Standing in front of his coronavirus task force, he told the public in grim words that there would be more illnesses and more deaths in the next two weeks. He admitted that if America adheres to its current social distance guidelines, the death toll is likely to be between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans dead.
“Our country is in the middle of a major national process that has never happened before,” said Trump.
Well, it’s time.
The truth here is that everything Trump said on Tuesday about the spread and the dangers – and even the death toll – has been publicly known for weeks. The only leader who did not recognize this was the President.
Remember that 23 days ago, Trump has sent this tweet to his over 70 million followers:
“Last year, 37,000 Americans died of flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 a year. Nothing is decommissioned, life and the economy continue. There are currently 546 confirmed cases of Corona Virus with 22 deaths. Think about it ! “
Even when he sent this tweet, scientists and infectious disease experts told anyone who would listen that this was NOT the flu – the mortality rate was far higher, we had no herd immunity and there was no vaccine.
Trump didn’t want to believe that. So he decided it was wrong. And through his words and actions – whether his tweets and public statements downplaying the threat or his government’s slow response to the lack of adequate tests – Trump’s decisions helped bring us to this bad place.
To put it bluntly, this isn’t the fault of the corona virus at Trump’s feet. This was and is a virus that has never been spread to humans. There is no vaccine. Governments around the world are having trouble fighting them and protecting their citizens as I write.
However, there is no question that Trump’s downplaying of the virus has played a role in these critical recent weeks, that we are now faced with the blunt reality that significantly more Americans are dying from coronavirus than in the Vietnam War (58,220). .
“There is no question that the United States has missed the opportunity to be one step ahead of the novel coronavirus,” Bill Gates wrote in a Washington Post comment Wednesday.
The Boston Globe editorial team was even duller and wrote in an editorial entitled “A President Who Is Not Suitable For A Pandemic:”
“While the spread of the novel corona virus has been aggressive around the world, much of the profound impact it will have here in the United States has been avoidable. As the American public prepares for the worst of this crisis, it is worth noting that the range of the virus is not due to force majeure or a foreign invasion, but to a colossal failure of the leadership.
“The outbreak that started in China required a White House that could act quickly and competently to protect public health, be scientifically informed, and run by compassion and public service. It required an administration that could quickly test reliably across the country To isolate cases, track and curb the spread of the virus as South Korea has effectively done, and to produce and distribute scarce medical care across the country, it asked a President of the United States to be clear, consistent, and scientific Providing well-informed messages about the state of the US epidemic and its solutions to calm the public’s fear and provide steady guidance to cities and states, and called for a leader to put the country’s wellbeing first over that short-term stock market returns and his own re-election perspective n and who would work with other nations to stem the flood of COVID-19 cases around the world? “
Trump is going to do what he always does: rewrite history – and especially his own actions to ensure that he is the hero of the story. Over the past 48 hours, he has repeatedly quoted estimates that coronavirus could kill more than 2 million Americans without interventions, such as social distancing,.
Which, sure. However, there was never a question of whether the United States had to follow best practices to flatten the curve as the corona virus spreads. Especially given the fact that Trump – and the rest of the country – saw how the coronavirus affected China and effectively shut down society to stop it from spreading.
What Trump is doing is the equivalent of taking out your parents’ brand new car, suffering an accident because you looked at your phone while driving and then told them you were lucky that the broken frontend was the only harm because without your amazing driving skills it would have been worse. Your parents wouldn’t buy that. You want that you have not looked at your phone and that your new car is not damaged.
Again, I’m not saying that Trump and his government could have prevented all Coronavirus deaths in America. This would have been completely impossible due to the openness of our society and the infection / mortality rate of this virus.
However, I suggest that Trump will not deserve praise when he finally realizes and recognizes the severity of this crisis, when more than 3,000 Americans are already dead, and even the brightest forecasts indicate that tens of thousands more will die.
Remember that South Korea and the United States received their first cases on the same day, January 20th. The two countries took very different approaches to respond to the virus. South Korea has so far reported 165 coronavirus deaths and has successfully flattened its curve due to aggressive testing and isolation practices.
In the United States, there were opportunities to previously provide needed medical equipment such as masks and ventilators, widespread availability of tests, and an on-site edict to mitigate the catastrophic loss of life we are now facing. Trump did not do these things and, worse, publicly rejected concerns about the virus and sent a signal to many Americans to continue their daily lives. (Trump isn’t the only politician to blame; Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio did the same earlier this month.)
These decisions undeniably made things worse. And played an important role where we are today – in the hope that just 100,000 of our American citizens die from coronavirus.