Different Takes: Lessons On Guarding Information About The President’s Health; Reckless Leaders Cost Lives

Editorial pages focus on topics about leadership during the pandemic and other topics, as well.

Guarding The President’s Privacy Is Key For A White House Physician 

Before deciding to take a photogenic, early-evening helicopter ride from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center back to the White House, President Trump toyed with an even more dramatic idea. He discussed wearing a Superman T-shirt under his dress clothes, coming out of the hospital looking exhausted, and then tearing off his outer shirt to reveal himself as the ever-strong Superman. Made-for-tweeting publicity stunts that are rejected can still teach us something: In this case, it is about the power of costumes and the narratives they bring with them. (George J. Annas, 10/14)

Miami Herald:
Trump, DeSantis Put Politics Over Floridians Health

Welcome to the Trump-DeSantis horror show in Central Florida. It can make you sick and kill you, but Floriduh dunces love these COVID deniers. Supporters see President Trump’s narcissism and couldn’t-care-less attitude as a sign of strength. They see the governor’s reckless behavior — mingling with crowds without wearing a mask, high-fiving people, then wiping his nose in the middle of a pandemic — as anything but what it is, dangerous. It’s gross, and grotesque, too. (Fabiola Santiago, 10/13)

St. Louis Dispatch:
Trump’s Self-Serving Spate Of Political Rallies Could Cost Lives

In a normal political world, a president who deliberately endangers thousands of his own supporters for his personal benefit would face a massive public backlash. But as President Donald Trump and his enablers remind us weekly now, we’re no longer in a normal political world. Trump’s decision to hit the road this week with live, crowded, mostly maskless rallies — while refusing to divulge complete information about his own coronavirus testing status — is a mind-boggling act of self-centered hubris. (10/13)

Fox News:
The Cult Of Mask-Wearing Grows, With No Evidence They Work

If someone had asked you a year ago what you thought of people who wear masks after Halloween, the chances are your reaction would have been negative. What kind of person covers his face in public? Armed robbers do that sort of thing. So do Klansmen and radical Wahhabis. The rest of us don’t do that. In fact, until recently, wearing a mask in public was illegal in many places. The assumption was if you’re hiding who you are, you’re up to something bad. It made people nervous. By our nature, we want to see each other. We need to see each other. Looking at another person’s face is the beginning of connection. Eliminating that connection dehumanizes us. That used to be obvious. (Tucker Carlson, 10/13)

Chicago Tribune:
Trump’s Dance, McConnell’s COVID Cackle Show Reckless Disregard For Surging Pandemic

Recently hospitalized with the virus, Trump was onstage at a Monday campaign event in Florida. Masks were optional, even though coronavirus cases are surging in the state. It was an epidemiologist’s worst nightmare come to life. But for Trump, it was time to celebrate. He did a little dance to “Macho Man” by Village People, a song his campaign might consider researching more carefully. The president looked absurdly triumphant. The more than 215,000 Americans who died of COVID-19 so far this year could not be reached for comment, though I can’t imagine they were thrilled about the unsavory man dancing on their graves. Senate Majority Leader McConnell was debating his opponent, Democrat Amy McGrath, in Kentucky on Monday. When McGrath criticized McConnell’s handling of the pandemic, he smiled. Then he started laughing as she spoke, because a virus that has crippled the economy and left millions of Americans unemployed is, apparently, hilarious. (Rex Huppke, 10/14)

The Wall Street Journal:
Who’s Afraid Of Amy Coney Barrett?

The Senate confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett may lack for political drama, but they are still instructive. They are revealing the deep fault lines over the Supreme Court, and how Democrats view it as a mini-legislature to achieve policy goals, rather than a real judicial body. Democrats are asking very little about the actual law or Judge Barrett’s jurisprudential thinking. Instead, one after another, Democrats have used their time to focus on a parade of policy horribles if she is confirmed. And for emotional effect, they brought along photo displays of children and women who would supposedly be her victims on health care, abortion, gun violence and more. (10/13)

The Washington Post:
Postpone The Election? Voter Intimidation? Amy Coney Barrett Is Open To It. 

Judge Amy Coney Barrett wasn’t inclined to opine on anything — not on whether in vitro fertilization is “tantamount to manslaughter,” not on whether she might support re-criminalizing homosexuality and certainly not on whether she’d invalidate Obamacare or Roe v. Wade. But the most chilling moment of her Supreme Court confirmation testimony Tuesday came when she said she would “need to hear arguments” about whether President Trump can postpone the election. (Dana Milbank, 10/13)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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