BY MARK DIXON | A letter from COVID-19 to the president of the United States, thanking him for his evasion tactics, on the six-month anniversary of the country first knowing about the virus.
To: The most powerful human being
From: The most powerful threat to human beings
Dear Mr. President,
We would like to thank you for six months of valuable delaying tactics. You have been a constant friend.
After we first started infecting humans in Wuhan at the start of December, we were expecting you to prepare a war against us to protect your fellow human beings. Indeed, as the most powerful member of the homo sapiens species, we did not expect anything less.
Instead, you decided to help us viruses by playing down the threat. You owed us nothing, and human beings everything. We don’t understand why you were on our side, despite knowing it would result in so many deaths of your own people.
You didn’t just procrastinate, but you actively put out false hope and false information. You lied on behalf of a virus.
On Feb. 2, you said, “We pretty much shut it down,” although you had done nothing to worry us.
Then, on Feb. 14, referring to hot weather, you said, “historically that has been able to kill the virus,” although we had never once enjoyed a summer with human hosts.
After we killed many people in China and started to spread to other countries, you kept on pretending you had us under control. On Feb. 26, you announced that the 15 Americans you claim we had infected “in a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero,” although the statistics showed we were on a rising trend.
On the same day, you said, “It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for,” although everyone knew we were much stronger and that there wasn’t a vaccine.
Your cocktail of lying and inspiring was particularly delicious when, the following day, you added, “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
We remember this period of misdirection and misinformation so well that it has become COVID folklore, handed down from generation to generation. Although we reproduce fast, that doesn’t mean we’ll ever forget kindness shown us by another species. Indeed, we wish to congratulate you for being the first host to welcome a parasite on this scale in the history of the world.
We admired your chutzpah in looking into the cameras and lying for us. Mr. President, you really have been the perfect host.
We could never lie like that. We’re pretty straightforward as a species because our agenda is so obvious — to infect as many human beings as possible.
You then managed to buy us more infection time, with distraction after distraction. You used the ban of flights from China to pretend that America was safe while we were already busily ramping up in the United States. You confused people by claiming vaccines were around the corner, which were in fact going to take ages to be ready, and by kindly taking hydroxychloroquine yourself, even though it actually increases the death rate of people we have infected.
When the facts about our threat became beyond obvious, you changed gear and said the facts were fake. Making our threat fake only helped our threat become more real.
We were so lucky that you had spent years honing your fake news technique as the father of the post-truth era — so you could then deploy it just when we needed it.
Your masterstroke against your own people was in suggesting we didn’t even exist — that we were a “Democratic conspiracy.” There’s nothing a virus appreciates more than going viral as a conspiracy theory.
When the music did finally stop, and governors started locking down different states on their own accord, we resigned ourselves to facing the full force of the United States of America.
However, you went back to battle for us. Unable to hide our threat any longer, you spun it around by saying we were so threatening that mitigating such a threat would destroy the U.S. economy: “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem.”
You had transformed an all-out attack on your species into a trade-off decision. That presented no trade-off to us, just pure upside: more delay to infect more Americans.
Then, invoking religious sentiments, you justified a ridiculously early Easter date for release of lockdowns by calling it “a beautiful time.” It certainly sounded very beautiful to us.
You delayed until April 2 before using the Defense Production Act to increase mask production. We particularly appreciated this product being delayed because masks directly impact our ability to spread.
Your promise in April of a “big bang” in the economy helped some Republican governors release lockdowns earlier so we could infect sooner.
Encouraging fellow humans to rise up against governors working against us — by tweeting “LIBERATE MINNESOTA,” “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” and “LIBERATE VIRGINIA” — helped us divide and conquer your species. Indeed, we understood what you really meant: “LIBERATE COVID.”
The fantastical idea that drinking or injecting disinfectant would kill us as opposed to the human beings themselves was the pièce de résistance in sheer originality of distraction.
As you know, we can’t stand the WHO, who are intent on eradicating us globally. Announcing a week ago that you will defund them was much appreciated.
You have time and again fulfilled our wildest dreams before we had them, and thanks to you, we now number in the trillions.
Without benefit or good reason, in the face of irrefutable facts and with the duty and opportunity to save your own species, you have procrastinated, downplayed, stonewalled, confused, waxed lyrical, lied and even pretended we are fake news, to favor the very species intent on destroying your own.
Your support has been as remarkable as inexplicable.
Dixon’s books and articles have been published on politics, society and finance. He founded and runs boutique mergers-and-acquisitions advisory firms the1.com and ThinkingLinking.com and was a co-founder of BreakingViews.com, which is today part of Reuters.