Pearl River We all know people we go to for medical advice, either seriously or in jest. We have a host on one of our radio stations who calls himself Dr. Ed. One of our team would regularly ask Dr. Ed for medical advice, just to hear Dr. Ed remind him that he was not a doctor. One of my long-time organizing colleagues, Zach Polett, came to ACORN after a couple of years of medical school at Stanford, and for more than a decade he was my consulting physician in my 20s. Now, it’s amazing what I learn from the medical call-in show on Mississippi Public Radio, as I drive through it’s listening area on Wednesday mornings in route to WDSV in Greenville and then on to KABF in Little Rock.
We all have a new doctor, this time in the White House, who has taken to prescribing various coronavirus remedies in daily briefings. This one has a petulant bedside manner. The real doctor who was heading the federal government’s efforts to find a vaccine for Covid-19 made the mistake of saying that hydroxychloroquine, a malarial drug used to treat a germ not a virus, and there is a difference, was not recommended without randomized and medical testing. Dr. Trump fired him. Trump thinks hydroxychloroquine is a “gamechanger.” He got this info from Dr. Oz, the television medical supplements pusher, who was on the air twenty-one times hawking this quackery. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the federal infectious disease department, dismissed all this without taking a breath. Two elderly Arizonans died after poisoning themselves by drinking an aquarium chemical when they saw it contained something similar, thinking they were taking Dr. Trump’s advice and fearing the virus.
Oh, but it gets worse. Now Dr. Trump wants to believe that sunshine perhaps combined with disinfectant might kill the virus in twenty-four hours. #DontDrinkBleach is trending on Twitter. Lysol and others have put out special warnings in bold letters advising people not to swallow their product. Warnings, both real and humorous, are all over the internet telling people not to swallow Tide pods. Dr. Birx, who serves as the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the Trump Administration’s White House Coronavirus Task Force, in the press briefing and on-the-air, when asked by Dr. Trump what she thought about all of this could only say, “it is not a recommended treatment.”
Isn’t it enough that President Trump had to be pulled back from risking more coronavirus deaths after he was undercutting his own administration’s staged steps for reopening? Failing to prevent the devastation of the virus, failing to pretend to be presidential, failing to be a successful protest organizer, now pretending to be a medical expert in yet another new role as Dr. Trump, he could easily have even more blood on his hands. Americans can keep tuning into Netflix, but nothing seems to be taking this horrific reality show off the air.