Fully 50% of all Americans refuse to wear a mask in some situations where mask use is highly recommended. As I write this, 202,213 Americans are dead from COVID-19. That is the price of political poison, and Americans are paying it.
Instead of being a scientific issue, coronavirus has now become, for many Americans, a political issue. The simple act of wearing a mask is an inducement to anger, even violence, for some. Store employees have been viciously assaulted — and even murdered —for requiring customers to wear a mask.
Robert Redfield, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control, says that wearing a mask may even be more effective than a coronavirus vaccine, for the simple reason that a proposed vaccine might be only 70% effective, where universal mask use is 95% effective.
Not only that, but a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine advances the unproven but promising theory that universal face mask wearing might reduce the severity of the virus and ensure that a greater proportion of new infections are asymptomatic. Such a result could actually lead to individual immunity. Even if such immunity lasts no longer than a few months, it might be enough.
Temporary individual immunity achieved by consistent mask-wearing could be the key to solving the whole coronavirus imbroglio America is in. Such a result might create an accelerated instance of herd immunity. Even if expecting so encouraging a result is a trifle starry-eyed, there is no doubt at this moment that universal mask-wearing represents a huge step forward in combating and defeating this bug.
Thus, if you hope to make America well again, Donald Trump’s open contempt for mask-wearing isn’t just a huge impediment, it may render such a hope entirely futile. From the beginning Trump has weaponized this pandemic and transformed it from a crisis we are all in together to a political issue. His slavishly devoted base has been happy to take their toxic cue from him.
A solution to the greatest threat to physical and economic existence America has ever faced has been poisoned, perhaps permanently, by Donald Trump. Even the election of Joe Biden and a four year Biden administration may not be sufficient to change that.
Such is the grave damage done by Donald Trump. His glowering relic of a base will continue to resent it if Trump is defeated, and a specimen of that resentment could be resistance to or outright defiance of statutes intended to protect Americans from the virus.
The end result is millions could die. Like the solution to global warming, the solution to coronavirus has now been neglected for so long that the only one that will work now must be radical. Most Americans are not sufficiently informed, let alone motivated, to take those radical steps. And like global warming, efforts to contain coronavirus have been poisoned by politics, perhaps fatally so.
There remains only one hope, however slender. It is now up to Joe Biden and his team to lead America out of this mess. Biden may possess what it takes. We won’t know for sure until we get there. One thing we do know is the answer is most emphatically not Donald Trump. America cannot and will not survive another four years of that child-raping, murdering monster. So vote for Joe Biden in November. Your life may literally depend on it.
There are a million reasons why Donald Trump is unfit to be president of the United States. This has been another one. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.