The Trump administration seems ready to roll out a new public message on the coronavirus: Americans should just accept the new rise in cases and the death figures. And Fox News figures are apparently testing out this new public relations campaign.
“The virus is with us, but we need to live with it," one administration official told NBC News last week.
The Washington Post reported Monday that the administration hopes “Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day”:
White House officials also hope Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day, according to three people familiar with the White House’s thinking, who requested anonymity to reveal internal deliberations. Americans will “live with the virus being a threat,” in the words of one of those people, a senior administration official.
“They’re of the belief that people will get over it or if we stop highlighting it, the base will move on and the public will learn to accept 50,000 to 100,000 new cases a day,” said a former administration official in touch with the campaign.
Appearing on July 6 edition of Fox & Friends, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows defended President Donald Trump’s statement that 99% coronavirus cases are “harmless” — a claim that is tied solely to mortality rates and disregards the grueling health ordeals that many patients will have to go through.
“When you start to look at the stats and look at all the numbers that we have, the amount of testing that we have, the vast majority of people are safe from this,” Meadows said. “When you look at the deaths that we have — if you're over 80 years of age, or if you have three what they call comorbidities — diabetes, hypertension, heart issues — then you need to be very, very careful. Outside of that, the risks are extremely low, and the president’s right with that, and the facts and the statistics back us up there.”
Co-host Brian Kilmeade, who has long dismissed the COVID-19 death numbers and called for a “military mindset” to reopen even as cases increase, asked Meadows outright if the White House’s plan was now to get people to accept the virus:
Later Monday morning on Fox’s America’s Newsroom, Fox Business anchor David Asman repeated the same talking point: Americans will not only have to accept more cases, but more coronavirus-related deaths.
While Asman mentioned a positive example of European countries opening up, he omitted the fact that those countries have clearly done a better job of containing the virus. Meanwhile, the United States’ numbers never went down to the European Union levels and are now just shooting back up again.
Another point about Europe’s reopening: As one of its components to maintain public health, the EU is still banning non-essential U.S. travelers.