Trump Revives Some Very Old Messaging On COVID-19
In the beginning, the only hurdle Trump gave himself seemed to be showing he was doing better with the disease than the rest of the world
Update: Underscoring our point is this recent clip from Trump’s interview with Axios’ Jonathan Swan, where Trump even now tries so hard to dig up COVID-19 numbers that make him look favorable compared to the rest of the world.
That concept quickly became ludicrous as U.S. infections soared. But it’s been creeping back into the President’s conversation in recent days, as some places overseas fight new flares of infection.
Leading the President to do things like point to a new spike in cases in part of Australia as evidence he isn’t doing too bad:
And Tweet this:
And Retweet this:
So let’s just look at Australia for a second: the state of Victoria, which contains the city of Melbourne, is counting 600–700 new cases a day recently. (That’s hundreds of people getting sick.) Compare that to Florida: averaging nearly 10,000 new cases a day. (That’s thousands of people getting sick.) And that’s with the number of people getting sick in Florida possibly plateauing recently.
And here’s what they’re doing in Melbourne for the next 6 weeks:
- No one can go more than 5 kilometers from their home (about 3 miles).
- Maximum of 1 person per household is allowed to go shopping each day. And they cannot go beyond that distance.
- Exercise is OK, but only for one hour, and only within that same distance.
- No restaurants.
- Mandatory face coverings.
- No groups bigger than 2.
- Curfew from 8 P.M. to 5 A.M. every day.
Of course there are exceptions for certain types of work, home healthcare workers, shared parenting, escaping domestic violence and a few other things.
Still, it’s pretty stark, especially considering Victoria’s had 123 deaths, (about 1/2 of the total in Australia). While in U.S. states with tightened up but still far looser rules thousands more people have died: in Texas alone 7,500 people; in Florida, more than 7,000.
That’s the kind of thing Dr. Anthony Fauci was talking about in Capitol Hill testimony last week, as he described why lockdowns in Europe appear to have had so much more impact than attempts in the U.S.:
“[Europe] really did it to the tune of about 95% plus….When you actually look at what we did — even though we shut down, even though it created a great deal of difficulty — we really functionally shut down only about 50% in the sense of the totality of the country.”
Australia has less than 1/10th the population of the U.S., but like the U.S. (and unlike much of Europe), it’s big and spread out, with large distances between major population centers. Melbourne has a population of 5-million. In terms of land area, Australia is about 80% the size of the U.S., (and pretty close to the same if you don’t include Alaska).
Still, could you imagine anywhere in the U.S. putting such strict measures into place? And having people stick to them? Our friends in Melbourne are not big government worshiping automatons. And every single one of the people we’ve been in touch with there are boiling about the new rules and restrictions. But they’re doing it. Because they want to crush the virus.
The former head of Medicare and Medicaid, Andy Slavitt, who’s also been writing on Medium, has been making the point for a long time that if U.S. citizens actually commit to wiping out the virus without the resistance and elasticity we are experiencing now, we could crush it in 4–6 weeks. And then yeah, maybe we’d have to wear masks for a while, but maybe not have to do too much else. And maybe kids could even go back to school without parents feeling like they’re being forced to send them into potentially very unsafe surroundings.
But with leadership uninterested in doing anything but assert untruths about how America is doing better than other places, and cases are up only because tests are up, and anyone who says otherwise (even if they come equipped with proof after proof that that’s just not so) are just Left wing agitators out to discredit the President and bestow glory (in the form of high ratings) upon themselves, forget about it.