Covid in the White House: How Science Became Political

Baylee Krulewitz, Staff Writer

In today’s aggressively partisan society, it’s not hard for things to become politicized that shouldn’t. Examples include climate change, Black Lives Matter, and overall human equality. These issues should not be dismissed. However, the politicization of the COVID-19 virus is the two-party system’s dream. 

I don’t want to beat a dead horse here, because the virus is heavily covered (rightfully so), but America’s current position is a threat to democracy. When you have two people going head to head as we do in the upcoming election, it’s easy to demonize the other side. What’s even easier is to blindly follow your own. 

What I’m about to say might sound like I’m just proving my own point, but you’re going to have to trust me on this one. Or don’t, and just listen to what I have to say. I wholeheartedly believe that these cult-like political followings are due to the leadership style of our current president. 

Maybe this sounds rash to you. Let me back up a little. It’s an indisputable fact that Donald Trump does not have much political experience, and he’s not the first US President to be in that position. He is, however, the first US President without any sort of political or military background. Trump is a businessman by trade. He knows how to persuade, he knows how to manipulate. Go to your local used car dealership and you’ll see these same skills in action. 

The administration did not respond to the virus in the most effective or efficient manner. However, it’s not as though they were going to admit their faults. That would exemplify too much human decency. I, for one, blamed this on overall ignorance before I found out about the Woodward tapes.** 

 

Instead of trying to improve, they just denied, denied, denied. Trump and his team emphasized repeatedly how well they were doing (200,000 American deaths and counting) and how we should just reopen already because the virus isn’t that bad (I repeat, 200,000 American deaths and counting). 

With this propaganda being spewed from the President of the United States, it might be hard to see how a supporter could stick with him. But, let’s think back. He is a master persuader. Once someone is supporting a politician, they often see them through rose-colored glasses. People don’t see lies about health, they see a whole political party dramatizing an illness. 

At 12:54 AM on October 2nd, Trump announced that he and Melania had tested positive for the virus. Throughout his treatment, including being admitted to Walter Reed Military Hospital and being given experimental drugs, Trump insisted that he was feeling great. 

He repeatedly downplayed the virus and its effects and was discharged from the hospital on October 5th. Now that he has recovered from COVID rapidly and seemingly unscathed, Trump supporters have all the more reason to keep denying the deadliness of this virus.

Trump’s COVID case is an inaccurate portrayal of how the virus affects most people. But, the science is there to back up that no matter your age, your pre-existing conditions, or your political party, coming down with COVID-19 is far from a walk in the park (or a ride through a motorcade).  The question is, then,  how do we get people to believe that?

 

**For those who don’t know, the Woodward tapes are a recorded interview that Trump did with Bob Woodward on February 7th. In these tapes, Trump basically admits he knows how dangerous COVID-19 is, but doesn’t want to admit it to avoid “instilling fear” into the people.