Why the President must reassure the public

Toilet paper hoarding

It is the President’s job to tell us everything is under control, even if it really isn’t.

Plagues, for centuries, have resulted in counterproductive panics. People flee an infected area, spreading the disease, and they hoard supplies needed elsewhere.

There is a fine line to be tread between full transparency and reassurance.

44 thoughts on “Why the President must reassure the public

    1. I’m quite serious.

      As I wrote, there is a fine line to be tread but calming panic is important in dealing with a disease outbreak.

      The news media, even in the absence of bias, tends to promote panic in these situations, and people react in destructive ways. People are emptying the shelves of gloves and masks in areas where there isn’t a case of the disease in 1000 miles, creating a shortage in areas where they are needed.

      People in Oregon, where there is an unexplained case, might decide this is a good time to visit a relative in Virginia, not knowing they are already infected.

      Calming these fears to avoid counterproductive panics is part of managing an outbreak. Failing to do so can cost unnecessary loss of life.

      Outright falsehoods are not justified, but exuding confidence and calm are necessary.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Confidence and calm” I understand, but the outright lies make it so NOTHING he says can be trusted. And that has the added affect of increasing panic because of the lack of knowledge and uncertainty.

        And there is NOTHING calming about that.

        Oh, and I’m quite serious….

        Liked by 2 people

      2. …”exuding confidence and calm”… He exudes that. He also exudes lies, falsehoods, misleading statements, and bile for those who don’t kiss his butt. If you fully trust him, I have a bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn you might be interested in.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. In today’s world, media info is impossible to avoid. Go to an aggregator like Applenews and you will find maybe 100 or more from all over the world. Anywhere from South China Morning Post to The South African to The Independent to WSJ.

        The information is there. That is why autocracies like China, NK, etc., put up firewalls.

        So speak the truth, but also tell the citizens the extent of actions to provide pandemic care.

        Don’t tell them it’s virus is just the common cold. For one thing, people might be lackadaisical and expose more folks, curtail treatment or lose confidence in the leadership totally because they have no idea what the truth is.

        Denigrating the media has consequences in situations like this.

        Trump’s Dorian/Alabama fiasco created a logjam of phone call by citizens who were in zero danger all because the Weather Service had to placate Trump’s ruffled feathers.

        Lies about danger are even more dangerous.

        Liked by 3 people

  1. @Tabor

    Your manly attempts to spin Trump’s egregiously bad performance on this and every other issue must be exhausting.

    Now, in trying to make lemonade out of a lemon, you are reduced to saying that lying to the people is just part of the job. Uh, no. It isn’t. Lying is NOT providing calming leadership and even more so when you are a known liar.

    And again, in your rationalizations for this failure, you leave out all the insane self-serving nonsense this babbling idiot spews. Why, for example, is it helpful for the cause of avoiding panic for the President to blame the stock market crash on the Democratic debates or for him to accuse the media of trying to hurt HIM?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, if you don’t want Trump to claim that the Democrats are at fault for the DOW plunge, then all you need do is get the Democrats to stop claiming the market crash is due to Trump not preventing the Coronavirus outbreak.

      Both claims are wrong. The economic effects of the outbreak are sufficient explanation on their own. Trump should not have sunk to the Democrat’s level, but that’s one of his faults, he can’t let an insult pass unanswered.

      But it was the Democrats in the debate and in Congress who first politicized the outbreak and the effect on the markets.


      1. @Tabor

        Uh, try coming back to planet earth. Criticizing Trump’s inept leadership and poor decisions in the face of a crisis is hardly blaming HIM for the market crash. Democrats are not as stupid as Republicans and they know that it is the global threat of the virus that is tanking financial markets EVERYWHERE, not just here. But, if any individual IS to blame for the crash, it would the one in a position of great power who has been taking credit when the market was good and not some lowly critic at some debate.

        Statements such as “Trump should not have sunk to the Democrat’s level” marks you as someone who is not serious. NOBODY is even close to Trump’s level. He is a sui generis creature with a special kind of ugly that nobody can match.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. The effect on the markets was real. Wall Street didn’t give a crap about Trump, the media or the Democrats. They did worry about supply chains.

        Trump lying about the severity of the virus was the first step in the wrong direction. It is NOT the common cold or the Victoria flu with regards to mortality. Dismantling funding for pandemic actions early on was careless. Blaming the Democrat’s slate of candidates was ridiculous. Saying we’ll have a vaccine “soon” is criminal. Soon is not 6 months or more. And that is only if the Israeli lab claim is accurate.

        You are trying to find equivalencies that don’t exist.

        Liked by 3 people

          1. It’s relevant to me. The point being that the mortality rate for young and old and healthy or impaired are not the same.

            The mortality rate for someone like me is a lot more than 2%


          2. RE: “I wonder what the mortality is for ‘seasoned’ asthmatics?”

            From the NEJM article:

            “On the basis of a case definition requiring a diagnosis of pneumonia, the currently reported case fatality rate is approximately 2%.4 In another article in the Journal, Guan et al. report mortality of 1.4% among 1099 patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19; these patients had a wide spectrum of disease severity. If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.”


  2. RE: “It is the President’s job to tell us everything is under control, even if it really isn’t.”

    Another way to think about it: Nothing is ever totally out of control. With Covid-19, we’re in the fortunate position of having acted early:

    • The disease was first detected in China last December.
    • CDC began tracking incidents of Covid-19 on January 7.

    • CDC activated an Emergency Operations Center dedicated to Covid-19 on January 21.

    • Ten days later, the Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency, enabling the national healthcare community to begin a coordinated response.

    • The U.S. implemented travel restrictions on February 2.


    For comparison, it took six months for HHS to declare a public health emergency over H1N1 in 2009, and there are some indications coronavirus may be less severe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But wait, someone must be lying and this well managed and coordinated response just isn’t enough. We need bull horns blasting in the streets to panic and run for your lives. At least that’s what our liberal friends think.


    2. Thanks for the link.

      I hope it is truthful.

      This is just what critics feared before Trump even became president. If a constant stream of lies, misdirections, exaggerations, easily refuted statements are the norm, how can we trust the man in a real crisis.

      CDC reports are now filtered through Pence or other loyalists. I guess if they are too egregious a whistleblower might come out. Not exactly what we should have to rely on.

      Bottom line is that Trump’s electability is now going to depend on his handling of this crisis. If he does a good job, then the crisis itself will be secondary. Even a recession will be survivable for him. Unfortunately for him, he may have to gain credibility first. Until then his actions will be subject to as much or more scrutiny than Obama’s Ebola.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It is his show now. The folks in charge are regime picks. And their releases will be vetted by Pence.

          “ Now Pence’s office is expected to take the lead role on coordinating all public statements and appearances related to the coronavirus. And the current expectation is that officials on the task force who go on television will likely have to clear their statements with his office beforehand.”


          All well and good to prevent panic and misinformation. But this regime has a credibility problem.
          From the very top. So in my view the “filter” is not reliable.

          We shall see. At least we are past the “no worse than the flu” mortality (2% versus .05% this year) reassurance by Trump and right wing media.

          I think.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Messaging is everything in Trump’s world. Anything that remotely looks bad for him will be tweaked to prevent factual information that is damning to him. – IMHO.


          2. RE: “It is his show now. The folks in charge are regime picks. And their releases will be vetted by Pence.”

            You comments strike me as highly irresponsible. You are in no position to give people medical advice and could cause real damage by encouraging others to mistrust public health officials.


          3. You amaze me. Sort of like a Trump.

            No where did I say I could give medical advice.

            Got that? Good.

            Did I encourage anyone to mistrust the CDC? In my opinion, there is a credibility problem with the regime. Pence is part of the regime.

            So you think my opinions are so highly regarded that others will follow me to the detriment of their health?

            Now, Limbaugh has followers in the 10’s of millions of “dittoheads”. He just received the Medal of Freedom from Trump. Trump has sung his praises many, many times.

            “ Now, I want to tell you the truth about the coronavirus. I’m dead right on this. The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.”

            So who did you accuse of being irresponsible and giving medical “advice”? I seem to have forgotten.

            Was it Limbaugh, Trump’s media darling?

            Must have been.

            Liked by 2 people

          4. RE: “In my opinion, there is a credibility problem with the regime. Pence is part of the regime.”

            So is the CDC. My point is that it is irresponsible of you to make comments like that, suggesting there is a credibility problem with the regime.

            RE: “‘The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.'”

            Limbaugh’s statement is consistent with CDC statements which, in turn, are consistent with other sources, like the New England Journal of Medicine, which I have quoted elsewhere in this thread:

            “the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%).”

            But, like an ignoramus, you want people to believe Trump, Pence and CDC are or will be lying to them. There is no evidence of that, but you do it anyway. Somewhere a child or an old person will die needlessly because or behavior like yours.


          1. @Tabor

            If you’re referring to the 2015/16 data issues, the differences with NIS data and CDC data was attributed to methodology (both collection and analysis).

            As to any “motive” ? Speculate away…

            Liked by 1 person

        2. “ Somewhere a child or an old person will die needlessly because or behavior like yours.”

          Are you drunk?

          Just asking because you are acting irrationally.

          According to the CDC, as reported in Business Insider, as of yesterday, the mortality rate was 3.4%. That seems a bit more than the common cold. And this seasons flu is around .05%


          If you say that other studies show otherwise. Fine. But don’t call me an ignoramus or blame for killing people. A simple request for civility that you seem to ignore.

          I was a bigot yesterday. But I thought we settled that. I guess not.

          Now there are the credibility problems.

          Trump lies. I listed, with context and references 10 the other day you never challenged. Another “crisis” lie that might be more fitting is that his administration put out that 6000 terrorists were apprehended at the souther border. That was just before the 2018 election.

          Well it turned that number was for airports around the world. The border accounted for something like 4. Not thousand. Just 4. I believe that was a lie to scare us into submission. You might call it a rounding error.

          In another “crisis” Suleimani, savage that he was, was killed because of at least 5 escalating reasons. The best one was that other targets were imminent. Well, maybe not imminent. Well, ”he deserved it anyway” I think was the final takeaway. So we have a few dozen soldiers with “headaches”. Well, actually TBI.

          So I am on solid ground when I comment on credibility, or the lack of.

          I know, you can explain away all of his lies just like his staff has to back track and explain what he REALLY meant. What, 13000 times?

          So, yes, their is an irresponsible ignoramus with regards to this discussion. (No, I am not referring to you. I just think you are wrong and I explained why.)

          It’s that jackass in the Oval Office.

          So there you go. Except for questioning your sobriety tonight, with reason I might add, I stuck to the topic.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Trump. With all of his lies, we now are expected to believe anything he has to say? I’d say you’re smarter than that, but you either believe the lies he has told or try to spin them away in some sort of pretzel logic fashion.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. And much better tasting!

      Price gouging happens every time there is some sort of “panic”. However, it is recommended to not overuse hand sanitizer as it lowers the ph balance of the skin of the hands. Which actually makes them more susceptible to catching something. Lever 2000 is my choice. Or the brandy.


    2. I guess the people did not believe the regime when it equated it to the common cold.

      Besides, warm water, plain soap and two versus of “Happy Birthday to You” are considered as good or better than OTC sanitizers. Some viruses have been know to thrive on Purell. The alcohol I think.

      As an observation, I think we are in for a rough ride over the next year at least. A severe test for any president.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it is going to depend a lot on if COVID-19 goes dormant for the summer or not, as most respiratory viruses do.

        In any case, in view of my own health history, I ordered an Oxygen concentrator today.

        I can always sell it later if not needed, but six months from now you might not be able to get one at any price.


        1. If it does go dormant and follow the typical viral pattern, next season will be a bitch…

          Good move on the concentrator and good luck with age/respiratory combo.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Next season we will be better prepared to treat it and MAY have a vaccine.

            Buying time is the proper strategy at this point.

            Thanks, I will be doing a lot of cardio as well to prepare.


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