Editor's Corner
Reflections
by Jonathan Gramling      
Novel Coronavirus
Jonathan Gramling
"Trump claimed on Monday that the coronavirus was "very much under control in the USA." A day later, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention said the virus' spread to the US was inevitable. He said the stock market is "starting to look very good" even as the Dow was
nosediving amid coronavirus anxiety."
— CNN.com

Apparently Donald Trump wants to deal with the coronavirus much like the Chinese government has, obfuscating the true nature of the
epidemic and taking measures to thwart any coverage that disagrees with his narrative and punishing those who would tell the truth about
coronavirus at the expense of American citizens. Trump cares more about the health of Wall Street than he does the health of the people he is
supposed to lead. He would sacrifice many of us for the sake of his own ego.”

The U.S. now has 1,278 cases and 38 deaths. The actual number of cases is probably greater due to test kit snafus. Trump basically tried to
muzzle the medical scientific experts in his own administration, putting Pence, a non-medical person, in charge of messaging on the Novel
Coronavirus.

When I wrote that back on February 26th, I was attacked and ridiculed by two Facebook friends of mine who basically accused me of anti-
Trump bias. One basically said that I should leave talk of the Novel Coronavirus to people who travel and would know something about the
disease.

Well, the Novel Coronavirus had hit close to home and I had my own “expert” living in my home, my son Andrew. Andrew lived in China for
about four years in the 2000s, coming back to the U.S. around 2010. He had lived three of those years in Anhui Province, which is right next
door to Hubei Province where the epicenter of the pandemic, Wuhan, is located.

Andrew was scheduled to go back to China for the month of April to study Tai Chi in Beijing before going to visit friends in some of his old
haunts. He has kept in touch with friends via the Internet for the best decade. He decided back in January that he would be cancelling his trip
due to the spread of the virus and kept in touch about its severity and how it spread. Back near the end of January, he started stocking up on
rice, beans and other staples because he knew that the virus would spread in the U.S.

At first, I was a little skeptical. But with the passage of time, I realized that he knew what he was talking about and glad that he had bought
enough for the two of us, if it comes to that.

When I told my conservative detractors that my son was my expert on Novel Coronavirus, they stopped commenting on my Facebook
thread. As it turns out, I had a better source of information than they did. They relied on Trump. I had my son. I’ll take my son any day.

One of the problems that the United States faces is having a narcissistic president who doesn’t read, operates on instinct, doesn’t believe in
science and makes decisions without consulting people impacted by his decisions.

And so Trumps decision on Wednesday night (tonight) to restrict travel to and from Europe as a way to combat the pandemic caught the
airlines and Europe by surprise. The Novel Coronavirus is already here, Mr. President. Trump wants to appear to be decisive. It’s all about
appearances, his own ego and his reelection and all of reality will conform to his needs, wants and desires.

Trump is incapable of dealing with a national crisis like this because, on some levels, the actual pandemic has nothing to do with him and so
he can’t attack it on a personal, egocentric way. Trump needs to be able to be empathetic and think beyond his own wants and desires and to
be able to use science and information on past viral pandemics and what works in combatting them. And unless Trump is struck by lightning
like St. Paul on the way to Damascus, he won’t change and we, the American people, will get through this pandemic in spite of his
narcissistic style of leadership.

I so look forward to March Madness every year. The start of the tournament on Thursday is one of the few complete days off that I try to
take. I love the thrill of the tournament and being part of a pool started by my friend Paula Avelleyra so long ago and she let me join back in
the 1980s when we both worked at the Urban League.

I will miss the roar and excitement of the crowd and it just won’t seem the same. But not opening the tournament games to the public is the
right thing to do regardless of the loss of money and thrills and fun. The saving of precious human lives trumps all. I sure hope Trump gets it
before it is too late.
I just woke up early this morning to complete The Hues and decided to read the news as a way to get wide
enough awake to start writing. And all of the headlines started hitting me.

The NBA was suspending its games. My beloved March Madness would be played in empty arenas. Actor
Tom Hanks and his wife had contracted Novel Coronavirus. UW-Madison was suspending in-class
instruction — joining major universities across the nation — and students were urged to stay at home until
April 10th. U.S. stock futures had fallen more than 1,000 points. Wall Street is teetering on a bear market.
Yesterday, I had my first ad cancellation due to Novel Coronavirus because the event had been cancelled.
More than likely, things will get worse before they get better.

Back on February 26th, I wrote the following on Facebook: