WaPo Writer Cautions Americans From Relying On WH For Accurate Coronavirus Info

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead/Public Domain


President Trump's approach to deadly diseases is highly political, making White House assessments less reliable.

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump warned Americans to be wary of trusting President Donald Trump when it comes to information on the coronavirus’ impact in the United States, suggesting that Trump’s approach to infectious diseases depends more or less on politics.

When it comes to the seasonal flu, which Americans are accustomed to and are not too likely to fear, Trump is virtually silent. “The White House under President Barack Obama offered sporadic reminders to Americans on social media to get flu shots,” Bump wrote; however, “Trump hasn’t done so, despite being known as something of a germaphobe.”

When the Ebola virus outbreak occurred in West Africa in 2014, Trump took a decidedly critical stance toward the Obama administration and “demanded that migration from the region be curtailed and insisted that those possibly exposed to the virus be quarantined.”

But now that he is president — and particularly after the stock market took a serious tumble over the coronavirus threat — Trump is no longer ramping up fears of the virus’ spread.

Asked why he allowed patients infected with the coronavirus to return to the U.S. after railing against Obama for doing the same, Trump said it is not a fair comparison.

“There’s a big difference, in case you don’t know, between Ebola and coronavirus. Big, big difference. It’s like day and night,” Trump said, not inaccurately. He added: “There’s a very good chance you’re not going to die. It’s just the — it’s very much the opposite. You’re talking about 1 or 2 percent [fatality rate for coronavirus], whereas in the other case, it was a virtual 100 percent.”

However, Bump noted that “Trump isn’t simply reminding Americans that the coronavirus has a low mortality rate; he’s dismissing it as a threat broadly.It’s hard to think that his approach to Ebola under Obama and the coronavirus under his own administration bears no relationship to his views of the person in the White House at the time.”

To sum up, Trump has three approaches to deadly diseases, Bump wrote:

“Scary ones Democrats are responsible for handling are serious, panic-inducing threats. Scary ones he’s responsible for handling are under control and certainly not worth selling stocks over. Constant, pervasive ones that lead to tens of thousands of deaths a year but that don’t attract much political attention barely get mentioned at all.”

Americans would be wise to “take his assessments of the illness with a grain of salt,” Bump concluded.

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