A primer on coronavirus and the consequences of failed leadership

in Voices by


We humans (genus Homo) have only been around for about 3 million years. By comparison, dinosaurs roamed earth for 200-plus million years, until a crashing meteor put an end to their dominance.

During our short span of evolutionary time, the greatest killers of humans have been diseases. For example, the so-called Black Death/Plague ravaged Europe and North Africa in the mid 14th century. In four short years (1347-1351), as much as one third of the entire population of Europe perished, perhaps as many as 200 million! That is NOT an inconsequential number.

The “Neolithic Revolution” — the domestication of plants and animals – occurred around 12,000 or so years ago, in the eastern Mediterranean. Until this truly revolutionary transition, all humans lived by hunting wild animals and gathering wild plants; they were nomads and lived in small bands.

But, some of these nomads became sedentary farmers, causing a profound and permanent change in life-styles that produced the most staggering transformations to humankind. With a predictable supply and surplus of food, humans stayed put; cities formed, allowing people to congregate in outsized concentrations packed into small spaces, which became fertile breeding grounds for killer diseases.

It is insightful to understand the consequences of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) being a “novel” coronavirus. It means that when it made its fateful transition from animals to humans (zoonosis), not one single person of the 7.8 billion living on spaceship Earth had any antibodies that could provide protection to this deadly disease.

That is why COVID-19 spread so quickly, within just three or four months to virtually every place on earth, causing almost a half-million deaths and over eight million infections world-wide. There are only three ways to prevent exposure, infection or death from COVID-19: avoid contact with persons who are infected; get a mild infection and recover, thereby producing protective antibodies; become immunized by way of an effective vaccine, unlikely to be available on any wide-scale until early 2021.

By the time you read this, more than 120,000 American’s will have died from COVID-19, the most of any country, with a staggering 2,000,000-plus infections. Medical experts now predict more than 200,000 deaths by October.

The President of the United States has been MIA; let me count the ways (short version):

A POTUS who says “I am not responsible, at all” and tells states they are “on their own.”

A POTUS who cut ties with the World Health Organization, the only institution capable of organizing a coordinated international approach to combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

A POTUS who calls our own CDC and FDA “the enemy.” I must not have received that memo, because I thought COVID-19 was the enemy.

A POTUS, asleep at the helm of leadership, cavalierly claiming that the virus would just magically disappear; what we got instead was No. 1 on the world-wide list of of deaths.

A POTUS who offers loony-tunes conspiracy fantasies to divert blame to others.

A POTUS who refuses to be a “role model” for an effective means of combating the virus, a simple task of wearing a mask. It offends his weak sense of masculinity, but he demands all who surround him to wear one. Go figure.

A POTUS who promotes dangerous unproven “remedies” as protective regimens to COVID-19. Any other person would be arrested for selling snake oil.

A POTUS who threatens calling out America’s military to attack American citizens who peacefully assemble exercising their First Amendment rights.

A POTUS who unleashed police, in battle-gear to tear gas and shoot rubber bullets at PEACEFUL protesters so he could have a political photo-op holding a Bible (that he most probably has never read) in front of an historic church. Excuse me, vicious assaults on us for a political photo-op? You’re kidding, right? POTUS loves a good joke.

A POTUS who recently announced proudly that “COVID-19 has been reduced to ashes.” Except those are the ashes of 100,000 plus American dead, with many more on the way.

A POTUS who now says, “… just don’t test and we will have no infections.” Duh? A make-believe illusion not even the Wizard of Odd could conjure up.

A POTUS who proclaimed “Only I can fix it.” And boy, he damned sure did! Lucky us.

What you see is what you get. By now everyone has witnessed probably more than they had wished for in this toxic soap-opera. Come November 3, you may wish to vote your conscience as if your life depended on it. Because it just might.

David M. Taub was Mayor of Beaufort from 1990 through 1999, and served as a Beaufort County Magistrate Judge from 2010 to 2015. He may be contacted at david.m.taub42@gmail.com.