“Donald Trump’s speech from the Oval Office Wednesday night was horrifying for many reasons: It seemed barely thought through, containing three misstatements that had to be clarified (two about international trade, sowing more confusion in an already volatile market); he spoke without humanity, when humanity is precisely what this first-order crisis requires (peel off his back, and I’m convinced all we’ll see are coils and springs); he blew a racist dog whistle while discussing a global health emergency (a “foreign” virus); he humped the same notes of self-congratulation — that his early decision to impose restrictions on travel to China was bold, that America is superbly prepared — when the latter point is obviously untrue, and the former point is moot.
But Trump’s biggest crime Wednesday night was the short shrift he gave to what should have been his core message: Keep your distance. Yes, he mentioned it in passing, but only on the way to rah-rahing himself, denigrating foreigners, and announcing policies that terrified the markets. This was an opportunity to drive home, over and over again, the one message that practically every public health expert says is essential to stemming community spread, lest the pandemic overwhelm our hospitals. He had the command of all the big networks. Yet he didn’t.
Then again, it’s hardly a surprise. For Trump, the whole strategy of social distancing is a nightmare. It’s inimical to his political interests.”
“. . . .Look: I’m not a doctor, and neither is Laura Ingraham. But public health experts are largely in agreement about this. If we don’t “flatten the curve” — which is to say, make sure our coronavirus patients come to our hospitals in manageable waves, rather than all at once — then we will soon become Italy, where doctors are now facing the possibility of wartime triage, which would require making choices about who lives and who dies based on a patient’s age, because there aren’t enough beds and ventilators to go around. (If you haven’t read Yascha Mounk’s vivid, data-driven piece in The Atlantic, do so, now.)
But rather than flattening the curve, Fox is behind the curve. Each and every time.”