There’s a difference between the huge surge in COVID-19 cases that’s hitting the United States in the run up to Election Day, and those that are in the past. It’s not just a matter of the height of this peak in terms of the number of cases being racked up each day. It’s the breadth. The base. The way this is so broadly distributed across the nation.
With Donald Trump and his new coronavirus chief Scott Atlas pushing for herd immunity and Republicans across the nation joining in on a policy that is almost certain to kill not hundreds of thousands, but millions of Americans, some members of the Trump White House are becoming more vocal about speaking out in favor of what should be the non-controversial position of please stop murdering us. With days to go before voting ends, health officials are making it clear that Trump is on the wrong path.
And Trump is striking back … by spreading a conspiracy theory about doctors.
As the Associated Press reports, what’s happening now is very much not normal. In past crises, the White House has promoted statements from experts, elevated the voices of specialists, and looked to doctors and scientists for guidance in crafting policy. But Donald Trump set his policy before COVID-19 even reached the United States: downplay the threat, don’t provide testing, and attack governors who try to do anything effective.
Trump has chuckled over a plan to kidnap the governor Michigan, encouraged protests against governors who instituted social distancing guidelines, and gone after health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci for trying to provide accurate information to the public.
Back in Michigan for another stop on his Superspreader Tour, Trump turned his attack directly on doctors and nurses, insisting that they are falsely reporting COVID-19 cases because they “get more money if someone dies from COVID.” It’s not true on any level, but it’s amazing to see Trump spreading even more distrust. Maybe he plans to open Trump Medical School when this is over. He already has experience running a university.
Trump starts out by making fun of the idea that “cases have gone up,” saying that it doesn’t matter because those cases could be a 14-year-old kid. Or a 20-year-old student. Because it’s not like any of them are going to have a bad outcome. “We’re making that beautiful turn,” says Trump … though he never says where we’re going.
Then Trump moves on to accusing doctors of lying about cause of death. “You know, our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID. You know that, right? I mean, our doctors are very smart people, our hospitals … so what they do, is they say, ‘I’m sorry, but, you know, everybody dies of COVID.’” Trump then goes on to say that the reason that other nations are reporting fewer COVID-19 deaths is because their doctors don’t cheat like ours.
Since White House chief of staff Mark Meadows made it clear that White House policy was not to try and control the pandemic, it’s become more clear that the push for herd immunity has always been Trump’s policy. He’s just advocating it more openly. That includes the war on masks, which are being downplayed expressly because they are effective in reducing the spread of disease.
As Trump and Atlas go all in on allowing 2 million more Americans to die in order to prop up the stock market, health officials at the White House are shying away from the negligent homicide plan. Trump’s former favorite on the coronavirus task force, Dr. Deborah Birx, has been touring states to encourage the use of masks. Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir has been doing a series of interviews to emphasize wearing masks and washing hands. And as Trump keeps insisting that the nation is rounding that curve—or that the pandemic is “over”—Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning that even if vaccines ship at the end of 2020, it’s going to be another year before life gets back to normal.
One thing is certain: It can’t get back to normal as long as Donald Trump is in the White House.
"Our doctors get more money if someone dies from Covid. You know that, right? I mean, our doctors are very smart people." — Trump pushes a baseless conspiracy that greedy American health care workers are overcounting coronavirus deaths pic.twitter.com/fsajGTvvN3
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 30, 2020