Be Prepared for the Next Con

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Watch out; COVID-19 has morphed. Yes, the deadly, diminutive disease has transmuted … into a political talking point, a numbers game.

A month ago, many news outlets reported that a study by Imperial College of London predicted that as many as 2.2 million Americans might die from the virus now called COVID-19.  By the latter part of March that estimate was revised down to a range of 100,000 to 240,000. Now some experts are revising those projections down further. The not-surprising response to those declining numbers is a tempered sigh of relief from most Americans and gleeful boasts from the president and his cultists.

Boosting those boasts is speculation from Trump and many of his adoring acolytes that even the current lower-than-original-forecast numbers are inflated. Conservative conspiracy theory kook Candace Owens complained on Facebook, “If people die from heart disease, but were asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19, their deaths are counted toward the total.” However, Dr. Sally Aiken, President of the National Association of Medical Examiners, debunked that claim, calling it “ridiculous.”

Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard University, explained: “There are going to be some people who die of something else, happen to have COVID and get tested, and get counted as COVID deaths but would die anyway. It would be wrong to say that number is zero. However given current testing shortages and protocols, the number of such cases will be small. A greater issue is errors in the other direction—deaths caused by COVID that are not counted as such.”

Despite such assurances from real experts, Trump and his nutso disciples such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and even the once relatively restrained Brit Hume persist in perpetuating this latest bonkers sedition assertion. Why?

Yes, you know; it’s the conservative con fabricated to cycle back to their earlier claim that the entire COVID panic was much ado about nothing. The whole thing was, they’ll claim, another liberal conspiracy cooked up to discredit their messiah. It will be their incessant election-cycle drumbeat.

It very well might turn out that—at least in the first wave—the pandemic will claim far fewer American lives than forecast in the early projections. If so, it will be because Americans, generally, did what we typically do during a crisis; we made the sacrifices required to combat the enemy. Any such success will be attributable to everyday Americans, not to the president’s superb leadership.

As many have accurately noted in several posts and comments on this blog site, Trump’s instincts, rhetoric, and reactions regarding the pandemic were virtually always wrong. Yet, if the mortality numbers do in fact come in significantly lower than initially projected, Trump will take credit. When he does, we must not let him get away with doing so. We must be prepared with the facts. We must be prepared to refute the mindless Trumpists when they attempt to credit their messiah with leading “a successful fight against COVID-19.” We should do our best to commit to memory facts such as the following:

Trump claim: “We’ve tested [for COVID-19] now more than anybody.”

Truth: In terms of raw numbers, the United States has tested more people for the coronavirus than Italy and South Korea but still lags far behind most other advanced nations in tests per capita.

Trump claim: When the first case of the virus was reported in the United States in January, Trump dismissed it as “one person coming in from China.”

Truth: By that time many were already infected.

Trump claim: “You call it germ, you can call it a flu. You can call it a virus. You can call it many different names.”

Truth: COVID-19 is not the common flu. The mortality rate for the coronavirus is about 10 times that of the flu and no vaccine or cure exists yet for the coronavirus.

Trump claim: “Nobody would ever believe a thing like that’s possible; it [the virus] snuck up on us.”

Truth: A 2019 government report said that “the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large scale outbreak of a contagious disease.”

The list could go on and on, but if you forget all the others, remember this one: The Trump Administration fired the U.S. Pandemic Response Team. Had that team remained intact, the nation would have been far better prepared than we were for this COVID-19 pandemic.

Do not allow the Trumpists to claim the moral high ground in this nutso numbers game.

Do not allow the Trumpists to claim the moral high ground in this nutso numbers game. Whether eighty thousand, one-hundred thousand, or half a million Americans die from COVID-19, America will have suffered one of the worst tragedies in its history, and much of the damage could have been avoided had it not been for Trump’s many blunders. We need to pound home that point repeatedly as election day approaches.

13 comments

  1. Trump is playing a long game and is using the virus to his advantage no matter how he twists and turns it. The gullible ignorant cult base will buy into anything he says. They are now unreachable and because they make up 40% of the country…we are truly screwed and they are complicit in their own demise as well as ours, but it’s a long game and even after trump is gone, the republicans will continue the game until they succeed. Trump has been their dream come true.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Overall I agree with your assessment. But can’t we find a way to unite the 60 percent to overrule the 40 percent? And, even among the 40 percent, I think some can be shaken loose, as I was.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. One of the greatest challenges that faces Trump is not the virus, it is the guy who looks back when he shaves. When the focus is clearly on “what makes Trump look good,” then good decisions are not made. The other constraint is what makes Trump look good is interpreted through the lens of person who has a hard time with the truth.

    It boggles my mind that a person who is so keen on optics could whiff at the easiest pitch. Back in January, but even as late as early February, he could have done the right thing and forewarned Americans of the risk of the virus once it hits our shores. Planning could have been initiated six weeks before it was. By forewarning Americans, he could have been presidential, which he rarely is.

    Instead, he followed his basic instincts and jumped to a rash judgment. He surmised that “if I call it a Democrat hoax and say we have it under control” (note these two points contradict each other), then he can ride it out. As per his modus operandi, once he has staked a position, he doubles and triples down on it, so it was a hoax until the end of February.

    Yet, even Trump cannot hide that people are dying and getting sick. So, at some point, even Trump had to change the message. But, he had some clean up work and he got out some paint and tried to whitewash what he said earlier. He also noted he could not have known the risk. Both statements are hogwash.

    While he is doing better, the lies and misstated facts continue. But, one thing we should not forget (even though his campaign has sued for his words not to be used against him trying to squelch ads), is we lost six weeks to plan ahead. And, more people died. This is due to incompetence of the US president. It is due to the narcissistic nature of the US president.

    We should not forget this. I apologize for the rant, but I am tired of the lying, the games playing and, maybe most of all, the sycophants who are covering for this person. The need to be held accountable as well – Barr, Pence, McConnell, Graham, Nunes, Collier, Meadows, etc. Keith

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Amen to all you wrote, Keith. I take special note of this sentence:
      He surmised that “if I call it a Democrat hoax and say we have it under control” (note these two points contradict each other), then he can ride it out.
      It should be obvious that those two points are contradictory. But loyal Trumpists cannot see the obvious truth because they will not see it. That’s basic cultism. It’s a cult many of my friends and family members chose to enter and now refuse to admit exists. I grieve for them and I grieve for what they’re doing to our nation and even to the very concept of truth.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Great post Jerry. I knew all along that when they started the talk of maybe 2-3 million deaths, then 100-200k, they were setting this up for him to take all the credit for deaths coming in lower than projected. If anything, he’s transparent in basically one thing: satisfying his narcissism.

        Like

  3. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    As most of us can clearly see, Trump has bungled the pandemic crisis and the U.S. is far worse off than we would have been under a true leader. Now he is trying to turn it to his benefit and rather than having concern for the people who are dying every day, he has turned it into a political game. Our friend Jerry over at On the Fence Voters has an excellent assessment …

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The USA is the hardest hit nation in the world by the C19 virus. No one will come close to you in total cases, and now that you have surpassed Italy in total deaths I doubt anyone will change that. For being the “greatest nation in the world,” the American response has been the worst of anyone.
    How can Trump et al mitigate those numbers? They are only going to get worse, especially when the virus mutates. So far, without a vaccine or cure, there is no reason for it to mutate. But it is only a matter of time.

    Liked by 3 people

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