by Scott Gilbert |
As a clinician, it is extremely hard to watch as the Covid-19 pandemic ravages human beings all across the planet. People are suffering and dying needlessly because of poor or no preparation. And the lies and disinformation that goes along with all this is enraging. 47,000 people have died here and around the world, greater than 927,000 confirmed cases have been recorded as of April 1, 2020 (most agree this is a very low estimation), and these numbers are increasing exponentially as the U.S. is now the epicenter of the pandemic.
Why isn’t evidence-based science driving how we cope with this pandemic, how we understand what the virus is, how it spreads, how to protect everyone including those on the frontlines, and how to minimize its impact when it occurs? Because our society is not driven by science, our society is not driven by the truth, it is driven by profit. This non-scientific approach has taken a qualitative leap under the fascist Trump/Pence regime. This is all part of hammering into place and consolidating a fascist regime. As the initial RefuseFascism.org Call to Action in 2017 states,
In the first weeks of the Trump/Pence regime, they have begun subverting the separation of powers, the separation of Church and State, called for a new nuclear arms race, demonized the press, dismissed the very concept of truth substituting their own fabricated “alternative facts.”
This has become more and more the case over the last 3 years in every sphere of society, particularly in science and medicine, under the Trump/Pence regime, starting with Trump himself, the Leader of Lies:
“We pretty much shut it down coming in from China. It’s going to be fine.” (February 2)
“We’re going very substantially down. Not up.” (February 26)
“One day it’s like a miracle. It will disappear.” (February 27)
“I think we’re doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down… a tremendous job at keeping it down.” (March 6)
“It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.” (March 10)
[From Snopes: “Is This Timeline of Trump’s Coronavirus Responses Accurate?”]
This has led to and perpetuated massive misinformation (false information that’s given without malice) and disinformation (false information, such as government propaganda, that’s given with the intention to deceive) about this virus, from many sources in the media to hearsay to the government itself:
- The name Covid-19 (short for coronavirus disease 19) is a misnomer; this is the name of the disease. The name for the virus that causes the disease is SARS-CoV-2, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2. This term is consciously not used to avoid “creating unnecessary fear.” In doing this, this disarms people in understanding the severity of the virus.
- The Administration called it the “Chinese virus”, “Wuhan virus”, and “kung flu,” scapegoating their responsibility and whipping up xenophobic and racist attacks.
- The Center for Disease Control says that only sick people need to wear masks—a lie. Other countries practice “universal mask wearing” which has decreased the spread of the virus and “flattened the curve.” I live in Boston and work at a prestigious institution as part of “the medical mecca of the world.” Due to CDC rules and old information that is followed by the medical community, we are not practicing evidence-based medicine to best protect patients and ourselves. The guidance healthcare institutions regurgitate from the CDC is incorrect, exposing many more people to the virus. Now, we discover the virus can spread by aerosols in the air!!
- Press briefings have only served to officially perpetuate disinformation. Dr. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will state the latest information from the White House Coronavirus Task Force only to have Trump disagree or discredit him. The right-wing media has seized on this, with tweets like the following from YourVoice America host Bill Mitchell: “Has anyone else noticed that every suggestion by Dr. Doom Fauci just happens to also be the worst possible thing for the economy? That’s not an accident folks. That’s Hillary.” As part of the confusion and mixed messages, Trump verbally attacks reporters (Peter Alexander, 3/20/20, Yamiche Alcindor, 3/30/20) who challenge his statements.
The disinformation is also coming from the Christian fascists, a significant number whom are in Trump’s inner circle, from Vice President Pence, to Attorney General Barr, Education Secretary Devos, and newly appointed televangelist Paula White to the Office of Public Liaison. Leaders of this Christian fundamentalist movement such as Steven Andrew are stating, “Obeying God protects the USA from diseases, such as the coronavirus” and “…God is about to purge a lot of sin off the planet” along with the belief that the coronavirus is due to widespread immorality such as abortion and homosexuality. A close ally of Trump, Jerry Falwell Jr., re-opened Liberty University last week spreading the virus and ignorance. As noted by Katherine Stewart, “It [Christian nationalist movement] seeks to control all aspects of government and society” with its anti-scientific outlook.
In short, ignorance is being promoted and the truth has been viciously and consciously suppressed.
Also consider that there was no disaster preparation for such an event, which the Trump/Pence regime was informed was coming. Multiple government simulations of an epidemic in the U.S. were done including just 5 months ago. “The simulation’s sobering results — contained in a draft report dated October 2019 that has not previously been reported — drove home just how underfunded, underprepared and uncoordinated the federal government would be for a life-or-death battle with a virus for which no treatment existed.” In fact, the Trump administration gutted the CDC in 2018 and cut 80% of its efforts to prevent global disease, has refused to help states secure potentially life-saving equipment, has inhibited having mass SARS-CoV-2 testing.
For weeks, Trump refused to use the Defense Production Act to fight the coronavirus pandemic stating, “You know, we’re not a country based on nationalizing our business.” Yet, this Act has been invoked hundreds of thousands of times to place orders by Trump and his administration for chemicals used to construct military missiles, body armor for agents patrolling the border, and equipment for natural disaster response.
As the 2020 Statement of Conscience/Call to Act states:
“The anti-science Trump/Pence regime hid the danger of the COVID-19 virus, now a pandemic, for months, setting the stage for possibly catastrophic impact and placing those who have been targets of their overall program in the most jeopardy – immigrants forced into shadows and concentration camps; millions of Black and brown people languishing in prisons; the people of Iran facing crippling sanctions; the poor, sick, and homeless here and around the world.”
The fascist Trump/Pence regime did not create this pandemic. But, it has greatly exacerbated the catastrophic impact of it. The national chauvinism of “America First”, and the Trump/Pence regime’s refusal to collaborate with other countries for medical knowledge and sharing medical supplies also has huge implications not only for people in this country but worldwide. Trump has used his trademark fascist gangsterism to put even more people at risk. He refused to acknowledge more supplies were needed saying the crisis was “overblown.” He refused to use all avenues available to him to take on the coming pandemic. Then, instead of rushing supplies to places with the most need such as New York and New Jersey, which represent more than half of all confirmed cases and deaths in the U.S., Trump said it’s a “two-way street” and governors need to be nice to him, knowingly holding equipment hostage that desperately needed to be sent immediately. This complete disregard for life must stop!
It is upon us to drive out this fascist Trump/Pence regime at the soonest possible moment and put this genocidal government on trial not just for heightening the death rate of this pandemic, but also for all its crimes against humanity.
Many more people are questioning the legitimacy of this fascist regime. Signing, spreading, and donating to the new Statement of Conscience/Call to Act is an important way for people to be organizing and getting ready for when the floodgates crash open to drive out the Trump/Pence regime.
In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America!