|President Trump and Mark Levin in the Oval Office on Oct. 8|
(Photo by Leah Millis, Reuters)
Even after President Trump declared March 13 that the coronavirus and its covid-19 disease constituted a national emergency, "Some hosts groused that aggressive measures to contain the disease were a political ploy to undercut the president or ram through unpopular Democratic legislation," ProPublica reports. Polling before Trump's declaration showed considerably less concern among Republicans about the virus than among Democrats; that gap has since narrowed.
Several hosts, including the nationally syndicated Mark Levin, compared covid-19 to seasonal flu, even though it has a higher mortality rate, a much higher hospitalization rate, and a much longer incubation period, allowing people who don't have symptoms to spread the virus unwittingly. "Also, unlike the flu, covid-19 has no vaccine or approved treatment," the reporters note. "Although the hosts conceded that some level of concern about covid-19 is justified, their skepticism could deter their audiences from self-quarantining, social distancing and other behavioral changes that health officials say are necessary."