One way you can easily tell you're watching an opinion show instead of a newscast is when a network medical expert is asserting the president has "blood on his hands" for mocking masks like a "third-grade schoolboy." In particular, mocking Joe Biden's showy mask-wearing.
At the opening gun of CNN Newsroom in the 9 am hour on Friday, anchor Ana Cabrera struck a typical note of doom: "I have a devastating prediction to bring to you from a key model cited by top experts. 224,000 more Americans will die from the coronavirus over the next four months." Then she added politics, noting "it's becoming increasingly clear the president is hoping for a silver bullet of sorts before election day. Multiple sources tell CNN he has been ramping up the pressure on health officials to speed up their work on both vaccines and treatments before November."
She asked CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen about masks and the new predictions:
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, isn't it ironic that the reason for the uptick is because people are not wearing masks the way they are supposed to. So when we hear our president make fun of someone for wearing a mask, our president has blood on his hands. Wearing masks saves lives. Not wearing them costs lives. So I know he thinks it's funny and sort of a third grade schoolboy kind of way but it is not funny at all. Masks save lives.
Cohen then joined Cabrera in sharing doom-laden estimates about a death toll doubling, or tripling. "Projected by January, if we keep doing what we're doing is 410,000. So more than a doubling in just a matter of months. Even if we do what we have been doing. Projected by January with no interventions, meaning if we take the approach that some advocate, let's just sort of let it all go and let the virus rip through the population, 620,000 deaths."
Cabrera then asked Cohen "about this pressure apparently coming from the White House on a vaccine and treatments?" Cohen acknowledged "Pressure to get a vaccine out there in many ways is a good thing. We want a vaccine out there. We can't take years and years to make that happen. It needs to be faster than business as usual." But then the politics intruded again.
“If there’s pressure to get a vaccine out, that actually ends up harming people by November 3rd, that would be terrible,” Cohen said. “It would be terrible for this vaccine and it would leave an indelible mark for generations to come that we are rushing vaccines and people will then be hesitant to get other vaccines. So having any kind of a false deadline means election day, having any kind of a false deadline is really detrimental to public health.”
Cohen is not a medical doctor, but she has a master's degree in public health.
This episode of finding metaphorical blood on Trump's hands was brought to you by Humana.