Horrendous 2020 Hindsight: Painful Pandemic Truth
Like many Americans, I woke up to news coverage about last night’s CNN documentary with interviews of the pandemic doctors. The hundreds of thousands of citizens whose deaths from Covid-19 could have been avoided are owed national and political accountability, but the polarization of America that exacerbated the pandemic threatens to deprive them of their due.
Dr. Deborah Birx gave us a haunting admission that the death toll would have been substantially reduced if not for the negligent management of the pandemic by former President Donald Trump. His willingness to put economic and political goals above science and the public’s wellbeing added to the death toll.
I am sure Debra Birx is a nice person. She certainly has a wealth of knowledge on healthcare, medicine and viruses, but I’m not ready to name the wing of a hospital after her or erect a scarved statue in her honor. Pardon me, but I need to get some things off my chest here so I can move on from Monday morning quarterbacking.
First, let’s review this famous Donald Trump monologue, “I see disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that. So, you’re going to have to use medical doctors, but it sounds interesting to me. So, we’ll see. But the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in one minute, that’s pretty powerful.” The President continued, “And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? So, it’d be interesting to check that [out]. Then he pointed to his head and delivered the disclaimer, of sorts, “I’m not a doctor. But I’m, like, a person that has a good you-know-what.”
While this “riff,” which is how Trump translator Jason Miller described it, was underway, we saw Dr. Debra Birx sitting uncomfortably a few feet off to the side of Trump, looking as if she were holding in a large, gaseous explosion and saying nothing. Not one word. She could have jumped to her feet, walked to the microphone and warned people not to drink bleach or try to put a light down their throats, but she didn’t.
There are some who attempt to justify her inaction by saying, “Hey, if she would have done that, she would have been fired and things could have gotten worse.” Well, they did get worse. Trump hired a quack named Dr. Scott Atlas who convinced our feckless leader that things with the virus weren’t all that bad and herd immunity would just take the problem away. Atlas is more a murderer than a doctor and his license should be revoked. Atlas never explained to Trump that trying herd immunity before we had a vaccine would be a death sentence to hundreds of thousands of people with underlying health conditions, and that is exactly what happened. It wasn’t until Atlas received condemnation from the medical community that he “clarified” his position on herd immunity.
Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx and anyone with half a brain knew that Atlas was a destructive force on the Coronavirus Task Force, but no one had the guts to rebuke the President. The CNN program dramatically solidified the truth. Our country was seriously harmed by Trump’s actions and inactions, particularly his silencing of Dr. Fauci and pushing him away from the public messaging. Trump’s disjointed “riff” revealed he didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, but no one countered or silenced him.
It was never a joke, it was never just a “little flu” and it certainly would not “go away one day, like a miracle.” How could anyone continue to support this madman’s claims about anything? The “miracle” for America is that Trump finally went away.
Dr. Birx, people are weak and easily intimidated. I get that. When Trump turned against you, it wasn’t by a termination memo on a Friday afternoon and a security escort to your car in the parking lot. Be thankful that delirious Donald didn’t take to Twitter, saying you were “persona non grata,” and all the Trumpers, who have no idea what the term even means, would start the berating and death threats. If your role in life is to help people medically and do no harm, your silence on Trump’s outrageous statements demonstrate that you are not worthy of praise and perhaps your position.
This from CNN, “And while critics may fault her for not speaking out when she was in government, her comments come across as an attempt to precipitate a reckoning that can provide lessons on how the US can perform more effectively in a future pandemic. ‘In the post-mortem, we have to come out of this and learn how to do it better, the next time,’ Birx said.” Great, yeah, so that’s the big lesson? REALLY?
I’ll try to be fair right now as I slam into my keyboard the two large lessons I’ve learned. 1. Either do your job and speak up to power or get the hell out of the way and, 2. Stop this self-reputation saving tour and just go away. Harsh, yes, but I don’t even want to hear her name. When I do, I see this.
I know now she was deeply torn and frustrated at that moment, but she could have called a press conference a few hours later to announce she was resigning because she believed the President was making things worse. She could have stated clearly that Donald Trump has no credibility giving advice on a global pandemic or any other medical matter. She could have gone out with a bang and perhaps saved some lives. Sorry, but death is not a fixable problem.
I guess it’s time to push this into the folder that also contains, “We knew the Japanese would attack, we just didn’t know where.” And this gem, “Had we only coordinated between the CIA and FBI we could have prevented 9-11.” Or this frightening truth, “We knew Lee Harvey Oswald was in Dallas, we just lost track of him.” I am not making any of that up.
We knew it was bad, Trump knew it was bad and admitted same to Bob Woodward. We heard him say it on a recoding, but too many people went along with his “Hydroxychloroquine” miracle cure bullshit when every major person involved in the science knew it was not a cure and would do little to help anyone. When I see that ten-foot flag on the pickup truck in Florida screaming FUCK BIDEN, I know that’s something Birx would never have said about Trump, but she should have. There’s one big lesson in all of this. The next time you have a global pandemic, make sure the person in charge isn’t an idiot.
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