Our tax dollars—$250 million of them—are going to pay for a pre-election public relations campaign to “defeat despair and inspire hope” on COVID-19. The Department of Health and Human Services has asked for bids from communications firms for that amount. They will be paid for “harnessing the power of traditional, digital and social media, the sports and entertainment industries, public health associations, and other creative partners.”
In other words, for producing propaganda about public health.
This comes from the administration that ordered less testing, saying that reducing testing means less COVID-19 infections. This from the administration that said “science should not stand in the way” of reopening in-person classes in every school. That doctors should consider injecting COVID-19 patients with bleach. That the coronavirus will just go away—a claim Trump repeated 32 times since the virus hit: on February 12, where there were 12 cases and no deaths; on March 6, when there were 278 cases and 14 deaths; On March 30, when there were 161, 807 cases and 2,978 deaths; and so on and on and on to August 5—a single day that saw 1,380 deaths.
On August 5, he also claimed that kids are “almost immune.” They are not—in fact, during the month before this statement, child COVID cases rose by 90 percent.
Bottom line: Trump and his administration care about public relations, not public health. This latest $250 million PR boondoggle is just one more crass move to publicly fund his re-election campaign.