Burke: Trump wanted to fill the church pews for Easter

A veritable Easter parade of doctors, scientists and even GOP governors are telling Trump, no!

By Tom Burke / Herald columnist

I’m confused, again.

But now I’m confused about how to protect myself and my family from the coronavirus

I thought I knew what to do, but now I don’t know who to believe.

Of course I don’t believe anything I read from right-wing-fringe sites such as Breitbart, Gateway Pundit, or InfoWars; or hear from Rush Limbaugh or on Trump TV/Fox News about conspiracies, miracle cures, and magic potions, or (to again use a presidential word) Trump’s “bullshit” about all the help he’s providing to the states, cities, hospitals and first responders.

And of course I do believe the advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about washing hands and disinfecting hard surfaces.

But I don’t know who to believe about the CDC’s advice regarding social distancing, and when enough is enough.

Do I believe Donald Trump, that, “We can’t have the cure be worse than the problem.” and end social distancing/stay-at-home edicts by Easter, or do I believe other folks and keep doing it.

Folks like governors Cuomo, D-N.Y.; Pritzkerger,R-Ill.; Hogan, R, Mary.; Barker, R-Mass.; or those of some 20 other states who disagree with Trump. (And who, curiously enough, got elected by actual majorities, instead of losing the popular vote by 3 million.)

Because Trump thinks Easter, April 12, is the right time, “I thought it was a beautiful time. A beautiful timeline,” he said.

But some other pretty smart people also disagree with him. Like Bill Gates (who made exponentially more money than Trump without a “Daddy’s” $500 million grubstake), “There really is no middle ground, and it’s very tough to say to people: ‘Hey, keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, ignore that pile of bodies over in the corner. We want you to keep spending because there’s maybe a politician who thinks GDP growth is all that counts.’”

But Gates ain’t a doctor, so what do the doctors who really know this stuff say?

Well, they say, “Don’t!”

Trump’s top military doctor, Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs, says, “We think that we’re going to continue to see this – no surprise – continue to grow. I don’t think there’s a great deal of value in speculating on a particular date.”

As did Tom Inglesby, the top guy at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security: “To be a week into these restrictions and already be talking about abandoning them is irresponsible and dangerous.” It would allow the virus, “to spread widely, rapidly, terribly and could kill potentially millions in the year ahead with huge social and economic impact.”

And even Scott Gottlieb, Trump’s former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, said, “failing to combat the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, could be cataclysmic.”

But wait, there’s more! Vice President Mike Pence (!!) made a similarly bleak prediction saying that, “according to some of our modeling, we could well be dealing with coronavirus cases in the United States well into July.“

But Pence isn’t the only “R” to disagree. Ohio’s Mike DeWine, a Republican, said, “The fact is we save our economy by first saving lives, and we have to do it in that order.” And Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, said, “We don’t think we are going to be in any way out of this in five or six days or so, or whenever this 15 days is up, from the time they started this imaginary clock.” And Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts stated: “The information we’re getting from public health experts and from health care providers here in Massachusetts — yeah, no. We’re not going to be up and running by Easter, no.”

Economists think Trump is, as my grandmother used to say, “full of soup.”

Michael R. Strain, director of economic policy studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, wrote: “Trump is deluding himself if he thinks that he can step behind a podium and reopen the economy.”

Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group, says, “We are still significantly behind the curve in containing coronavirus and reopening the economy for political expediency in the middle of a pandemic, to which no one has an immunity, is absolutely mindless. It will only delay a full economic recovery.”

But I’m going to give the last word back to a doc. The doc. Anthony Fauci of the national Institute of Alergy and Infections Diseases. He says, unequivocally, “you’ve got to understand that you don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline.”

So, Mr. President, I’m wondering when you will announce the name of the church you’ll be attending Easter Sunday?

I want to see you there, on your knees, praying for forgiveness for your sins (and we’re all sinners, no?), maybe at one of the packed mega-churches that have ignored your calls for social distancing.

You’ll be there, right? Riiiight.

Tom Burke’s email address is t.burke.column@gmail.com.

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