The problem is that young people are love-starved, or whatever term you would like to substitute. As soon as the bars, beaches and swimming pools were allowed to reopen, they swooped in — 20-somethings, 30-somethings, 40- and 50-somethings, even the teeny-boppers with phony IDs — hitting on everybody in sight. Tossing caution to the wind, along with their face masks, they crammed together in tight spaces. In effect, COVID became an STD, a socially transmitted disease. And that’s why we’re seeing so many positive results, when these party animals even bother being tested. After they leave their hot spots and return to their families and friends, they create new hot spots in their communities. Each has the potential to become a one-person pestilence. Deborah Birx, the White House overseer of all thing coronavirus — almost as famous as Tony Fauci — said the kiddies and kiddie wannabes had been docilely complying with the stay at home orders, except for the militia groups. But when first word came of a relaxing of restrictions, some of them went berserk. Or as Birx more elegantly put it, “When they saw people out and about on social media, they all went out and about.” President Donald Trump’s lackeys in the Republican party and red state governors have gone along with aggressive efforts to reopen and restart the economy. Now they need to scale back and reverse their reopening, because COVID has erupted like wildfire. Suddenly some cities are once again having to deal with shortages of ICU beds, supplies like protective equipment or even enough hours in the day to fight COVID without dropping from exhaustion. It’s a lethal mess, and now with the U.S. passing the 3 million mark in COVID cases, many of the public health experts are having a hard time not saying “I told you so.” It’s not only Trump’s ignorance that has gotten in the way, but his ego. He is addicted to supporters roaring their approval of him. That emotional need has fed the deadly crisis. It turns out that even the puny crowd in Tulsa a couple weeks ago could cause a COVID spike. That’s in the “I told you so” category too, as it appears the 6,500 or so in the 19,000 capacity Tulsa coliseum went forth to infect the community. Most of them didn’t wear masks, apparently thinking that their MAGA caps would provide protection. What’s really galling is that there is such a simple solution: All that the Trump re-election campaign organizations would have to do is distribute MAGA masks and the problem would be solved. Apparently there’s a fear that Trump haters would use the masks to clean off other parts of their bodies, if you catch my drift. Trump has attached himself to a new issue to demagogue. He and Education Secretary Betsy Devos are pressuring local officials around the country to reopen schools. He clearly views it as a chance to appeal to parents who would like their little tykes out of the house. The problem is that the kiddies could get ill with this highly contagious “invisible killer” and, in worst case scenarios, they could bring the virus home or even die. Donald Trump is desperate to be re-elected. Desperate enough to do and say foolish things. Come to think of it, that’s not really anything different.
Bob Franken is an Emmy Award-winning reporter who covered Washington for more than 20 years with CNN. © 2020 Bob Franken Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.