Drowning in Covid Denialism

With the shocking news that President Trump and the First Lady have both tested positive for COVID-19, it’s clear that the effort to manufacture doubt about the seriousness of COVID-19 has been a monumental disaster. Poll after poll shows a bi-partisan majority of people in America support mask mandates and believe the Coronavirus to be a real threat. In fact, the day the President and First Lady announced their diagnosis, 45,694 fellow Americans were also diagnosed, and 847 other Americans died. The Northwest Accountability Project wishes all those diagnosed a speedy recovery, and our thoughts are with the families of those who did not recover.

In an interview recorded earlier this year with renowned reporter Bob Woodward, the President said the disease was “deadly” but that he also wanted to “play it down.” 

“Play[ing] it down” apparently meant a deluge of lies about the pandemic.

Right-wing organizations, pundits, and other elected officials followed suit and trumpeted the lies and doubt. They called into question public health expert’s integrity, promoted unproven drugs, made the simple act of wearing a mask a divisive political battle, sued state governments over public safety measures, and some even minimized the significance of the death of elderly people.

They pushed pseudoscience that is akin to arguing that cigarettes don’t cause cancer, or climate change isn’t caused by human behavior. Billionaires astroturfed protests with faux militia members standing outside Capitol buildings with large guns calling on Democratic Governors to prematurely reopen their economy. These protests rarely, if ever, happened in states where Republicans were in charge, even though similar measures were in place.

Now, the President — the leader of this anti-science barrage — is sick with just 4.5 weeks to go until Election Day. His health and age put him in a category to potentially develop severe symptoms. Some foreign policy experts have warned that this could be a national security threat. All of this is just days after he mocked his opponent for wearing masks regularly during their first debate while the First Family sat indoors maskless.

As the President flounders in the polls and begins the path to recovery, American’s are overwhelmingly concerned about their health and safety, their jobs and their kid’s schools while the families of more than 200,000 Americans grieve.

Covid denialism has been a monumental failure.

In the Northwest, one of the leaders of the Covid-denial movement is the extremist “Freedom” Foundation, a far-right political organization that has been engaged in a failed, five year, $20+ million campaign to try to destroy unions and elect right-wing candidates. They have failed miserably and have resorted to even more extreme Covid-denial tactics than the President. They’ve sued states over mask mandates and business and school closures. They have pushed pseudoscience and baseless internet talking points to call into question safety measures that protect people. They even sent a fundraising letter, minimizing the Covid deaths of children, in an attempt to prematurely reopen our schools.

But now Trump, the leader of their movement, is sick and his future is unknown. Will their tone change? Will they realize how dangerous they all have been? That remains to be seen. For now, all we can do is take safety measures seriously and try to get past this once -in-a-century pandemic — it’s the only way to safely reopen our economy and schools, protect frontline workers, and prevent as many deaths as possible.