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Paul Krugman: Trump has unleashed a ‘plague of ignorance’ that is killing Americans

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In his column for the New York Times, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman stated that Donald Trump’s pretense that the coronavirus pandemic is going away — along with his refusal to wear a mask and encouraging other to do so — is the reason why the U.S. is looking at catastrophic infection and death numbers.

Coupling the president’s anti-science rhetoric with the surge in COVID-19 infections, the columnist said it is no surprise the country is seeing an explosion of cases since the president seems to have moved on to exclusively pushing for things to return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

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“We’ve known for months what it takes to bring Covid-19 under control. You need a period of severe lockdown to reduce the disease’s prevalence. Only then can you reopen the economy — while maintaining social distancing as needed — and even then you need a regime of widespread testing, tracing and isolation of potentially infected individuals to keep the virus suppressed,” he wrote before adding, “But the United States is exceptional, in a very bad way. Our rate of new cases never declined all that much, because falling infection rates in the New York area were offset by flat or rising infections in the South and the West. Now cases are on the rise nationally and surging in such states as Arizona, Texas and Florida.”

Krugman went on to add that, despite what Trump has claimed, the infection numbers aren’t increasing because of more testing but because Americans are not doing what they need to do to protect themselves because of the president’s words.

“Trump has suggested that some people wear masks only to signal disapproval of him, and many Americans have decided that requiring masks in indoor spaces is an assault on their freedom,” the economist explained. “As a result, social distancing has become partisan: self-identified Republicans do less of it than self-identified Democrats. We all saw how this plays out in Tulsa, where a large (if smaller than expected) crowd gathered, mostly without masks, in an indoor setting custom-designed to spread the coronavirus.”

Saying that Trump is unleashing a “plague of willful ignorance,” Krugman explained, “We aren’t a nation of know-nothings; many, probably most Americans are willing to listen to experts and act responsibly,” however he claimed,  that there is “a belligerent faction within our society that refuses to acknowledge inconvenient or uncomfortable facts, preferring to believe that experts are somehow conspiring against them.”

“Trump hasn’t just failed to rise to the policy challenge posed by Covid-19. He has, with his words and actions — notably his refusal to wear a mask — encouraged and empowered America’s anti-rational streak,” he added before concluding, “And this rejection of expertise, science and responsibility in general is killing us.”

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2020 Election

Trump ripped as a ‘traitor’ by veterans for his mask photo-op at Walter Reed Hospital

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The veteran advocacy organization Vote Vets on Sunday blasted President Donald Trump for holding a photo-op at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

After a round of golf on Saturday, Trump traveled to the hospital to be photographed by the press pool wearing a mask, which was a first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vote Vets, which says it has raised over $120 million since being founded in 2006 and made over 50 million voter contacts, released a new video on Trump's visit.

The ad says it shows "what wounded warriors see when Trump comes for a photo-op."

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2020 Election

Trump’s push to reopen schools prematurely is an assault on states’ rights that may prove deadly

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It’s hard to avoid a sense of déjà vu as the Trump regime threatens to withhold federal education funding from states that refuse to re-open their schools this fall. The contours of the “debate,” such as it is, perfectly align with the one we had a couple of months ago about re-opening businesses in the midst of a pandemic.

Then, as now, conservatives tried to frame the issue as a choice between re-opening and staying stuck in quarantine indefinitely. Those less moored to reality, including the President, insisted that proponents of quarantines were only motivated by a desire to undermine Trump’s prospects for re-election. The real divide at the time was between those of us who wanted to follow the science, build up adequate testing and contact-tracing capacity and re-open safely once the rate of infection had declined, and those, mostly on the right, who wanted to re-open prematurely either because they believed we’d achieve herd immunity if we let the outbreak run its course or because they thought Covid-19 was a “hoax” that was no more serious than the seasonal flu.

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2020 Election

How 68,000 COVID-19 survivors created a world-class patient resource group in just four months

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Diana Berrent was one of the first people in her hometown of Port Washington, New York, to get COVID-19. Back then, in early March 2020, only immunocompromised and seniors were believed to be high-risk; hence, as a 46-year-old yoga practitioner and runner, Berrent was "shocked" when she woke up with a 103-degree fever and respiratory infection — symptoms that strongly suggested she had coronavirus, which was later confirmed by a test.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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