U.S. President Donald Trump – who could have been a doctor, if only there was a scrub cap large enough to accommodate his giant brain – can handle a little virus that has been spreading dangerously undetected throughout the United States for weeks.
The President knows that the most important thing to do first and foremost is to protect the vulnerable – that is, his reputation. While the elderly and immunocompromised might be mortally at risk due to COVID-19, they have no idea what’s it’s like to have a nice Sunday golf outing ruined Monday by market panic, a massive drop in oil prices and even more reports of novel coronavirus cases and deaths. A little sympathy for the President, please.
Now, in order to protect a weakened presidential ego, the focus needs to be on the hard numbers. Essentially, the fewer the cases reported on American soil, the better Mr. Trump looks. The best ways to ensure that include maintaining the criteria for testing impractically and illogically narrow – to the extent that some patients and even health-care professionals cannot get tested following an exposure – as well as musing about keeping a quarantined ship at sea indefinitely so that the American tally of infected persons is not affected.
To some, that might sound unconscionably cruel, but remember: If these people didn’t want to get sick, they shouldn’t have gone on a cruise back when the President said COVID-19 was a “very little problem” and also a Democratic “hoax.” And while Mr. Trump would very much like to empathize with their plight, as the healthiest President in the history of the United States, he simply cannot understand what it is like to be sick. Indeed, Mr. Trump has heard of the concept of illness, but like an alligator, he has never really experienced it.
In any case, after learning last week, at the age of 73, that many people die of the flu each year, the President has taken to reassuring the public that their fears of this new coronavirus are overblown. To that effect, he tweeted Monday: “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”
By these numbers, however, Mr. Trump is actually reinforcing the evidence that suggests COVID-19 is far deadlier (4 per cent mortality rate, by his tweeted figures, though the WHO pegs it at 3.4 per cent) than the seasonal flu (0.1 per cent mortality), so we must assume this is just Mr. Trump’s subtle way of reminding the public to stay vigilant, without inciting panic. Another cunning move by an above-average-intelligence man.
For our part, Canadians trust that our neighbours to the south, who took 2.1-million trips into Canada in December, 2019, alone, have a handle on the situation. Indeed, the White House has made it very clear that every U.S. resident who qualifies, and can navigate his or her insurance coverage for testing, and can figure out where and how to get tested, and can get access to a non-faulty CDC-produced test kit, and can afford the potential time off work if ordered into quarantine, will be tested now that the virus spread silently across the U.S. and from the U.S. into Canada. A stimulus package is also in the works.
Mr. Trump’s critics will say this is all too late. They’ll point out that the National Security Council’s pandemic response team was dissolved in 2018 and has yet to be replaced. They will also note that Mr. Trump’s budgets have consistently proposed major cuts to the CDC, only to be thwarted by Congress. But what they fail to appreciate is that the President has been tackling another insidious virus – his own paranoia – for years, and, thus, he had to focus on purging and/or starving institutions he felt were personally disloyal, even if it meant his citizens might literally suffer because of it.
But now that the market is in the toilet, meaning that institutional denial no longer serves much of a purpose, and now that America’s inertia is starting to really get embarrassing, Mr. Trump is finally ready to take on this coronavirus thing. With that, we can rest assured that President Doctor Trump, who understands this virus better than anyone, has everything in the U.S. under control. As is his custom, Mr. Trump will continue to look out for the sick and suffering, just as long as they exist within his own head.
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