Just at the time the country needs a steady hand to guide it through difficult times, we are unfortunately stuck with Donald Trump, an ignorant, narcissistic, sociopath, who is more concerned with his public image than with the lives of the American people. A budding pandemic is threatening to engulf the nation, and simultaneously collapse an economy that is already on thin ice.
Trump has been mishandling the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak from the first days it was identified. He has stubbornly tried to downplay the seriousness of its impact on both people and economics. And he continues to this day trying to dismiss the risks that we are facing. Especially among his own supporters who are the most vulnerable to his alternative facts.
On Monday morning he posted several tweets intended to pacify the public with phony platitudes. In one tweet Trump compared the coronavirus to the flu. “At this moment,” he tweeted, “there are 546 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!” Having thought about it, it's apparent that Trump can't do math, because that data shows that the coronavirus, which is just beginning to spread, is 200 times more lethal than the flu. That isn't exactly comforting.
Of course, Fox News has Trump's back. They are promoting equally as troubling distortions of reality that are intended more to boost Trump's polling than to protect people's lives. Devoted Trump-fluffer Jeanine Pirro unleashed an extended rant that also used flu data to diminish the potential harm from the coronavirus (video below):
“Now they say the mortality rate for coronavirus is higher than the flu. But consider, though, that we have a flu vaccine, and yet in 2019, 16,000 Americans died from the flu. Imagine if we did not have the flu vaccine the flu would be a pandemic. So all the talk about coronavirus being so much more deadly doesn't reflect reality. Without a vaccine, the flu would be far more deadly.”
How does someone this stupid get their own TV show? The mortality rate for the flu would not increase were there no vaccine. Pirro seems think that the mortality rate is based on the percentage of deaths from within the entire national population. Actually, the base is just those infected. So without a vaccine there would surely be more deaths, but they would likely occur at the same percentage rate. Pirro is also assuming that the coronavirus isn't going to infect more people than the flu. At this time there is no way to predict that. And the fact remains that the mortality rate for the corona virus remains far higher than for the flu.
As for Trump, he is spinning furiously to avoid any negative repercussions from the dramatic drop in the stock market. He is alternately blaming it on coronavirus panic, the media, oil prices, Democrats, and probably Hillary Clinton's emails. He's frantic because he knows that a faltering economy will be the death knell for his reelection hopes. But he was never a particularly good market analyst. Just two weeks ago Trump tweeted that…
Everything about the tweet is utterly and painfully wrong. The coronavirus was hardly “very much under control.” on February 24. There were only a handful of confirmed diagnoses – and zero deaths – in the U.S. then. There over 600 known infections now, and 26 deaths.
Trump's remarks about the stock market were triggered by a 1,000 point drop that day. But if anyone took Trump's advice and acted on what he thought was a market that looked good, they took a considerable beating. The market has declined another 3,500 points since Trump's grossly miscast, optimistic tweet. In fact, the market has declined to a level last seen in November of 2017. So anyone who invested in the last two years has lost money. And the more recent their investments, the more they lost.
With the challenges facing the nation today, it would helpful if we didn't have to rely on a president who has been documented lying more than 16,000 times. It would also be nice if we didn't have a propaganda outlet like Fox News covering up Trump's failures, falsehoods, and mental infirmities. Getting through the next few months would be hard enough under normal circumstances. Remember “normal circumstances?” Yeah, those were the days.
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