Natural selection at work

What Happens When Leaders Won’t Shut Disease-Spreading Businesses and Make Mask Shunning a Political Statement

This scatter plot of Covid-19 infections per 300,000 population (Y axis) vs percentage share of vote going to Trump by state (X-axis) certainly looks like a case of Darwinian natural selection at work to me.

The above graph speaks for itself, but it certainly unarguably demonstrates how Darwin’s theory of natural selection works, with creatures that successfully face adversity surviving to reproduce successfully while those that fail tests of adversity tend to die off.

It shows that Republican-led states that, in the face of higher and higher numbers of Covid victims, and higher and higher deaths from the disease and complications among those who survived it, continued to keep businesses like gyms, theaters and restaurants open, that refused to mandate mask wearing in public (or even praised mask refusals as patriot defense of “freedom”), that hosted big rallies by Trump and his non-masked supporters, and that voted overwhelmingly for Trump’s re-election, are being hit much harder by the Coronavirus Pandemic than are states led by Democrats and populated by a majority of people who voted on Nov. 3 for a science-backing presidential candidate, Joe Biden.

Now, belatedly, governors of Covid-19 stricken states like North and South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska are belatedly calling for residents to wear masks and even considering some business closures. But the proverbial horse has long since left the barn, along with the sheep, pigs and cows. There’s no point in closing the barn door now, because the barn’s on fire.

Like Trump’s admission, after he caught the disease himself (surviving thanks to a helicopter ambulance and the best medical care the country could provide, including access to medications still in the testing phase), that the Coronavirus is “serious,”  it’s a little late.

The disease, now the second-most deadly epidemic in US history including during the colonial era,  is now officially spreading out of control.

One can debate the reasons why people who were witnessing first-hand the results of President Trump’s manifestly incompetent and self-indulgent catastrophically leadership in the eight months prior to Election Day that the coronavirus was worsening continued to support him. (One South Dakota nurse reports that even as they lie dying in the hospital from Covid infections, some are denying that it is a “real” disease!) That is a matter for political scientists and psychologists. But the facts on the ground are undeniable. Following Trumpian anti-science tweets is deadly for people and is devastating the economy too.

Epidemic expert Charles Vidich is author of a remarkably timely forthcoming book, Germs at Bay, a history of quarantines in the US.  Surveying the current wild spread of Covid-19 throughout the US, which since this spring has  consistently “boasted” the world’s highest contagion and death rates, accounting for a fifth of all cases and of deaths despite only accounting for only 4.4 percent of global population, Vidich tells ThisCantBeHappening, “At this point what we really need is a Pied Piper to lead people to do the right thing. Instead we have had, and still have a Pied Piper who’s been leading people in the wrong direction towards the wrong bridge!”