Max Boot, Washington Post columnist, IDs The second-most-dangerous contagion in America: Conservative irrationality.
The most dangerous contagion we now confront is the coronavirus, which has killed more than 20,000 Americans and thrown more than 16 million out of work. The second-most-dangerous contagion is the conspiracy-mongering, hostility to science and outright irrationality promulgated by President Trump and his loudmouth media enablers. …
Trump desperately wants to “open up” the country by lifting social distancing requirements. But that runs contrary to views of experts.
The consensus of experts — you know, the people whom right-wingers don’t listen to — is that it will be impossible to lift social distancing requirements until much more widespread testing and contact tracing are in place. One study from two Microsoft researchers estimates we will need to perform millions of tests a day. U.S. testing levels have increased but are still far short of that goal. Only 137,297 tests were reported on Saturday.
But because the Trumpified right lives in a world of “alternative facts,” we are back to where we were a few weeks ago, with many conservative commentators and administration officials once again braying for the economy to reopen. Trump — Fox viewer No. 1 — is listening intently, and he is receptive to the message because he is seeing his poll numbers fall as the unemployment numbers rise. The Post reports that Trump is now aiming to restart the economy by May 1. Luckily, he does not have the “absolute authority” to do that, as he claimed on Friday, but, unfortunately, he does have the ability to persuade many of his followers — including red-state governors — to go back to business as usual.
But will Trump listen [to his own experts]? It’s hard to talk sense into a president who thinks that a virus can be defeated by antibiotics. Public health officials such as Anthony S. Fauci and Deborah Birx are like the passengers in a car that Trump is slowly driving down a winding mountain road: Can they convince the president that we won’t get to our destination faster by simply going straight off the cliff?