It has been reported that President Donald Trump and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie both got the coronavirus from the same event. They were both hospitalized for a short time and it appears the two will make a full recovery. Yet, they have had different reactions as a result of the experience.
Trump’s opinion of COVID-19 has not been affected by him, his wife and son, and many in the White House contracting the virus. If there has been any reaction, it is doubling down his prior view downplaying its seriousness. He said that he feels better than he did twenty years ago. It sounds like getting the virus is a good thing, a fountain of youth. Although the president knows how many people caught the virus at one Rose Garden event, it has not stopped him from having rallies with supporters packed together, many of whom are not wearing masks. He has been holding more rallies than he did prior to contracting the virus.
In contrast, Christie issued a statement when he was released from the hospital after seven days saying, “The ramifications [of the virus] are wildly random and potentially deadly. No one should be happy to get the virus and no one should be cavalier about being infected or infecting others.”
“I was wrong to not wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the President and the rest of the team. I hope that my experience shows my fellow citizens that you should follow CDC guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others. The public health consequences of ignoring the virus and the responsible safeguards that we need to take will be additional illness and death caused by COVID-19. Every public official, regardless of party or position, should advocate for every American to wear a mask in public, appropriately socially distance and to wash your hands frequently every day.”
Governor Christie should be commended for his admission. It is very hard to admit you were wrong, especially when it relates to a contentious issue as dealing with COVID-19.
Christie’s view of the virus was affected by his personal experience. Yet, it appears that many people who did not contract the virus are unwilling to take that step and learn from Christie and other individuals’ experiences. I believe that this is caused by at least two reasons: an inability to admit that you made a mistake, and not wanting to change. It sometimes causes rational people to engage in conduct which is truly bizarre and self-destructive. For example, Shmuel Sackett, in the October 15 issue of the Queens Jewish Link mentions about a PLAN-Demic Jewish cult that claims there is no pandemic, but it was created by wicked people such as Bill Gates and Prime Minister Netanyahu, among others. They also claim that if you wear a mask it is considered avodah zara (idol worship).
There are also many people who are attending potentially super-spreader events without masks or social distancing. Although there may be division in the country when it relates to being involved in super-spreader events, every political persuasion and religious community is guilty. What is unfortunate is that there are some, who rather than admitting that they must change their conduct to try to save lives, instead attack the government. This group includes some Orthodox Jews who claim anti-Semitism. This is a deflection from having to address the underlying facts about the danger of not wearing masks or lack of social distancing, especially indoors. One of the local rabbis said that we should follow the government guidelines not because the governor said so but because Jewish law requires it.
The President likes to mention Winston Churchill. The citizens of London, during the Battle of Britain, faced daily bombardment by Germany planes for months in 1940. It was relentless and affected their lives. No one liked having to be stuck going underground or being in small shelters. However, if you stayed underground or in a bomb shelter, your chances for survival were greater.
The bombing analogy is useful in discussing how to deal with COVID-19. When it relates to which military targets should be bombed in order to cause the most loss of life, going after a large group would be the first choice. Not all large groups are equal: The planes would rather go after an unprotected group, which does not have anti-aircraft guns to shoot down the planes.
Likewise, the larger the group, the greater chance of the virus being spread. However, not all groups are the same: The virus is much more likely to attack a group where there is little mask-wearing or social distancing.
It is hard to be objective when you have to make a decision which affects your own conduct. However, if we look at the situation objectively, we will come to the same conclusion as Governor Christie. Hopefully, we or our loved ones will not need to suffer like he did to draw the right conclusion.