The Trump administration is reportedly working on a new phase of PR for its coronavirus response, summed up in the phrase: "We need to live with it." The new unofficial slogan was reported on Friday by NBC News, based on sources within the White House. They claim that the new line of reasoning is an attempt to resolve the president's rhetoric, his economic agenda and the advice of medical professionals.
Administration officials are reportedly working hard on a new philosophy to underlie all of the White House's coronavirus response, beginning some time this week. The "sharper, and less conflicting" message they mean to spread is: "learn to live with it." This will reportedly involve the administration moving away from the vague hope that COVID-19 will disappear — as Donald Trump suggested as recently as Tuesday — and instead admitting that it is here to stay. With that in mind, the White House wants to prepare Americans to live their lives as normally as possible, with the pandemic serving as an anxious backdrop.
Top advisers in the White House reportedly decided on this new line of messaging when they accepted that the coronavirus pandemic will still be raging on in November, when the president seeks re-election. They want to put an emphasis on therapeutic drugs that can ease the symptoms of the sick, while suggesting that most Americans face a relatively low risk of dying from COVID-19.
"The virus is with us, but we need to live with it," a source told NBC News. They said that they hope to promote this message with a new study next week, showing promising results from some therapeutic drugs on certain kinds of patients. They offered no details on these treatments but said that they will be "market-moving."
The official also said that the new messaging campaign will focus on extolling how high the survival rate of COVID-19 is in the U.S., and will suggest that only people in certain age groups with certain underlying conditions really need to stay at home. This flies in the face of quotes from medical professionals like Dr. Anthony Fauci, who condemned the re-opening of public spaces around the country while testifying before the Senate earlier this week.
The idea that young adults do not need to fear COVID-19 has already come up throughout this crisis, and has been disproven by some of the most severe cases the country has seen so far. In an article for Hopkins Medicine, Dr. Lisa Lockerd Maragakis pointed out that young people make up a significant portion of hospitalizations and ICU entries, and can suffer permanent lung damage even if they survive the virus. At the same time, they put any older people in their lives at risk if they do not avoid contamination as much as possible.
And yet, somehow, other countries get to live without it.
This new White House messaging is an admission that the Trump Administration is incompetent and incapable. Elections have consequences, and we are living it right now. https://t.co/YCqtwQYx0j pic.twitter.com/vk9lSe6mN7— Caitlin Murray (@caitlinmurr) July 3, 2020
However, according to NBC News the administration's biggest fear for their new take on the coronavirus is that Trump himself will not "stick to the script." The president has already made his aides "cringe" by speaking freely at press conferences and speeches, arguing with reporters and insisting without citation that the virus will "just disappear, I hope."
Now, press briefings are expected to become a big part of the administration's response again, and advisers are urging the president to keep things brief and stick to their agreed-upon messaging. The changes will reportedly be clear beginning next week.