America’s haphazard pandemic response has produced worse results than almost every other nation on Earth, even the poorest third-world countries. After flailing around for the last 6 months, searching for an easy fix that would ensure his re-election, the President appears now to favor the “herd immunity” concept of socialist Sweden. Who would have thought?
Right from the start, we leapt out ahead of every other country in numbers of infections and deaths and have steadily held that lead ever since. With 4.2% of the Earth’s population, we have 24% of the reported world infections and 22% of the deaths.
Our August 30 death toll of 187,194 souls dwarfs that of all other nations, including those in the immediate vicinity of China where the pandemic began. The present reported Japanese death toll is 1,264. In Taiwan it is 7, South Korea 323, Myanmar 6 and Vietnam 32. The combined population of those five countries is 22 million more than the U.S. and they have a combined total of 1,632 deaths to this point in the pandemic. We have experienced an average of 1,189 deaths each day since March 30. Reputable epidemiologists have found that we could have prevented 70% to 99% of those deaths by taking the same actions as almost every other country in the world.
What sets the United States apart from the other nations is indecision and political meddling in the coronavirus response. The President did not take the virus seriously until the mid-March stock market crash. He failed to implement a nationwide strategy, foisting the heavy lifting on our 50 states, each to sink or swim on its own.
Trump has derided masks, disregarding scientific evidence of their critical importance in keeping the virus from spreading. His hot and cold messaging on protective measures has given rise to heated division throughout the country. His refusal to follow the advice of epidemiologists has prolonged any chance of achieving the success other countries have had in minimizing infections and deaths.
Instead of promoting proven ways of fighting the virus--masking, distancing, testing, tracing--Trump hypes miracle cures. The virus will miraculously disappear, injecting disinfectants, shining bright lights in bodily orifices, taking hydroxychloroquine. His latest fake cure is oleandrin, an extract from a poisonous plant, which he hyped at the White House with the My Pillow guy. This type of behavior is dangerous and destructive.
Trump is letting political considerations disrupt efforts to control the virus--”grossly misrepresenting” the effectiveness of convalescent plasma, retweeting a conspiracy theory that the Covid-19 death toll is really only 9,000, forcing the CDC to change testing guidelines for those without symptoms, continually questioning the need for testing, falsely claiming FDA is slow-walking Covid-19 vaccines, belittling and muzzling Dr. Fauci. All of this misconduct is directed toward getting the economy stoked up again to help Trump’s re-election chances, regardless of the cost in American lives.
Trump’s latest gambit is to move toward the “herd immunity” strategy of socialist Sweden. That is, to fully open up schools and businesses and let the virus run its course until a vaccine is available. It has been a disaster in Sweden and would only make our situation much worse. The cost in lives would likely be in the millions, but a reckless reopening of the country might save Trump’s political bacon. The real damage would occur after November 3.