Since the president announced in March that COVID-19 would disappear, the evidence of continued spread of the pandemic has affected every state of the union. The coronavirus continued to spread in the “battleground states” as the president urged states to reopen. Essential workers were contracting the virus in nursing homes, prisons, meat packing plants and farms. The president and many governors ignored alarming facts and data showed it was unsafe to open. In fact, the numbers of people testing positive has risen exponentially. The daily death toll was has risen everywhere, but especially the “battleground states” that Trump depends on to get reelected. Today the cases in Florida have surpassed New York. Only California exceeds that its rise in cases.
Now Major League Baseball is paying the consequences of ignoring the facts. The Miami Marlins played a game despite Commissioner Rob Manfred knowing about the outbreak of COVID-19. The team, like the St. Louis Cardinals, wound up having to skip numerous games with players and coaches sick.
Rather than follow the advice of Dr. Fauci — who leads with the facts, the data, the science — the president disputes the epidemiologist’s caution. He had his Trade Advisor, Peter Navarro attack his credulity. Now Trump wonders why the doctors Fauci and Birx are more popular than him.
Wearing masks is required in dozens of states or more throughout the country. Meanwhile, until recently, and rarely since, the president has seldom been seen in a mask. Unfortunately for our country, he does not set a good example. More than 20 states are in the “Red Zone” COVID hot spots, including Michigan, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and the entire South. All of these states failed to ”flatten the curve” before opening.
After Memorial Day and the Fourth of July the country watched hordes of people crowded on beaches and in swimming pools. We saw people face to face and shoulder to shoulder in bars and parties in states that Donald Trump encouraged to “liberate.” COVID-19 skyrocketed in those states. Trump held a political rally in Tulsa, Okla. Two weeks later the COVID-19 cases multiplied. Apparently the hot summer weather does not suppress the potency of the coronavirus!
Health care workers give us a personal view of what it is like on the front lines of a COVID-19 ward. Dr. Melendez in Texas served as a doctor in the military. He described his hospital COVID ward as a “war zone.” He said, “We cry every day. It’s really difficult when you have to put your next door neighbors, your mom’s best friend, in a body bag.” Six of Dr. Melendez’s nurses have died from COVID.
Despite all these weaknesses, false claims and huge increase in the number of cases after states opened too early, journalists have not printed “I told you so! Look what happens when you fail to heed the science, the data, the CDC, the doctors.” Why is that? I believe it is because professional journalists follow a “code of ethics.” The preamble of the Code of Ethics states:
“Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of Information that is accurate, fair and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity.”
It is professional to report the news fairly and accurately. It is not professional to exult or celebrate the bad news that you predicted.
Newspapers play a vital role in providing “we the people” information that is fair and balanced. The local newspaper is doing a great job. However, COVID has caused a financial strain. Please contact your legislators and ask that they add newspapers to vote for AB 323 to save local journalism and save them from financial collapse and closure.
— Donna Lawson/Vallejo