Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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With new Covid-19 cases hitting a high, Trump revisits his fantasy: The virus will just go away

Philip Bump writes:

Over the past five months, President Trump’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic has swerved around a bit, with the president at times embracing strict controls meant to contain the virus and, at others, the urgent need to scale back those controls to boost the economy. But there’s been no more consistent message from Trump than his most defiantly optimistic one: At some point, the virus will simply disappear.

Speaking to Fox Business’s Blake Burman on Wednesday, the president again speculated that, perhaps, the virus will simply pack up and leave.

“I think we’re going to be very good with the coronavirus,” Trump said. “I think that, at some point, that’s going to sort of disappear, I hope.”

“You still believe so?” replied Burman. “Disappear?”

“Well, I do, I do,” Trump replied. “Yeah, sure.”

It will not simply disappear, barring one of a few significant occurrences. One is that a vaccine is developed and deployed, a best-case scenario toward which the administration is aimed — but one that can’t really be described as the virus “disappearing.” Under those circumstances, the virus will have disappeared the way Jimmy Hoffa did: with a little help.

The only way in which the virus could simply disappear, really, is if the population of the United States either stops interacting with one another entirely for a few weeks or if enough people have antibodies against the virus that it can’t gain a foothold to continue its spread. That is a phenomenon known as herd immunity and requires either the aforementioned vaccinations or for some three-quarters of Americans to contract the virus and develop antibodies. Assuming an optimistic 1 percent mortality rate, that would mean more than 2.4 million American deaths. [Continue reading…]

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