Editorial: To Manage Anxiety, It’s Best Not to Listen to Donald Trump

In the age of COVID-19, the coronavirus, it’s best not to listen to Donald Trump if one wants to stay safe and keep anxiety at a reasonable level. Several major news networks and radio stations have come to this conclusion, as have many of the American people.
Radio station KUOW, in Washington State, has decided it will no longer air Trump’s daily coronavirus task briefings.
In a tweet on March 24, the station said, “KUOW is monitoring White House briefings for the latest news on the coronavirus — and we will continue to share all news relevant to Washington State with our listeners.”

“However, we will not be airing the briefings live due to a pattern of false or misleading information provided that cannot be fact checked in real time.”

As an example of the president’s litany of falsehoods, for weeks, he has promised that more coronavirus testing supplies would arrive “by the end of the week.” Though more have been delivered to states in recent days, the country still falls terrifyingly short of what is needed in order to have a true picture of how widespread the virus is, and where it is most concentrated.

In spite of the dearth of testing supplies, however, Trump claimed in his Wednesday Coronavirus Task Force briefing that Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea, had remarked to him, “Your testing procedures are amazing.”

Many Americans have grown weary—and wary—of Donald Trump’s regular offerings of misstatements, exaggerations, and false claims. As the country continues to await a sufficient number of the promised tests; as medical personnel continue to forage for the promised masks and personal protective equipment; as hospitals scramble for more ventilators; as state governors plead with the president for help in the form of funding, human capital, lifesaving equipment, and even consistent and honest messaging; Donald Trump has told them it’s up to them to help themselves.

The federal government, said Trump, “is not a shipping clerk.”

At one daily briefing, Trump told Americans that he had decided to invoke the Defense Production Act, which would give the Trump administration the power to direct U.S. industry to quickly produce emergency medical provisions. As the number of coronavirus cases in America increases exponentially, and as Americans continue to wait in fear and anxiety, Donald Trump continues to refrain from actually triggering the statute that could provide relief.

Trump’s daily briefings are little more than self-aggrandizing soliloquy with sprinklings of mockery for a selected country, leader, or other perceived foe. What Americans have not heard from Donald Trump, however, is a real, genuine, believable message that he cares about them.

When a news correspondent asked him what his message would be for Americans who are scared, Trump barked, “I say that you’re a terrible reporter.… It is a bad signal that you are putting out.”

Trump’s empty promises and lack of action are dangerous, but so are his proclamations. A couple of weeks ago, he began touting an existing drug as a “game-changer” for treating COVID-19; the drug is currently used for malaria and for autoimmune diseases, but is only in the beginning stages of trials for use with the coronavirus. As a result of Trump’s promotion of the drug, there is now a national shortage of it.

Despite medical experts’ warnings, physicians across the country have written prescriptions for themselves, and their families and friends, hoarding the unproven drug and prompting several states to pass laws to regulate how it may be prescribed and limiting quantities. Those who already depend on this drug every day to treat their autoimmune diseases are having difficulty obtaining the amounts they need.

Trump has said numerous times that the drug was “perfectly safe.” However, one elderly couple who believed him took a form of the drug that is not safe for human consumption. The husband died, and the wife is now hospitalized and in critical condition.

In recent days, Trump has taken to telling Americans he wants the country to be “opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” despite the data that shows the pandemic could be in a worse state by then. This idea to put an end to the current “stay home and practice social distancing” precautions and “get people back to work” by Easter has picked up momentum with a few politicians, as medical experts scramble to try to convince Trump that the idea is not only ridiculous, but deadly.

As one employee of NBC News said about Trump’s falsehoods and anxiety-producing statements, “I think the best way to handle the president in the briefing is that you handle the president like you handle the virus. He has to be contained and quarantined and his falsehoods have to be scrubbed so that they don’t rub off on you.”

Trump at odds with medical experts over coronavirus precautions end date | CBS This Morning [2020-03-25]

Heated exchange between Trump and reporters over coronavirus |
Politico [2020-03-20]