President Trump and his COVID-19 “hoax”

Talyshia Brown, Staffer

COVID-19 is a virus that has taken the globe by storm with 31.9 million cases across the globe and 977,000 deaths across the globe.

During these days, you cannot turn on the news or go online without seeing people talking about the virus. In the beginning of the pandemic, many countries struggled with how to deal with the growing number of infections and trying to slow down the rate. 

While it seems that many countries have successfully managed to slow the spread of the virus and follow the rules of wearing masks and social distancing, some countries have not followed safety protocols. 

The U.S currently has 7.7 million cases and 215,032 deaths. 

I attribute this to President Donald Trump and his responses toward the virus. Like previous administrations, the Trump administration knew for years that a pandemic of this gravity was possible and imminently plausible. 

Several Trump administration officials raised concerns prior to the emergence of COVID-19 and raised alarms once the virus appeared within the United States.

While some measures were put in place to prepare the U.S. for pandemic readiness, many more were dismantled since 2017. In response to the virus, the U.S. was slow to act at a time when each day of inaction mattered most—in terms of both the eventual public health harms, as well as the severe economic costs. The President and some of his closest senior officials also disseminated misinformation that left the public less safe and more vulnerable to discounting the severity of the pandemic.

When it came time to minimize the loss of life and economic damage, the U.S. was unnecessarily underprepared, had sacrificed valuable time, and confronted the pandemic with a more mild response than public health experts recommended. 

Instead of listening to Doctor Anthony Fauci and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Trump for weeks (echoed by conservatives) touted the potential medical benefits of the anti-malarial drug chloroquine causing some healthcare facilities and providers to stock up on supplies, leading to widespread shortages. 

Further studies by the FDA have indicated that the drug is ineffective at best and could lead to life-threatening complications for the people who use it.

During a press conference in April, he speculated about the use of disinfectants or ultra-violet radiation to kill the coronavirus; he was widely criticized and mocked by doctors and people on Twitter for his off the cuff remarks as some states reported an increase in calls to poison hotline numbers. 

During the beginning of the coronavirus when cases were fierce, he failed to provide hospital workers proper PPE supplies so they could safely treat patients without contracting the virus themselves. 

And instead of encouraging Americans to wear masks and practice social distancing, he repeatedly dismissed and mocked the idea of wearing masks and social distancing; rather, he hosted many rallies for his supporters in which many did not wear a mask or practice social distancing. He called the virus a “democratic hoax” and compared it to the basic flu. Both are not true. 

COVID-19 is nothing compared to basic flu. COVID is more infectious than the flu and has a higher death rate while also having a higher rate of hospitalizations. And the biggest thing of them all is that there is currently no vaccine for COVID.  

Trump had many chances to step up and take leadership when dealing with the virus at the beginning, but instead, he continued to shift the blame on to other people: first China; second The Center For Disease Control and Prevention; and third, people getting tested at higher rates.

However, people may argue that the effect of COVID is not Trump’s fault, as no president could be prepared to handle the weight of such a fierce and fast-spreading disease that managed to spread faster than the U.S administration could handle. People who are not wearing masks or practice social distancing are possibly ones to blame. While this may be true, Trump still did not put forth the effort to stop the spread of the disease, did not listen to Dr. Facui or The Center For Disease Control and Prevention and did not enforce mask-wearing or social distancing.

In some sense, Trump is not entirely to blame for the widespread effect of COVID, but when we needed our government the most, he shut White House doors, mocking rather than aiding the people of the United States.