We can all hope, and we all should hope, that all the hype and attention being given to the spreading coronavirus ends up being much ado about not a whole lot. A global, public health scare on this level, after all, should be about protecting people and saving lives and not about partisan politics.
But this is the United States of America in 2020 under the leadership of the most divisive, paranoid president and administration in perhaps the entire history of this great nation. With President Donald Trump in charge, dealing with the coronavirus seems less about protecting people and saving lives and more about protecting money and markets, and, to no less extent, coming out on the other side of the virus outbreak with a political leg up over his adversaries.
If we can’t trust our government to be straightforward and truthful about a virus that will inevitably impact the United States a great deal more than it is now, we’re in trouble. Trump isn’t downplaying the impact of the coronavirus on the United States because the impact will in fact be minimal, he and his administration are downplaying its impact because in doing so it gives them an opportunity to label their enemies as “fear-mongers” and it gives Trump a chance to somehow blame his enemies for the coronavirus spread and its growing negative impact on world financial markets and the world economy. Predictably, he’s throwing the word “hoax” around. In addition, if by chance the coronavirus does fizzle out quicker than anticipated, downplaying it now will give Trump a chance to gloat later and kick his enemies into the dirt. It’s not just about beating the coronavirus, it’s about beating your opponents. For Trump, it’s always about winning.
How are we to trust an anti-science administration to effectively and truthfully communicate with its people and effectively battle a global health emergency that demands countless scientists and medical professionals put their heads together and figure it all out? Trump put Vice President Mike Pence in charge, a fundamentalist who refuses to be alone in any room with a woman who is not his wife. And where did Pence go immediately after being named the leader of the United States’ coronavirus fight? Pence went to Maryland to keep his speaking engagement at the 2020 Conservative Political Action Conference, an extremely partisan political event. Pence got around to convening his coronavirus task force over the weekend, filling a large conference room for a photo opp, and in what should shock no one, there wasn’t a single female in the room.
This administration, according to reports last week, likely had a direct hand in the coronavirus spread in this country by having government health staff come in contact with quarantined Americans who had recently arrived back in the States without taking the necessary precautions. This just isn’t supposed to happen, but under this administration, it happens. Experts have been slowly weeded out and replaced with loyalists loyal to the king, not to the people.
So, wash your hands. A lot. And use soap. Use sanitizing disinfectant, too. Try not to touch your face. Steer clear of people who are coughing. Take care of yourself, because your president isn’t all that interested in taking care of you.