Comrade Trump is taking a break from his Make the Confederacy Great Again campaign (which some folks believe is largely an attempt to distract the public from the Russia Pays the Taliban to Murder Marines in Afghanistan scandal) in order to demand parents Send Their Kids to School during an escalating pandemic.
Trump says he ‘disagrees’ with the epidemiologists at the CDC and just about every professional education administrator in the nation. Remember Mike Hughes? He disagreed with scientists who claimed the earth was a globe. Trump’s disagreement will end with much the same result.
This is the problem with science. It’s immune from opinion. It’s invulnerable to viewpoint. It’s resistant to persuasion and not susceptible to belief. You can believe it’s safe to send kids to school during an escalating pandemic, but that won’t keep them healthy and alive.
Trump argues “Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden” are opening their schools without problems. That’s not entirely a lie, but it’s far from accurate. Germany, Denmark, and Norway all followed the advice of their scientists, and their Covid-19 cases have declined dramatically. Yesterday Germany had 298 new cases, Norway had 11, and Denmark only 10 new cases. Even Sweden, which fucked up nearly as badly as the US, only had 271 new Covid-19 cases. The United States had 55,422 new cases yesterday.
Part of Trump’s argument is that kids with Covid-19 don’t get as sick as adults. Seriously, he actually said that during a meeting.
“What we want to do is we want to get our schools open. We want to get them open quickly, beautifully, in the fall. And the — as you know, this is a disease that’s a horrible disease, but young people do extraordinarily well.”
That’s the key to Trump’s rationale — relatively few young people die from Covid. So he wants students back in the classroom. Returning kids to school projects the illusion that everything is okay, that we’re back to normal, that the only thing school children have to worry about is homework and sporadic mass murder by their classmates. But even if Covid symptoms do, in fact, tend to be mild among kids, some of them will become severely ill and suffer long term health issues. Some of them will die. And some will go home from class and infect their families.
The CDC’s guidelines for safely opening schools included desks at least six feet apart and facing the same direction, lunch in classrooms rather than a central lunchroom, staggered arrival times, cloth masks for staff, and daily temperature screenings for everyone. Trump ‘believes’ that’s too cumbersome and impractical. So this morning, Vice President Pence announced “the CDC would issue additional recommendations…that would provide ‘more clarity’.” In other words, they’ll water down the guidelines.
This is something Trump does. He pressures governmental agencies to alter their findings or recommendations to support whatever mistake, lie, or fantasy he’s blurted out. Remember the migrant caravans? Trump lied that Middle Eastern terrorists had infiltrated them. So several agency officials published what was later called a bogus ‘official’ statement that it could happen. Before the mid-term elections, Trump promised a 10% middle class tax cut, taking his Treasury people by surprise. So they cobbled together some statements to make it seem that it could happen. It didn’t. And then, of course, there was Trump mistakenly claiming Alabama was at risk from a hurricane, after which NOAA administrators fudged a report saying it could have been at risk. It wasn’t.
No Sharpie will modify the Covid-19 butcher’s bill. No ‘official statement’ will reduce Covid transmission. No lie or fantasy will keep school kids and their families and their teachers safe from the virus. There’s no messaging solution to public health.
You can’t fucking argue with gravity.