Thursday, May 14, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He reluctantly released watered-down CDC guidelines on reopening, then told states to ignore them.

Today, the Trump administration released all of seven pages' worth of CDC guidelines for restaurants, schools, camps, mass transit systems, and other businesses. More than two months into a major outbreak in the United States, it is the first such guidance issued by the Trump administration, and it was released under duress

The Trump administration had attempted to conceal an earlier draft of these recommendations, calling them "overly specific." But the more likely reason is that Trump is now openly demanding that states end disease control measures, whether or not they meet his own criteria for when it is safe to reopen.

Most states do not meet those broader criteria, and the guidelines drawn up by experts at the CDC that Trump tried to conceal are much stricter.

Trump also called coronavirus testing "overrated" and complained that doing more testing was driving up the numbers of Americans known to have the virus. It's not clear if Trump fully understands that people infected with COVID-19 have the virus whether or not they're tested—but it is certain that he wanted numbers low even if that meant sick people going without testing.

The Trump White House, where "overrated" tests are mandatory for anyone getting anywhere near Trump himself, is arguably the only workplace in the country with a successful test-and-trace program. Although several people in Trump's orbit have tested positive, early detection means the virus does not appear to be spreading through the crowded West Wing.

So what?

  • A president cannot be this confused about the basics of something that has killed more than 80,000 Americans already.
  • The health and safety of the American people is more important than Donald Trump's need to win a political battle.
  • Demanding that other people take risks with their lives that you won't with yours is cowardly.