Finally, after far too long, the CDC now recommends wearing non-medical grade masks as a way to aid in flattening the COVID-19 curve. Naturally, after announcing this at today’s coronavirus press conference, Trump immediately undermined the CDC’s recommendation by saying “This is voluntary. I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”
I can’t claim I understand, or can strain to rationalize why Trump would say this. Trump’s word is God to his followers. Saying that he won’t wear a mask is, without exaggeration, a strong recommendation to his followers to follow his lead and not wear a mask. This is the last thing we need in the nation with the most coronavirus cases in the world and counting.
What’s more, Trump’s blasé response to the pandemic is paradoxical. He obsesses about the economy being good so that he can stand a good chance at reelection, and yet he has been making fumble after fumble in keeping the economy afloat because his ego won’t allow him to take the advice of those who know more than him. Call it a Trump-22. We’re at the mercy of a man who thinks a pandemic is about him—a man whose best understanding of science probably comes from what Mike Pence whispers to him before one of their embarrassing press conferences.
Imagine President Obama acting like Trump during this crisis. Republicans would have impeached him and sent him to prison in less time than it takes to say “pandemic.” And yet here we are. Trump continues with impunity. He can tell people wearing masks is bogus, that he predicted the pandemic before anybody else, and that his bellybutton lint cures the virus and his supporters would believe him—to their detriment.
Trump’s words alone will continue to adversely affect the pandemic response. So what can you do? Vote him out, please. Listen to state and local officials who have your best interests in mind, and don’t take Trump’s advice. And please, please wear a mask or something similar. Make your voice heard and let your elected officials know what you need. Now is the time to be as engaged as possible.