Trump Is Asking Us to Play Russian Roulette With Our Lives

April 18, 2020

Are we really going to bet that we can go back to life as normal without proper coronavirus tracking in place?

By Thomas L. Friedman


With these three short tweets last week, President Trump attempted to kick off the post-lockdown phase of America’s coronavirus crisis. It should be called: “American Russian roulette: The Covid-19 version.’’

What Trump was saying with those tweets was: Everybody just go back to work. From now on, each of us individually, and our society collectively, is going to play Russian roulette. We’re going to bet that we can spin through our daily lives — work, shopping, school, travel — without the coronavirus landing on us. And if it does, we’ll also bet that it won’t kill us.

More specifically: As a society, we will be betting that as large numbers of people stop sheltering in place, the number of people who will still get infected with Covid-19 and require hospitalization will be less than the number of hospital beds, intensive care units, respirators, doctors, nurses and protective gear needed to take care of them.

Because it is clear that millions of Americans are going to stop sheltering in place — their own President is now urging them to liberate themselves — before we have a proper testing, tracking and tracing system set up. Until we have a vaccine, that kind of system is the only path to dramatically lowering the risk of infection while partially opening society — while also protecting the elderly and infirm — as Germany has demonstrated...

...So, folks, forget about all those White House briefings. You don’t have to tune in another day. When the president is calling on governors to “let their people go” before comprehensive testing facilities are in place, he is basically saying that, until there is a vaccine, we are betting on herd immunity. Achieving herd immunity [CBMM Memo by Amnon Shashua] requires that more than two-thirds of a community be immune, a process that could involve many more deaths, if proper preparations are not in place....

Read the full article on The New York Times website.

Associated CBMM Pages: