PHOTO/FRANK X. MULLEN: Dr. Paul Sierzenski, chief medical officer for Renown’s acute care unit, answers questions on Nov. 11 when the garage overflow facility was set up.

Who are you going to believe, the president or your lying eyes?

Twitter users faced that dilemma Dec. 1 when President Donald Trump re-tweeted a Las Vegas blog’s assertion that Renown Regional Medical Center’s 700-bed COVID-19 overflow area in Reno is a hoax. Trump added a comment to the re-tweet stating his often-repeated accusation that the Silver State’s election results also were  fake.

He’s 0 for 2 for the claims in that single tweet. That’s not a record.

State and local officials and medical staffers condemned the president’s action as irresponsible, cruel  and dangerous. A photo of one of the 42 recovering patients now being treated in the parking garage was featured in a Reno TV reporter’s tweet. His message assured people that the garage facility, the pandemic and the patients are real – and the crisis is deadly serious.

Vegas blog made bizarre claim

The tempest in the Twitterverse began with a post from an obscure Las Vegas website on Nov. 30. The site routinely posts attacks on Sisolak and other Democrats as well as incorrect information about the pandemic. The tweet stated that the garage overflow area at Renown couldn’t be real because the beds and the equipment in a photo released by Gov. Steve Sisolak were covered in plastic and hadn’t been used. The fact that new stuff is well, brand new, was ignored. The tweet also dubbed Sisolak a “moron.” Trump re-tweeted the message the next day.

 Facility has seen 200 patients

On Dec. 1 Renown announced that 42 patients were then receiving care at the parking garage site. Those patients are exhibiting mild symptoms or are in recovery and so do not require critical care. The hospital on Nov. 11 finished setting up the 700-bed overflow area and invited reporters to document the effort. Pictures of the garage floor and its patient treatment stations were shown around the nation. The first 10 patients were moved into the temporary facility five days later. About 200 patients have been treated in the garage since then.

The hospital spent $11 million on the alternative site, which can be expanded to 1,400 beds on several floors if the need arises, according to Dr. Paul Sierzenski, chief medical officer for Renown’s acute care unit. Northern Nevada has had an exponential increase in COVID-19 cases over the last few weeks and hospitals are nearing 90% capacity.

Sisolak countered Trump’s tweet with some shade of his own.

Sisolak: Trump’s lies are ‘reckless’

“His consistent misleading rhetoric on COVID-19 is dangerous and reckless, and today’s implication that Renown’s alternate care site is a “fake hospital” is among the worst examples we’ve seen,” he wrote. “It is unconscionable for him to continue to spread lies and sow distrust at a time when all Americans should be united during this historic public health crisis. Enough is enough.”

Sisolak noted that “for nearly nine months, the State of Nevada has not only had to battle this pandemic, we have had to fight the President’s nonstop attempts to politicize a virus that has led to over 260,000 American deaths.” He called on “all leaders throughout Nevada – regardless of political affiliation – to join me in condemning the President’s attacks on the integrity of our healthcare workers.”

Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve also tweeted a response and issued a statement:

Mayor: Trump should get off golf cart

The mayor wrote that “it is abhorrent to me that anyone, let alone a president, spout lies that mock and demean patients fighting for their lives. The exceptional leaders at Renown have been forced into this unbelievable situation and I commend them for their heroic work.” She said Trump’s statements are “an attack on our community as we face an unprecedented challenge. This is exactly the inhumane and cavalier attitude that has cost thousands of Americans their lives.”

Schieve urged Trump to “put the phone down, get off the golf cart, and come down to our hospitals and see for himself the reality which he blatantly chooses not to face.”

PHOTO/FRANK X. MULLEN: Workers on Nov. 11 prepare Renown’s parking garage for an overflow of patients, the first of whom arrived five days later.

Claims of election fraud also unfounded 

Trump’s claims about election fraud in Nevada, which began months prior to the Nov. 3 election, have been made – and constantly repeated — without any evidence. His campaign and the Nevada Republican Party have filed five lawsuits in Nevada in an attempt to overturn the election results. Four have been dismissed and a fifth is pending in court.

The claims of fake ballots and dead people voting have been shown to be baseless in Nevada and elsewhere. In the Silver State, President-elect Joe Biden beat Trump by 33,896 votes. The result has been certified by the state.

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1 Comment

  1. Before he serves any jail time, I hope that President Trump is sentenced to several weeks of Community Service in the ICU unit of a large hospital.

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