More bad news on the pandemic front

The US had its fourth consecutive day of record covid-19 positive tests at 128,396, a death toll that stood at 1,097, and a steadily increasing seven-day average of deaths at 924 and hospitalizations at 51,763. The total number of confirmed cases also passed the grim milestone of 10 million.

It is clear from his comments to Bob Woodward that Donald Trump did realize early on that the pandemic was a problem. Then how do we explain his deliberate avoidance of taking the necessary steps to curb its spread? I think it is because when he encounters a problem that he cannot control, he shifts into a public relations mode, thinking that if you just minimize it or ignore it, then people will not realize the depths of the problem and that you can just ride it out. Hence his frustration and constant whining about the media talking about covid-19 all the time.

Brad Parscale was on the phone with President Donald Trump and top White House officials in mid-February when someone on the line asked the campaign manager what worried him the most.

Parscale, speaking from his Arlington, Va. apartment, had just told the president how good his internal poll numbers looked. But now he had an urgent message: The coronavirus was a big problem – and it could cost him reelection.

Trump was perplexed. The economy was strong. The president had built an enormous political infrastructure and was raking in hundreds of millions of dollars. That month, Trump’s campaign conducted a $1.1 million polling project showing him leading prospective Democratic challengers even in blue states such as Colorado, New Mexico, and New Hampshire.

“Sir, regardless, this is coming. It’s the only thing that could take down your presidency,” Parscale told the president.

Trump snapped.

“This fucking virus,” Trump asked dismissively, according to a person with direct knowledge of the exchange, “what does it have to do with me getting reelected?”

Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows and five others tested positive on Wednesday but tried to hide the fact, capturing perfectly the head-in-the-sand attitude towards the pandemic. They were all at a crowded, largely unmasked ‘victory party’ Tuesday night in the East Room so who knows how many people they infected there. [UPDATE: HUD secretary Ben Carson who was also there has now tested positive.]

It was a relief to hear Joe Biden give a ringing endorsement of science in his speech yesterday, saying that he “will name a group of leading scientists and experts as Transition Advisors to help take the Biden-Harris COVID plan and convert it into an action blueprint that starts on January 20th, 2021.” Of course, Trump could also act on those recommendations as soon as they are arrived at before he leaves office but that will not happen. The Republicans have long ago abandoned science in favor of magical thinking, that they can will away reality using propaganda. Trump just took that attitude to its logical conclusion.


  1. says

    “This fucking virus,” Trump asked dismissively, according to a person with direct knowledge of the exchange, “what does it have to do with me getting reelected?”

    I think part of the issue is that Trump has never actually been in charge of anything serious. In every past job, he has been able to half-ass it and still be fine.
    It seems, even after four years of being president, he still doesn’t understand that this means he’s expected to actually do something. He really did think he could run the country as his own personal business.

    Guess you can’t blame him. It almost worked.

  2. Sam N says

    @2 You can blame him. You can design your own social system. It’s ok to blame a thing that was influenced, or even made by the environment.

    Is it constructive? Sometimes, probably.

    Do I feel much optimism for the United States? Will it become a better country. Doesn’t look like it.

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