By: Manny Otiko, IVN
As the United States stands on the verge of another coronavirus wave, it faces the strange situation of a political party, the GOP, that seems determined to help the new, more potent Delta variant spread more efficiently.
Former President Donald Trump downplayed the virus and this led to more than 600,000 American deaths. However, this created an attitude among his followers where they don’t believe government experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci. However, they still refuse to take the pandemic seriously and reject the coronavirus vaccines. The vaccine is the only defense against the coronavirus, which has proven to be lethal. According to recent medical data shared by Fauci, 99% of recent Covid-19 deaths are from unvaccinated people.
Several news reports state the disease is again spreading in red states that voted for Trump. Medical personnel say some patients who test positive for Covid are shocked the disease is real. Unfortunately, they’ve been led to believe it’s a hoax by right-wing media such as FOX News and Newsmax.
However, this situation has led to a deadly mix of misinformation and propaganda. It’s also created the perfect situation for the virus to spread. Trump supporters also refuse to wear masks, which leads to more infections, and they also reject the vaccine. Those two things alone not only help the virus spread, but they make it more virulent as it mutates in new host bodies and becomes stronger.
Fauci has expressed frustration with the way medical science has become politicized. In a recent interview, he begged Trump supporters just to take the vaccines.
“Whatever it takes,” said Fauci in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. “You know, it’s not like we’re out there trying to sell encyclopedias. We’re out there trying to get people to save their lives, those of their loved ones, and those of the community. So whatever it takes.”
However, Fauci is loathed on the right. Trump voters see him as a government bureaucrat who shuttered businesses and restricted freedom. He’s had around-the-clock armed security for more than a year.
This anti-science attitude was on display at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) seminar. During the conference, there were several speeches that encouraged the refusal of vaccines. The conference also featured several anti-vaccine crusaders such as Alex Berenson.
“Clearly, they were hoping — the government was hoping — that they could sort of sucker 90% of the population into getting vaccinated,” said Berenson during a CPAC panel discussion. “And it isn’t happening.”
That line was met by applause.
But Berenson has no medical training. He has a degree in history and economics and later worked as a journalist and a novel writer. But somehow, he’s lauded on the right as a coronavirus expert.
However, the Trump White House was also a hotbed of coronavirus misinformation. Dr. Scott Altas was appointed as a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force even though he didn’t have a background in virology or public health medicine. His background is in radiology. Still, Trump listened to his advice, much to the chagrin of actual virologists and public health specialists such as Fauci and Dr. Debra Birx.
According to a BuzzFeed article, Fauci and Birx tried hard to push back against Atlas’ dangerous misinformation. Atlas advocated for a “herd immunity” approach which suggested letting the virus spread through the populace until the public built up a natural immunity to the disease. This approach would have killed more Americans.
“I am more convinced than ever the dangers of Dr. Atlas’ views on the pandemic,” said Birx in an email. She also wrote that Atlas was “providing information not based on data or knowledge of pandemics — nor pandemic responses on the ground but by personal opinion formed by cherry picking data from nonpeer reviewed COVID publications.”