Joseph Wyatt: The coronavirus lottery (Opinion)

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With an utterance that could have come from Yogi Berra, President Donald Trump recently said of the novel coronavirus, “If we didn’t do any testing, we would have very few cases.” As a corollary to that wisdom, I maintain that, if we never sent the fire truck, nobody’s house would burn down.

Elsewhere, he said testing is overrated because, “... you could test negative this afternoon but get infected tonight,” which is a good reason to not watch Fox News tonight, because the national events could change by tomorrow.

Moving on, I miss live athletic competition. Nevertheless, I will refrain from joining the sports-bar-deprived Americans who are dead set on betting their lives in the coronavirus lottery. Watching from home, revivals of auto racing and golf are a nice start, but I yearn for baseball. And I wake up in a sweat over whether football will return in the fall.

Thus, I continue to mostly stay in the house. When in public, I wear a mask which, in the minds of the “Lock her up” crowd, is nearly enough to qualify me for life membership in the deep state. At least that is my understanding, based on the peer-reviewed findings of gun-toting statehouse protesters.

To distract us from the likelihood of noticing that things are badly out of the norm, the president recently launched an attack on his predecessor. However, the odds of getting Mr. Trump to provide a definition of “Obamagate” seem as tenuous as if we had asked him to describe James K. Polk’s opinion of Bigfoot.

To those with a preference for reality, the president’s vague references to imaginary wrongdoing by the black former first executive are as lame as his effort to overcome the virus by talking about in the past tense, as when he announced, “We have prevailed.” If he really believed that, why didn’t he schedule another emotional support rally for mid-May?

Speaking of Fox News, observers have begun to inquire whether the network lately has begun to ever so slightly distance itself from the president. Back on April 1, host Brit Hume tweeted, “NY’s COVID-19 fatality numbers are inflated.” Also that day, host Laura Ingraham suggested the same. Hosts Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Tucker Carlson and others were heard to echo the misinformation during April, as well.

But in mid-May, something changed. President Trump took to Twitter seven times in one evening just to bash Fox’s Neal Cavuto, after the host strongly advised against hydroxychloroquine. Perhaps the execs and lawyers at Fox have become concerned that their show hosts had gone too far in their efforts to downplay the dangers of COVID-19.

Interestingly, while in April the network’s stars pushed the nation’s reopening, behind the scenes, the company’s work-from-home policy prevailed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are thousands more COVID-19 deaths than the official reports say. In contrast, Media Matters for America reported on an April poll that revealed 82% of Fox’s “frequent” and “occasional” viewers believed the opposite — that fewer Americans had died than the CDC was saying. In contrast, 59% of those who said they never watched Fox indicated that they believed the CDC. Might Fox’s executives have become concerned that families of COVID-19 victims will sue the network for its April underplaying of the dangers of the virus? That could explain any altered course at Fox.

Joseph Wyatt is a Gazette-Mail

contributing columnist and emeritus professor at Marshall University.

Funerals for Saturday, july 11, 2020

Bias, Mary - 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Bsharah, Mary - 11 a.m., St. George Orthodox Cathedral.

Burkhart, Charlotte - 11 a.m., Kanawha Valley Memorial Gardens, Glasgow.

Cain, Dennis - 1 p.m., Stump Funeral Home & Cremation, Grantsville.

Holcomb, William - 10 a.m., Sunset Cemetery, Bickmore.

King, Ruth - 1 p.m., Cooke Funeral Home, Nitro.

McLeod, Julius - 3 p.m., streaming live, see obituary.

Null,  Virginia -11 a.m., Haven of Rest Memorial Gardens, Red House.

Parsons, Olivia - 5 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.

Pauley, William - 2 p.m., Kelly's Creek Community Church, Sissonville.

Surratt, Carol - 11 a.m.,  Tyler Mountain Funeral Home, Cross Lanes.

Webb, Betty - 3 p.m., Loudendale Freewill Baptist Church.