By Sean Yoes
AFRO Senior Reporter
This week the country marked yet another grisly milestone on the watch of Donald John Trump; more than 190,000 Americans dead due to the coronavirus pandemic.
That is more than 190,000 Americans killed in just six months. That is more than twice as many Americans that were killed in combat during the Vietnam War (47,434) and the Korean War (33,739) combined. Think about that.
The simple, yet tragic truth is it didn’t have to be this way.
And it wouldn’t have been this way if the man in the Oval Office was actually fit to be Commander-in-Chief. But, he is not. If he was not so monstrously incompetent, Trump, in 2018, would never have dismantled the National Security Council Directorate of Global Health Security and Biodefense. The initiative mandated by President Barack Obama in 2016, in response to the ebola outbreak of 2014, was focused on preparing for what public health and national security experts believed was the inevitable arrival of a pandemic in our country. Of course those experts were right (to be clear, I believe Trump ultimately dismantled that office out of sheer pettiness because it was Obama that established it).
Many of those experts had been warning the nation’s leaders about a pandemic for years, but of course it was Trump who exclaimed the coronavirus pandemic “blindsided the world.” Just another one of Trump’s 20,000 lies told.
But, the question is how many Americans are dead of COVID-19 because of Trump’s infamous ignorance and lack of preparation?
As the virus began to ravage parts of Asia, Trump allegedly was briefed on the possible global peril in early January. But, instead of decisive action the American people got high hopes and happy talk.
By January 22, it was Trump who said, “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”
Two days later on January 24, it was Trump who praised President Xi of China for his handling of the pandemic. “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus,” Trump said. “The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well…on behalf of the American people, I want to thank President Xi.”
About a week later on February 2, Trump said, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.” Eight days later on February 10, Trump said, “I think the virus is going to be…it’s going to be fine.” That same day he said, “Looks like by April, you know in theory when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.” In fact, it was Trump who wanted to “open the country back up,” in April. It was Trump who wanted to see churches “packed” on Easter Sunday.
By the end of February on the 26th, Trump said, “The 15 (coronavirus cases) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” The next day on February 27, he said to a group of Black preachers, “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
By the end of April, when no Easter miracle was apparent it was desperate Dr. Trump who prescribed injecting disinfectant (“I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute.”), and somehow inserting ultraviolet light into the body (“I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way.”).
I can go on and on and on and on, chronicling the Trump mania regarding this global pandemic that has directly and/or indirectly caused thousands, maybe tens of thousands of American lives.
It is September, and with more than 190,000 Americans dead, there is still no discernible, coherent, comprehensive national strategy to combat the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, it was Trump the erratic fool who on September 7, chastised Reuters White House reporter Jeff Mason for wearing a mask during a press conference at the North Portico of the White House.
To quote Mother Maxine Waters, the legendary California Congresswoman back in 2015, shortly after Trump announced his candidacy for president, “Who is this man?”
At the end of 2020, when billions around the globe prepare to bring in the New Year on December 31, the United States will most likely have recorded at least 250,000 deaths as a result of COVID-19. That is a quarter of a million dead Americans.
And it didn’t have to be this way.
Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Senior Reporter and author of Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.