By Manny Otiko, IVN Staff Writer
Almost six months into the coronavirus pandemic and the disease is showing no signs of abating. The disease has killed 700,0000 globally and extinguished more than 160,000 American lives. (Medical experts are now projecting 300,000 American fatalities from COVID-19.) Despite President Donald Trump’s claims that “he’s doing a great job” and the disease will just go away, about one-quarter of the coronavirus deaths are here in the United States.
Although Americans are tired of being at home and want to return to their normal lives, the threat of COVID-19 makes that impossible.
Further proof of this is seen in the disastrous fallout of schools that have tried to resume normal operations.
The Cherokee County School District in the Atlanta, Ga. area decided to resume normal operations. Students were pictured in a crowded hall, with only a few of them wearing masks. (The school district also decided to make mask-wearing optional.) Now more than 800 students and 40 teachers have been quarantined after a COVID-19 outbreak. This all happened during the first week of school. Despite the outbreak, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp refuses to make mask-wearing mandatory.
In addition, Hannah Watters, the student who raised the alarm about the situation, was suspended. The suspension was lifted after an outcry over the school’s disciplinary action.
Here in California, some school districts, such as Los Angeles County and San Diego, have opted to go to distance learning. According to new state guidelines, schools in areas with rising infection rates are mandated to participate in distance learning. But the Orange County school district put out a white paper downplaying the dangers of young children spreading the disease to other people.
However, this is not true. During a webinar hosted by the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading virologist, said that it did not make sense to send children to school in areas where the infection rate was still rising.
“It’s been shown that children from 10 to 19 can transmit the virus to adults as well as adults can,” said Fauci in an MSNBC interview.
“When you get to the real hot zones, I think you’re going to have to take a really good look and examine the advisability or not. What likely would happen is that you would have parents that don’t want to send their children to school or you’re going to have teachers that not going to want to be there,” he said.
But President Donald Trump and a host of other right-wing media figures and politicians directly oppose that view. They’re more concerned about getting people back to work and restarting the economy. Trump has repeatedly said that children are immune, even though that’s incorrect. However, the president is a font of misinformation, as seen in his disastrous Axios interview. During his interview with Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, Trump told 22 lies in 30 minutes.
Unfortunately, many people believe the president’s lies. On Monday, FOX News anchor Ainsley Earhardt said she was shocked to learn children can spread the disease. She said this because she’s been listening to Trump, even though he repeats falsehoods.
But this kind of aggressive ignorance was also echoed at the annual bikers’ rally in Sturgis, S.D. The event, which took place over the weekend, attracted thousands of people and most refused to wear masks.
“I’m not worried about it at all — we’re from California where you gotta wear masks everywhere you go,” said Gary Miller in a CNN interview. “So it’s honestly refreshing coming out and not having to worry about it.”
But here Coronavirus numbers are still rising and America has the highest number of deaths and infections in the world. We probably won’t see a field-tested vaccine until 2021. Until then, the best solutions to prevent the disease are handwashing, avoiding crowds and wearing a mask in public. Americans ignore those rules at their peril. Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain refused to follow any of these guidelines. Last week, Cain died at the age of 74 after contracting COVID-19 at the Tulsa, Okla.Trump rally.