U.S. President Donald Trump is pictured at the first White House dedicated to the coronavirus response on February 26, 2020 where he claimed the pandemic risk to Americans was “very low”. The remarks haven’t aged well. | Source: REUTERS/Carlos Barria
- The American response to COVID-19 is exclusively motivated by politics.
- Legitimate questions about the handling of the coronavirus pandemic — and the future response — have been raised on both sides.
- Creating a culture of fear & disinformation creates a vacuum in which our rights can be stripped from us without warning.
COVID-19 — better known as coronavirus — is no `longer a medical issue. It’s become almost exclusively a political one.
This isn’t the first time a tragedy has been politicized. From the Great Depression to Hurricane Katrina, from Pearl Harbor to 9/11, if there’s one thing American politicians are good at, it’s turning a national tragedy into fodder for their next election campaign.
And they’re able to do so using a method that’s as old as humankind itself: by sowing the seeds of fear and disinformation, creating mass confusion and an “us vs. them” mentality.
It’s happening again with COVID-19. And it needs to stop.
The COVID-19 Models Aren’t Adding Up
One of the biggest questions raised on the so-called “right” side of the aisle — traditionally associated with the GOP — is that the COVID-19 predictive models aren’t adding up.
In attempting to study factors like rate of infection, socioeconomic disparity, and efficacy of testing, there seems to be no universally accepted number amongst analytical experts. In this absence of certainty, conservatives suggest that the response to the coronavirus — social distancing, closure of non-essential businesses — is extreme and unwarranted.
So-called “red” states have started to reopen, seeming to openly defy models that suggest unprecedented rates of infection. Vice President Mike Pence has even promised to disband the coronavirus task force.
Naturally, this response has generated ire from the other side of the aisle, with Governor Andrew Cuomo famously (and rightly) lambasting Senator Mitch McConnell for being a Senator of a “red state,” which statistically takes more than it gives in terms of federally allocated funds.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to the media and tours a newly opened drive through COVID-19 mobile testing center on March 13, 2020 in New Rochelle, New York which would go on to become the global epicenter of the pandemic. | Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP
Cuomo, himself, has become a de facto leader for the left side of the aisle — traditionally associated with Democrats — but that doesn’t mean his response to COVID-19 is flawless, either.
Tracing Apps, Privacy Loss, & Social Distancing…Oh My!
Cuomo — who is, by and large, a decent leader, even if he’s sometimes out of touch with the needs of the more rural parts of New York — echoes what most Democrats believe to be an appropriate response to COVID-19.
It’s a simple three-word mantra: test, trace, and isolate.
On the surface, it’s simple enough: test people for coronavirus, trace the virus’s origins, and isolate those who test positive for the disease.
But the question of how Cuomo plans to execute that three-word mantra has some people, raising their eyebrows about privacy concerns.
Previously, a “social distancing hotline” was established by NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio. This is where New Yorkers could anonymously call and report social distancing violations and other lockdown disobedience. But New Yorkers, being what they are, didn’t take long to flood the tip line with prank calls, “dick pics” and Hitler memes.
As liberal as New York City is portrayed to be, there was something about a “snitch line” that rankled their individualistic sensibilities.
DeBlasio suspended the “snitch line” not long after establishing it.
But New Yorkers were right to be concerned. The “snitch line” is turning out to be the least of everyone’s problems. There’s a new “coronavirus tracking app” that is proving increasingly popular in other countries — with more than 3 million downloads in Australia alone — that has Americans concerned about their loss of privacy.
The app, which tracks data via Bluetooth, promises to alert the user if they’re near a COVID-19 “hotspot.” What’s more, the app sends the data to both governments and private-sector partners — leaving the window wide open for potential abuses in the wrong hands.
One need only look as far as the PATRIOT Act to realize how fast this app could go horribly, horribly wrong.
Trump’s COVID-19 Response is Being Universally Derided, For Good Reason.
Unfortunately for Donald Trump’s re-election hopes, his response to COVID-19 is universally derided on both sides of the political aisle. Most Americans believe that his response to the growing pandemic was “slow” and inappropriate. His subsequent remarks about injecting disinfectants and UV irradiation have done nothing to help his cause.
And this is to say nothing about the rightful criticism he’s faced about his ever-changing views on the virus in the first place, which seems to have no basis in common sense.
A wise man once said, “countries are not real, but independence is.” While there certainly can be some question as to the validity of a country’s borders, there’s no question that independent thought remains both free and available.
And as COVID-19 continues to become a flashpoint, it’s imperative for people to make decisions, not based out of fear and disinformation, nor out of political rancor, but out of common sense and respect for one’s fellow man.
And that’s true no matter which side of the aisle you — or your preferred politician — sits on.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.
Last modified: May 10, 2020 2:49 PM UTC