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The Threat: Trump vs. COVID-19

President Donald Trump acknowledged the severity of COVID-19 during an interview in March but continues to publicly downplay it for the sake of the economy and his possible re-election. The only thing he’s making America ‘great’ at is taking first place in COVID-19 cases.

Trump is endangering the lives of thousands of people who are clueless about the actual state of the pandemic in their country. He’s supposed to be the leader to turn to for guidance during unprecedented times like these but instead, he’s stirring more confusion into the pot.

(Eddie Rangel | The Poly Post)

During an interview with journalist Bob Woodward, Trump said, “I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.” What he fails to realize is that panic isn’t the worst-case scenario.

COVID-19 may be the biggest threat at the moment but the president has been the leading threat for four years. When the pandemic ends, the president in office will still influence the way people will react to other life-threatening decisions and those will determine the state of the country as a whole, once again.

People are already in panic because of those who are not taking this virus seriously. The fact that the virus can be transmitted without even touching someone should prompt panic and create a general understanding for people to follow health guidelines such as social distancing and the use of facemasks.

Those who understand the severity of the virus are not being supported by the president, who knows that they’re right. Instead, he chooses to stand by those who refuse to follow safety protocols to open up the economy again.

Healthcare and frontline workers bear higher risks of transmission when they’re exposed to others who downplay the pandemic and refuse to follow the health guidelines.

Presidential candidate Herman Cain tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks after attending Trump’s rally in Tulsa and died shortly after. When speaking on Cain’s death on July 30, Trump ironically stated, “we’re making a lot of strides” he said, “All over the world they’re having tremendous problems, and resurgence has taken place in many countries that people thought were doing well.”

Panic can be moderated with reassurance through effective leadership which he doesn’t show. He’s constantly in public without a mask, holds in-person rallies and refuses to acknowledge the actual number of cases in the United States.

Everyone hopes to hear the news of case numbers going down, Trump supporter or not. Therefore, spreading false information is a dangerous game to play with people who are holding onto hope by a thread.

The common goal is to reduce and eventually cease COVID-19 cases so that lives can continue with a similar certainty of pre-pandemic times. If everyone follows the same precautions knowing the same truth, that goal can be achieved.

If leaders could stick to the truth, the country can be at better odds to unite and combat the virus together. The truth may be something that no one wants to hear but it’s something that needs to be accepted before moving onto effective ways to work with it.

Since May, Trump has been claiming that the number of COVID-19 cases are declining; They’re not. The simple claim leads people to believe that it’s safe to go back to normal and causes cases to rise yet again.

Anyone in power should know the weight of their words when the general public looks to them for guidance. Lies that cause more harm than aid should not be taken lightly, especially during a pandemic.

With elections around the corner, it’s crucial to think about who will best display the effective leadership that the United States needs for the next four years.

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