Updated: February 24, 2021
“We have to reopen our country. Our country was not meant to be closed,” President Trump repeated on Sunday during a now daily White House press briefing. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the foremost infectious disease expert, speaking at the same briefing countered: The solution, the only solution, he said, “is mitigation, mitigation”. “Mitigation works,” he added, urging anyone to take it to the bank.
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“But we cannot destroy our economy,” President Trump jumped in, a few seconds after Dr. Fauci made it clear that without mitigation measures all over the country, there could be a resurgence of the coronavirus.
By mitigation, Dr. Fauci meant the measures being already implemented in many states to curb the spread of the virus, including social distancing, respiratory etiquettes and hand hygiene, should continue, and even expanded all over the country.
Watching the White House press conferences when Dr. Fauci and President Trump are both present seems like day and night.
Dr. Fauchi would say something like “we do not have any evidence that hydroxychloroquine can treat coronavirus, it has not been tested, it has not undergone successful clinical trial to know if it works for coronavirus”.
President Trump would say something like: “hydroxychloroquine is a game-changer. It may work, it may not work, what do they have to lose? People are dying, what do they have to lose? I may take it myself”.
The contrast between the scientist and the businessman turned politician is so striking that at the press briefing on Sunday, President Trump scolded a journalist for asking Dr. Fauci about chloroquine after he, once again, promoted a drug many scientists, including those at the World Health Organization (WHO), have said had not been proven to treat COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The journalist asked Dr. Fauci “What is the medical evidence?”, referring to the drug used to treat malaria. President Trump interrupted the journalist and prevented Dr. Fauci from answering, “Do you know how many times he’s answered that question?” Trump cut in. “Maybe 15.”
Dr. Fauci did not answer the question, after the journalist told President Trump he should let the expert answer it.
Dr. Fauci argues that while he would like to see the country reopen and the economy normalize, it should be supported by data. He says opening the country when more than a thousand people are dying every day would be a miscalculation.
But President Trump has his eyes on November 3 when the presidential election takes place. If the economy collapses, he would be blamed and would certainly lose.
Democrats would accuse him for dismissing the coronavirus as a hoax, not taking it seriously for months, downplaying it and failing to implement containment measures soon enough until people began to die.
The country would blame him for letting tens of thousands of people die because of his negligence, because he took his eyes off the ball when it mattered the most and focused his attention on unsuccessful attacks on the press and the opposition.
With tens of tens of thousands of dead and a bad economy that may turn into a recession, the president in power is often punished at the polls.
If President Trump loses in November, then the many probes that may follow on his tax returns, business deals may consume him and his family.
In the midst of that, what should Americans choose now? Lives or the economy?
Post your answer below.