Second-Term Trump Will Care Even Less About Covid-19

I care about who is President because I don’t want hundreds of thousands of people to die

Andy Slavitt
Medium Coronavirus Blog
4 min readSep 18, 2020


Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

If Trump wins reelection I don’t see a path towards ending the pandemic here in the U.S. without continual ongoing damage.

Let me take the politics off the table. I care a lot less about who becomes president than hundreds of thousands of people dying. I care about who is president because I don’t want hundreds of thousands of people to die.

I will also add that I do not plan to serve in a new Biden administration. I certainly want the very best people in the key health care jobs and I’m confident that would happen in a Biden administration. But that is not what motivates me.

So let me tell you here’s why I think we will be in bad shape should Trump get reelected.

  1. THE SILVER BULLET. Trump’s entire strategy is a vaccine which, in his mind, ends this thing. And that’s a problem for a few reasons: The bar for a a vaccine is 50% improvement and likely temporary. It is part of a strategy. Not A strategy. A vaccine needs to be developed that is safe, effective, and trusted. Trump’s meddling with the FDA and Hahn’s willingness has eroded trust significantly. For every 10% of the population that doesn’t take a vaccine equals another 100,000 deaths.
  2. MASKS AND DISTANCING WILL STILL MATTER. Whether Trump likes it or not, nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) must be part of the solution if we care about who lives and dies. Hot spots get created randomly — with superspreaders who don’t distance or wear masks. Trump is still staging indoor rallies without masks. Hot spots will continue to burn. If his supporters don’t take tests and don’t contact trace or isolate, none of those innovations will matter.
  3. A PLAN. Defeating the virus requires a simple plan we can stick to. Africa has 1.3 billion people and has had fewer than 30,000 deaths. A plan does not require big resources or American-style genius. But it requires rock-solid implementation. Trump has no patience for it. Biden has a plan and experience. But this thread isn’t about Biden. This is probably a lot like what a Romney plan would look like.