Trump’s delay in masking up a fatal error for too many Americans


By Ai Jun

After over 3.2 million Americans have tested positive for COVID-19 with more than 134,000 deaths, the 74-year-old president of the US finally deigned to put on a mask. During his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in suburban Maryland, US President Donald Trump wore a face mask in public for the first time.
The term “for the first time” has set US social media ablaze. After all, months after the pandemic broke out, when some other countries have already reined in the novel coronavirus, the number of US infections is still riding a rollercoaster that only goes up. At this point, it is sad that the US president donning a mask is news.
Mask wearing is supposed to be a simple, basic, pure issue of public health. The debate is over whether doing so could help slow the spread of COVID-19. In the US, however, it has long been kidnapped by politics.
Trump has resisted putting on a mask for a long time. It ultimately boils down to his reelection campaign. With the next presidential election just around the corner, Trump seems to have no alternative but to boost his advantage – bringing up the employment rate and stimulating the economy. Once he puts a mask on, how can he convey the message that the pandemic in the US is controllable or send positive signals to the US markets?
Trump’s team has always preached that the virus would magically “disappear” and that the US was “doing great.” Now that Trump has put on a mask, does that embarrass his administration?
Thanks to Trump’s efforts and his war of words with Democratic candidate Joe Biden, whether to wear a mask has become a political statement, with the US falling into a trap of endless political debate about it.
Now Trump’s change of approach is also aimed at reelection. In the face of ruthless reality – new infection rates and the death curve rising explosively, politicians attack him over his resistance toward expert advice and worse, a sharp decline in his approval ratings – Trump has realized it is time to adjust his approach.
How many lives would have been saved if Americans were mandated to wear masks in January? No one will know. But it is certain it took the US president too long to do this tiny little right thing. And it is too late now.
“You cannot fight the pandemic with lies,” is how German Chancellor Angela Merkel commented on Trump’s approach against the virus. The virus will show no mercy to a country just because it is a superpower. Yet US elites, who are busy with political calculations, do not understand. When other countries were busy fighting the pandemic, politicians from Washington were busy throwing mud toward China, fooling Americans over the epidemic situation in the US.
What about the outcome? The Chinese mainland has seen no new community transmission cases of the novel coronavirus for days. Yet the US records nearly 70,000 new cases every day. The contrast is getting increasingly sharp.
As US politics kidnaps science, American people are suffocating. By the time Trump finally wore a mask, too many Americans have already lost their breath.
–The Daily Mail-Global Times news exchange item