CDC Director Redfield Reassures Toddler-In-Chief He Didn’t Say True Thing He Said


We all fear the coronavirus, like Donald Trump, is something we'll never be rid of, but unlike Trump's presidency, the virus might truly make our lives miserable well into 2021. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned the Washington Post that a second wave of the coronavirus is coming and it should be even worse than the first one. It's the Attack of the Clones of pandemics.

REDFIELD: There's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through. And when I've said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don't understand what I mean.

There are high-ranking officials in our government (and likely a president) who can't “understand" the concept “COVID-19. Come Back. Badder Than Now." This isn't encouraging.

According to Redfield, the reason we're all screwed this fall and winter is because we'll have the coronavirus and a flu epidemic at the same time. We were actually “lucky" that COVID-19 hit just as the regular flu season was ending, because “lucky" is the emotion we collectively feel right now. Over the next several months, we'll need to ramp up testing, continue social distancing to a degree, and implement effective contact tracing, which requires increasing the available staff who can do this by at least 100,000 more people.

Wednesday, the commander in chief leaped all over this potential catastrophe and denied everything that wasn't pleasant to his deranged ears. This is an eerily familiar strategy. He tweeted that Redfield was “totally misquoted" and blamed “fake news CNN" instead of the Post. This is because most of what Trump says are lies and the rest careless errors. An accurate statement from the president is almost impossible.

Later, during Trump's lie-athon coronavirus briefing, he introduced Redfield and insisted again that he was misquoted. (He wasn't and Redfield even confirmed that the Post quoted him accurately.)

TRUMP: Dr. Robert Redfield — he's done a very good job for us — was totally misquoted in the media on a statement about the fall season and the virus. Totally misquoted. I spoke to him. He said it was ridiculous. Talking about the flu and corona coming together at the same time.

Trump invited Redfield up to recant his statements like a common Galileo.

REDFIELD: Thank you, Mr. President. I really do think it's important to clarify this as we build the confidence of the American people ... I commented yesterday that there was a possibility the fall/winter ... could be more difficult, more complicated when we have two respiratory illnesses circulating at the same time. But I think it's really important to emphasize what I didn't say. I didn't say that this was going to be worse.

Wait, hold up, how is “more difficult" and “more complicated" not worse? This isn't a child's workbook from Highlights, where you expect each successive one to get a little harder. You don't want a fifth grader tracing numbers, but we're talking about managing a public health crisis. Besides, the Trump administration can't handle “difficult" or “complicated." That collection of chattering clown teeth could make a pizza party worse.

REDFIELD: I want to emphasize that we continue to build the nation's public health infrastructure to ensure that we have the capacity to stay in the containment zone ... In January and February, this nation had 14 cases. We were in the containment mode. And unfortunately, the virus overwhelmed where we got into extreme mitigation.

Redfield didn't mention that our chances at containment were arguably sabotaged by Trump's incompetence. It's not wise to risk the wrath of the dumb elephant in the room, which is a depressing theme. Fear of pissing off Trump with bad news has delayed and derailed effective management of this crisis, and there's no reason to think it will improve. Fortunately, a vaccine for Trump himself is available this November.

[Washington Post]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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