Call it wishful thinking or just plain crazy, but I really thought this coronavirus outbreak would finally be the political issue to make everyone work together in the face of a crisis and not just another partisan battleground.
But after viewing the latest news stories that stop just short of blaming President Donald Trump for single-handedly spreading the coronavirus, I guess I need to have my head examined for such optimism.
I’m not sure when things devolved to such an extent where supposedly impartial news organizations are devoting 24-hour news cycles to whether or not Trump has been tested for coronavirus.
Apparently this is the greatest travesty to the American public since the Watergate scandal.
Anyone who needs more convincing that the coverage surrounding the Trump Administration’s coronavirus response has become fodder for anyone with a partisan ax to grind need look no further than the initial reports about the number of test kits rush-ordered to American hospitals.
Vice President Mike Pence initially promised 1.5 million test kits would be shipped out last week and was roundly denounced as an incompetent liar when only around 700,000 kits had passed through quality checks in time.
When it was announced a staggering 48-hours later that the remaining kits ordered had passed quality control, the administration was criticized for a slow rollout.
I suppose Pence, Trump and the rest of the administration should have been pulling all-nighters in the oval office with a chemistry set, personally brewing up batches of coronavirus testing kits.
Has the government preparation plan and response to the coronavirus outbreak been flawless and above any criticism?
Of course not. But the level of partisan politics that has seeped into the news coverage has become so obvious it discredits any legitimate criticism and commentary.
The disproportionate coverage one minute and largely immaterial details about the Trump Administration’s response the next is a real disservice to the American public and a missed opportunity to focus on more important issues related to coronavirus.
A recent story by 60 Minutes Australia sent a journalist to investigate the “wet markets” that specialize in the slaughter and sale of wild animals from around the world, where the coronavirus is believed to have originated from.
More mainstream news coverage like this can prompt discussion about the serious risks these markets pose to public health and enact change on a political level.
Make no mistake about it, we are in the middle of a serious influenza-like pandemic that could rival the 1918 Spanish flu that infected nearly 27% percent of the global population and killed millions.
Coronavirus has a level of contagion and spread that no country, no matter how big or powerful, was prepared for.
So instead of counting how many times a day Trump washes his hands and touches his face, let’s educate people on what really matters so we can bring this pandemic to an end.