In coronavirus pandemic, if Donald Trump leads by example, he could save lives

Instead, president pushes drugs like unproven hydroxychloroquine and refuses to wear protective masks: Our view

In coronavirus pandemic, if Donald Trump leads by example, he could save lives

President Donald Trump's leadership has never been under such scrutiny as during this pandemic. And never has the adoration for No. 45 among a lasting minority of Americans held such an opportunity for Trump to exercise leadership.

He certainly relishes his popularity, forever boasting about rally crowds (before coronavirus shut them down) or tweeting that his task force briefings are a "ratings hit." "A lot of people love me," he said in April. "I guess I’m here for a reason, you know?"

While Trump's overall approval may never exceed 50%, that's still tens of millions who believe in him and what he says — leverage to do tremendous good.

Or not.

Is Trump taking hydroxychloroquine?

Two cases in point:

Embracing unproven therapies. After Trump inexplicably started pushing the public ("What the hell do you have to lose?") in March to embrace two anti-malarial drugs as coronavirus therapies, prescriptions for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine soared nationwide. While early anecdotal evidence and two small, flawed studies suggested coronavirus-fighting benefits from the drugs, mounting research since then has pointed to the opposite conclusion — the drugs are no help and could, in fact, be harmful.

RNC DOCTOR:On masks and hydroxychloroquine, science supports president

The Food and Drug Administration warned in late April against using either drug in nonhospital settings because of a risk of heart rhythm problems. A Veterans Affairs study showed high death rates among coronavirus patients using hydroxychloroquine. And a large New York study this month showed no benefits from hydroxychloroquine.

Trump's response? He announced Monday that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine for two weeks to guard against coronavirus. Knowing how controversial the drugs are, Trump could have kept his personal decision private. But he didn't.

Whether he's telling the truth about ingesting the drug — a White House physician statement oddly avoids any clear assertion that the president is actually using hydroxychloroquine — the message to Americans who believe in Trump is clear: Never mind the science; I know better.

Life and death over masks

Refusing to wear a face mask. The president has employed a similar wink-and-nod approach with his disciplined practice of never wearing a face mask in public, not even Thursday when he was touring a Ford Motor Co. plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where a rule required masks and the state's attorney general had told the president ahead of time he had a "legal responsibility" to put one on.

President Donald Trump tours a Ford Motor Co. plant that has been converted to making personal protection and medical equipment in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on May 21, 2020.

His explanation has something to do with his belief that wearing face covering is undignified or unflattering or shows weakness, even if everyone around him at the White House is now required to wear them.

And they're a wise precaution. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began urging in early April that masks be worn because coronavirus is so contagious, it can spread merely by people talking to each other. In Hong Kong, which has nearly the population of New York City, face masks were worn almost universally from the moment the coronavirus outbreak occurred. The city has lost four people to the disease while more than 16,000 New Yorkers have died.

Somehow, however, in the United States, the issue of wearing face masks has devolved into a debate about conformity, party affiliations and even manliness. Worse yet, store clerks have been beaten and a security guard even shot to death for requiring customers to wear them.

But sadly, by never donning a face mask, Trump's message to Americans is clear: I'm not taking this precaution seriously, so neither should you.

The president spoke to ABC News this month about the sanctity of every living person during a pandemic. "If we lose one life, it's too many," Trump said.

By embracing face masks as a means of curtailing the spread of a deadly disease, or by urging caution with potentially harmful therapies, Trump could lead by example in a way that might save one life or, perhaps, many more.

If you can't see this reader poll, please refresh your page.

HOTLINE:Share your coronavirus story. We may publish your comments.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/todaysdebate/2020/05/21/coronavirus-donald-trump-leadership-could-save-lives-editorials-debates/5216459002/

News Related

ORTHER NEWS

Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment is premature and deadly. We have not defeated COVID.

Desperate for crowds and adoration, Trump has put his most fervent supporters at risk of getting a deadly disease. Future historians will be astonished. Read more »

NFLPA president JC Tretter says NFL is putting season, players at risk with its coronavirus approach

NFL Players Association president JC Tretter said Tuesday the NFL is putting the 2020 season at risk with its coronavirus approach, calling on the league to better “prioritize player safety.” “Like many other... Read more »

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested positive for the coronavirus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity. Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and... Read more »

Venice Film Festival forges ahead amid COVID-19 pandemic with reduced lineup

The show will go on for the Venice Film Festival in September, but with a few modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers said Tuesday that they are pushing forward with plans for... Read more »

Amtrak offers buy-one, get-one promotion on its sleeper trains amid COVID-19 — with a catch

Amtrak wants you to have sweet dreams the next time you travel — so much so that it’s sweetening the deal on its sleeper “roomettes.” The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount... Read more »

Florida teen treated with hydroxychloroquine at home before dying of COVID-19, report says

FORT MEYERS, Fla. – The family of a 17-year-old Florida girl who died last month from COVID-19 treated her symptoms at home for nearly a week before taking her to a hospital, a... Read more »

Mookie Betts worried MLB coronavirus testing woes could prevent him from ever playing for Dodgers

During nearly four months away from the game, Mookie Betts said he “stayed away from baseball to keep myself sane.” It’s not hard to understand why. The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player... Read more »

Tom Hanks doesn’t get ‘how common sense has somehow been put into question’ with coronavirus

Read more »

Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As concern about the state order spread online, some school leaders said: Not so fast. As Florida educators puzzle over how to start the new academic year, Gov. Ron... Read more »

Texas surpasses 200,000 coronavirus cases after 4th of July holiday weekend

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas reached 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Monday, just 17 days after crossing the 100,000 threshold, a figure that took the state nearly four months to hit. The grim milestone came... Read more »