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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Mexico fans react after Mexico F Julián Quiñones 73rd-minute goal during the MexTour match between Mexico and Brazil at Kyle Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Politicians need to step back, let the scientists take over now

Photo by Creative Commons

Opinion writer Allison Dennis argues that both the Trump administration and partisanship are slowing down the management of the coronavirus.

Would you ever think to put the phrases “global pandemic” and “hoax” together in the same sentence? This outbreak has already caused so much pain and loss in our world. Yet, the President of the United States seems to not agree with my sentiments. Instead, the Trump administration has turned the attitudes of many Americans toward indifference or distrust in the painful reality of the virus. Instead of satisfying the right of Americans to science and security from their government, he has injected politics into the fight against the coronavirus, adding fuel to the fire.
Since the initial start of the pandemic, the White House has displayed inaction and unpreparedness in combating the chaos of the coronavirus. They have accomplished this feat through downplaying the dangers of the epidemic, mishandling information and advice, and repeatedly contradicting public health officials about the virus’s reach and severity in the U.S. When experts point to social distancing as the solution to lessening its impact, Trump adversely tells the public that it’s okay to go to work when you are sick. When scientists argue that the virus can be deadlier than the flu since Americans do not have immunity or a vaccine, Trump incompatibly reassures America that it’s actually like the flu.
So, it can’t be that bad, right? Wrong. This fumble in management and spread of misinformation, riddled with error and racism, has put the U.S. back in progress towards fighting the virus and protecting the health of fellow citizens. All because our president did not grant the platform to scientists and experts. Rather, the White House, unsurprisingly, chose to value politics over human life, re-election campaigns over science and partisanship over truth.
Many Americans did not see the coronavirus as a real threat because the Trump administration did not take the virus seriously enough until it was too late. The calls of the CDC were being drowned out by the results of the administration’s apathetic and minimalistic response to the public health crisis. Personally, I believed that the virus was being blown out of proportion, especially when the disheartening decision was sent out to transition to online classes. I did not understand why such harsh precautions were being implemented when all I had heard was that the virus was “similar to the flu” or that “young people can’t get it.” It was not until our president declared a national emergency that I came to reality. It should not have taken a declaration of a national emergency to bring me to my senses and start adhering to the direction of experts. Yet, I cannot merely point this blame at one individual, administration or party. The disunity in our government during this national health crisis, specifically along party lines, has negatively shaped how the public views the crisis. Even in the face of a pandemic, during a time where national unity is of the utmost importance, politics are continuing to divide our country.
A contrasting perspective of parties on the threat level of the virus exists with a majority of Republicans arguing that it is overblown and a majority of Democrats concurring that it is a real threat. This contrast results in differing views within our government on how to adequately provide prevention and protection, causing stalls and fights about legislation. In addition to the dissent caused by politicians and government officials acting as experts, the virus has now slipped into the campaign. We are inadvertently permitting politicians to put politics before people when we grant them the room to steer the pandemic for political gain.
Politicians must realize their limitations and step back to let the individuals who understand the threat of the coronavirus and have no political gain stemming from it. We must now let experts lead the discussion and direction where American focus should be to prevent further spreading of the virus. There is a difference between providing the public hope versus giving the public false and misleading information disguised as optimism. The success of stopping this pandemic in the U.S. is dependent on how much the public is informed and how much they participate, which is a feat that will only occur when we hear out the scientists.

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