

Tierno said taking temperatures at the door and handing out masks should help, but the masks must be worn, and people must remain socially distant from each other, skipping seats around each person.

“BPI will help over time to reduce numbers of virus BUT NOT ABSOLUTELY eradicate it without doing the aforementioned,” he said. “I would advise you not to present FALSE hope to attendees by spreading false statements.”

* * *

Jeffrey Siegal, Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto who specializes in filtration, indoor air quality, and ventilation, expressed skepticism about Dream City Church’s claims after looking at Clean Air EXP’s website.

“This thing is not going to do anything in terms of protecting people in that space. Period,” he said. “We’re in the midst of this quite serious pandemic and health situation, and the last thing people need is false information about air cleaning technology.”

“It is true that you can build a system — and we’ve had them for decades — that will scrub the air going through the system of 99.99 percent of germs, including viruses, depending on how it works,” said David Weber, medical director at the University of South Carolina Hospitals’ Departments of Hospital Epidemiology (Infection Prevention). “But that doesn’t prove that, at the floor level, it’s going to reduce your infection risk. That’s a separate question.”

UPDATE: The church later released a short statement about its installation of the Clean Air EXP system:

“In an effort to make our experience as safe as possible during these trying times, Dream City Church contracted Howard Air to install CleanAir EXP air purification units. These units were invented by a local Arizona company IONaer Arizona LLC, d/b/a CleanAir EXP. CleanAir EXP is a revolutionary air and surface purification solution that combines the most sophisticated in-room sensors with the latest air purification technology to clean indoor air and surfaces of viruses, allergens, pathogens, odors, smoke, mold, ozone and harmful chemicals.”

Clean Air EXP’s president Jerry McGuire later texted that a “news update” had been posted on the company’s website. The update doesn’t address the church’s claims or the Trump rally, but boasts about its product. McGuire didn’t return a follow-up text or voicemail.

So the Trump death cult ‘spread the pandemic tour’ is likely bringing a super-spreader event to yet another church that believes it is somehow immune from COVID-19 because they can pray it away. Good luck with that.