Keep People Calm!?

While President Trump was downplaying Covid-19 to avoid ‘panic’ among Americans, he was also doing nothing to protect them

Andy Slavitt
Medium Coronavirus Blog
3 min readSep 11, 2020


Credit: Drew Angerer / Staff / Getty Images

Paul Revere thought he was doing his job but that whole “redcoats are coming” thing panicked people.

The White House has a very systematic model and detailed memos on states where Covid-19 cases are growing, but they don’t share them publicly. So we don’t panic people.

Florida let go the one person in the state who tried to point out what was about to — and did — hit them. Fortunately they fired her so she didn’t panic people. Before some of them died.

We left people on the Diamond Princess so they didn’t come ashore and panic people. Same with the Navy ship.

We’re not putting together safe isolation spaces. This way we don’t panic people.

Trump told nursing homes in 2017 he wasn’t going to enforce nursing home standards on infection control. Why panic them?

Trump let 40,000 people in from China after the supposed ban. Why mention that? It would only panic people.

Trump wanted people back in church sitting elbow to elbow Easter Sunday. Why panic them with silly warnings about contagion?

Trump tells people to take off their masks and won’t wear one. Why panic people about a respiratory virus.

No flags at half staff. No funerals. No visits to hospitals. Avoiding panic.

First of all — thank you for the great job Mr. President keeping everybody calm. The calm throughout the country as people mysteriously died in record numbers, as people with sick family members can’t go out, as working people put themselves in danger.

Your strategy quickly worked. Because while you weren’t panicking us, in the background you were also doing nothing. But I have a question. While you didn’t panic people, why weren’t you doing work behind the scenes — like having tests that worked and public health standards ready to go?

If you thought 5% of people who got it were going to die, did you think we would never notice?