With those four simple words, Anthony S. Fauci summed up why we are in such dire straits. The novel coronavirus continues to worsen in the United States while improving in other developed countries because of the nonsense emanating from President Trump and the Trumpy governors of the Sun Belt states: On Sunday, Florida (population 21.5 million) reported nearly three times as many new cases as the entire European Union (population 447 million). Let’s stop the nonsense and start saving lives.

Stop smearing scientists for telling the truth. Fauci, the government’s top expert on infectious disease, has been the most prominent victim of a White House smear campaign that has included distributing a fact-challenged “background” sheet attacking him. Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser, even penned a diatribe against Fauci in USA Today — which the newspaper concluded was “misleading.” On Sunday, Trump echoed Navarro by telling Chris Wallace that Fauci is “a little bit of an alarmist.” Trump also has attacked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and retweeted Chuck Woolery, the former host of “Wheel of Fortune,” accusing “everyone” — including “the CDC” — of “lying” about covid-19.

Stop listening to people who don’t know what they are talking about. That Trump is retweeting Woolery, listening to Navarro’s deep thoughts on the coronavirus, and allowing his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to masquerade as an “expert” in supply chains (among other areas) demonstrates his disdain for expertise and, ultimately, the truth itself. The one person at the White House with real medical knowledge is Deborah Birx, but, the New York Times reports, her over-optimistic estimates have been discredited by events. Fauci isn’t an “alarmist"; he’s a realist. Yet it’s been more than two months since he briefed the president.

Stop the happy talk. Trump’s first public comment on the disease was on Jan. 22, when he said: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China.” About 140,000 deaths later, Trump is still delusional. On Sunday, he compared covid-19 to “the sniffles,” and said “I’ll be right eventually” about its disappearance. How many more will die before Trump will admit he’s wrong?

Stop denying resources for testing. As cases have spiked, so have delays for test results. There is no way to stop the pandemic without faster testing. Yet The Post reports that the administration “is trying to block billions of dollars for states to conduct testing and contact tracing in the upcoming coronavirus relief bill.”

Stop blocking mask mandates. CDC Director Robert Redfield says we could bring the virus under control in four to eight weeks if everyone would wear a mask. Yet Trump refuses to issue a national mask mandate. He told Wallace, “I want people to have a certain freedom.” His efforts to sabotage public health are copied by governors such as Brian Kemp (R) of Georgia, who is suing Atlanta’s mayor and City Council members to overturn that city’s mask mandate.

Stop massaging the numbers. Trump has repeatedly said that if we didn’t test so much, we wouldn’t have so many cases. That’s like saying you can’t be pregnant if you don’t take a pregnancy test. Suspicions are growing that Trump is acting on his spurious logic by massaging case numbers: The administration recently ordered hospitals to stop reporting their data to the apolitical CDC and go instead to the Department of Health and Human Services, where Trump loyalists are in control. In a similar vein, the state of Georgia is recoloring its coronavirus maps to hide exponential case growth, and a scientist in Florida (also run by a Republican) says she was fired because she refused to manipulate coronavirus figures.

Stop pretending that schools can reopen in hot zones. Trump says “schools have to open,” yet a South Korean study finds that children over age 10 can spread the disease just as adults do. Israel blamed a resurgence of the virus on its decision to open schools prematurely — and case counts in Israel are nowhere near as high as in Texas and Florida.

Stop trying to divert us from the failing war on the coronavirus by launching a war on demonstrators. The Trump administration has dispatched federal agents, wearing uniforms without name tags and driving cars without markings, to crack down on protests in Portland, Ore. To listen to Trump, the city is under the control of violent anarchists — “it’s worse than Afghanistan,” he said Monday. In fact, Portland is largely peaceful, but the heavy-handed federal intervention is inflaming the situation. Gov. Kate Brown (D) tweeted: “Trump is looking for a confrontation in Oregon in the hopes of winning political points in Ohio or Iowa.”

We cannot survive much more nonsense like this. Time is running out to get the first wave of the coronavirus under control before a second wave is likely to arrive — along with a flu epidemic. Winter is coming, yet Trump and his acolytes continue with their nonsensical words and acts. The president is fiddling with the truth while the virus burns out of control.

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