Wednesday, May 06, 2020


Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor and Bloomberg columnist, considers a bleak possibility:
In the midst of the constant up-and-down of coronavirus news, both from science and the markets, it’s easy to lose sight of the scariest scenario of them all: the one where there’s no magic bullet. In this entirely plausible situation, there would be no effective Covid-19 vaccine or transformative therapy; the combination of testing and contact tracing wouldn’t successfully suppress the outbreak; and herd immunity would come, if at all, only after millions of deaths around the world.

Even raising this possibility is a big downer. But the fact that an outcome is terrible doesn’t make it impossible.
Feldman doesn't offer many rays of hope -- you can read his column if you want to imagine a future with no relief from the pandemic, even years from now.

I bring this up not to depress you, but to anger you.

Feldman writes:
Despite getting expert answers to dozens of my questions, the one question I haven’t been able to get an answer for is this: Who, exactly, is planning for the nightmare scenario in which we never get a vaccine or a breakthrough treatment?
We know who should be planning for this, of course. Feldman arrives at the obvious answer, and acknowledges that that particular individual is doing nothing of the sort.

And he gives him a pass for it.
Ideally, it would be the federal government’s executive branch, with its resources and bird’s-eye view of the problem. But the president, running for reelection, has every reason to insist on (unrealistic) optimism. In fact, the administration actually discussed disbanding its coronavirus task force.
Seriously? We're in the midst of a once-in-a-century health catastrophe and Feldman's attitude toward Trump is "Hey, you can't blame the guy for saying the glass is half full and washing his hands of the entire crisis -- he's running for reelection"?

Why do so many of our media elitists find it impossible to imagine that Donald Trump is a moral monster and completely unfit to hold office? Why must they move the goalposts to normalize him?

Many governors are running for reelection this year, including Washington's Jay Inslee, who dealt with America's first COVID-19 outbreak, and Phil Murphy of New Jersey, one of the hardest-hit states. (UPDATE: My mistake -- Murphy is up for reelection next year.) They're not dealing in unrealistic optimism. They're not proclaiming that the crisis is over. That's because they're not narcissistic simpletons, and they're not doing the bidding of plutocrat sociopaths. If either one were president now, Feldman's nightmare scenario would be taken seriously. That would be true for many other politicians, including some Republicans. The fact that Donald Trump has no sense of responsibility and has human feelings apart from egomania doesn't mean every leader is the same way.

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