US President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in North Carolina. Picture: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA
US President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in North Carolina. Picture: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA

The voting has ended but the pandemic has not. In the final days of the US election campaign President Donald Trump produced a flurry of deception and denial. Nothing is more important now than getting an honest handle on the runaway virus that is killing more than 800 Americans every day. The nation’s trust must be rebuilt for the difficult battle ahead.

At a crowded rally in Michigan, Trump made the sickening and false claim that doctors are inflating the number of patients who died of Covid-19 to “get more money”. American Medical Association president Susan R Bailey called it a “malicious, outrageous, and completely misguided charge”. It was also an insult to the courageous health-care workers who have exhausted themselves and risked their lives to serve.

The nation’s best qualified Covid-19 expert, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, delivered a bracing alarm in an interview with Post reporters. “We’re in for a whole lot of hurt,” he said of the pandemic, contradicting Trump’s sunny claims that it is rounding the corner. “It’s not a good situation. All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”

After those remarks, a packed crowd at a South Florida airport campaign rally for Trump erupted into a chant: “Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci!” The president let the chorus grow louder. “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election,” he said, his supporters cheering almost immediately. “I appreciate the advice.”

Now we learn the White House rammed through the distribution of millions of ineffective, potentially dangerous hydroxychloroquine pills from the strategic national stockpile to cities and pharmacies, bypassing an emergency-use-only authorisation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA later withdrew the authorisation after people suffered adverse affects, and studies have described the antimalarial as of no benefit in fighting the virus.

It is time to get on the team of science and medicine. The American people need to be told the truth about the fight ahead, and told it now. /Washington, November 3

The Washington Post 

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