Who Can You Trust?

courtesy Dan Piraro, bizarro.com

Cartoonist Dan Piraro has a skillful way of approaching the day’s issues through the backdoor.

A recent panel uses Samuel Beckett’s classic play, Waiting for Godot, to underscore CDC coronavirus guidelines. While Godot offers no reason for canceling his meeting with the story’s two central characters who spend the length of the play waiting, Piraro provides a witty spin even Godot might appreciate.

However, there’s nothing funny about the rising infections and deaths from a virus that world health officials have labeled the deadliest pandemic in a hundred years.

But the virus isn’t the only assault Americans have been facing.

In four years, Donald Trump has so poisoned the waters of truth and trust that his supporters – who represent 30 to 40 percent of America – continue to distrust and defy the intelligence community, medical science and common sense. (I wonder how many supporters believe in getting a flu shot every year.)

Trump’s toxicity has never been more apparent than in his words and actions concerning the coronavirus.

In a rare rebuke of a U.S. president, Nature magazine reported in early October that “Over the past eight months, the president of the United States has lied about the dangers posed by the coronavirus and undermined efforts to contain it; he even admitted in an interview to purposefully misrepresenting the viral threat early in the pandemic. Trump has belittled masks and social-distancing requirements while encouraging people to protest against lockdown rules aimed at stopping disease transmission. His administration has undermined, suppressed and censored government scientists working to study the virus and reduce its harm. …

“ ‘This is not just ineptitude, it’s sabotage,’ says Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University in New York City, who has modeled the evolution of the pandemic and how earlier interventions might have saved lives in the United States. ‘He has sabotaged efforts to keep people safe.’

“The statistics are stark,” Nature says. “The United States, an international powerhouse with vast scientific and economic resources, has experienced more than 7 million [now over 9 million] COVID-19 cases, and its death toll has passed 200,000 — more than any other nation and more than one-fifth of the global total, even though the United States accounts for just 4% of world population.”

Despite what Trump supporters may believe, this is medical science that should not be ignored.

While I’m likely preaching to the choir, here are the facts all of us need to know.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), total cases number 9,268,818 with 588, 208 new cases in just the last 7 days and total deaths at 230,893.

Johns Hopkins, the nation’s preeminent research university, answers a variety of questions about the virus.

“TRUE or FALSE? You can protect yourself from COVID-19 by injecting, swallowing, bathing in or rubbing onto your body bleach, disinfectants or rubbing alcohols.

“The answer is false. These products are highly toxic and should never be swallowed or injected into the body. Call 911 if this occurs.

“TRUE or FALSE? A vaccine to cure COVID-19 is available.

“The answer is false. There is no vaccine for the new coronavirus right now. Scientists have already begun working on one, but developing a vaccine that is safe and effective in human beings will take many months.

“TRUE or FALSE? The new coronavirus was deliberately created or released by people.

“The answer is false. Viruses can change over time. Occasionally, a disease outbreak happens when a virus that is common in an animal such as a pig, bat or bird undergoes changes and passes to humans. This is likely how the new coronavirus came to be.”

How should we protect ourselves and others? The CDC recommends the following:

– Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.

– Avoid close contact. Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others.

– Wear a mask when you’re around others.

– Frequently clean and disinfect everything you come in contact with around your home.

– Monitor your daily health. Check your temperature and look for possible symptoms.

Trust the experts. Follow the information from health officials who have the scientific expertise and experience with disease.

It’s a matter of responsibility and respect.

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