If the United States, led by the executive branch of the government, can get the coronavirus pandemic under control, all sorts of good things will follow, increasing the odds of President Trump’s reelection. Businesses will open, with employees safely interacting with customers. Workers, equipped with masks and tested frequently, will be back on the job, even in meatpacking plants. Parents will be able to send their kids to in-person school. (You have probably noticed that none of the young people gathering in streets late at night and getting into trouble have anyplace they need to be in the morning. Few public pools, no summer programs, no summer jobs . . . why are we surprised to see a surge in crime in a variety of forms?)
But to get the pandemic under control, we need a much more aggressive, much more coordinated, much more persistent approach to the preventative steps than we have seen so far. We need leadership to encourage masks until they are ubiquitous. If Jacksonville, Fla., Bluffton, S.C., and Montgomery and Birmingham, Ala., can implement mask rules, anyplace can. Social distance whenever possible and discourage gatherings of crowds — whether it’s a presidential rally, a protest march, or concerts. Get Americans outside and spread out this summer. We don’t need the lockdowns of late March, but we need the seriousness of late March.
But to do that, the head of the executive branch has to want that, and he needs to be energetic and relentless in pursuing it and promoting it. The president has a bully pulpit. He can use it to promote whatever message he wants, but unfortunately on a lot of days, Trump’s message is his reaction to whatever he saw on television. Earlier today, in an interview with FOX Business’s Blake Burman, President Trump discussed the coronavirus and declared, after discussing signs of recovery . . .
TRUMP: I think we’re going to be very good with the coronavirus. I think that at some point, that’s going to, sort of, just disappear, I hope.
BURMAN: You still believe so? Disappear?
TRUMP: Well, I do, I do. Sure. At some point. And I think we’re going to have a vaccine very soon too.
How badly does the president want to win this election? Because hoping for the virus to disappear, or for a vaccine to be discovered (and distributed!) before the November elections does not seem like a safe bet.