The staggering consequences of Trump’s coronavirus lies


Veteran journalist Bob Woodward released a new book on Wednesday based in part on a series of interviews he conducted with President Trump. The most explosive revelations — which are on tape — are that President Trump knew in early February that the coronavirus was deadlier than the flu and that he was fully aware of the danger it posed to the U.S. “This is deadly stuff,” he told Woodward on Feb. 7. In a subsequent interview on March 19, he confirmed that he deliberately misled the public about the gravity of what was to come. “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

The jaw-dropping recordings made undeniable what had long been obvious — that the president deliberately misled the American people about the severity of the virus, that the administration’s public statements in late February and early March were not merely misappraisals but were instead filled with deliberate, destructive lies. Yet the reaction of many observers was to retreat to familiar corners — either hopefully theorizing that Woodward’s book might damage Trump’s re-election campaign, or confidently relaying a (well justified) cynicism that no matter what we learn about President Trump’s disgraceful ineptitude and endless betrayals of the public’s trust, it will not shake his core supporters from their commitment to him.

This will-it-or-won’t-it framing, which always revolves around guessing the political fallout of the latest scandal to emerge from the Trump administration, only serves to obscure what should be most enraging: that the president’s public downplaying of a virus that would soon bring ordinary life to a halt for virtually every person in the world led to thousands, probably tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths in the United States.

How many people went heedlessly about their ordinary lives in February and early March, blithely unaware of the virus which was already circulating and causing the disease we now call COVID-19? I boarded a flight to Philadelphia on Feb. 22 to see my parents at the tail end of my father’s weeks-long ordeal with daily radiation for a recurrence of prostate cancer. Desperate to give them a pick-me-up in their lonely winter of discontent, I could instead have unwittingly killed them both. I could have brought it back home to Chicago with me, endangering the lives of my wife and my son as well as my students, coworkers, and friends.

Tens of thousands of others were not so lucky as we were. They kept taking their cruises and their vacations, going to bars and restaurants, visiting one another in homes and apartments, as the virus went slowly from a vaguely ominous background curiosity — they locked down a whole city in China? — to a gathering dread when the bodies started piling up in Lombardy and other parts of Europe. Ultimately, it was probably the shocking cancellation of the rest of the NBA season on March 11, rather than anything the president of the …read more

Source:: The Week – Health


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