Has America given up the War on Covid-19? White House chief Mark Meadows says US 'not going to control pandemic’
'It is a contagious virus, just like the flu,' Meadows insisted
As coronavirus case numbers spike across the US, the Trump administration signaled that it does not intend to contain the Covid-19 crisis. This after White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said during an interview that the US will not get control of the coronavirus pandemic. “We're not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics, and other mitigation areas,” Meadows said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” When asked why, he argued, “Because it is a contagious virus. Just like the flu, it’s contagious” – a statement that has been repeatedly rejected by scientists and health experts.
Meadows said that the administration is making efforts to contain the crisis, but what is important is to ensure that people do not die from it. “What the country needs to do is to make sure that we have the proper mitigation factors, whether it’s therapies or vaccines or treatments, to make sure that people don’t die from this,” he emphasized, adding, “we’re going to defeat it because what we are, we’re Americans. We do that.”
The comments from President Donald Trump’s aide come as coronavirus cases surge across the US and the administration continues to disregard advice from government health experts to wear masks, social distance, and avoid large gatherings as public health measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Trump has repeatedly downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic and continues to insist that the US is “rounding the corner” and the virus is “going away,” even as numbers tell a different story. According to the numbers updated by the coronavirus tracker of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 8,553,827 cases have been reported from across the US so far, including 83,851 new cases as of October 25. In the last seven days, 472,338 Covid-19 cases have been reported. The Johns Hopkins tracker shows that more than 8,633,190 coronavirus cases have been reported from across the US as of October 26, and over 225,210 have died in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meadows also insisted that the situation is improving in the US. “We continue to face this enemy that came from China. And yet what we also know is, the one area that -- where we are rounding the corner is really the death rate as it looks to that. Our ability to handle this has improved each and every day, each and every month,” he said.
While Meadowns agreed that Americans, including the president, should ‘certainly’ follow CDC guidelines, he defended Trump’s campaign rallies during the pandemic, where attendees are not mandated to wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus. “We don’t mandate masks because -- here’s the other thing is, we offer them out. We live in a free society,” he said.
Meanwhile, the White House chief of staff said that Vice President Mike Pence will continue to campaign instead of quarantine, even though some of his aides have tested positive for Covid-19. He defended Pence’s decision to stay on the trail, saying the vice president is “essential personnel,” and therefore, he does not need to self-isolate. Asked why campaigning was classed ‘essential.” Meadows explained the vice president continues to do his official work while campaigning.
“I’m not saying he’s (Pence) not campaigning. I’m saying that that is only part of what he’s doing. And, as we look at that, essential personnel, whether it’s the vice president of the US or anyone else, has to continue on,” argued Meadows. He added, “And I spoke to the vice president...And I can tell you that what he’s doing is wearing a mask, socially distancing. And when he goes up to speak, he will take the mask off, put it back on. But he -- he’s wearing a mask as it relates to this particular thing because the doctors have -- have advised him to do that.”
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden responded to Meadows saying that “White House chief of staff Mark Meadows stunningly admitted this morning that the administration has given up on even trying to control this pandemic, that they’ve given up on their basic duty to protect the American people.” “This wasn't a slip by Meadows, it was a candid acknowledgment of what President Trump’s strategy has clearly been from the beginning of this crisis: to wave the white flag of defeat and hope that by ignoring it, the virus would simply go away. It hasn’t, and it won’t,” Biden said in a statement.