A U.S. president, a vice president and an administration of men and women willing to act as toadies to one man’s ego have proved themselves more than incompetent in this pandemic. They are personally dangerous. That is neither a political statement nor fake news.
On Thursday, May 7, Vice President Mike Pence appeared in a staged photo delivering personal protective equipment to a nursing home in Virginia. Nothing wrong with that.
However, he didn’t wear a mask. Neither did his press aide, Katie Miller, who stood close to mask-wearing reporters outside the building and reportedly coughed while inside.
On May 8, even after Pence learned that Miller had tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, an aide asked meatpacking and grocery executives to take off the masks they were wearing before Pence spoke to them in West Des Moines, Iowa. He wore no mask—again.
The governor of Iowa went to the White House last week as well and met with both Pence and President Donald Trump. He was with Pence after Miller’s positive test. For the third time, no one wore a mask.
That governor is now in self-quarantine. Hospitals in Iowa are being overwhelmed with new cases of COVID-19 after she opened the state for business.
No one knows how far the virus has spread among White House staffers. It is known, however, that one-third of those who have died of COVID-19 are residents or staffers of nursing homes.
Dr. Michael Wasserman, head of the California Association of Long-Term Care Medicine, insists that failure to test every resident and especially every staff member in nursing homes and assisted living facilities is both medically unsound and unethical. Even so, tests are still hard to get everywhere in America.
The White House on Monday announced its “strong recommendation” for testing both residents and staff. Asked at a press briefing later, Trump told an Associated Press reporter, “I will mandate it if you like.” Then he stormed out in response to two female reporters’ pushing him about why testing comparisons mattered to him.
The White House COVID-19 strategy is spin, obfuscation, lies, conspiracy theories and chaos. The confusion, frustration and irresponsible actions that follow result from the president’s inability to control a virus, make it do what he wants or to confront it with effective federal action.
At this point, listening to the president of the United States is bad for your health. To stay safe and find the way forward, stop doing so and listen to the health experts instead.