I am not in the business of making predictions.
As my wife Su.zan often admonishes me, “you have been wrong more often than right.” But I have been right on some of the big things, so I am not reluctant to speculate that about three weeks before Election Day, President Trump will announce that a COVID-19 vaccine bas been approved and he will claim it is ready to be used by millions of Americans.
That announcement is supposed to be the game-changer that will assure that the president wins bis re-election effort. But will it really be a game-changer?
From the very beginning of this pandemic, a nervous public has been given multiple assurances that the COVID-19 will go away. It started out with Trump saying that “it’s only fifteen cases and before you know it the numbers will go down and it will be gone.”
That magic prediction was followed by a Trump statement that “the warm weather will come and it will magically disappear.”
As time went by, Mr. Trump labeled it a “hoax” and blamed the virus on the Chinese, the Democrats and the media. But week after week, the virus infections got worse and the number of deaths began to rise.
Then came the hydroxachlorine scam.
The White House had discovered a magic bullet to stop the growing virus count. Trump called it a “magic drug” and on national TV insisted “Americans had nothing to lose.” Once his solution became public, health experts, led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, questioned whether this drug could be effective in treating COVID-19 inflicted patients. In time, the Center for Disease Control stated that it was good for malaria patients but would not be effective in treating COVID-19.
The president kept insisting that his magic drug was a cure-all and as of today there are 92 million hydroxachlorine pills sitting in U.S. government warehouses, with no current demand for them. The only beneficiary of this drug scam, were the stockholders and drug companies that sold them.
The next folly was the president’s demand that the governors open up their states for business. At least six governors, all from solid Republican states, sent forth the word that it was safe to open.
Rather than follow CDC guidelines on a staged re-opening, they let bars, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters re-open. Within weeks the number of reported cases began to spike and emergency rooms and ICU units were flooded. Arizona, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and a handful of others experienced what New York went through back in March. Throughout this ugly process, the president maintained that the economy trumps the health of America.
At this point in time, the number of cases is dropping but so are the numhers of tests being administered.
That means that it is getting harder and harder to prevent long term increases and it is becoming impossible to track any new outbreaks. To help pour gasoline on the fire, the president has discouraged new testing because,” when you test more, the numbers go up.”
To date, the president has given at least three companies, billions of dollars, to help speed their work to develop a vaccine. It is an accepted scientific procedure that the testing of drugs is done in three phases.
At the early stages, only a handful of healthy people are inoculated. At Phase 3, at least 32,000 people have to be given shots and they must represent a cross-section of the general public. This is the most crucial stage, as it assures that people of all backgrounds can benefit from the drug.
Facing a dangerous electoral map, a reckless president is prepared to give the go-ahead and announce that a drug is ready for public use. He is so desperate that he is willing to skip Phase 3, even if it means that the vaccine will not work.
Dr. Fauci and other significant health officials will warn that taking the vaccine too soon may be a useless act. But there is an election coming and for Donald J. Trump, that’s all that matters.