When a New York bar owner decided against the urgings of his adult daughter to take his wife on a cruise to Spain March 1, he thought he would be OK despite buzz about the growing threat of the coronavirus, daughter Kristen Mider told The New York Times. Joe Joyce, 74, didn’t smoke, and he gave up drinking four years after he opened the Brooklyn bar JJ Bubbles in 1977, the newspaper reported. “He watched Fox, and believed it was under control,’’ Mider said.
Joyce, however, died of the virus April 9 after returning from the cruise.
There have been 737,319 coronavirus cases in the United States, and 39,135 people have died from the virus President Donald Trump said in a TV interview Jan. 22 he wasn’t worried about. “It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control,” Trump said. “It’s going to be just fine.” By late February, the president had repeatedly made false claims that the situation was getting better, The New York Times reported. "It’s going to disappear,” he said Feb. 27, 2020. “One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”
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The virus hasn’t disappeared. And although Trump has changed his stance on its severity, the lives lost in the time it took him to come to his senses put the president at odds with medical experts, state leaders, and other Americans outside of the medical field alike.
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Kristen Mider told The New York Times she thinks if Trump had been truthful with the American public earlier, it could have saved her father’s life. “If Trump had gone on TV with a mask on and said, ‘Hey this is serious,’ I don’t think he would have gone,” she said of the cruise to Spain. When her father returned from his trip, she was the one left to call an ambulance when wheezing later revealed “dangerously low” oxygen levels. The day after Joyce died, Artie Nelson, a longtime bartender of his also died of the illness, The New York Times reported.
Mider told the newspaper her dad argued with her about the need to get tested seven days before he was hospitalized. “He said, ‘Don’t you think this is fishy? Do you know anyone who has it? Do you know anyone who has died from it?’ And I said, ‘Dad, I don’t know anyone now, but give me a week and I bet I will,’” she said. Mider told the Times she wishes she had been wrong.