Fatalism Sets In At A Time When Action Is More Crucial Than Ever
“We’re Screwed No Matter What We Do” seems to be the message we’re hearing from the media, our friends, etc., right now…
That the U.S. is so far behind in COVID-19 response, so lacking in national leadership, so unwilling to take small steps like wearing a mask, that we may as well just give up and let the disease dictate its course, because we’re essentially doing that anyway when our leaders have inconsistent and disparate messages and no central guidance on how to combat it.
That’s why we found this series of Tweets from former Trump administration FDA Director Scott Gottlieb over the weekend to be helpful, and well, hopeful:
Because based on what we’re seeing going on in the U.S. and overseas, there’s no reason to believe his timetable won’t be reasonably accurate. Meaning if everyone can hang on, but more importantly work together for the public good more so than we’ve been doing, there might be a much brighter our outcome to look forward to.
In fact, it’s much more reasonable to say a lot of new treatments will come on line by the end of the year than that the disease will magically start disappearing once everything starts opening up. Which we now know is not going to be the case because it isn’t.
Meanwhile, what little the White House is saying about Coronavirus these days is largely without Trump’s presence. Fronted instead by Cornavirus task force chief, Vice-President Mike Pence, who’s been appropriately criticized for crowing about how well America is doing, of course always “at the direction of the President”, while the number of people sick and dead in the U.S. keeps increasing to record levels.
The President’s oft-repeated mantra, which is oft-repeated by Pence, that the only reason the U.S. is seeing more cases is that we have more testing is easily disproven: in the spots where cases are accelerating the increase in the number of people newly falling ill is far outpacing the number of new tests.
We do want to point you to the words Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a recent White House news conference. Because a lot of people these days throw up their hands when it comes to COVID-19, and ask “what could the President possibly say that would make any difference anymore”?
Click on the photo above for the entire clip. Or here’s part of the transcript (as compiled by C-SPAN and us):
“Everybody wants to end it and get back to normal. Everybody wants the economy to recover….In all the decades I’ve been involved in chasing infectious diseases, I’ve never seen anything so protean in its ability to make people sick or not. There’s no other infectious disease that goes from 40% of the people having no symptoms to some having mild symptoms to some having severe symptoms, some requiring staying at home for weeks, some going to the hospital, some getting intensive care, some getting intubated, some getting ventilated, and some dying. So that depending on where you are in that spectrum, you have a different attitude to this particular thing. But, anyone who gets infected, or is at risk of getting infected, to a greater or lesser degree is part of the dynamic process of the outbreak. And I know because I can understand, from when I was at a stage in my life when I said ‘well, I’m invulnerable, so I’m going to take a risk’. I think what we’re missing from this, is something we’ve never faced before. And that risk to you is not just isolated to you. Because if you get infected you are part — innocently or inadvertently — of propagating the dynamic process of the pandemic. Because the chances are, that if you get infected, you’re going to infect someone else….We are all in it together, and the only way we are going to end it is by ending it together.”
Right. There’s plenty of blame to go around if that’s your thing, but for now let’s not waste the time placing blame. As we’ve said, a lot of people didn’t take COVID-19 that seriously because when most of the cases were clustered in the Northeast they hadn’t been touched by it. So instead of blaming, let’s do. Instead of letting the public health crisis of a lifetime wash over us, let’s protect ourselves and our neighbors.
If Trump said something like this now. And if he stopped worrying about his makeup coming off on his mask if he wore one (which we all know by now is the real reason he isn’t: it’s just vanity), then his “leadership” could still make a difference.
Of course, more likely, he won’t. And everybody will still be on their own. But maybe if those types of words resonate a bit more, people will start seeing the value in helping others, and particularly wearing masks, which may have to be a thing for a while.
Even though relief should be coming. It’s very frustrating for people to feel they’re not fully in control of when or in what form, or how to survive both from a health and economic perspective between now and then.
Despite the lack of guidance from the top, and a lack of a message from the top other than “we’re doing great and it’s not our responsibility anyway”, it becomes up to everybody to step up on their own and do little things to keep themselves, their families, and society safe.
That part of it’s not that hard, is it?