Editorial: Donald Trump’s COVID-19 Diagnosis Hasn’t Changed a Thing

Deep in our hearts, we knew that it would be too much to ask that Donald Trump, after testing positive for COVID-19, would have a change of mind in the way he has responded to the virus as a pandemic, or that he would begin to take the virus seriously. And now, many Americans, even the best among us, are also finding it too much to ask to offer thoughts and prayers, healing energy, or any other expression of wishes for Donald Trump to get well soon.

Maybe it would be different if Trump hadn’t downplayed the coronavirus for 10 months and allowed, without concern, more than 200,000 Americans to die. “It is what it is,” he said.

Maybe if he hadn’t politicized face masks, repeatedly made fun of them, and encouraged his supporters not to wear them, it would  have been easier to root for him in the first moments when we learned he was being hospitalized with the virus.

If Trump hadn’t encouraged people to rebel against public health guidelines and reinforced the idea that such guidelines were “tyranny” instead of common sense, maybe searches on the word, “schadenfreude” wouldn’t have shot up by 30,500 percent (according to Merriam-Webster) in the morning hours after learning of Trump’s positive COVID-19 result.

Maybe if Donald Trump hadn’t encouraged thousands of his supporters to gather closely together, maskless, to distribute droplets among themselves as they shouted their fealty to him, he wouldn’t have disgusted other Americans with how little he valued his supporters’ lives in comparison to their adulation; or how he places even less value on the lives of Americans who are not his supporters.

Maybe if he hadn’t participated, in person, in a presidential debate with former Vice President Joe Biden when he almost certainly knew he had been exposed to COVID-19, we’d wish Trump a good recovery as if he were a decent person.

We don’t have to wish Donald Trump ill, or pray that he suffers. We can just wish nothing at all. Still, it might be different, but for the grief, suffering, and loss that has resulted from his failure to lead during the coronavirus pandemic, and his callousness toward it.

Maybe if Trump hadn’t waited to talk about the coronavirus until it was him who became infected.

Maybe if he hadn’t carelessly exposed his secret service personnel to his sickness while he forced them to sit with him in a hermetically sealed car for the sake of a drive-by photo-op. Maybe if he hadn’t also disregarded the safety of the Marine One pilots who flew him to and from Walter Reed Medical Center; or his entire staff, from cleaning crew to senior aides— and their families.

Maybe if he had been honest with Americans from the beginning about his COVID-19 diagnosis.

Maybe if he hadn’t stood on the White House steps after demanding to leave the hospital, and taken off his mask for a photo-op, carelessly exposing more people in the White House to the coronavirus.

And maybe if he weren’t preparing to take health care away from millions of Americans by arguing the unconstitutionality of the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court.

Many Americans, whether wishing Donald Trump well, experiencing some schadenfreude about his diagnosis, or wishing him nothing at all, were still hopeful that, at last, Donald Trump would be forced to acknowledge the seriousness of COVID-19. Maybe a seed of empathy or caring would sprout from Trump’s firsthand experience with the virus. And surely, we thought, he’d begin urging people to wear masks and be cautious.

Instead, any hopefulness we may have had was met with Donald Trump’s tweet as he prepared to leave Walter Reed Medical Center: “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”

As if a helicopter ride, a fun drive-by photo-op, and a jaunt through the hospital with treatments that aren’t even available to other Americans, were in any way similar to the tragic, painful, debilitating experiences many other Americans have had with COVID-19.

COVID-19 cases are rising within the White House. The president has instructed aides to keep quiet about their positive test results, should they have them. He will no doubt return to mocking mask-wearing, and though CDC guidelines demand that he isolate himself for at least 10 days, he already has plans to return to the campaign trail. Trump has learned nothing, and his supporters, in turn, have learned nothing. COVID-19 infections and deaths will continue to escalate.

We don’t have to wish an ill fate on Donald Trump. We don’t even have to wish him anything at all. But, even following his positive COVID-19 test results, it’s difficult to muster any well wishes for Donald Trump.

Donald Trump to leave hospital after being treated for COVID-19 |
Sky News [2020-10-05]

Here’s what you need to know about President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis | CNBC  [2020-10-05]

Editorial: Coronavirus Herd Immunity is a Long Way Off, but ‘Herd Mentality’ Has Been Achieved

Donald Trump, during Tuesday’s ABC News Town Hall, cited “herd mentality” as he attempted to explain how he expects that the coronavirus will “disappear.” Trump probably meant to say, “herd immunity,” but “herd mentality” is an accurate description of what’s happening among Trump’s base as they unquestioningly follow his example of ignoring and downplaying the coronavirus.

When ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, who hosted the Town Hall, asked Trump if the coronavirus “would go away without the vaccine,” Trump responded, “Sure, over a period of time. Sure, with time it goes away –”

“–And many deaths,”interjected Stephanopoulos.

“And you’ll develop, you’ll develop herd— like a herd mentality. It’s going to be— it’s going to be herd developed… and that’s going to happen. That will all happen,” said Trump.

Trump’s presumptuous commentary on a public health topic he knows nothing about has cost 200,000 American lives, and will cost many more. As long as Trump’s base buys his self-proclaimed authority on the subject, however, they will justify his— and consequently, their— non-action toward the virus.

Herd immunity is the theory that when a high percentage of the population is infected with the virus, they will develop a high rate of immunity among the general population, limiting the virus’ ability to spread, and eventually eradicating the virus. But in order for herd immunity to occur, 60 to 80 percent of the population would need to have antibodies to the virus. In order for this to take place, millions (not thousands) of Americans would have to die in the meantime.

Herd mentality, on the other hand, has already been achieved among the population of Trump’s base. Praising Trump for the “great job” he is doing at managing the spread of the virus, they disregard and even scorn the large body of evidence to the contrary. They follow Trump’s example of ignoring science and embracing a politicized approach to the coronavirus that puts them in danger, and identifies them as part of Trump’s herd.

Without fact-checking, they parrot memes and social media postings that provide defective “science” disputing the need to follow public health guidelines. They embrace conspiracy theories that the entire world is in on a plot to use the coronavirus pandemic to bring down Donald Trump. They cite half-truths and faulty “statistics” to show that the coronavirus isn’t as serious or deadly as the flu. And over and over, encouraged by their leader, Donald Trump, they crowd together, maskless, in large gatherings, including indoor rallies for their leader, himself.

Maybe Donald Trump’s “herd mentality” wasn’t the slip of the tongue we thought it was. He has certainly given evidence that, for some bizarre reason, he’d like for his “herd” to continue to follow the party line and place themselves in danger out of obeisance to him. He has clearly set up conditions where flouting public health guidelines and scoffing at mask-wearing and social distancing are seen as signs of loyalty to the party of Trump. What MAGA in his right mind would dare be caught, at the very least, not questioning the validity of the coronavirus? Trump doesn’t appear as concerned with the safety of his base as he is with a show of adherence to base-speak.

“If I die, I die,” said one Trump supporter at a recent packed Trump rally, when asked why he wasn’t wearing a mask. Like  many other MAGAs, he appears to be willing to give up his life for, well, for what, really? The MAGAs will likely say that their cause is “freedom,” and that they are “patriots,” but how is it that a worthy “patriotic cause for freedom” involves endangering not only one’s own life in the name of a foolish choice, but also endangering the lives of countless innocent others, and robbing them of a choice?

The possibility of a vaccination against COVID-19 is becoming closer to reality, though health experts say that it may not be available to the general public till the end of 2021. In the meantime, Donald Trump’s base has picked up on the idea of herd immunity to justify ignoring pubic health guidelines and “living their lives,” despite the number of lives that will be lost to the coronavirus as a result. Yes, we’re a long way from herd immunity, but a segment of the population has achieved herd mentality.

Kayleigh McEnany: Trump was using a ‘medical term’ when he said ‘herd mentality’ will defeat virus | Raw Story [2020-09-16]

Trump Claims “Herd Mentality” Will Protect Against Coronavirus |
Late Night with Seth Meyers [2020-09-16]