The coronavirus has tremendously impacted our lives; we all either have had it or know someone who has.
For many younger people, this is the first time we are experiencing something like that. We have never lived through something that has killed so many people.
However, for the older generation this is nothing new.
Time and time again, the government continues to mishandle issues that appear to be relatively easy to fix.
Back in the 1980s, there was another disease that the government failed to treat: AIDS. The disease became rampant.
By the end of the decade, over 20,000 people had died. However, that number has increased now to over 700,000 people.
Now, I realize this isn’t near the amount number of people who have died from COVID, but that isn’t necessarily the point.
AIDS entered the U.S. around the 1970s and the cases drastically increased in the 1980s. It came from Africa and slowly became a global pandemic.
During the time of this pandemic, Reagan was president, and he did nothing to help the people who were suffering. However, a vaccine was promised.
Does this sound familiar?
It took over ten years for this vaccine to even come about, but when it did, it could be deadly if too much was taken.
I’m not trying to compare this to the COVID vaccine; our medicine is far more advanced now than it was in the 1980s and I trust scientists who have had more schooling than I ever will.
I am simply comparing it to someone who continued to say that the vaccine was going to come out way earlier than it actually did.
Similar to COVID, people did not take AIDS as seriously as they should have.
Many conservatives across the country—including the president at that time—assumed that AIDS was God’s way of taking out homosexuals.
However, this disease didn’t even come from humans; it came from chimpanzees. African people would hunt and eat the monkeys without realizing the disease was coursing through their veins.
Nonetheless, no matter what reason someone had a disease, they should not be allowed to die for it.
Ironically in 2003, former president G. W. Bush enacted the largest ever government program that was created specifically for AIDS. He enacted the PEPFAR, which bought and distributed HIV medicines to poor people internationally. Bush’s actions literally saved lives.
Another similarity to COVID is that the government did little about the AIDS crisis.
Many people believe Reagan delegitimized the crisis, which is similar to how Trump intentionally downplayed the coronavirus.
Having a leader downplay a lethal virus is harmful to the people who are trying to do their part in stopping the spread.
In the 1980s, there were conservatives who spoke out against people with AIDS. They attempted to put people against them as much as possible.
Trump decided he would do something similar. He didn’t push what the CDC was saying, he never implored his followers to do their part by wearing masks and staying home.
Instead, he said the opposite, even when he got COVID. He could say this because he was receiving the best care in the country and used fetal stem cells to help him, something he opposed.
This has had a long-lasting effect on our country because instead of being free of the virus and returning to normal life—like many other countries have at this point—we are stuck in a state of no end in sight.
The government really does hold the power: they are the ones who control the money, research, and get to decide who gets help and when.
In the hands of the right person, this can be good. Though as we have seen, in the hands of the wrong person, this can be detrimental.
I always say that history repeats itself, even as closely as 40 years apart. This is one of those instances.