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What did God intend with COVID-19?

By Jack Bernard

Bernard is a retired corporate executive.

According to the Pew Research Center, “27% of U.S. adults believe Trump’s election reflects God’s will in the sense that the 2016 outcome must be part of God’s overall plan.” It is not surprising that, even after the many revelations about Trump’s sordid personal history, many Americans still believe that God chose a reality show con man to lead us.

After all, numerous evangelical leaders have supported Trump since he first began his quest for President in 2015. Florida televangelist Paula White, Trump’s spiritual advisor, said “he is authentically — whether people like it or not — has been raised up by God.” In 2016, most US states did in fact vote for Trump in the Electoral College, although he lost the popular vote by 3 million.

We are in the midst of the worst pandemic in 100 years. How has it turned out for those Trump states, the ones that Pastor White believes followed God’s will?

Harvard’s Global Health Institute keeps up with data by state. As of Sept. 29, red colored states have had the most difficulty controlling the epidemic (as measured by cases per 100,000). 

Specifically, 10 of the 10 red colored states which are the worst at controlling the COVID-19 spread (25+cases /100,000) voted for Trump in 2016. Based on the opinion of medical experts, Harvard indicates there is a need for stay at home orders in these states, although that’s not what they are doing.

Likewise, 16 of the 21 “orange” states (10-24 cases/100,000) went for Trump. These states also have a high rate of spread and are advised to have stay at home orders and increased testing/tracing.

Almost all the yellow and green colored states, with low rates of spread, voted for Hillary. There are only a few exceptions — swing states Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, Maine and Pennsylvania.

Should we believe God has suddenly turned his back on those red states? In his infinite wisdom, did he strike Florida, an orange state with significant spread, because Trump moved there while protecting New York, his former home?

No. I don’t think that is what happened. The reason these GOP dominated states are worse off than the blue states is, however, directly related to the cult of Trump that influences much of the GOP. 

It’s been documented that back in February and early March, epidemiological experts were concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. Trump’s response was to say it was a “hoax” perpetrated by Democrats. Until the stock market went into a bear market, he was completely unconcerned. Even afterwards, he stated the virus would be “gone by Easter.”

Trump still buries his head in the sand when not blaming others and saying God has chosen him to improve the economy. 

Instead of implementing the National Pandemic Crisis Plan developed by the National Security Agency under Obama, Trump told the states COVID-19 was their problem. Deal with it. Which gets me to the state responses.

Governors of Democrat-controlled states have made strong efforts to follow epidemiological advice, although not all have been completely successful. Many GOP controlled states have chosen instead to follow Trump’s lead.

Somehow, these red state Governors have managed to ignore the hypocrisy of their actions. People can’t be required to wear masks to prevent a disease spreading, but we can tell men and women their clothes must cover their private parts.

We can’t tell bars to close due to a pandemic, but we can tell them not to open on Sundays except at designated hours. Texas and a few others don’t permit Sunday package liquor sales at all.

Gov. Kemp, a Trump follower, is one of the worst Governors regarding COVID-19. Since mid-March, we all knew people can transmit the virus without symptoms. Yet Kemp waited until April 2 to issue a weak executive order, saying (contrary to all the facts) that “we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours.”

As if that wasn’t enough, his subsequent actions have been farcical. He opened businesses too soon. He prevented responsible counties and cities from taking measures, such as mandating masks, which were more restrictive than the state. He went so far as to take legal action (since dropped) against the mayor of Atlanta.

If God did direct us to elect Trump and Kemp, it is clear that he did so in order to teach us two lessons.

Put science before politics. And don’t believe in con men.