The advice from public health experts on Covid-19 is to wear mask and practice social distancing, avoiding crowds.
Those who deliberately ignore these guidelines are not taking on risk solely for themselves. Instead, their actions also place everyone around them at risk without their choice.
By now, Americans understand that many Republicans – those who take their lead from President Donald Trump and mock masks and insist on attending events and going about business as usual – are placing anyone around them at risk of contracting the virus. The United States has more than 7 million cases, more than any other country in the world, and reports more than 200,000 deaths.
Too many current leaders neglect their responsibility to protect public health. "Public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play," reports the American Public Health Association. "While a doctor treats people who are sick, those of us working in public health try to prevent people from getting sick or injured in the first place. We also promote wellness by encouraging healthy behaviors."
The president has Covid-19, and his medical team resists criticizing his reticence to wear a mask or maintain social distancing. They did not reject a car ride to see supporters that could bring risk to his Secret Service agents. They do not lead on contact tracing for the White House staff exposed to the president or the other multiple staff exposed to the virus. Likewise, they refuse to disclose the president’s test schedule or results.
Sean Conley, the US president’s physician who famously denied that the president was not “now” on oxygen immediately triggered curiosity from the media and public at large. Had he been at oxygen at all since testing positive for Covid-19?
“I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, the course of this illness has had. I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness another direction. And in doing so, it came off as we were trying to hide something – which wasn’t necessarily true.” The comment was an effort to extend blame, suggesting the entire team was might be responsible for the deceptive comments he alone made.
Conley backtracked the following day, after the medical team reported the president was receiving the steroid dexamethasone, reported to help people with severe cases of Covid-19.
Conley's denials and upbeat assessments harm not only the president but anyone near him. Conley and the rest of the White House report that the president has since been resting and symptom free, otherwise sharing few details, including the dates and results of his Covid-19 tests.
The president’s doctors should strive to protect public health, stressing guidelines from the World Health Organization that follow and do a public service by pointing out the president’s willful violations.
• Regularly and thoroughly clean hands with alcohol-based rub or soap and water.
• Practice social distancing by maintaining at least 3 feet of space between yourself and others.
• Avoid crowded places.
• Wear a fabric mask when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
• Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
• Follow good respiratory hygiene, covering mouth and nose with bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Then dispose of used tissues and wash hands.
• Stay home and self-isolate with symptoms such as cough, headache and mild fever, until you recover.
• Seek medical attention for a fever, cough and difficulty breathing
• Keep up to date on the latest information from trusted health authorities.