View from Away: A president speaks as a president should

By | November 14, 2020

A president spoke to the American people this week as a president should — candidly, constructively. He explained what he will be doing and what citizens can do to control the coronavirus pandemic that has already infected at least 10 million of us and killed more than 240,000.

He announced the 13 expert physicians and other scientists who will advise him on COVID-19. Their credentials are awesome. When they say a vaccine is safe and effective, it will be safe to believe them.

Most of all, he appealed to everyone to help save lives now by simply wearing face masks.
“A mask is not a political statement,” he said. “It doesn’t matter your party, your point of view. We can save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next few months. Not Democratic or Republican lives — American lives.”

Tragically, it wasn’t the incumbent president speaking, but the president-elect, Joe Biden. It will be more than two months until he can assume the office that 77 million voters have awarded him.

Meanwhile, the soon-to-be ex-president is fixated on trying to overturn the election, rather than the pandemic that is worsening exponentially.

When Biden and Kamala Harris are inaugurated on Jan. 20, it will be nearly a year since Trump’s national security adviser warned him that the new virus in China would be the “biggest national security threat” of his presidency.

READ MORE  Maine CDC: 47 COVID-19 Cases On Sunday

A week later, Trump told the author Bob Woodward that it would be more deadly than the flu. Soon he began bloviating that it “miraculously goes away.”

Since then, America’s confirmed COVID-19 infections have ballooned to more than 100,000 new cases daily and to more than 1,000 deaths on most days of the past week. That’s as if terrorists were taking down two jumbo jets each day.

The president is following incompetent advice that rationalizes his failure. It comes from Scott Atlas, a radiologist without public health credentials. Atlas professes that eventual vaccinations and what’s called “herd immunity” will control the virus.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis — DeathSantis, some are now calling him — is aping Trump’s “herd immunity” strategy, which calls for allowing many more people to be infected so as to eventually curtail the infection rate. Atlas is his adviser, too.

The concept of herd immunity depends on two dangerous assumptions: that those who survive cannot contract or transmit the virus again, and that the elderly and others who are most likely to die from it can be shielded from infection.

But Florida’s seniors don’t live in sterile bubbles. At some point, they have to interact with others for medical care and other necessities.

The Florida Department of Elder Affairs estimated in 2018 that nearly 300,000 seniors were living with grandchildren under 18, and almost 75,000 were responsible for their care. DeSantis’ approach puts them at great risk, a risk made even greater by his refusal to let local governments enforce masking and social distancing ordinances.

READ MORE  Pro wrestling is part of this Maine businessman’s plan to counter pandemic losses

The Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times have published a terrifying analysis of the herd immunity myth. Reporters Mary Ellen Klas and Ben Conarck quoted public health experts warning that it could triple Florida’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll, presently 17,121. That would be 51,000 people dead.

The director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Tom Inglesby, warned in the article that “if political leaders decide to go down that trail and encourage people to get infected, extraordinary numbers of people are going to die from this illness before immunity is achieved in the population.”

Whether it is ever achieved is a big “if.” It wasn’t herd immunity that put an end to smallpox, the world’s deadliest disease over many centuries, but the discovery and near-universal use of a safe and effective vaccine.

As Biden acknowledged, it is very good news that Pfizer appears to have created a vaccine for the coronavirus. Even if it proves to be safe and effective, however, it will require up to two years before there are enough doses — each person will need two — to protect the U.S. population.

It is historically irresponsible for Trump and DeSantis to fail to enforce mask-wearing that can save lives now.

READ MORE  Thomas College’s Central Maine Converge and Create Weekend set

We asked Mary Anne Trump, the president’s niece who is a licensed psychologist, whether she thinks Trump simply didn’t think he could beat the virus or gave up for some other reason. Her answer:

“I believe he thought it would be contained, and/or it would go away on its own. Once he starts down a path he never turns back. Once the lies start, he follows that path. He is not capable of admitting mistakes.”

Trump’s defiance of the election returns is another path of lies. His refusal to initiate the transition process that Congress created in 1963 means that Biden and his team will be seriously delayed from putting their plans into effect. Trump is playing dirty politics with people’s lives.

Editorial by the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC


Use the form below to reset your password. When you’ve submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

« Previous

Source link

Leave a Reply