Action, not panic, coming from President Trump (Opinion)
President Trump delivered a strong and decisive speech on Wednesday night about the coronavirus pandemic. He accomplished several things that shows the type of leadership we should expect from our elected officials. He was factual and calm and reminded us about the actions his Administration took immediately upon learning of the outbreak in China, which kept the number of infected low in the US.
First, he accurately presented the facts from medical professionals about who is really at risk of becoming critically ill from coronavirus. The CDC has outlined the risk to elderly people and those with a history of medical complications. The takeaway is that younger people will most likely either not get the virus or if they do, recovery relatively quickly.
Some of the facts from the WHO are important to report. Out of approximately 127,000 cases worldwide, nearly 70,000 have FULLY recovered and another 49,000 have very mild symptoms. Nearly 5,000 people have died, mostly in China, Iran and Italy and fewer than 6,000 have a serious condition resulting from the virus. Compare that to the swine flu which hit the world in 2009 infecting an estimated 60 million Americans and killing nearly 12,500 of our fellow citizens.
The second thing the President accomplished was direct action to ensure the spread of the virus is minimized. He put in place a travel ban to and from Europe, excluding the UK, for the next 30 days. Leaving a window open for that ban to be shortened and allowing Americans abroad to still return home after proper screening. It was a measured and smart move which has been shown to be effective policy if you look at the actions in January. Bottom line? Travel bans and quarantines work when they are targeted at high risk areas and groups, not the general population.
The third thing that came across in the President’s speech is the economic action Trump is pushing. With the NBA canceling it’s season, the real victims will be the part-time and hourly workers who sell the food and clean the arenas.
Although I think the NBA has made a bad decision that will do more harm than good, it happened. And President Trump reassured workers that the federal government will not leave them out to dry. Economic stimulus is coming, as long as the impeachment crazy Democratic majority in the US House can put down the partisan political for a moment and actually think about helping the American people.
One of the best ideas the President offered is a payroll tax cut. Currently you’re paying 6.2% of your paycheck in payroll taxes. You’re employer is paying that much as well. For those of you who are self employed, you’re paying both ends. A $50,000 a year employee stands to get what would equal a $3,000 a year pay raise. This is the kind of decisive action which will help real people and off set some of the damage caused by the over-reaction from organizations like the NBA.
The panic is often worse than any disease or pandemic. Panic hurts people. Panic costs people their jobs, livelihood and freedom. Not acting at all could be deadly of course so you’ve got to find balance. Don’t go crazy with the hand sanitizer as I explained earlier in the week, you could actually be causing yourself more harm than good. And wash your hands, don’t touch your face, you’ve heard it all before, best practices for the flu season. If you’re in a high risk area, yes, close school, have people tele-commute, and consider what public events should be canceled. If you’re in a high risk category personally, stay home, take precautions and stay in touch with your doc.
Best advice I can give is don’t panic and listen to the calm factual presentations from medical experts and the Administration which is very much in charge of the situation.
Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015. Tweet him @NJ1015 or @BillSpadea. The opinions expressed here are solely those of Bill Spadea.
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