“Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

President Trump (10-5-20)

Well, the above was just another weird Trump statement about COVID. As we all know, Trump was not treated like the normal COVID-19 patient He was helicoptered to the hospital. Trump had top notch physicians, with no expense spared. He was treated with experimental drugs unavailable to you or me. Even so, at the beginning, his Doctors were saying that he’s still “not out of the woods”.  

During the first debate, Trump loudly ridiculed Biden and others for following medical advice, wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing. Trump’s family attended and refused to wear masks, even after they were provided to them by the acclaimed Cleveland Clinic, responsible for ensuring that medical precautions are taken at the debates. 

However, politically speaking, President Trump’s failure to put forth any sort of a national plan to address the COVID-19 epidemic (and take personal precautions) is dominating his life. Clearly, it is the major reason why he has lost the Presidential race to Joe Biden. As President-elect Biden said, “Look, anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying, ‘masks don’t matter, social distancing doesn’t matter’ – I think is responsible for what happens to them.”  

Apparently, Trump’s cavalier attitude was not widely held by most Americans before they voted, 81% of whom were either very or somewhat concerned that “they or someone they knew would become infected” (ABC/Ipsos, 10-3). Further, a 10-4-20 Reuters/Ipsos poll found that a majority (55%) of Americans either disbelieve all or some of what he has said about COVID and that only 14% believe that everything he said about it is true. Even more (56%) “disapprove of President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus/COVID-19.” They also found that 65% of Americans polled believe that “if President Trump had taken coronavirus/COVID-19 more seriously, he probably would not have been infected.” 

Given the above, what are the facts on the ground? Well, nationally, we currently have had 9.5 million Americans who have had COVID… and will hit 300,000 dead before the end of the year, with a much greater impact on those over 60. We are 4% of the world’s population but have over 20% of all the deaths. It is little wonder that the American public gives Trump low ratings regarding his COVID efforts. 

Using my state of Georgia as an example, there have been 370,000 people with COVID, 10-6-20. Most have done well, although medical authorities state that there are short and/or long term complications in many individuals that have overcome the disease.  

Further, older groups fare very poorly. Here’s what should make people in their 70s, like Trump and me, afraid of getting COVID-19. The death rate in Georgia is over 10% for those 70-79 getting COVID. The hospitalization rate is over 25%. The death rate is even higher, over double, for those over 80 getting the virus. 

Even those who have not been infected have reason to be concerned. First, most people have friends and relatives who are high risk. They’re either seniors or have underlying conditions like cancer, asthma or heart disease.  

Secondly, although the wealthy like Trump are not as affected, the economy is in shambles. He and Congress bailed out larger businesses, artificially propping up the stock market. But most Americans are not so fortunate. Many have lost their jobs or seen temporary layoffs or wage cuts. Unemployment has gone up to nearly 8%.  

The number of medically uninsured has gone up every year of his Presidency, as he tries to abolish the ACA. If successful, that would add more than 20 million to the ranks of the current 30 million uninsured. This would happen in the middle of the worst pandemic in our lifetimes. 

Trump, who has tremendous inherited wealth and led a life of privilege, has been and is amazingly blasé about the pandemic. He has no empathy for anyone except himself. And, that is a large part of why he will not be our President in 2021. No doubt, all of us will be better off economically and health wise with Biden.

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Featured image: the illustration of COVID-19 seems to be in the public domain judging from 1,700+ sites that have used it without attribution. Should the copyright holder be identified, we would be happy to attribute and link; attempt to license, or take down.

Jack Bernard

Jack Bernard

Jack A Bernard is a retired SVP with a national healthcare corporation. He was Chair of the Jasper County, Ga Board of Commissioners and Republican Party. He was also on the Board of Health for Jasper County and is currently on the Fayette County BOH. Bernard has over 100 columns published annually, primarily in the South.