It seems each morning brings our lives into another day of living in denial.
President Trump is in Walter Reed Military Medical Center, infected with the COVID-19 Coronavirus he so often dismissed as a “hoax” or nothing more than the flu. Although the spin by the White House Physician claims his symptoms are mild and lessening, the treatment regimen he is receiving is reserved for those in serious condition.
Before he was helicoptered to Walter Reed Friday evening, the White House reported had not needed a respirator. On Saturday, we learned he as on oxygen before transport. Even with possibly dying, the 74-year-old obese president is in denial when it comes to honesty with the people he is supposed to serve.
Closer to home, the pandemic killed at least three more Floyd County in just three days and put the infection toll up by five more to 213. At least 13 have died in the county.
In the National League Football, the Tennessee Titans now have 18 players infected three weeks into the season, and infections of both the quarterback and backup helped postpone a game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, where both teams are riddled with cases.
Nationally, the pandemic has killed at least 214,280 — far more than any other country in the world. In America, 7,601,182 have been infected. Worldwide, 1,038,814 are dead.
On the Virginia Department of Health’s daily report on the pandemic Saturday, Virginia had 1,116 new cases, bringing the total to 150,583 with 3,270 deaths.
Yet, people who should know better continue to parade around in public without masks and ignore social distancing. Walked into the grocery store Saturday and saw a half-dozen maskless types huddled close together in giggling conversation, so I walked back out without picking up a few items we needed.
They are following the lead of our nation’s leaders. News reports say “hundreds of maskless supporters (of Trump) gathered shoulder to shoulder for rallies on Staten Island and on the Mall” on Saturday.
The Washington Post reports it found “little evidence” that the White House has offered contract tracing or guidance to hundreds of Trump supporters who mingled with the president at rallies or fundraisers this past week.
Hours before President Trump tested positive for the novel coronavirus and just one day before he was admitted to the hospital, he mingled with more than 200 people at his New Jersey golf club for a campaign fundraiser.
Less than a week before that, he welcomed 150 political allies and religious leaders — including several who are now infected — to the White House to meet the jurist he has nominated to the Supreme Court.
In between, the president met with dozens of aides without wearing a mask — even in close quarters and after top aide Hope Hicks had tested positive. He appeared before thousands at a rally in Minnesota. And he held a nationally televised debate with former vice president Joe Biden after holing up with debate preppers.
But there was little evidence on Saturday that the White House or the campaign had reached out to these potentially exposed people, or even circulated guidance to the rattled staffers within the White House complex.
“There was a panic before this started, but now we’re sort of the stupid party,” Edward J. Rollins, co-chairman of the pro-Trump super PAC Great America, tells the Post. “Candidates are being forced to defend themselves every day on whether they agree with this or that, in terms of what the president did on the virus.”
“The president and the people around him flouted the rules,” Republican strategist Michael Steel, who was an aide to former House Speaker John Boehner, adds. “We wish him and his family a speedy recovery, but he has been reckless, and voters dealing with the health and economic effects on them and their families won’t look on that kindly.”
The Post also reports that Stuart Stevens, a veteran Republican adviser who works with the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, said “there is fatalism” among GOP officials and donors. “They wonder, ‘What can you do? How can you spin this?’ ”
“If I were running a Senate race, I’d run out and say the White House should have taken this more seriously,” Stevens adds.
Secret Service agents Friday expressed anger to colleagues and friends about the risks they take to protect Trump while he ignores safety rules.
“He’s never cared about us,” one agent told a confidant, the Washington Post reported Friday.
The paper added:
Former Secret Service agents said it was unheard of for agents to openly complain about their president but that some currently in the ranks had become convinced during the pandemic that Trump was willing to put his protectors in harm’s way.
Agents who work in field offices around the country complained that since late August, they are no longer being tested when they return home from working at a rally for the president.
“This administration doesn’t care about the Secret Service,” one current agent relayed in an internal discussion group. “It’s so obvious.”
Adds Leana S. Wen, MD graduate from Washington University of Medicine:
Saturday’s briefing by President Trump’s medical team was a deliberate exercise in obfuscation, insulting to the public and unbefitting the seriousness of the moment.
Every first-year medical student knows that you can’t describe a patient’s condition without including the exact vital signs. We heard that the president has no fever, but not what his temperature has been — and whether he’s fever-free because of fever-reducing drugs. We heard that he has an oxygen saturation of 96 percent — but not what it’s been throughout his illness. Was a low oxygen saturation part of the reason he was transferred to the hospital?
White House physician Sean Conley volunteered that the president was not on supplemental oxygen at the time of the news conference and that day, but repeatedly evaded questions about whether Trump had been on oxygen since he became ill.
This kind of too-clever-by-half, rosy-scenario briefing neither reflects well on Conley nor serves the public interest — especially when Conley’s happy talk was contradicted in short order by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who said Trump went through a “very concerning” period Friday and is “still not on a clear path yet to a full recovery.”
Welcome to America 2020 — a nation in deadly limbo, frozen by stupidity and careless disregard for the safety of themselves or others.