By Robert A. Vella
The following statistical graph (from Databrew) which charts the ten countries with the highest number of COVID-19 cases (as of March 31, 2020) from the date of first confirmed infections, plus today’s revealing news stories, provide us an opportunity to grade President Trump on his response to the coronavirus pandemic. I invite readers to do so in the comment section.
Here’s a more close-up view slightly reworked by me for clarity:
Yes, Trump is Making America Great Again!
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have climbed past 189,600, with the death toll over 4,000, while more than 7,100 have recovered as of Wednesday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.
The virus, which was first detected in Wuhan, a city in China’s Hubei province, has spread to more than 877,000 people in 180 countries and regions, over 82,300 of whom are in China, while more than 43,200 have died. Over 185,000 people have recovered from infection, including nearly 90 percent of patients in China. More cases are reported outside China than within but the country has seen a rise in imported cases.
The coronavirus pandemic is the worst global crisis since World War II, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday, expressing concern that it could trigger conflicts around the world.
Guterres said that the scale of the crisis was due to “a disease that represents a threat to everybody in the world and… an economic impact that will bring a recession that probably has no parallel in the recent past.”
“The combination of the two facts and the risk that it contributes to enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict are things that make us believe that this is the most challenging crisis we have faced since the Second World War,” he told reporters.
“A stronger and more effective response… is only possible in solidarity if everybody comes together and if we forget political games and understand that it is humankind that is at stake,” Guterres added.
Democrats and Republicans across the country say they’re desperately trying to acquire masks, gloves and ventilators for the most at-risk health care workers in their districts — a crisis that, for now, can’t be solved with simply more cash.
“I start on the phones around 9 in the morning… sometimes we get a break 8 or 9 at night,” said Rep. Greg Meeks (D-N.Y.). “I’m on telephones trying to connect, talking to hospitals, talking to community health centers, talking to the governor’s office, the mayor’s office, the hospital association or HHS or trying to get through to the National Guard or FEMA.”
Staring down a dire supply shortage and with the White House taking a largely hands-off approach, many members have taken it upon themselves to coordinate with local, state and federal officials to keep their hospitals and health centers from running out of critical personal protective equipment.
Trump has largely forced states into bidding wars for protective equipment, with each battling another to buy up precious masks and gloves. And while Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act to compel the production of some critical supplies, many lawmakers say he hasn’t gone far enough.
WASHINGTON — Chemicals used to construct military missiles. Materials needed to build drones. Body armor for agents patrolling the southwest border. Equipment for natural disaster response.
A Korean War-era law called the Defense Production Act has been used to place hundreds of thousands of orders by President Trump and his administration to ensure the procurement of vital equipment, according to reports submitted to Congress and interviews with former government officials.
Yet as governors and members of Congress plead with the president to use the law to force the production of ventilators and other medical equipment to combat the coronavirus pandemic, he has for weeks treated it like a “break the glass” last resort, to be invoked only when all else fails.
The Trump administration has decided against reopening Obamacare enrollment to uninsured Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, defying calls from health insurers and Democrats to create a special sign-up window amid the health crisis.
President Donald Trump and administration officials recently said they were considering relaunching HealthCare.gov, the federal enrollment site, and insurers said they privately received assurances from health officials overseeing the law’s marketplace. However, a White House official on Tuesday evening told POLITICO the administration will not reopen the site for a special enrollment period, and that the administration is “exploring other options.”
WASHINGTON — White House economists published a study last September that warned a pandemic disease could kill a half million Americans and devastate the economy.
It went unheeded inside the administration.
In late February and early March, as the coronavirus pandemic began to spread from China to the rest of the world, President Trump’s top economic advisers played down the threat the virus posed to the U.S. economy and public health.
Looking like he’d been visited by the ghosts of hometown past and election future, Trump deviated from his typically ebullient, brash and optimistic style to deliver a somber message much more in line with that of his leading scientists.
In doing so, a president who played down the threat of the virus for weeks, mocked critics who urged him to take it more seriously, and publicly agonized over his decision to advise Americans to stay at home landed again in the unusual-for-him position of readying the public for a terrible outcome.
Trump’s abrupt shifts in tone are something Americans have become accustomed to as little more than theatrics — he previously did a day of real talk on March 16, only to revert to his old self after the stock market plunged. But Tuesday’s change reflected an undeniable political reality: he can’t afford to blow sunshine at the public as a plague forces unthinkable choices about who lives and who dies. Both his legacy and his re-election hopes are likely to be defined by how he handled this crisis, and the judgment will be harsh if he appears to be deeply out of touch with public sentiment during a time of fear, grief and loss.
… he has been left with the task of convincing the public to ignore his missteps and focus on the difference between how bad things are and how bad they could have been.
… now Trump seems to understand that he can’t will the disease into submission, or convince the public that tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths aren’t that bad.
As far as political rhetoric goes, it doesn’t get much tidier. What if the still growing coronavirus epidemic could be blamed not on President Trump and missteps by the federal government but, instead, on Democrats? What if Americans could be convinced that thousands of them are dying because Democrats were focused earlier this year on kicking Trump out of the White House and not through any fault of the White House itself?
Trump himself made this connection during an interview with Fox News on Monday.
Again, it’s easy to see why this particular line of argument is appealing. It’s similarly easy to see where it comes up short.
The virus emerged in China late last year. On Dec. 31 — after Trump had been impeached by the House…
Opening arguments in Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate began on Jan. 22, two days after the announcement of the virus’s American arrival.