The coronavirus is an unaware little pathogen hurtling aimlessly through the air. We are much smarter than the coronavirus and should be able to control it — and in many parts of the world, we have.

But not in America. Not even in the West Wing — the most secure part of America. Here, the virus is in control.

The big picture: The U.S., and the Trump administration specifically, have refused to acknowledge that the virus gets to set the rules for this conflict. It travels how it travels. It infects whoever it can. Yes, we can beat it, but we have to fight it on its terms.

“We can’t will the virus to be different than it is. You can’t intimidate the virus, you can’t tweet at the virus, you can’t bully the virus, you can’t be like, ‘I’m just going to ignore the virus and it will go away,’” said Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University’s school of public health.