Donald Trump apparently advocates a "herd immunity" strategy that would result in the coronavirus pandemic virtually disappearing, falsely predicting that an approved vaccine will be available sometime in October while blaming Democratic states for the rising death count.
Responding to Trump's most recent comments, former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele said, "The fact that we have to literally beg people to wear a mask to save their own dumb ass from getting sick, I’m sorry. To me, it is beyond the imagination. I am just so exhausted with this president.”
Steele's comment came after Trump claimed that a coronavirus vaccine would be available as early as October, a claim that has been disputed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease specialist, and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Redfield told a Senate committee that a coronavirus vaccine is not expected to be widely available to most people in the U.S. until next summer.
"This president stands at the podium today, and not only contradicts his CDC director but basically says he perjured himself under oath before Congress, because he is saying something different from Donald Trump," said Steele. "The CDC director is telling us the truth and Donald Trump is literally lying to us. And yet, 40 percent of the country looks at it and goes, ‘Yeah, I’m with stupid.’”
Steele didn't say it, but the 40 percent he's referring to could aptly be described as Trump's cult. And, remember, Steele is the former boss of the REPUBLICAN Party.
Then there were Trump's seemingly nonsensical comments about "herd mentality." During the ABC News town hall in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, he said this:
“You'll develop, you'll develop herd — like a herd mentality. It's going to be, it’s going to be herd-developed, and that's going to happen. That will all happen. But with a vaccine, I think it will go away very quickly.”
The Hill, in an article, noted that Trump appeared to mistake “herd mentality” for “herd immunity,” which occurs when enough individuals develop immunity to prevent the spread of a disease.
“A lot of people do agree with me,” Trump said during the ABC event. “You look at Scott Atlas. You look at some of the other doctors that are highly — from Stanford. Look at some of the other doctors. They think maybe we could have done that from the beginning.”
Atlas, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and recently added as one of Trump’s coronavirus advisers, was pushing the White House to adopt a “herd immunity” strategy, according to The Washington Post. However, the White House has denied that the administration has ever considered such a policy to address the coronavirus pandemic.
Nevertheless, it appears that it is Atlas -- the "herd immunity" guru -- who has Trump's ear, not Fauci, who has consistently argued for a sweeping national plan to combat the pandemic.
Blame the Democrats
Meanwhile, in a news conference yesterday, Trump said he was doing a great job in protecting Americans from the pandemic and blamed states with Democratic leadership and majorities for making it worse.
Referring to coronavirus deaths, which today stand at 197,000, Trump said this:
"If you take the blue states out, we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at. We’re really at a very low level. But some of the states, they were blue states and blue state-managed.”
The Washington Post reported that while states that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, such as New York and New Jersey, recorded an early surge of deaths, the percentage of deaths in blue states has dropped while deaths in Republican, or red, states have increased since June. As of Tuesday, 53 percent of deaths have occurred in blue states and 47 percent in red states.
Added The Post, "It’s important to remember that despite Trump’s rhetoric, the pandemic isn’t particularly close to being over. The University of Washington’s Institute on Health Metrics estimates that there will be nearly 413,000 deaths by the end of the year.
Of that total, almost precisely half are projected to have occurred in red states."