After some 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases around the globe and more than 5,000 deaths in America, President Trump finally, finally, FINALLY adopted a proper tone in addressing the pandemic on Tuesday.
Gone were his misguided statements about the virus being a politically motivated hoax. His voice no longer carried the joy of a country on the verge of reopening by Easter.
COVID-19 is a situation unlike any I've ever seen in my lifetime. My 72-year-old mother says it's unlike anything she's ever seen.
So Trump's words finally urging caution and predicting tragedy are exactly what America needs to hear, despite the unpleasantness.
"I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” Trump said Tuesday. “This is going to be one of the roughest two or three weeks we've ever had in our country. We're going to lose thousands of people.”
The president's language is vital because there's a segment of our population which believes his every word. When Trump makes a claim, and it's repeated by his servants at Fox News, it reinforces his statement, no matter how ridiculous it is.
For proof, I have to go back no further than last Saturday when I went to make a picture of a Corvette. As I was walking up to the car, I was heckled by a local resident who I've known for several years.
"What are you doing here?" he asked, not waiting for a response. "There's no coronavirus here. All the media cares about nowadays is the coronavirus."
This guy continued to carry on about how coronavirus is just overblown media hoopla manufactured by liberals who are out to get our president. This mentality has been the chorus of seemingly every story from Fox News.
This mindset has also shown it's ugly face in Louisiana where preacher Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle Church continues to hold services despite government orders not to gather in groups. In a TV interview, Spell said, "The virus, we believe, is politically motivated."
This is why the president's change in tone on Tuesday is so welcome and so necessary. If he's going to continue to downplay the virus, there are people who are going to believe him, no matter how high the death toll climbs. If Trump were to say COVID-19 was manufactured in a lab in Hillary Clinton's basement, there would be a segment of the population which would believe that -- and probably form chat rooms about it on social media.
The sad truth is 13,157 people haven't died in Italy to further some left-wing political agenda to have Trump defeated. Dead bodies aren't being stored in refrigerated trucks in New York City due to lack of morgue space because of a hoax.
Americans must take this health threat with grave seriousness. That starts with our president providing reliable information, not fairy tales about restarting the country in time for the Easter Bunny.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.