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Flashback: it’s early March, and spring breaks were getting extended as the fear of the novel Coronavirus was gradually building. For some people, this extension was an exciting extra week with no school and more partying; for others, it was an omen that something terrible was about to happen. This mystery virus that was wreaking havoc and killing people across the globe was rumored to hit the United States soon. As more and more colleges sent their students home and local school districts canceled the rest of the year, an impending sense of doom was brought upon us all. We knew nothing about this virus, other than that it was killing people in other countries -- China, Italy, France, just to name a few. We looked to our leader during this time in order to perhaps get a sense of comfort on how to handle this incoming threat to public health, and he ultimately failed us. From March, Donald Trump had publicly denounced COVID-19 as about as dangerous as the flu. At this point and moving forward, Trump has used the virus as a political pawn for the upcoming election; his followers have perpetuated the anti-mask, ‘COVID is fake!’ agenda that has regressed the progress of keeping people safe from the virus. He made fun of a political opponent for wearing masks recently. Masks, to Trump and his followers, seemed to be unconstitutional and a sign of tyranny - not a simple public health measure to keep people safe. He claimed that this virus was a hoax by the Democrats to make him look bad. 

 

COVID-19 has claimed almost 200,000 American lives since it reached us in March. Despite what anyone says about underlying conditions, those almost 200,000 Americans otherwise would not have died, if not for contracting the virus. Some of those Americans perhaps listened to the president of the United States, which is a reasonable thing to do. Leadership is supposed to come from the Oval Office. However, because of Trump downplaying the virus, far too many Americans had to die because their neighbors and possibly even themselves were not taking it seriously. Until last week, we chalked this up to Trump ‘not knowing’ how dangerous the virus was. While the signs were clear, he at least had that small, tiny defense going for him. Right?

 

Wrong. Trump was caught on tape saying how dangerous this virus is, back in the early stages of it. He claims that he purposely downplayed it to avoid mass hysteria, and that one day it would go away, like magic. All the while, he was creating separate mass hysteria that the Democrats were trying to steal the election using this virus. For every day he downplayed the virus while knowing the dangers of it, more Americans died. Let’s not forget when he wanted to decrease COVID-19 testing because the United States’ high cases ‘made him look bad’, and stated that if tests were decreased, the cases would go down, as if taking away testing and contract-tracing would magically erase COVID-19. During all of these press conferences and rallies Trump held, Americans were actively dying from COVID. Americans are still dying every single day. Until the president uses his power and influence for something more than pure ineptitude, we will continue to mourn the untimely deaths of almost 200,000 Americans.

 

Ignoring a public health crisis as dangerous as this should be criminal. Trump has the blood of almost 200,000 Americans on his hands. 

 

Please vote in November. Wear a mask when you go places. Care about other people's health.

Caitlin Rhodes

Coastal Carolina '22

Caitlin is a double major in Political Science and Health Communication at Coastal Carolina. She is from the Chicago area and loves exploring the city, being outdoors, and listening to all kinds of music. She is centered around activism and hopes to spread awareness on the issues she is most passionate about through writing!
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