Will a Spike in US Covid Cases Suppress the Election-Day Vote?
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Every presidential election is the most crucial ever to someone, but in 2020 the overall mood is dire as we approach November 3rd with a polarized electorate struggling with a prolonged pandemic or, at least, the appearance of one. Despite all of the confusion surrounding Covid-19, one thing is clear - this virus is extremely contagious. Another fact is that people, worldwide, will continue to contract this virus, as extreme lockdowns and social distance/mask rules have not stopped the spread of viral infection. There’s been no discouraging “peaceful” protesting so logically the same rule should apply to voting. Be safe, but go vote on Election Day. (RELATED: Who ARE Undecided Voters? [VIDEO])
No matter who wins the 2020 presidential election, on November 4th Covid-19 will still be infectious and the same “trusted” doctors and policy experts will continue to advise on how to best mitigate the virus. The only significant change in recent months is advancement of therapeutics to treat the illness and a lower death rate as more attention has been paid to the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. President Trump knows this from personal experience. Despite a high level of protection, he contracted Covid-19, fell ill and recovered quickly.
So the most important question right before a contentious election is how the perception of Covid-19 will affect the in-person vote tomorrow. Google “coronavirus cases spike” and you will be bombarded with article after article reporting the largest increase of cases right before Election Day.
Complete with maps and graphs, the New York Times reports “United States Records Its Worst Week Yet for Virus Cases” and shows flyover states swimming in a mass of Covid-19 cases. It correctly notes that when the pandemic started and testing was scarce, there was no way to know how many people had contracted the virus and that the death toll has not seen a dramatic increase. The logical reaction to a balanced discussion on the virus would be to acknowledge the obvious. Without a vaccine or “cure,” a highly contagious virus will continue to infect. As the Trump administration has repeatedly said, testing is at an all-time high in the United States which means we are identifying way more cases now than we did 8 months ago. Through contact tracing, asymptomatic cases are also being identified. With therapeutics, treatment options are helping those infected beat this virus. We are learning to live and thrive again despite Covid-19.
However, a new narrative is emerging in regard to campaigning and virus transmission. The message the mainstream media is sending cannot be clearer. Ex-VP Joe Biden is being responsible, holding small political events while preaching masks are a must to stop the virus. He’s made it very clear that he will do as scientists advise, which has been speculated as possibly being anything from a federal mask mandate to another massive economic shutdown.
In contrast, Trump is being irresponsible holding massive rallies maskless. Having already contracted the virus and protected by antibodies, Trump does not need to be shielded from viral shed nor can he infect anyone; however, not wearing a symbolic mask is seen as callous and unsympathetic to those who may be fearful of contracting Covid.
Early voting deadlines varied by state and as of Saturday, October 30th, over 90 million Americans have voted. Compared to 2016 with over 138 million votes, the 2020 presidential election is expected to shatter 2016’s record if voters turn out on election Day. El Paso, TX is one example of locking down again right before the election, shuttering every non-essential business. Voting will be considered essential for those brave enough to risk infection. Hopefully, nationwide, at-risk individuals have already voted in person or by mail before this spike and Election Day will see the rest of us voting.