Senate’s Dumbest Republican Still Thinks COVID-19 A Slightly More Annoying Flu
We've often referred to Wisconsin's Ron Johnson as the Senate's dumbest Republican. That's probably unfair because no Democratic senator would still compare COVID-19 to the damn flu in August of 2020 after at least 155,900 Americans have died, but that's the nonsense the absolute dumbest member of the Senate was slinging on Steve Bannon's podcast Monday.
First, though, Johnson helped Bannon pitch hydroxychloroquine as the miraculous COVID-19 quick fix Democrats and doctors who graduated from medical school won't give us. Johnson considers this "one of the most frustrating issues" he's faced in the Senate.
JOHNSON: It's baffling to me that it became so politicized.
Big dummy conspiracy theorists, many of them Republicans, “politicized" hydroxychloroquine when they refused to trust actual medical experts — not quacks like Doctor Demon Semen — who keep telling everyone through their Picard face palm that hydroxychloroquine isn't an effective treatment for the coronavirus. Now, please wear a damn mask.
JOHNSON: The risk-reward ratio here is strongly in favor of using hydroxychloroquine.
No, it's not, you moron. The FDA released a summary in July of safety issues associated with using hydroxychloroquine to treat hospitalized patients with COVID-19. This includes reports of serious heart rhythm problems, as well as blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver problems and failure. These aren't mere subtleties.
.@SenRonJohnson: Dems harangue us about following the science until the science doesn't sync up with their policy p… https://t.co/ptgM4SGGwq— War Room: Pandemic ☣️ (@War Room: Pandemic ☣️)1596492559.0
One of the most effective treatments against COVID-19 is not getting the disease in the first place. Johnson has claimed we've “overreacted" to the pandemic by closing businesses and limiting public gatherings. He's also said, "I haven't seen how particularly effective [masks] are."
JOHNSON: The risk [from using hydroxychloroquine] is minuscule while the reward is huge.
Still not true.
JOHNSON: You could potentially be saving tens of thousands of lives. That's obviously not the tack the mainstream press and Democrats are taking on this. They're for the panic porn.
Conservatives keep using the term “panic porn," as if ignoring the known dangers from COVID-19 is the perfectly sane and rational response. Everyone else is hiding in their locked bathroom, getting off on coronavirus updates. Ben Shapiro, the living ventriloquist doll from a "Twilight Zone" episode, said the media should “stop with the panic porn" because we can't have “endless lockdowns," which no one has actually suggested. Who's panicking here?
Johnson argued that Democrats and the media want to scare us so they can take “total control of the United States Senate and the presidency." Republicans must do everything they can to make sure we don't “get away with it." Unfortunately, hydroxychloroquine isn't proven to treat delusional paranoia, either.
The senator suggested that Trump should take executive action to restore emergency use of his wonder drug, because a magic pill is the president's only remaining hope of winning re-election.
JOHNSON: They realize the best way to defeat Joe Biden is to reduce the fear on COVID. If people really looked at this disease, it is worse than the flu, but it's not that much worse. It shouldn't be leading to these generalized shutdowns.
The death from the seasonal flu is about 0.1 percent. COVID-19's death rate is about 3 percent ... so far. Of course, that's based on actually knowing the number of people who have COVID-19. So let's look at deaths. A bad flu year kills 30,000 Americans; the very worst flu years kill 60,000. COVID-19 kills multiples of that, in four months. We also don't know the full longterm effects from COVID-19 among those who recover. Young people don't just shrug it off like a bad cold. There is no vaccine for the coronavirus, which is more contagious than the flu and the period of asymptomatic spread is longer. It is straight-up, objectively worse than the flu.
JOHNSON: If people realize we can go about our lives in relative safety, that takes a lot of the wind out of Joe Biden and the Democrats' sails.
Yeah, Joe Biden and the Democrats are sipping cocktails on the USS Pandemic. It takes a lot of gall for a Republican to claim Democrats are running on a platform of fear, when all the Trump campaign can manage to throw at Biden right now is baseless, racist claims that he's going to destroy the suburbs and replace the police with the New Black Panthers.
Republicans don't give a crap about public health. They are only concerned with creating some mirage of normality in time for the election, and they realize that closed schools, no live sports, and businesses shutting down again will remind everyone how much Trump and his cronies have failed this nation. Democrats don't want this shitshow. They'd rather run against Trump's overall corruption in a safer world where we could enjoy our lives like common New Zealanders. That's not the current reality, and liberal science isn't to blame. Trump is.
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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."