The climate hates deniers. Deniers belch carbon and give the climate a fever. Racism hates deniers because they perpetuate unconscious stereotypes. But the coronavirus loves deniers. Without deniers, the virus would disappear. If everyone took the virus seriously, wore masks and social distanced, the virus would die out. If a coronavirus could talk, it would say, “Thank you, Novak Djokovic, Fox News, and especially, Donald Trump — you are creating the conditions for me to flourish.”
Djokovic is a long-time vaccine opponent who thinks he is invincible and, despite the pandemic, recently sponsored a tennis tournament in his home country of Serbia. Who won the tournament? The coronavirus. Not only did Djokovic catch the virus, but so did his wife, three of the other players, and two coaches. No word yet on the number of workers or fans testing positive, but I am quite positive some of them will.
If coronavirus wanted to hire a propaganda firm to trick people into spreading the virus, it could do no better than Fox News. Fox denies the seriousness of the virus because their boss, Rupert Murdoch, will do anything to prop up his political puppet, Trump. Murdoch makes billions of dollars off of Trump, and Murdoch repays him by endlessly parroting whatever nonsense Trump spouts.
The reasons for Trump’s virus-denial are disgusting. It’s not that he doesn’t know the truth about the virus — he has some of the best experts in the world advising him every day. They tell him that the key to defeating the virus is, “testing, testing, testing.” But instead he tells them to slow down the testing because it reveals the magnitude of the problem and that makes him look bad. He knows that, without testing, he can claim that he made the virus go away, even though it’s not true.
Trump wanna-be Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, is another dangerous virus denier and Brazil is No. 2 in the world in COVID-19 deaths, right behind the United States. Over 125,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, and that number is growing by about 800 per day as many states are having spikes due to opening up too quickly.
I would love to open up, too. I am unemployed myself, and most people I know are suffering from the economic fallout due to the restrictions. But the virus doesn’t care about our economy or how we feel, and if we end the restrictions too soon we will have a repeat of what happened in New York City, where the hospitals were overflowing and people were dying in the corridors. If that happens, governors will have no choice but to re-institute mass stay-at-home orders. So, to prevent that, we need to slowly open the economy and respond quickly if cases rise too high.
People like Trump, Fox News, Bolsonaro, and Djokovic have their own agendas. They think that they are exempt from the need to be “All in this Together.” Fortunately, most people are smart enough to know when they are being lied to. The world can keep this thing under control, like we did here on the Big Island (thank you, everyone). But the deniers make it harder, and I hope, come November, we can get rid of at least one of them.
Matt Binder is a resident of Waimea