A day after the federal government’s leading infectious disease specialist warned in his Congressional testimony on the COVID-19 pandemic against reopening schools too soon in a knowledge-based tsunami of a retort to Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Donald Trump naturally ignored the science behind Dr. Anthony Fauci’s caution and declared the opinion of the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to be “just not an acceptable answer.”
Fauci had responded to Senator Paul’s claim in the Senate Health Committee hearing yesterday that the mortality rate from coronavirus infections among children “approaches zero” by bombarding him with painful facts.
“You used the word that we should be ‘humble’ about what we don’t know. And I think that falls under the fact that we don’t know everything about this virus, and we really better be very careful, particularly when it comes to children,” Dr. Fauci said.
“Because the more and more we learn, we’re seeing things about what this virus can do, that we didn’t see from the studies in China, or in Europe. For example, right now, children presenting with COVID-19 symptoms, who actually have a very strange inflammatory syndrome, very similar to Kawasaki Syndrome,” he said, referencing some highly unusual cases, including at least one fatality, among children in New York.
“I think we better be careful that we’re not cavalier, in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects,” Fauci admonished the less than forthright senator.
Trump was asked about Fauci’s comments by a reporter this afternoon and responded with an astonishingly unsubtle rejection of expert scientific opinion in favor of his sacrificial lamb approach to reopening the nation’s schools.
“I was surpised by his answer, actually, uhh, because, uh, you know, uhh, it’s just [shaking his head]…to me it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to school. The only thing that would be acceptable as I said would be professors, teachers, etcetera, over a certian age, I think that they shoiuld take it easy for another few weeks, five weeks? four weeks? Who knows?Whatever it may be,” Trump declared.
“But I think they have to be careful because…this is a disease that attacks age. It attacks health. And if you have a heart prioblem if you have diabetes, if you’re a certain age, uhhhh, it’s certainly, uhhhh, much more dangerous. But with the young children, I mean, uhh, and students, it’s really, it’s…just take a look at the statistics, it’s pretty amazing.”
This isn't complicated.
Dr. Fauci is a highly decorated scientist and doctor, a respected medical expert who spent his life leading American efforts to fight infectious diseases.
Trump is a compulsive liar who suggested we could fight COVID-19 by injecting people with bleach. https://t.co/8KnzEWR6LN
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) May 13, 2020
Trump obviously never absorbed — or perhaps even heard — Dr. Fauci’s testimony where he presented actual facts contradicting the president’s criminally uninformed viewpoint on the effects of the virus on those young people whose lives he is willing to put on the line by sending them back into overcrowded classrooms that can quickly become Petri dishes for COVID-19 incubation, a disease they are likely to bring back home to their families during its asymptomatic phase.
The president’s callous indifference to the risks of reopening schools before the benchmarks established by his own Coronavirus Task Force are met — as well as his dismissal of the science that underlies the medical experts’ recommendations — simply demonstrates the prioritization of his own re-election campaign over the lives of young Americans.
Perhaps we can expect to see a daily dose of Chlorox added to school lunch menus around the country in Trump’s eagerness to get those schools reopened?
But then again, it’s not just the young he’s willing to sacrifice for his own selfish goals of restoring some semblance of a functioning economy again.
Despite his seeming generosity in allowing older teachers an extra few weeks to stay at home, without a nationally coordinated testing strategy, Trump is merely postponing the inevitable potential risk of sickness unto death for these more senior educators rather than eliminating it.
And Trump wonders why his poll numbers are dropping like a Mafia snitch wearing cement shoes.
The only people who will be stupid enough to vote for him will be those who share his narcissism and extreme selfishness and those so mesmerized by right-wing tropes as to be as divorced from reality as Trump himself.
He and his distorted values-system must be defeated by those of us who still value life over servility to the business oligarchs in whose interest the premature reopening of the economy serves.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.