Short Takes on Coronavirus Do's, Don'ts and Dunces

By Daily Editorials

August 19, 2020 7 min read

To Infect and Serve

As Florida struggles with record coronavirus deaths, one sheriff there has decided this is a good time to have a mask policy in his office. The problem is, the policy prohibits the wearing of masks.

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods' dumbfounding order not only prohibits his deputies from wearing masks at work but also bars visitors to the sheriff's office from wearing them. So residents are basically forced to jeopardize their health if they want a face-to-face meeting with local law enforcement.

"We can debate and argue all day of why and why not," Woods wrote in an email explaining the policy, as reported by the Ocala Star-Banner. "The fact is, the amount of professionals that give the reason why we should, I can find the exact same amount of professionals that say why we shouldn't."

That is, of course, ridiculous. Medical science (and common sense) clearly concludes that masks hinder transmission of the virus. Does Woods also ban his deputies from wearing seat belts while driving? Or using umbrellas when it's raining?

Too Much X-Ray Exposure?

President Donald Trump appears unable to rely any longer on his two main medical advisers, Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, to defend his uninformed, speculative coronavirus pronouncements. They tried their best, but as dedicated scientists, they simply couldn't keep fudging the facts and putting American lives at risk just to continue soothing Trump's fragile ego.

Trump found himself another adviser who apparently has no problem matching Trump's fantasy with fact. His name is Dr. Scott Atlas. Unlike Fauci and Birx, Atlas is not an epidemiologist or infectious disease expert. His specialty is radiology — as in X-rays — which is a fine specialty except that it has little to do with fighting deadly global pandemics.

Lots of doctors from widely varying fields embrace the need for extreme precautionary measures to combat the coronavirus. No such luck with Atlas. He has made appearances on Fox News calling for an unrestricted resumption of college sports and asserting that there's absolutely no reason for kids not to be back in the classroom because they "have no risk for serious illness." (That's not true.) He has claimed that teachers should "know how to protect themselves" from the virus, and that their health concerns are secondary to the need for in-person class instruction to resume.

Enemies of science, don your tinfoil hats and present a hearty MAGA salute to the medical professional who now has Trump's ear.

Good Trouble for Exposing Bad Leadership

A teen who posted photos of classmates in a suburban Atlanta high school crammed maskless in hallways was delivering a public service by calling attention to a dangerous situation. Instead of responding to that danger, the school suspended her. Hannah Watters, 15, posted the hallway photo on Twitter. "Day two at North Paulding High School ... We were stopped because it was jammed ...," she wrote. "This is not ok."

Watters was told she was suspended for five days, for violating a policy against using a phone in school without permission. When outraged parents pressed administrators about the suspension, Superintendent Brian Otott responded with a letter admitting that the picture "didn't look good" but arguing that whether students wear masks is "a personal choice."

So cellphones need to be regulated in school, but a deadly virus doesn't?

In response to the backlash, the school reversed Watters' suspension. Thirty-five students and teachers subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing the school to temporarily close down.

Sins of the Son

Jerry Falwell Jr. is taking some much-needed time off after initiating his own fall from grace with a racy photo that even his most ardent supporters had trouble reconciling with the morals his famous father used to preach. Falwell was until recently the president of Liberty University. He is also the walking embodiment of one of the more bizarre storylines of this bizarre political era: the unholy alliance between the evangelical right and the most libertine president in America's history.

Liberty University is the private evangelical Christian college in Lynchburg, Virginia, founded by Falwell's father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr. The younger Falwell appears to have forgotten his father's Moral Majority brand as he set out to enjoy a walk on the wild side.

Falwell has taken an indefinite leave of absence after posting a photo of himself and a young woman on a yacht with both their pants partly unzipped. In the photo, Falwell is holding a glass of what he claims was just "black water," as a "prop." Alcohol is banned from Falwell's university.

Etched in Infamy on Mount Botchmore

President Donald Trump apparently thinks his face belongs on Mount Rushmore. The New York Times recently reported that, in a 2018 Oval Office meeting, Trump told South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem that he aspired to have his face next to Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Lincoln at the iconic site. Trump's office later followed up with questions about how that might happen.

Trump denied the report, but of course that means nothing from a president infamous for having pronounced 20,000 lies in office. And even in denying it, he tweeted that "based on all of the many things accomplished during the first 31/2 years, perhaps more than any other Presidency, sounds like a good idea to me!"

Accomplishments such as: Totally botching the government's response to the pandemic and the related economic devastation? Threatening the health care of millions? Passing a tax cut for the rich that did little for the economy while deepening the deficit? Boosting Russia's global standing while diminishing America's?

REPRINTED FROM THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

Photo credit: leo2014 at Pixabay

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