Rachel Maddow last night expressed clearly what many infectious disease experts and others are now concluding. That the Federal government under Trump’s direction is utterly failing to do its job and coordinate a national response to the coronavirus. It’s bad enough that Trump dithered while the virus gained momentum, but now, in the absence of Federal coordination and direction, states are competing against each other and against FEMA for scarce critical medical equipment. Trump and his cabinet knew about this virus by January 20th, same as South Korean President Moon Jae-in. But unlike President Moon, Trump and his people did nothing. They called the virus a hoax and said it would be over soon. They could have used the Defense Protection Act to push manufacturers to ramp up production of tests, PPE, and ventilators. But instead they took to the airwaves to bash the “libs” for creating hysteria. And to this day, they still play no effective role in coordinating resources despite the unique reach and authority the Federal Government carries. Where are the millions of tests? Where is a central hub to coordinate resources between states? In a phone call with Governors, Trump said his regime would serve as “backup” to the states, to which Washington State Governor Inslee replied, “We don’t need a backup, we need a Tom Brady.” Tragically, Trump is no Tom Brady–and the comparison between us and South Korea proves it. They are fighting the outbreak the right way with results to prove it. President Moon has done an adequate job whereas Trump has failed.
Trump still doesn’t even seem to understand the scope of what is happening. He continues to prattle about getting people back to normal by Easter. On Hannity last night he said, “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.” Yet the United States yesterday registered the highest number of infected of any country in the world at 83.5K, surpassing China’s total of 81K, and our death toll rose above 1,000. New York City alone has 20,000 cases, and while the rate of new cases in NYC seems to be declining a bit, the tidal wave is nowhere near its expected peak. Many hospitals are at maximum capacity already and one in Brooklyn had to hire a refrigerated truck to store their overflow dead.
Meanwhile, there were 3.28 million jobless claims reported yesterday shattering the all-time record of 695k from October of 1982. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Most of the other capitalist nations dealing with coronavirus have guaranteed their citizens full pay for the duration of the crisis. Thus far, our government has guaranteed a single payment based on your income. But the outbreak will continue to roll on, spreading through all communities. Nothing can change until we have comprehensive testing–hundreds of millions of tests–and can figure out who and where the virus is affecting. An excellent report appeared in The Atlantic two days ago by Ed Yong titled “How The Pandemic Will End,” where he summed up our overall response:
Rudderless, blindsided, lethargic, and uncoordinated, America has mishandled the COVID-19 crisis to a substantially worse degree than what every health expert I’ve spoken with had feared.
He went on to make this powerful observation
Aspects of America’s identity may need rethinking after COVID-19. Many of the country’s values have seemed to work against it during the pandemic. Its individualism, exceptionalism, and tendency to equate doing whatever you want with an act of resistance meant that when it came time to save lives and stay indoors, some people flocked to bars and clubs. Having internalized years of anti-terrorism messaging following 9/11, Americans resolved to not live in fear. But SARS-CoV-2 has no interest in their terror, only their cells.
Here’s the link (all their Covid-19 reporting is outside the paywall!):
At the very least, the next few months will be difficult and tragic. And we have to remember one thing–it wouldn’t be nearly as bad nor as stressful if a competent president were in charge. We have to vote Trump out in November, along with as many corrupt Republican Senators and other conservative politicians as possible. We can’t let the right wing media whitewash Trump’s catastrophic failure to set self-interest aside and attack this pandemic adequately.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”
Wishing all a safe weekend.