Braving the cold yesterday, Congressman Dave Loebsack, Dr. Megan Srinivas, and others made stops in Davenport, Cedar Rapids, and Waterloo for Biden for President Iowa’s “Vote Like Your Life Depends on It” press conference.
In Waterloo, the two were joined by local businessman Gary Kroeger to discuss the severity of COVID-19, the growing number of cases, and the refusal of the current administration to control the pandemic–and how Biden will do better.
“March 8 was the very first case of COVID-19 in Iowa,” said Dr. Megan Srinivas, an infectious disease physician and chair of the Biden COVID Response Council. “And in that short 7-1/2 months, we went from one case to over 121,000 infected Iowans. And unfortunately, many of them will have permanent ramifications and several completely with lives lost. Every single one of those lives should never have been touched by COVID-19. Every single one of those infections was preventable.”
Dr. Srinivas went on to share that, as an infectious disease physician, she’s watched her patients suffer from the loneliness of having to socially distance and suffer without the resources necessary to get them through this tough time. She’s watched her colleagues make the tough decision as to whether they give up on patients they cared so much about or if they risk bringing the infection home to their families every single day.
The suffering mentioned was personal to Srinivas, who’s watched family and friends both contract the disease. Two months ago, her uncle caught it and died. “This should have never happened,” said Srinivas, her voice ringing with passion. “And if we had a president who didn’t ignore science, who put the lives of his people above his own political prowess, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
Congressman Loebsack agreed, stressing the need to listen to science.
“I listen to the experts. I’m a politician. I also like to say, yes, I have a PhD but I don’t have an MD. So I have to listen to the folks who really know what’s happening and understand, epidemiologists and those kinds of folks who really know what the problem is and have ideas—good ideas—about how to solve the problem.”
Loebsack faulted the president for not being a role model.
“We’ve got a president who doesn’t model proper behavior and that’s an understatement, to say the least,” he said. “When he came out of the hospital and he got up, apparently he wanted to have a Superman t-shirt on underneath his jacket—just amazing to me—but he ripped of his mask. That was the worst thing that he could have possibly done for this country, as far as being a role model.”
Loebsack continued later, “We found out just yesterday that Jared Kushner told Bob Woodward, and now we all know because it was on tape, that the president really had decided basically to ignore the doctors, he had taken control of policy from the doctors, from the professionals, from the experts. It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.”
Srinivas praised Biden for having a plan where he will both model and enact a mandate for universal masking, adding that such a small thing like a mask can save thousands of lives. She stated that Biden will use the Defense Protection Act to get PPE to healthcare workers, teachers, people working in meat packing plants and grocery stores; he will insure that testing and contact tracing are in place so the country will be prepared to detect and contain infections, instead of carelessly letting them spread.
“When it comes to science,” said Srinivas, “it should never be political. And, unfortunately, we’re in a world where public health and medicine was twisted into a political ploy for a person’s gain.”
Gary Kroeger agreed that it shouldn’t be political, adding that the president made it so.
“He [Donald Trump] said Democrats are politicizing this,” said Kroeger. “Well, that’s when it was politicized. Democrats are reacting to the reality and they’re listening to scientists. Now, we’re behind the eight ball but that’s got to change next Tuesday. We have to have a president that takes leadership, that realizes that the buck stops there, that rather than says, ‘I’m not responsible for this’ says ‘No, I am responsible for putting these plans in action.’ We need that leadership.”
“So we gotta get out, we gotta vote,” said Loebsack. “We gotta make sure, too, that if the Supreme Court decides that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, we have to lead the charge to make sure that we can have proper healthcare in this country. We have to make sure that if COVID is somehow defined as a pre-existing condition, that folks can be covered by their insurance policies. And we’ve got to get a vaccine and make sure that it’s free to everyone as soon as possible. And we have to do all the things that we have to do to protect not just ourselves, but our relatives and our friends and our neighbors.”
What’s the first step to all that?
According to Loebsack, “That starts as President Biden—soon to be President Biden, I hope—says, ‘It’s time to put on your mask.'”
by Rachelle Chase
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