Over the past 24 hours, Donald Trump and Fox News have been pushing the dangerous new lie that the “cure” for coronavirus – locking down the country to stop its spread – is worse than the disease itself, which has already caused around 700 deaths in the United States.
During a town hall hosted by the president’s favorite cable news network on Tuesday, Trump said he was pushing to have the country up and running by Easter. He even openly dreamed about seeing churches all across America packed to the brim – a terrifying thought.
Later in the day, when Dr. Anthony Fauci stepped to the podium next to Trump at the daily coronavirus briefing, he all but shattered the president’s hopes of lifting restrictions anytime soon.
“When you look at the country, I mean obviously no one is going to want to tone down things when you see what’s going on in a place like New York City,” Dr. Fauci said. “I mean, that’s just good public health practice and common sense.”
“It’s a flexible situation,” he added.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) March 24, 2020
Dr. Fauci said:
That’s really very flexible. We just had a conversation with the president in the Oval Office talking about – you can look at a date, but you have to be very flexible. On a literally day by day, week by week basis, you need to evaluate the feasibility of what you’re trying to do. And John, you asked for what kind of metrics, what kind of data. When you look at the country, I mean obviously no one is going to want to tone down things when you see what’s going on in a place like New York City. I mean, that’s just good public health practice and common sense, but the country is a big country and there are areas of the country – and I refer to this in my opening remarks – that we really need to know more about what the penetrants is there. So if we do the kind of testing that we’re doing – and testing will always be associated by identification, isolation and contact tracing – and you find there after a period of time that there are areas that are very different from other areas of the country, you may not want to essentially treat it as just one force for the entire country, but look at flexibility in different areas. So I think people might get the misinterpretation you’re just going lift everything up. And even somebody is going like that, that’s not going to happen. It’s going to be looking at the data and what we don’t have right now that we really do need is we need to know what’s going on in those areas of the country where there isn’t an obvious outbreak. Is there something underneath the surface that says wait a minute, you better be careful and really clamp down, or what looks there that you don’t really have to be as harsh as you are in other areas. So it’s looking at information that up to this point, John, we never had. So it’s a flexible situation.
Trump cares more about the stock market and his reelection than public health
As Dr. Fauci noted on Tuesday, it’s not good public policy to lift restrictions in the midst of a rapid outbreak. That will only make the problem worse and put more lives at risk.
But it’s also important to remember that there has never been a moment in Donald Trump’s life – from his personal relationships to his business career – when he thought about the wellbeing of anybody but himself
While one might think a global pandemic would awaken some sense of humanity within him, that hasn’t happened. That was clear from the outset of this outbreak when he tried to downplay the virus and stall testing.
That’s been particularly evident over the past 24 hours as he moves to lift coronavirus protections because they’re undercutting the only reelection talking point he had – the economy.
To Donald Trump, a falling stock market and stalling economy are worse than innocent Americans succumbing to a virus.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.