Editor, Commonwealth:

In response to Tim Kalich’s op-ed column, “Woodward’s the main goat” (Sept. 12):

I am perplexed about all this criticism of Bob Woodward. Perhaps it’s jealousy over his bestseller status.

Mr. Kalich and many others are suggesting that if Mr. Woodward had told the public what Donald Trump said to him about the virulence of the virus in February or March, then maybe more lives would have been saved. Really?

That’s the whole problem in a nutshell. Science and medical experts were telling us — as they were telling Trump — that this was a virulent, highly contagious disease in January, in February, in March. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was muzzled after she warned the public in February. The CDC as a whole has been muzzled by the president. States are not even supposed to report their coronavirus statistics to the CDC any longer — only to the White House.

Even Joe Biden wrote an op-ed in USA Today in January, warning us. But Joe Biden’s a politician, just like Trump, so why should we listen to him or Trump when it comes to a pandemic? If I have a medical concern, I consult a doctor, not a politician.

The tapes of Trump’s discussions with Bob Woodward saying what he said about the virulence of the virus are playing across the country now. They are having no effect on the willingness of many Americans to follow CDC mask and social-distancing guidelines. At least no effect that can be seen. Trump supporters are still packing his rallies without masks — no social distancing there while Trump makes sure that those near him in these rallies have been tested before they are seated. They are still calling the pandemic a hoax, as the United States approaches 200,000 dead — averaging 1,000 deaths each day and 40,000 new cases each month, and schools and universities are being hamstrung with outbreaks. The United States is definitely No. 1 — but not in a way we would like to celebrate.

Some may also focus on the death rate with this virus. As the president states, “It is what it is.” What about long-term side effects? The Mayo Clinic reports long-term heart, lung and brain side effects, and the extent of these will probably not be understood for years to come.

This is not a hoax, and any reporting from Bob Woodward in February or March would most likely have been treated with a yawn by most Trump supporters, as it is being treated currently now that Trump’s voice is out there affirming the reporting in Woodward’s book. After all, we are continually told by our president that reporters in mainstream media are just purveying fake news.

Kathryn Green

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