headlines of confusion

Day 64. As I read the first section of yesterday’s Washington Post I was struck by how the coronavirus article headlines depicted an utter state of confusion in our country’s response to the pandemic. Consider these headlines:

‘This Feels Great’ A preview from Georgia about how America might reemerge from the pandemic: Eating, drinking, touching, and throwing caution to the wind.”

“A boost in tests, but lack of takers”

“Trump seems poised to let others lead on reopening”

Summer heat may help fight pandemic but won’t halt it”

“Majority going to work fear exposing their households”

Even as New Orleans reopens, tourists and residents are hesitant to return”

No longer waiting for help, volunteers bring masks to vulnerable groups

A growing list keeps track of transit workers who’ve died”

Navarro faults CDC over tests, renews criticism of China

“As states ramp up testing capacity, some lack demand”

The results are in – Mr. Trump’s miracle drug is useless

Ms. Bowser’s wise pessimism about the coronavirus

Trump is gambling our health for his reelection”

An op-ed by Robert Samuelson summed up our confused state of affairs and its dangers. He wrote:

The job of a leader in a crisis – and the coronavirus pandemic is a genuine crisis, not just an outburst of alarmism- is to forge a consensus that enables society to deal with the crisis. this is hard. It requires the leader to explain things that are usually difficult to explain. And explanation is not enough. people must be persuaded to do or accept things they oppose or don’t support…..

A true leader would have used the bully pulpit to mobilize public opinion to accept changes that we don’t like but that can’t be avoided. Instead Trump practices denial. He suggests the crisis isn’t as bad as it seems…

Is this the best we can do? The debate we should be having – how best to adapt to new realities – is splintered…,.What is left is a crowd of pundits, politicians, doctors and scientists….

We are a long way from a coherent policy that treats both the economy and the coronavirus. How much of a gamble are we taking if we open up too much of the economy too soon? What are the costs for waiting too long? Have we passed a point of no return when we can’t control the virus and it can control us? What are the prospects for a workable vaccine?

By our masterful evasion of the obvious, will we end up with the worst of both worlds: a feeble economy and a resurgent virus?

Excerpted from an op-ed by Robert Samuleson entitled, “The Cost of the Presidential Leadership Vacuum”,
The Washington Post , May 18, 2020

We need to do better. Lives and jobs depend on it.

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