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Editorial: Trump’s lies made pandemic, economy worse
EDITORIAL

Editorial: Trump’s lies made pandemic, economy worse

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President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference Thursday at the White House.

President Donald Trump is a liar, and thousands of Americans have died as a result of his persistent fabrications regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Trump’s falsehoods about COVID-19 also have lengthened the economic downturn and the worst spike in unemployment since the Great Depression.

Even in this cynical era, many Americans still take their cues from the president. If Trump had warned the United States about the true danger and scope of this public health crisis, and informed the country about steps that could minimize the damage, people would have listened.

Instead, we have the world’s highest death toll from COVID-19, at nearly 200,000 and counting, plus an economy that continues to limp along.

For months, we weren’t sure if Trump was actively lying or a science denier. It turns out there’s no doubt, thanks to tapes by Bob Woodward, the reporter who helped bring down the Richard Nixon presidency.

In a series of interviews, Trump monologued like a Bond villain about how he was downplaying the threat from the pandemic.

Trump told the public the virus was no worse than the flu, but in private, Trump told the legendary muckraker that COVID-19 was far more deadly.

We can’t stress enough the sheer stupidity of the so-called leader of the free world bragging about his misdeeds to Woodward, as well as squandering a head start in fighting and preparing the United States for a deadly and easily transmittable virus.

Trump’s response to news of the tapes, surprise, was to lie about lying. Also, he blamed Woodward for not stopping him in misleading the United States for months. (Woodward said he needed time to make sure Trump’s statements from months ago were accurate, though he is getting heat, perhaps deservedly so, for holding on to the information for his new book.)

It’s no secret that Trump is an inveterate liar. He tells half-truths and spreads false information even when it doesn’t benefit him. We knew he wasn’t speaking truthfully about the pandemic. But Woodward’s revelations nevertheless were shocking.

Our country would have been far better off if Trump had said nothing whatsoever about the most significant pandemic in a century. Instead, the president of the United States has knowingly made public health and the economy worse.

Grab-and-go kits

We’ve regularly discussed the need for residents to prepare for emergencies such as the Cascadia subduction zone earthquake — or a pandemic — in this space. That includes having a supply of extra non-perishable food and water in homes.

But forest fires raging throughout the West have driven home the need for grab-and-go kits that could be critical in a disaster if residents need to evacuate.

Sometimes there is no advance warning before you must flee, and this was the case in the North Santiam Canyon for some residents. We’ve heard of authorities knocking on residents’ doors and telling them to leave immediately for their safety. Some people only had time to grab medications and evacuated with nothing else but the clothes on their backs.

Public safety agencies suggest having a plastic tub, duffel bag or other container filled with supplies in case of a fire or other rapid evacuation. If you have a large family, smaller containers might work best.

Among the recommendations of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office are a 10-day supply of food and water for each person — freeze-dried foods such as Mountain House meals are perfect because of their light weight and long shelf life.

First aid supplies, toiletries, extra medications and other essentials such as paper plates and cups, a flashlight, toilet paper, plastic bags, cash, spare eyeglasses and more also should be in the kit.

Keep an extra change of clothing, blankets or sleeping bags, hats and gloves, warm socks and other necessities in the kit as well.

Backpackers might as well load up their gear ahead of time, either for their next trip in the woods or an unexpected evacuation.

The Benton County Sheriff's Office Emergency Management Division has an excellent checklist for a grab-and-go kit online at https://www.co.benton.or.us/preparedness/page/learn-how-be-prepared.

Another way to be prepared is to go to the Benton or Linn County Sheriff’s Office  website and sign up for the Linn-Benton Emergency Alert Notification System. It’s a great way to stay informed, and you can get details about disasters and other emergencies via phone, email or text messages.

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