Hatcher: America’s biggest viral challenger—Coronavirus or Trump?

Tobili Hatcher, Staff Columnist

Every day in quarantine starts out the same. I wake up around 7:30 a.m. and lay in bed to contemplate what tasks may or may not get done that day. I reach over to my desk, grab my phone and open up Apple News and Twitter to see what mess the United States has gotten itself into. The usual pops up on my 5 ½ -inch screen: new numbers related to the COVID-19 pandemic, cancel culture of another influencer—who really shouldn’t have been an influencer in the first place—and the occasional think piece about “Tiger King.” 

However, something that never fails to catch my eye, even in the wee hours of the morning, are the tweets from professional journalists taking the time to correct all of the different lies and misinformation that President Donald Trump lets out during his daily coronavirus briefings, live from the White House. 

One of my favorite journalists who takes on the task of calling out the president on his bullshit, not only online but in-person, is Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour. Not only do I appreciate Alcindor for her strong voice that is ever-present in her reporting and storytelling, but I also admire her determination in making sure Trump is held accountable for not telling the truth.

Imagine, a journalist telling the truth and not writing fake news. In 2020. Who would’ve thought? 

The rest of the day continues on schedule. I anxiously wait for “Wine with DeWine” at 2 o’clock, waiting to hear about or read the latest information that comes from Ohio’s supermom Dr. Amy Acton and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. Next, to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr. Anthony Fauci. These are the only people that I can trust with my life to lead me through this pandemic with accurate information and the correct guidelines. 

I’m not here to try to sway you politically, convince you to vote for a democrat or anything of the like. In fact, I’m not even interested or vested in your political interests at the current moment. The only thing that I am worried for is your health and safety. 

America’s health and safety is being put at risk in a variety of different ways right now, and one of the biggest dangers that we are facing is continually allowing the president to have a platform to spread his lies. 

There has been a saying going around, “We are fighting two viruses: corona and stupidity.” Now I’m not sure of the exact origin of this quote, but there is a point that can be made. If we are not careful to avoid the advice of a reality-star turned president, we will land ourselves in hotter water than we’re already in. 

The main reason why I cannot bear to watch Trump continue to stand up and give false information to the people is because it is literally costing people their lives. I can’t figure out which part of his daily briefings I hate the most. Is it when he calls the coronavirus the “Chinese virus,” thus reinforcing xenophobic rhetoric and promoting racists to take matters into their own hands when they interact with Asian people? Or, is it when he continues to speak in favor of anti-malaria drugs, even though they have not been proven to be a treatment for the coronavirus? Did I mention that Trump appointed the vice president, a lawyer with no previous experience in public health or healthcare, the Chairman of the White House Coronavirus Task Force? 

Does that make sense to you? Yeah, I didn’t think it did either. 

Words have power. What you say can stick with someone for the rest of your life. However, it seems that Trump either does not notice or care about the weight that his words carry. For that reason, he is responsible for the thousands of deaths that we are seeing in relation to this virus. Their blood is on his hands, and that is something of which he should be ashamed. 

What really takes the cake for me is when Trump openly admits that he has no real medical expertise, but simply says these things because he’s seen them and likes them. This can be seen in his April 5 briefing. 

“I’ve seen things that I like,” Trump said. “What do I know? I’m not a doctor. I’m not a doctor, but I have some common sense.” 

Yet, if Trump really had common sense, he wouldn’t be recommending taking different combinations of chemicals and drugs in the first place. He wouldn’t be cutting off Dr. Fauci, an actual doctor, when he’s trying to explain the potential effectiveness of the proposed drugs in relation to the coronavirus. Trump’s cavalier approach to the current crisis on hand has led to mass hysteria and confusion, with some individuals turning to him as their sole point of information. 

This is not ok. 

In order to properly fight this virus to the best of our ability, the first thing we need to do is kill harmful and false information at its source. 

Taking away Trump’s platform and allowing only accurate and scientific information to be spread is something that all major news outlets need to be thinking about. And action needs to be taken sooner rather than later. 

Now I know what you’re thinking. “What about the First Amendment? What about our rights?” While I respect everyone’s right to freedom of speech, continuing to allow Trump to speak his free mind during this time is irresponsible and leading people to untimely deaths. 

Think about the couple from Arizona that heeded Trump’s advice on taking chloroquine. After seeing it mentioned in a briefing done by Trump, the couple took the drug in an effort to protect themselves from contracting the coronavirus, even though both of them didn’t show any symptoms. They died due to the recklessness of Trump’s words. Two more deaths that could have been easily avoided had we put an end to Trump’s addresses. 

If I could be so bold, I would like to implore you to not feed into anything that Trump has to say about the virus when it comes to medical advice and policies. Seek out those who are professionals in the field: people with years of experience, who know what they are talking about. 

Let’s try to get a grip on one viral disease at a time. While there may not be a cure or a vaccine for the coronavirus yet, there is a simple and effective one for the president. 

Tune out of what he has to say. It can save your life.