Talk, talk, talk.

Talking heads and promises abound…

The following fake report is brought to you as a public service by SYMIC— Stop Your Musing It’s Confusing. And now a few words from our stars in a recent comedy or drama, depending on what does or doesn’t make you laugh.

President Trump at April 23rd Briefing: (Addressing his medical experts) …And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it’d be interesting to check that. So that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me. So, we’ll see, but the whole concept of the light (sunlight), the way it kills it in one minute. That’s pretty powerful…

President Trump on April 24: (Responding to a reporter about the above remarks.) But I was asking a sarcastic — and a very sarcastic question — to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside. But it does kill it and it would kill it on the hands and that would make things much better. That was done in the form of a sarcastic question to the reporters. Okay.

 Reporter: But you were asking your medical experts to look into it.

 Trump: Uh, no, no, no, no.

 Reporter: Were you being sarcastic with them?

 Later after further remarks…

Reporter: People tuning into these briefings — they want to get information and guidance and want to know what to do. They’re not looking for rumors.

 Trump: I’m the president and you’re fake news.

That was the big news of the past week, and it continues a debate about the content of these virus crisis briefings. What is the public supposed to take seriously and how do we distinguish critical information from I-know-I’m-not-a-doctor-but musings? The president himself added that he was just making “a suggestion” while Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Task Force Coordinator, who looked very uncomfortable during the disinfectant observations, chose not to comment over the weekend, except to say: “It bothers me that this is still in the news cycle. I worry that we don’t get the information to the American people that they need when we continue to bring up something that was from Thursday night.”

Perhaps she should be more bothered about what people are taking away from these briefings. After all, she was the one the president faced Thursday when he stated: “I would like you to speak to the medical doctors to see if there’s any way that you can apply light and heat to cure … I’m not a doctor, but I’m, like, a person who has a good you know what.”

He may have a good you know what, but there are some people out there who do take him seriously, you know? He is the president, and he seems to be serious about getting people out into the sunlight— something we haven’t experienced much lately— as evidenced by his gleeful observation: “I think a lot of people are gonna go outside all of the sudden!”

I’m sure he was being sarcastic about people suddenly motivated to venture outside en masse. Unless it is to a beach on a hot day in California, and they get to sunbathe and expose their well-oiled skin fewer than six feet away from total strangers. Perhaps they could share disinfectants and test the light-and-heat theory then and there. That should be proof enough.

Okay, that was a bit sarcastic, but I thought I’d give an example of what sarcasm really is.

I’m not here to make fun of this mess we’re all in or to ridicule what seem to be weekly reflections on the next potential miracle that will make it all go away.

No, this is about how easily we can be fooled by quackery that promises a panacea or a solution to all our problems, a cure-all for all our ills. We were already seeing them just weeks into the global invasion of COVID-19. The quacks were way ahead of the federal government in getting in front of it.

Put Your Money Where Your Fear Is…

The Silver Edge Company was recently ordered to cease and desist by the Office of the New York State Attorney General from promoting products that they claim will prevent or cure COVID-19, including the Micro-Particle Colloidal Silver Generator, temporarily sold out in mid-March due to vigorous marketing of the $250 product, as well as silver wire used in the silver generator that ranged up to $490 per order. Now you can make your own colloidal silver, a dietary supplement billed to kill a variety of ills and, more recently, as an implicit or overt claim as a coronavirus antidote or cure.

Another coronavirus cure called the Silver Solution was being promoted on a television show hosted by televangelist, huckster and former prison inmate Jim Bakker and his Morningside Church Productions. This prompted Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt to file suit against Bakker and company for essentially selling fake cures from a “naturopathic doctor” on his show.

Then there was a cease-and-desist order against Airpura Industries promoting two models of air purifiers priced at $899 and $1,149, because they claimed to “effectively control the spread” of the virus in the air. A banner ad proclaims: AIRBORNE & AEROLIZED VIRUS REMOVAL RATE: 99.9%. This is accompanied by a color chart showing the combined impact of UV (Ultraviolet) and HEPA (High-Energy Particulate Air) filtering depicting almost total eradication of TB, anthrax, smallpox, botulism, Influenza A and SARS and the implication that it would do the same with COVID-19. Pick your killer virus or bacteria and they have a deal for you.

It’s part of the American character to assume that no matter how bad things look, the cavalry will arrive in time and we’re going to live happily ever after. I tend to expect that to happen myself, but I know it is not going to come from an overnight miracle with all of us waking up one morning to discover everything is back to normal. If the president himself is sending up trial balloon miracles, why expect millions of Americans not to hang onto the hope? Being hopeful is good. False hope not so much.

Even the best-case scenario of getting back to a new normal or abnormal means that life as we know it is going to change dramatically. Many will adapt and others won’t, but there will continue to be those who will prey on the fears of many who don’t know who to believe and where to go for advice.

So beware of prevention scams, treatment scams, testing scams and supply scams— and it’s probably better to pay more attention to respected experts than selfish and greedy promoters with a product to sell, whether it’s a miracle cure or a political agenda.