Opinion | How to further worsen the coronavirus pandemic


Having a pandemic is really bad. Having a pandemic and a civil war together is very, very bad. Welcome to America 2020 by Donald Trump.

If you feel queasy seeing Trump’s sign to the left, issuing guidelines on how states should properly emerge from pandemic blockades, while turning right, urging people to free their states from blockades, ignore their own guidelines and even dispute the value of the evidence. Not only.

Given that Trump’s statements are convoluted, contradictory, and dishonest at the same time, here is my assumption about what he is saying:

“The older generation preserved American freedom and capitalism by taking Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day, in the face of a barrage of Nazi bombardments that could and did kill many of them. I call on our generation to preserve American freedom and capitalism today by going shopping in Omaha, Nebraska shopping malls, in the face of a coronavirus pandemic that is likely to only kill 1 percent of you, if you become infected. So be brave: go back to work and get your old life back. “

Yes, if you add up all of Trump’s recent words and actions, you are saying to the American people: between the two basic models for dealing with the pandemic in the world: the rigorous top-down model, testing, tracking, tracing and quarantining China – while waiting for a vaccine to provide herd immunity – and Sweden is more ascendant, protects the most vulnerable and lets the rest go back to work and contract the infection and -develop-herd-natural immunity model, its president has decided to Sweden’s approach.

He simply has not told the country or his coronavirus working group or himself.

But this is the only conclusion he can draw from all the ways Trump has backtracked on his own government directives and backed his end to the blockade. followers, who, like most of the country, have grown weary of the guidelines and are desperate to get back to work and paychecks.

But, based on my D-Day analogy, Trump basically decided to send Americans into this battle against this coronavirus without the equivalent of maps, armor, helmets, weapons, or any coordinated strategy to minimize his victim count. It is also shipping them without national leadership, so each platoon or state, by itself, maximizes the chances of the virus spreading among people who want to shop and those who still want to take refuge on the spot.

It is also sending them without a national plan to protect the most vulnerable, particularly the elderly, and without setting the example that everyone should wear face masks and practice social distancing when they are at work or in a public setting. Finally, you’re shipping them without a recall plan if too many vulnerable people are infected and damaged as we drive to Omaha shopping centers and beyond.

Apart from all that, Trump is like F.D.R.

I’m afraid that when these shortcomings become apparent, it could trigger a low-grade civil war among those who will ask their neighbors, “Who gave you the right to ignore the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and carelessly go to a bar, work? ” or in a restaurant and then spread the coronavirus to someone’s grandparents or yours? And those who will ask their neighbors: “Who gave them the right to keep the economy closed in a pandemic and cause massive unemployment, which could cost far more lives than are saved, especially when alternative strategies, such as Sweden’s could they work? “

A new Mason-Dixon line could emerge between those states led by governors who want to equip their people with the maximum protective equipment and security guidelines and those governors who want to reopen their states for business as usual: damn teams and guidelines .

According to a new Pew Research Center poll, more than two-thirds of Americans worry that their respective states are reopening too quickly, while pro-Trump protesters have taken to the streets to demand that companies get people go back to work now.

So, I can imagine the possibility of the Maryland governor, who has been very careful in lifting the blockades, banning cars coming north on Interstate 95 with Georgia license plates. And this is not just my imagination.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem “sent letters on Friday to the leaders of the Oglala Sioux tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe demanding the removal of checkpoints designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in tribal lands,” or risk legal action, reported CNN.com Saturday. The Sioux tribe of the Cheyenne River has rejected the ultimatum. Stay tuned.

The tragedy of it all is that a better president would never have allowed us to reach this edge of a pandemic of civil conflict.

A true president would be simultaneously framing the problems for the nation and then discussing and guiding us on the least painful course. I would begin by explaining that we are facing a challenge that no one in our generation has ever faced: the challenge of a global pandemic in which Mother Nature is spreading a coronavirus among us silently, invisibly, exponentially, and without mercy.

And, unlike a human enemy, you can’t beat Mother Nature, negotiate with her, or spin her. All you can do is adapt in the least harmful way possible to whatever it throws at you. And when it’s a pandemic, it means there are only hellish moral and economic tradeoffs, no matter which path you choose. Too closed, she will kill your jobs. Too open, she will kill your vulnerable.

The job of leadership is to choose the path that offers the most sustainable way of balancing lives and livelihoods and then create and stick to the conditions that make it viable.

So as I said, China has chosen the way to shut down and then open its economy, but with strict social distancing, masks everywhere, and highly intrusive testing, tracking, tracing, and quarantine to prevent the spread of anyone with coronavirus, while Waiting for a vaccine to create collective immunity.

Sweden has opted for moderate social distancing, keeping a large part of its economy open, while trying to protect the most vulnerable and allowing the least vulnerable, those most likely to experience coronavirus asymptomatically or as a mild or severe flu, to continue working , get the virus and develop immunity to it. Then, when enough of them are immune, they may sound clear to the vulnerable. That is Sweden’s strategy, but it is too early to say that it is the correct answer.

If you listened to Trump last week, you listened to a president who was everywhere. One day he spoke as if he wanted to follow Sweden so that many people would return to work, even if many more will become infected with the coronavirus. Another day, he boasted that we are testing like in China, only more. Another day he questioned the need for testing.

In short: Trump speaks like China, envying Sweden, preparing for nothing and insisting that his strategy is superior to both.

But the fact is, it is not prepared to impose the kind of strict surveillance and quarantine tracking system that makes China’s reopening work. And you’re not ready to consider strategies, such as moving vulnerable people who live in crowded homes to empty hotels or who surround each nursing home with public health testing units, that could make a Swedish-style opening less dangerous. .

So, I’m afraid we are headed for disaster. Our coronavirus infections will be exacerbated by Trump’s incompetence, while our malevolence will fuel our hyperpolitical partisanship. After all, their entire political strategy is to divide ourselves into reds and blues, republicans and democrats, now open advocates and slow going advocates. That is the only policy he practices.

In short, Covid-19 is undermining our economic and physical health, while Trump is undermining our institutions and national unity. We desperately need a vaccine, and a 2020 election result, that can give us collective immunity against this virus and this President.

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