COVID cover up

Graphic by Emmi Wu ’23/Staff

Our world has been turned upside down since early March. With approximately 200,000 coronavirus deaths and counting, it is clear that the pandemic is nowhere near an end. Since its start, most Americans have sought guidance from scientists and government officials about how best to protect themselves from this new, deadly virus. It seems clear that while the school district and the state made informed decisions based on science, the president did not make many right decisions and did not base decisions on science. While the district did the right thing by closing down all LMSD schools, and the state provided new laws to reinforce social distancing and mask wearing, it seemed only half of the nation obeyed the new guidelines while the other half felt the guidelines violated human rights. Throughout the pandemic, President Donald Trump failed to be a leader and instead delegated all responsibility to the states. He also called the coronavirus a, “Democrat hoax,” claimed that it would soon go away, and urged schools and states to reopen sooner than health officials advised. While the district and the state handled the pandemic properly for the most part, the president did not.

A couple of weeks into the pandemic, it was clear Trump was not interested in leading a nationwide effort to contain it. During the month of February, Trump said that the virus was perfectly fine and no more dangerous than the flu. He now claims he said this simply to calm people down. While a president should want to make the public calm, we count on honesty when it comes to our personal health and safety. Trump attempted denial of the deadliness of the virus because he was afraid public fear would trigger a decline in the stock market and jeopardize his reelection, so he kept up his lies. On March 6, Trump said that we were doing a very good job at keeping the virus down. However, this wasn’t true at all. The only reason why cases weren’t higher at the time was because school districts, such as LMSD, shut down all of their schools and switched to virtual learning, and many states provided new regulations to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Although LMSD should have switched to online school much sooner because a teacher and two students got the virus, they were uninformed because there was absolutely no national direction. Trump didn’t tell schools what to do at all and kept saying the pandemic was a rumor spread by Democrats. This left schools, such as LM, to do their own research and to go by advice from organizations such as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

In the beginning of the pandemic, Trump did not tell individual states what to do. He did not even give states the proper support they needed. This is part of the reason why many states have different rules and regulations to keep COVID-19 cases under control. In addition, Trump did not do a thing to increase the number of masks available to the public and relied entirely on small businesses to produce masks. Although Trump did help hospitals by using the Defense Production Act to produce more ventilators, he did it very late in the pandemic. However, before he put in place the Defense Production Act, hospitals were quickly running short on ventilators. In addition, Trump should have used the act to provide money to more companies than just the six listed on the act. He also should have included personal protective equipment (PPE) in the act because there were many doctors and nurses relying on homemade, reused PPE which is not nearly as effective. Considering this lack of support early on, Pennsylvania was doing surprisingly well in their pandemic response, as only a couple months ago we were able to have 1,410 actively running ventilators. This lack of support also contributed to the late start of the new law in Pennsylvania which forces the use of a mask in a public space.

This pandemic is difficult for even the strongest of us to deal with, so it’s the job of the district, state, and federal government to make this situation more tolerable. The district and the state are doing a very good job in properly fighting this virus considering the fact that they are getting no support from Trump. Even though LMSD and Pennsylvania are doing their part, if Trump does not start doing his part in helping the nation, cases will continue rising and deaths will reach beyond 200,000. If Trump never takes charge and gets reelected in November, we may very well have to bear a full year of another nationwide shutdown.