The resurgence of coronavirus infections around the U.S. is a tragedy, but not a surprise. Doctors fervently warned for months that spikes would result if society reopened too recklessly. Heat waves and other extreme weather have proven science right as well about the worsening effects of global warming. These cause-and-effect events are no longer deniable.
They should all stand as warnings against that other virus plaguing America: anti-science dogma, especially on the political right. That includes a president whose refusal to heed science regarding the pandemic has undoubtedly cost American lives and threatened more.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government's top epidemiologist, warned more than two months ago: "If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to 'open America again,' then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country. This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal."
Fauci couldn't have called it any better if he'd had a crystal ball. The majority of U.S. states, including Missouri, are now seeing record corona infections. It's most pronounced in southern and western states that closed late and reopened early.
The administration's response is a buffoonish, campaign-style assault on Fauci's credibility. President Donald Trump has publicly called Fauci "alarmist."
The right's jihad against science has been going on for years on climate change and has shown no apparent humility now that one record-hot year after another is upon us — just as scientists warned would happen. Libertarians have waged a separate war to undermine trust in vaccination science for years as well, which could potentially complicate the task of getting a coronavirus vaccine into the public if and when one is available.
"I'm kind of pro-vaccine, but I'm also pro-freedom," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said recently. Kind of pro-vaccine? And how exactly is vaccination at odds with "freedom"? Is there anything more irresponsible that a sitting senator (who also happens to be a medical doctor) could say as America desperately awaits a vaccine? Especially given this week's news that fellow conservative Herman Cain has died from the coronavirus and Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, has tested positive.
Responsible Republicans should be loudly disavowing these anti-science voices instead of allowing them to drag the nation deeper into these multiple messes.
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