Updated: Nov 6, 2020
Now that the election is over, will Donald Trump stop playing politics with the coronavirus pandemic and strengthen the nation's response, or will he continue until his final day to deny the need for responsible actions by the government?
Thousands of lives could hang in the balance.
You would hope that a leader in defeat, even Trump, would use his final two months in office to get tough with the virus, giving up his macho man attitude and stop claiming that it's not all that bad, that "we're rounding the corner," and that a vaccine is coming soon and will save the day.
But, knowing Trump's track record, that is unlikely, and that would be tragic.
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, if current policies are pursued, daily deaths will increase from the 1,000+ today with 234,000 since the pandemic began, to 2,595 per day through January 2021, for a total of 399,163 by Feb. 1. And, if policies are eased, as Trump seems to advocate, deaths are projected to reach an unthinkable 6,000 PER DAY by next February, with an estimated total of 507,506.
However, the Institute reports that imposing a universal mask-wearing requirement would hold the daily rate to just under 1,500 per day through next February, for a total of 346,343.
On October 26, Bloomberg.com published an interview with Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who pointed out that because of sharply rising numbers of cases, more and more hospitals are full.
"Anyone who thinks this increase is because of an increase in testing is completely wrong," he said, "because we're seeing surges in hospital care, and with surges in hospital care, these are patients that need to be mechanically ventilated, and when that happens, there is going to be an increase in deaths."
Because the number of cases continue to rise, he said, "more and more people are going to die...this is a really serious time, and I think the projections that we could go from 1,000 to 2,000 a day are not unrealistic."
"The cases are going up, and we're not really doing that much to bring them down," Dr. Sharfstein added. "So we can expect them to go up for a while, and when that happens, more people are going to get sick. And that's what's driving this projection that more and more people will be dying."
In normal times, one would expect a politician who has pursued policies simply to get elected to change that approach and take the responsible action that is needed, especially when lives are at stake -- whether or not he has been reelected. After all, even in defeat, Trump would have nearly two months to use one of his precious executive orders, signed with a Sharpie, to impose a universal mask mandate, for example, and save at least 50,000 lives.
But will he do that?
He has demonstrated throughout this pandemic that his only concern has been saving his own hide. Until the election, he cast the need to protect the economy as his ultimate priority, regardless of the impact on the pandemic, because he saw that as his path to victory. His actions have jeopardized the lives of thousands of people whom he has sworn to defend and protect.
If he is defeated, will he finally act responsibly?
Don't bet on it.
Dealing with the coronavirus will be the furthest thing from his mind as he launches his scattershot court cases to contest the election, continuing the crisis of division within America that he has fomented. He will spend every waking hour fighting to retain the presidency and the protection from legal action against him that it provides.
Remember, people, it's all about Trump. It's not about you, or your family, or your friends, or anybody else for that matter. It's about Trump. Nothing will stand in his way until he is kicked out of town in disgrace, leaving death and destruction, hate, dissension, and division in his wake.