Mike Pence: The essential worker

Vice President Mike Pence

MADISON, WIS. — No fewer than five of Vice President Pence’s closest staff members have tested positive for Covid-19.

If five of your closest friends or colleagues had tested positive for the virus, health authorities would demand that you stay home for 14 days for fear that you might also be contagious.

But Pence, who heads the White House Task Force on Coronavirus, is jetting around the country speaking to rallies of the faithful, ignoring Center for Disease Control cautions that he might be endangering anyone he sees.

How can this be? Well, Mark Meadows, the president’s chief-of-staff explains that Pence is an “essential worker.”

I guess that ranks him right up there is doctors and intensive care unit nurses. The nation needs him.

In fact, he may be more necessary than doctors and intensive care unit nurses.

President Trump, during an 80-minute outdoor speech in Waukesha Saturday, asserted that the nation has “turned the corner” on the virus and that one reason so many people are hospitalized is because the hospitals and doctors are commiting fraud.

“Doctors get more money and the hospitals get more money,” Trump explained. I’m sure those free-loading health care workers will be comforted by that.

All this is beyond insanity, but we’re not done yet.

Meadows also told reporters over the weekend that the government has no intention of controlling the virus, which has already killed more than 225,000 Americans and has now been diagnosed in more than eight million of us.

“We’re not going to control the pandemic,” he said. “We’re going to control the vaccine and therapeutics and other measures.”

Just to be clear, we don’t yet have a vaccine, though the drug companies seem optimistic that we will have one soon. We don’t know how effective the vaccine will be once it is approved – flu vaccines, for example, have to be renewed annually and protect only . . .well, the protection varies from very little to about 60 percent depending on the year.

The government can’t “control” any of that.

In the meantime, more than 80,000 Americans are diagnosed with the virus every day and about 50,000 of us on average die.

The president says if a large airliner were to crash and kill 500 people (that would be a pretty big plane), the news media would ignore it in order to talk about “covid, covid, covid.”

That is, of course, absolute nonsense. What is not absolute nonsense is that the equivalent of two or three loaded airliners die every, single, day.

But, Mike Pence is essential. That’s what the White House says.