This is how we enable an unnatural disaster in the age of Trump.
The University of Washington's influential Covid-19 model, extended out to November 1 for the first time, estimates that 208,255 Americans will die from the virus by then, though, the death toll could be reduced by nearly 22% if mask use were to become widespread, researchers said.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Wednesday that the U.S. may have around 300,000 deaths from the coronavirus by year-end if current trends were to persist. That would be more than double the current total. “There are ways to keep this under control,” he added. "Some states have chosen not to do that, and that’s why you’re seeing this continue to spread.”
President Trump insisted on Tuesday that large portions of the country were “corona-free” — even though no portion actually is free of the virus — and said that governors should proceed with reopening, despite a new federal report warning 21 states that they were in a “red zone” and needed to take aggressive steps to slow the spread of the virus.
The disaster of Donald J. Trump continues.
In case you haven't noticed, March/April Trump has returned from his hiatus with all the original foolishness intact: he's once again hawking the recuperative and palliative—even curative power—of hydroxychloroquine. But doubling down on stupidity as is his wont, he has enlisted the aid of two "experts" in the medical field:
One is noted person-with-nothing-going-for-him-except-his-father's name, Donald Trump Jr., who retweeted a video from a gaggle of physicians claiming that cures for the virus exist and that masks are unnecessary. The tweet was later removed. The physicians should follow.
The second is Dr. Stella Immanuel of Houston. You may know her better as the pastor of the Fire Power Ministries. Or maybe you recognize her for her "studies" of women's health issues; after all it was she who declared that most gynecological problems result from having sex with witches and demons. She also claims that DNA from space aliens is currently being used in medicine. (I'll admit, some Tylenol capsules do resemble the Satellite of Love on Mystery Science Theater 3000.)
And so here we are at the end of the fifth month of this pandemic, and the president—instead of agreeing that stricter measures need to be taken and enforced—is harking back to failed idiocy from four months ago. You can take solace in the fact that his approval rating is abysmal, but even if it's 35%, that means that roughly 120 million Americans are today seeking hydroxychloroquine and reaffirming their refusal to wear masks, socially distance, in short do anything to curb the spread. (Some of them no doubt have renounced sex with witches—so now even the witches don't like the guy.)
It appears that the virus in some southern states is leveling off , though deaths are a lagging indicator and will probably rise for weeks. But even that positive news is counterbalanced by a new spread northward into the Midwest. Next hot spot? Anybody's guess. And again—this did not have to happen. With measures in place and a united effort, the worst could have been over at the end of May.
It's beating a dead horse at this point to talk about failed leadership and mixed messages and, call them what they are, outright lies about our current "victory" over the virus. So indulge me as I wander off to a related topic. You've undoubtedly seen signs in restaurants—often in vacation areas: No shirt, no shoes, no service. If I entered a business establishment inadequately clothed, I would expect to be removed.
(For a whimsical look at this, I urge you to read the short story "A&P" by John Updike.)
Many businesses have similarly instituted a mask requirement, but companies like Albertson's for instance, the grocery chain, have a policy that states if a customer refuses to wear a mask and to leave the store, the customer is allowed to continue shopping in order to avoid conflicts that would put the store director or other employees and customers at risk. A requirement that isn't enforceable is not really a requirement, nor is such a rule, really a rule. So as dopey wannabe civil libertarians continue to give that political point of view a bad name, don't gasp at that 300,000 figure. We have 150 days left in the year. At the current rate of one-thousand deaths a day...even I can do that math.