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Using a Pandemic as a Political Tool

By V. Susan Hutchinson

If you don’t know anything about Coronavirus (COVID-19), it’s time you learned. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updates a global map to indicate which countries are affected. There are now 19 cases reported through the U.S. public health system. Today, February 29, we had the first reported death in Washington state.

Additionally, 18 of the evacuated U.S. passengers from the American Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive with one admitted to the hospital with symptoms. Now the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised the risk level to “very high”. Those most at risk are people with compromised immune systems, such as small children, the elderly and those taking immunosuppressant drugs.

The pandemic contributed to a stock market crash, the worst decline since 2008. The uncertainty of manufacturing and the potential supply and demand impact from countries with outbreaks was indicated to be part of the reason for the crash.

Trump is in Control of the Situation (Yeah, right!)

Trump being Trump, he turned this entire global health issue into a political tool to use against the Democrats and demonize the media. On February 26, Trump put Vice President Mike Pence, a known denier of science-based evidence, in charge. Trump assumed this news would cause the stock market to bounce back because he has always been able to manipulate the market before.

Not so much. The market crashed the very next day. Seems Wall Street has no confidence in Trump when it comes to dealing with a global health crisis.

Pence faced an HIV epidemic in Indiana when he was governor and was so slow to respond that the epidemic was far worse than it should have been. People who didn’t have to die, died.

Really instills confidence, doesn’t it?

Now that Pence is appointed, it was announced that all health officials are now required to seek approval before making any statements to the media. Trump even banned a U.S. disease expert from speaking to the public about how the virus may not be able to be contained. Trump is now trying to control the narrative for a deadly disease that could kill hundreds, if not thousands of people in the United States.

All to score political points to get re-elected.

Trump’s Ignorance on Display Again

By claiming that warm weather would take care of everything, Trump is again showing his denial of the facts to suit his own political agenda. His view that it “Could maybe go away. We’ll see what happens. Nobody really knows.” just shows his ignorance when it comes to a real crisis and not one that he manufactured out of thin air.

Hate to break this to you Donald, but the CDC and WHO do know what will happen, but you are, as usual, not listening to the scientists.

At Trump’s latest rally in South Carolina, he called the coronavirus outbreak a liberal conspiracy theory and Democratic “hoax” that targets him specifically in order to hurt him in November. And it wasn’t only the Democrats he was blaming; it was also the pesky media who have been attacking him since he took office. He claimed the media was creating hysteria and the situation isn’t as bad as they make it out to be.

And his supporters show their ignorance too by cheering him on.

Trump’s response to anything that might make him look bad is to downplay the seriousness of it and find a way to blame someone else. I can hear him now if we go to war with N. Korea: “Just minor scratches to our troops after the nuclear bomb landed in California. Not to worry. Everything under control. The media and the Democrats are making it sound worse than it is to undermine my authority.”

An Opportunity for Profit

During a global pandemic where millions of people are at risk, “how much will it cost me to stay alive?” should not be the first question people ask. But because of our out of control, for profit healthcare system, Health Secretary Alex Azar immediately came forward to claim he couldn’t guarantee everyone could afford the vaccine when one is developed.

The Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is a little upset with investors for monitoring news coverage of the outbreak. Seems Mulvaney wants to see if he can manipulate the stock market as well by putting blinders on investors.

Investment companies are also advising when to buy coronavirus impacted stocks that have been “beaten down” so investors can make more money.

Anyone who sees this epidemic as a financial opportunity should be ashamed. (Editor’s note: “ashamed” is an understatement!)

Stay Safe Out There

Regardless of what Trump says, there is a risk that the U.S. will experience an epidemic across the country. Everyone can help contain it by doing a couple of simple things – wash your hands often, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds, and don’t touch your mouth as that is the mode of transmission into the lungs.

If we are all knowledgeable about how this virus replicates and infects people, we can stay safe. And if you have flu symptoms and have recently been in an area where there is an outbreak or on an airplane, see your doctor immediately.

It is always best to play it safe. This is not politics as usual.

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