Once the dreaded coronavirus first appeared in Snohomish County, Washington, it was just a matter of time before blame would be laid at the feet of Donald Trump. Then, as the number of cases began to grow, the mainstream media roundly accused the administration of failing to curtail the illness’ spread and of slowness or inaction in providing test kits to state health providers. For good measure, preposterous accusations of racism have been leveled against the president over his insistence on using the term “Chinese virus,” even as the media itself previously reported that it indeed originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Honestly, ever hear of the German Measles or Spanish Flu?
Such media reaction certainly isn’t new, as nothing is beyond being politicized in today’s America. And while it’s difficult to compare sickness outbreaks, much can be learned when placing the coronavirus in context with the long-forgotten H1N1 virus of 2009.
Notably, H1N1, commonly known as the “swine flu,” was first detected in the U.S. in April, 2009 during the Obama administration. Yet there was no outcry over the next 14 months from Democrats or the mainstream media for a novelty president to deal with the matter as they fawned over him. Eventually, this virus led to 60 million Americans being infected, 274,000 being hospitalized, and 12,500 fatalities. Shockingly, it would take the deaths of over 1,000 Americans for Obama to declare a national emergency on October 23, 2009, to confront the issue. Something else was going on too.
The swine flu outbreak just happened to coincide with the October 2009 introduction of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as Obamacare. The media had precious little time to worry about a real issue of health when it was being counted on to push Obama’s legislative gem into law; which happened on March 23, 2010. No criticism was leveled at Obama for his failure to deal with H1N1; only praise. In addition, there were no calls to limit social contact, no suspended/cancelled professional sporting events, or prohibitions of other large-scale gatherings in the name of public safety. And surprisingly, 80% of deaths associated with the H1N1 virus were of those under the age of 65; not older, frail adults who are the more common victims of corona.
Today, global events associated with the coronavirus are fast moving; with positive cases being discovered in every one of 195 countries. Still, the U.S. has been largely spared, with nearly 80% of associated deaths occurring in Italy, Spain, Iran and notably, China.
In the beginning, the U.S. was totally dependent upon information from the Chinese; who had eight of their own doctors arrested for discussing it. These were people Donald Trump could trust; who now push a false narrative to a cowering American media that the virus actually originated with the United States Army?
Aside from the admitted missteps of the federal government, the media as usual has directed its fire at Donald Trump. Although even before American deaths topped 100, the president certainly acted faster than Obama ever did with H1N1. Not only did Trump make the unprecedented decision to suspend travel to the U.S. from China, but froze travel from Europe as well. Contrast this with Barack Obama’s refusal to tighten entry across the U.S. border from Mexico; even as the swine flu started there. Trump also declared a national emergency on March 13 (73 days after China reported it) and moved quickly in enlisting the private sector to expand testing for the virus. Still, this is another opportunity to get the president. And it cannot be allowed to go to waste.
Keeping this in mind, is it Trump’s fault that reasonable advice commonly associated with the treatment of seasonal health conditions has been given short shrift in favor of media-inspired corona hysteria? This would include emphasizing consistent and vigorous use of soap or sanitizers during hand washing, treatment of mild symptoms at home through isolation and rest, and foregoing emergency rooms if possible. One can only imagine the impact such health practices could have if they were practiced regularly.
And while Trump and others have sought to be prudent and reassuring through the imposition of “social distancing,” some have used this moment to advance their own political agendas. Like Champaign, Illinois, Mayor Deborah Feinen, who signed an executive order giving her the authority to ban the sale of guns, ammunition, alcohol and gasoline. Or even reasonable stay in place orders which are not indefinitely sustainable.
History will write of the virus outbreak as China’s invisible curse upon the world. Typical of communism, it concealed the issue to convey a false image of perfection, and doubles down in threatening to “plunge America into the mighty sea of coronavirus” by withholding pharmaceuticals. With over 20,000 deaths world-wide from this virus, no one knows how it will ultimately compare with a CDC-estimated 284,000 deaths from the 2009 swine flu pandemic. Meanwhile, the Deep State, China and a reckless media continue to manipulate a health emergency in order to destroy a president; all of which demands the nation’s unwavering support for his most unenviable task.
Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. Reach him a email@example.com.