We’ve been warned. Over and over again. And, yet, here we are.
The United States is facing a humanitarian crisis, and we have no one but ourselves to blame. COVID-19 infections have spiraled out of control, just like every medical and scientific expert has predicted for months. Instead of listening to Dr. Anthony Fauci, our nation’s all-time most respected infectious disease expert, half the country has taken its cues from Donald Trump, Fox News, Facebook and Twitter. The result is a viral catastrophe.
On Thursday, there were more than 159,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus. It was the ninth straight day of more than 100,000 positive tests. The national death toll is now approaching 245,000, with daily fatality rates about to rapidly escalate.
Americans don’t get it. Or, even worse, we just don’t care.
This is everyone’s fault, albeit some shoulder a lot more responsibility than others. Donald Trump deserves most of the blame. Aside from intentionally misleading and deceiving the American people when he played down the virus in February and March, because he erroneously thought it would be to his political advantage to do so, Trump has been the nation’s leading source of misinformation, according to a Cornell University study.
Meanwhile, the president’s pre-election rallies spread the virus throughout the Midwest, South and Southwest. His army of maskless cult followers have acted as vectors of disease in every corner of the country.
At the same time, Trump has hosted super-spreader events at the White House on more than one occasion that have led to numerous infections among his staff and close allies. Dr. Fauci has been smeared and sidelined, while Dr. Scott Atlas -- a radiologist who promotes herd immunity -- gained influence.
Even when Trump caught the virus, instead of changing his tune, the president burst out of Walter Reed Medical Center proclaiming, “you can’t let COVID dominate your life.” Well, guess what is about to dominate all our lives for the next several months.
It’s not just Trump supporters, either.
Our post-election national block party to celebrate the president’s demise last weekend saw its share of revelers without masks, and there was little-to-no social distancing. Meanwhile, in South Bend, Ind., thousands of college students stormed a football field on national television, because Notre Dame knocked off Clemson in a double-overtime thriller. Reckless behavior, like what we saw over the summer in Sturgis, S.D., is not solely the domain of the MAGA crowd.
Coronavirus fatigue has reached its peak at the worst possible time. It seems Americans have thrown in the towel when it comes to containing the spread, and the results continue to be tragic. If enough families ignore reality and gather in two weeks for Thanksgiving, the problem will worsen.
Our hospitals are overrun. Lines of cars at testing sites stretch as far as the eye can see. And this is just the start of what could become the darkest four months many of us will ever know.
Help is on the way, but it is months away.
President-elect Joe Biden has already named a new task force that will tackle the virus on day one. Problem is, day one is still almost 10 weeks from now. In the meantime, we’re stuck with a childish, sulking president who is more interested in crying about fake election fraud than he is in fighting the very real virus.
Vaccines appear to be close at hand, but it will be mid-to-late spring at the earliest before they will be widely distributed. Until then, all we can do is continue to mask-up, keep our space and cross our fingers.
The worst is yet to come.