President Trump to Bob Woodward on Feb. 7, regarding COVID-19: “The virus, it’s a very tricky thing Bob, it goes through the air … You just breath the air that’s how it’s passed … It’s also more deadly that even your strenuous flus … This in more deadly.”

On March 19, regarding who gets infected: “… turns out it’s not just old people Bob … just today, some startling facts came out, plenty of young people too.”

If only this was the message he gave the rest of us. If only he had listened to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and he himself had modeled the guidelines of washing your hands, wearing a mask and social-distancing. How different things could have been. How many less people would have been infected? How many less deaths, how much better positioned would we have been to re-open our economy, our schools, our social lives?

Trump didn’t merely downplay the virus; he lied openly about it to the point of criminal malfeasance. Indeed a Cornell University study on pandemic misinformation found that the president of the United States was the single largest drive of misinformation around COVID-19.

What a colossal failure of leadership by Trump and the entire Republican Party. The consequences have been devastating: 215,000-plus deaths, worst per capita of any industrialized nation; the worst economic downturn in our lifetime; an infection rate that hasn’t had a second spike because it hasn’t even gotten over the first one.

Will he stand up now and tell the truth and model healthy behaviors? If he won’t will some one else take charge of the Republican Party and do so?

 

Roy Estabrook

North Monmouth

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