It’s a week before the election of 2020. I’m voting to fire the Trump Administration. I felt that way before I knew about the existence of COVID-19, though, because of Trump’s lack of integrity, compassion and empathy that I suspected might blossom into one huge and regrettable corpse flower some day (see my post on Trump’s Syria policy here).
When the impeachment was in flight, how I wished it would be successful for all our sake. I was also quite torn about the affair because the case against him was so flimsy and contrived; when there was plenty of provable red meat on Trump’s table to host a never-ending buffet. It almost was as if nobody really wanted to remove him from office; because if they can remove a president from office based on the case built against him, it would have set a horrible precedent and no president would be safe from such harassment.
So, it was not meant to be.
Before I get into my COVID analysis, it’s worth mentioning that I don’t believe that it would have been possible to keep COVID out of the country, and I am not intending to lay every single aspect of the current COVID crisis at Trump’s doorstep; only most of it. The corona virus buck must stop somewhere, and Trump is a convenient target for a lot of reasons, and much of what I’m about to write has speculative connections.
- The COVID taskforce is a joke. Trump appointed Pence to head it up but was bulldozing it since its inception. Pence never got a word in. The taskforce pressers featured an incoherent and rambling Trump as the starring act. Fauci went on 60 Minutes and discussed how Scott Atlas, a radiologist from the backwater, had the President’s ear and would go directly to Trump to override taskforce policy decisions. It’s said that Atlas is a herd immunity strategy proponent and is the source of the administration’s aversion to masks.
- With the early February taking of prophylactic supplies, downplaying of the severity of the disease and poor prevention advice when at least Trump knew how deadly the disease is and how it spreads well before anyone in New York was diagnosed with it, I suspect that the intention had been to let it rip ala Atlas.
- There’s a big problem here in New York with attacks on Gov. Cuomo over COVID nursing home policy, and it’s all a bunch of crap – COVID was already in the nursing homes before the policy in question was made. Since Cuomo isn’t on the ballot this year, I found it puzzling that so much time and effort would be wasted on viscously attacking him.
- But when I think about Trump’s vindictiveness, as if he has nothing else to do, it makes more sense; because if I wanted to let the virus rip, and took all of the supplies so it would rip really fast, I wouldn’t want some goodie-two-shoes governor getting in my way trying to save people with prisoners making hand sanitizer, a lockdown and masks. It wasn’t until after Cuomo ordered the NY Pause that Trump came up with his plan to for everyone to stay home for two weeks, and once the two weeks was up, there was a lot of arguing about the President’s constitutional authority to reopen that ended with Cuomo telling Trump to bugger off. Even then we still did not have access to basic disinfectants.
One reason Trump was led by the nose through much of the early stage of crisis is because basic math and collateral casualties make the natural herd immunity strategy of dealing with COVID-19 a moral non-starter to most people. To get close to achieving it, about 70% of the population would need to become infected. For the sake of simplicity in coming up with some ballpark figures, I am using the global case fatality rate of 4% because I do not know what the case fatality rate would be sans mitigation efforts: lockdowns, masks, hand sanitizer, etc. The current US case fatality rate is 4%. The population of the US is about 330M. Seventy percent of 330M is 231M. Four percent of 231M is 9,240,000. This is 9 and ¼ million dead just from COVID by the time it’s all over, from a somewhat preventable disease. And this figure doesn’t take fatalities into account for people who end up dead from other causes because the hospitals are swamped with COVID patients. Other considerations are of long-term disabilities caused by permanent organ injury for those who don’t die and may not be hospitalized initially.
With most of us being non-lemmings who have brains that we use regularly, we desire to keep ourselves and friends and family safe, and government-ordered lockdowns are really beside the point of whether the economy could continue through the COVID apocalypse unscathed. The lockdown was successful in New York because we don’t want to get sick, especially THAT sick and so we cooperated with it. The footage of bodies being buried on Hart Island left a lasting impression; and I firmly believe that human beings change their behavior in the face of such a crisis, government order or not. To say that the notion that we can have a knock-you-on-your-ass and leave-you-damaged-if-not-dead virus rampaging through the population without economic consequences outside of government intervention is quite absurd is a complete understatement.
Trump must believe we are THAT stupid, to simply roll the dice on some pretty lousy odds over a somewhat preventable disease. I think he is the stupid one, and rather chaotic in a sinister way – he wants law and order amidst the backdrop of his total COVID chaos.
Trump didn’t think it through. Just like he didn’t think through the Syria demobilization or his tariff damage, or any other of the 99,000 horrible policy choices he’s made and then doubled down on stupidity – even after it’s been pointed out to him the moral dilemmas posed by those choices. He fires those who challenge him, simply for the challenge, and surrounds himself with sycophants because causing death and destruction for others is better than publicly backtracking or wearing a mask.
I don’t believe he sees the humanity in anyone. A good example of this is that he pokes at Joe Biden for “hiding in his basement.” Joe Biden is in a high-risk group for COVID for both age and health; and saying this is devoid of compassion and empathy for humanity in general – nearly epic incivility. Not at all funny, or inspiring. I suppose he went directly to the hospital after being diagnosed with COVID under protest – “No! No! I will take my ‘let it rip’ policy and eat it just like all my lemmings. No mask, ever, for this bad boy.”
It just can’t get any more morbidly stupid.
PS: I might be missing something, but I don’t understand the difference between not controlling the pandemic and letting it rip. As of now, I don’t see any difference between the meaning of these two phrases as they pertain to policy. So, the announcement by the White House last weekend that it will not control the pandemic was a statement of fact already in existence and not a policy change.
Since I’m an equal opportunity critic