200,000 Americans have died of COVID because we have a president who cares about no one except himself. – Sen. Chris Murphy, D-CT, September 19, 2020
As the third week of September 2020 begins and summer starts its inevitable march into the past, giving way to autumn, Americans are seeing banner headlines on social media, TV, and print media marking the latest uptick in COVID-19 deaths in the United States: since Friday, many coronavirus databases in the U.S, and elsewhere are saying that 200,000 Americans – men, women, and children – have died as a result of infection from the novel COVID-19 coronavirus since the first recorded fatality in February.
Some of these COVID-19 sites, such as Worldometers’ COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC page, state that the United States has not only reached the 200,000-mark already, but has passed it.
If you can’t make out the numbers on the graphic, I’ll write the statistic here:
- USA: Total Cases: 6,987,484. New Cases: 20,081. Total Deaths: 204,009.
The more methodical Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University tends to err on the side of caution in its COVID-19 reporting, so its figures are slightly lower than Worldometers’ numbers.
Per the CSSE’s COVID-19 Dashboard says that as of 2:22 PM today, the U.S. tally of cases looks like this:
Total Cases (U.S.): 6,784,688
Total Deaths (U.S.): 199,418
Whether one prefers one figure over the other, it matters not a whit. The cold, stark reality is that seven months into the novel coronavirus pandemic that so far has affected every country on Earth (including North Korea, even though Kim Jong Un’s hermetic government claims that the Stalinist nation is totally free from the ravages of COVID-19). As I write this, the global tally looks like this:
Global Cases: 30,867,731
Global Deaths: 958,356
Keeping in mind that these are the most carefully recorded statistics, let those numbers sink in.
Global Deaths: 958,356
Total Deaths (U.S.): 199,418
The tragedy in all of this is that the U.S. numbers, in both cases and deaths, might have been lower if:
- The Trump Administration had not shut down the United States National Security Council’s pandemic response team in 2018
- President Donald Trump had not deliberately downplayed the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on people
- President Trump had had a coherent and scientifically sound response to the outbreak
- President Trump had immediately closed all international travel routes into the United States, not just the ones from China
- President Trump had not expressed such beliefs as “Only 15 people will get it and it will go away,” “It’s a Democrat hoax,” or the ever-popular “Liberate Michigan!” (That last was his oh-so-Presidential response to the state’s social distancing and economic lockdown)
- President Trump had not told his followers that the virus would go away by Easter Sunday
- President Trump had not been opposed to masks and social distancing
- President Trump had not insisted on opening up the economy prematurely
- President Trump had not forbidden the U.S. Post Office to send free masks to all American households in April
Unfortunately, Trump, backed by millions of Americans who prefer to put their faith in religion and the feel-good claims by COVID-19 naysayers who claim that the global pandemic was man-made or was somehow created to embarrass “their” President, decided to pass the buck to state governors and legislatures, leaving the 300 million Americans he professes to lead to fend for ourselves.
And in a situation when there is a vacuum in leadership, willful ignorance, political fanaticism, and plain ol’ stupidity rise to the top.
Here’s how a Trump supporter reacted to a news story about the U.S. death toll reaching the 200,000 mark that was posted on NBC News’ Facebook page.
In U.S. Covid 19 death toll surpasses 200,000, I saw the following comments:
Female Trump Supporter:
Not true!! Covid deaths were revised by CDC and everyone knows it!! Why continue perpetuating fear!!
The same woman also said:
Female Trump Supporter:
4 extremely important facts.
1. Only 6% of deaths were truly from Covid.
2. Of those deaths, 40% were in nursing homes.
3. Of those deaths, 90% were of advanced age (84 or over)
4. 23 countries each purchased hundreds of thousands-millions of Covid 19 testing kits in 2018
And in response to a comment about wearing masks, the same Trump supporter said:
[I] never wear a mask because I am healthy.
And she wrote those bon mots and outright lies (COVID-19 wasn’t even a thing in 2018. It emerged and was identified in late 2019, hence its COVID-19 moniker) seven months into the pandemic.
As for Donald J. Trump, who his followers tout as “the BEST President in U.S. history” and has “balls,” how does he stand on the issue of responsibility for the 200,000 lost lives, especially when it comes to problems with testing?
Back in March of 2020, after it was made public that his Administration had disbanded the White House’s pandemic unit and fumbled the COVID-19 testing process, Trump refused to take any of the blame and pointed an accusatory finger at the previous Administration.
Per the March 13, 2020 article in Politico, ‘I don’t take responsibility at all’: Trump deflects blame for coronavirus testing fumble :
President Donald Trump on Friday deflected blame for his administration’s lagging ability to test Americans for the coronavirus outbreak, insisting instead — without offering evidence — that fault lies with his predecessor, Barack Obama.
“I don’t take responsibility at all,” Trump said defiantly, pointing to an unspecified “set of circumstances” and “rules, regulations and specifications from a different time.
Of course, we know now that Trump knew the COVID-19 virus was far more serious than he was letting the public know back then. According to journalist and writer Bob Woodward in his book Rage, Trump admitted that the pandemic was deadly and posed a serious public health risk, but he deliberately downplayed it.
In a National Public Radio (NPR) article about the flak Woodward has received for not revealing what Trump told him in several telephone interviews in March, the legendary Washington Post reporter and editor defended his decision not to reveal what Trump said at the time:
In the September 14 NPR article Woodward Addresses Criticism That He Should’ve Detailed Trump Interviews Earlier by NPR reporter Barbara Sprunt, one of journalism’s legendary figures responded to the criticisms:
Famed journalist Bob Woodward is addressing criticism he has received for not promptly sharing with the public what the president told him about the coronavirus and the government’s response in a series of interviews earlier this year.
Woodward’s new book, Rage, which details the interviews, is set for release Tuesday.
Further down in the article, Sprunt writes:
In a March interview, Trump admitted to Woodward that he had been playing down the virus’s severity.
“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward on March 19. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
Trump has since defended his decision to mislead the public about the severity of the coronavirus, saying he wanted to project “strength.”
“What I went out and said is very simple: I want to show a level of confidence, and I want to show strength as a leader, and I want to show our country is going to be fine one way or another,” Trump said at a news conference on Thursday.
More than 190,000 Americans have now died from the coronavirus.
Now it’s 200,000, and climbing.
Let that sink in, and remember it when you cast your vote for President.