News reports are forecasting a second wave of covid-19 infections in the U.S. this fall and winter, due in part to the insistence by President Trump and his Republican supporters on reopening schools and businesses. While other advanced nations of the world have brought the pandemic under control, the U.S. has not. There has been no federal program, launched at the national level, to combat the virus. Instead, President Trump and the Republicans have urged us to resume normal life and get businesses going again so that Trump can brag about the excellent economy on his watch as a way to persuade more people to vote for him in November. The first wave of the coronavirus hasn’t yet played out, but already a new one is coming soon.
How bad will it be? We don’t know. If Americans embrace masks, social distancing, and avoidance of crowds and internal gatherings, we could keep the second wave to a lower level of damage than the first wave is now inflicting. I think that’s unlikely. Too many Americans feel that their rights to free expression and freedom of action are abridged by having to wear masks and not touch others. Others see disease prevention actions as political support for the left. I would remind them that the rules of health are for the purpose of saving lives. The survival of my neighbor obviates free speech or political preference.
In the midst of this struggle, Trump has undermined and humiliated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, forcing them to become what the Washington Post calls “campaign stage props.”
As we approach 180,000 deaths from the pandemic, Trump is once again still putting his personal interests ahead of the good of the nation and survival of its citizens. Why do Americans tolerate such behavior?