COVID is not going away. This is clear. All the promises from political leaders, in particular in the Republican Party, are not panning out. Why? Science and politics should not mix. At the moment we still have a president who wishes all this went away because it will cost him reelection. This is one reason he is acting as if we are back to normal and happy times are here again. It is also based on his belief in the power of positive thinking. He is desperate for this to turn around and still refuses to act on a serious global medical disaster.
In the meantime, local and state authorities are expanding mask mandates because we know they work. Dr. Robert Redfield from the Centers for Disease Control is also recommending masks, as well as US Surgeon General Vice Admiral (VADM) Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H. Even in the face of stubborn resistance from President Donald Trump. This is not just the Blue Liberal states, but deep red freedom-loving Texas is starting to shift. We also have an increasing number of jurisdictions rolling back their state economy openings. Some school districts already announced they are going back to school virtually. This is a rejection of the White House happy talk. And masks, the flashpoint over freedom, are increasingly becoming the norm.
Walmart announced a national mandatory mask policy. They are following places like Costco. The latter has been a flashpoint for mask slackers activists who attacked it as a liberal store, while masks became political. Never mind that it makes business sense to make sure customers feel safe. However, and Walmart pointed this out, there has been violence around masks. Now Target, Kroeger, and other chains are following suit.
Public health should not a political matter, but the administration has tried to control all, including data. Now they are bypassing the Centers for Disease Control on necessary data. This is to try to snow us. Remember, they have been doing this with climate data as well, so this should come as no surprise.
Americans trust doctor Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. This is driving the president crazy. He is losing the trust of many people. We can see this in polling. The a;ro al rating is cratering.
Republican politicians can read polls too. They know that the people believe the White House has done a terrible job. So we may start to see a run for the exits. According to The Hill:
The eight percent drop in Trump’s approval rating can in part be attributed to his falling stock among independent voters. In the mid-June poll, the president’s approval rating among independents was 40 percent; now it’s at 29 percent. Conversely, his disapproval among the pivotal voting bloc went from 59 percent to 73 percent.
Support from Trump’s own Republican base also diminished, with approval of the president’s pandemic performance going from 90 percent to 78 percent.
We have increasing evidence that Joe Biden continues to build a lead. States that usually are not in play, are. For example Arizona, and Texas. The latter is also likely turning blue, as the state becomes more Democratic. The response to the pandemic is accelerating this process. This year may see the beginning of that.
There is more. The president has made so many mistakes that there is a lack of trust in him. Yes, he does have a hardcore of true believers who will do whatever he tells them or models to them. Why the president still not wearing a mask is a problem. He is not alone. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis still refuses to, even when Miami-Dade reports it is near capacity for ICU beds, and they are converting regular beds into ICU.
Not until the pandemic is taken seriously can we take the necessary measures to control the virus. So far the Governor of Florida has taken the same exact attitude as the president. The economy comes first. This is why the president is desperate to open the schools, since no schools no ability for many workers to go back to work. This is especially the case for single women, who have to take care of their children, but also need the income.
Schools are also defying going back to in-person classes because there is no safe way to do it right now. Doctor Fauci has also said we need a reset. He has been under attack by an administration desperately trying to move forwards:
The recent spike in coronavirus infections, primarily in states that were among the earliest to lift coronavirus restrictions, put Fauci on a collision course with the White House.
“One of the things that’s part of the problem is the dynamics of the divisiveness that is going on now that it becomes difficult to engage in a dialogue of honest evaluation of what’s gone right and what’s gone wrong,” Fauci told The Atlantic in an interview.
“We’ve got to own this, reset this and say OK, let’s stop this nonsense and figure out how can we get our control over this now.”
This is a serious situation and will not get better until we have closer to a national plan. The first step would be a national mask mandate. However, this will be hard to do, since masks are now political, and there is the Tenth Amendment. Usually, health mandates revert to the state and local level. The private sector and localities are acting, however.
We are also in the midst of an attack on this country by foreign forces. It did not start in 2016, but it has not stopped either. We also have what should be properly described as a fifth column in the United States. These are Republicans, for the most part, who are still following the president and repeating memes against wearing masks, as well as other divisive themes. Many of these memes are originating in sites where at least half of the accounts are bots. For example, Twitter is one of them. According to NPR:
Researchers culled through more than 200 million tweets discussing the virus since January and found that about 45% were sent by accounts that behave more like computerized robots than humans.
It is too early to say conclusively which individuals or groups are behind the bot accounts, but researchers said the tweets appeared aimed at sowing division in America.
“We do know that it looks like it’s a propaganda machine, and it definitely matches the Russian and Chinese playbooks, but it would take a tremendous amount of resources to substantiate that,” said Kathleen Carley, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University who is conducting a study into bot-generated coronavirus activity on Twitter that has yet to be published.
It is of note that places like 8Kun have ready-made files of memes, and quite a few are on masks and the virus. They include things like where it came from and that it is a hoax.
As the mandates expand, I also expect calls for boycotts to businesses that are now making them national. Given that the early ones on places like Costco failed, I expect these ones to not go too far either. Also, as more retailers go national, people will run out of places to go shop for essentials.
The fact is that we are in the midst of a global pandemic. The White House is hardly leading, and could be argued is part of this hybrid warfare. As to the motives, history will tell. But for the moment mandates are expanding. So is the anger of people who believe this is an attack on them. It is also a symptom of a lack of civic culture. And yes, it’s dangerous.