The Pandemic and Our Erratic Leader

• Topics: USA & World, Elections,

With regard to the ghastly coronavirus pandemic, President Donald J. Trump is a colossal failure who just cannot admit failure and therefore needs to create his own alternative reality to disguise that failure from his thinning clutch of acolytes and supporters — and perhaps even himself. Such fantasy making has been a recurring theme in his life history, beginning with the bankruptcies of his Atlantic City casinos, from which his career was resurrected by his “reality” show, The Apprentice. He obviously learned a useful lesson from that turnabout.

I have previously argued that at least half of the US Covid-19 deaths can be attributed to the actions and inactions of the Trump “administration.” Those deaths now total over 215,000 according official counts — and probably many thousands more that have not been included in these tallies — with the death toll increasing inexorably by nearly a thousand more each day.

As Senator Kamala Harris said in the October 7 Vice Presidential Debate, “The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure in the history of this country.” Only the Vietnam War comes close, but that failure cannot be attributed to a single US president.

And now our reckless president himself has been included among the infected, probably as a result — directly or indirectly — of a September 26 Rose Garden ceremony announcing his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court position vacated by the death of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. At least a dozen celebrants present at that gathering tested positive for the coronavirus during the following week, strongly suggesting that this event was the portal through which the stealthy virus crept into the White House despite extensive testing.

When over 200 newcomers are tested by a notoriously inaccurate rapid-testing system, one or two of them are inevitably going to slip through the porous net and show false negatives while still being asymptomatic and contagious. And only a few in the audience were wearing masks, following GOP cultural norms that Trump has vigorously promoted, while seated closely together. We will probably never know the true origins of this super-spreader event because the White House is deliberately restricting contact tracing to only those who came in contact with him two days before he supposedly began to show symptoms on October 1.

“The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure in the history of this country.” — Kamala Harris

It is entirely possible, in fact, that he was contagious during the September 29 Presidential Debate, which occurred less than 48 hours before he came down with symptoms — or admitted to having them. Contagiousness usually peaks in the day or two before an infected individual begins to show symptoms, during the so-called pre-symptomatic phase of Covid-19. And given the fact that Trump did not submit to (required) testing just before the debate, it is also possible that he knew he might be contagious and therefore could expose his opponent Joe Biden to the virus. Fortunately, Biden has tested negative at least twice since October 1 and continues to campaign, if cautiously.

But now the stealthy microbes have been coursing through Trump’s airways and bloodstream, competing with all the other bile, forging millions of copies of themselves inside his very own cells that he sheds into his surroundngs when he goes unmasked. Leaving the White House on October 2 for a weekend visit to Walter Reed Military Hospital, our germaphobic president had himself doused with a “kitchen sink” of curatives — monoclonal antibodies, remdesivir and dexamethasone — that may have worked. Or at least may have suppressed his symptoms enough for his triumphal return to the White House on Monday evening, October 5, where the steroid-laced president ostentatiously yanked off his mask and strode haughtily back into the building in a performance worthy of Benito Mussolini. Pity the poor White House staffers and other employees who now have to work in this increasingly diseased environment.

It is a cruel irony — or perhaps poetic justice — that a president who has ridiculed the use of masks, the most effective defense against this airborne virus, has fallen victim to its ravages because of his own unmitigated self-absorption, science denial, and sheer stupidity. But he is putting the entire nation at risk by his erratic, reckless behavior. It is now up to voters across America to turn out in great numbers and excise the malignancy festering within the White House.

About Michael Riordan

Posting Citizen Journalist • Eastsound, WA • Member since Nov 25, 2016

Michael Riordan writes about science, technology and public policy from Orcas Island, where he lives and kayaks. He holds a PhD degree in physics from MIT, having worked on the [...]

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