It’s time to Break It Down!
On Monday, two days ago, the U.S. Coronavirus death toll eclipsed 500,000. One year ago, today, not a single American was known to have died from the illness. On February 23, 2020, then President Donald Trump proclaimed the virus was under control in the United States. The first reported U.S. fatality, due to COVID-19, was on February 28 in the Seattle area. Months later, in April, it was determined via postmortem testing, that at least two people died in Santa Clara County, California, attributable to Coronavirus.
In my March 11th post last year, entitled, “Coronavirus: The Next Big Thing,” I laid out the basic details, as we knew them to be at that time. In what has been a year-long evolving litany of proposed remedies, we have witnessed, and in far too many instances, experienced, competing narratives between science and conspiracy theories about how to stem the scourge of the latest global pandemic. Focusing upon the national ramifications of the dreaded disease, the one-half million American lives lost, has to be the headline, but quickly thereafter, we must confront the opportunity costs of the politicization of the virus.
The former President of the United States rejected, for far too long, the premise that Coronavirus posed a serious threat on American soil. Ergo, his enthralled mass of supports followed suit. Even now, many of them disparage mask-wearing, and more pointedly, the team of doctors and scientists selected to lead our national effort to defeat the menace that is COVID-19. The collective resistance of the man formerly holding what some consider the most powerful position in the world, along with his supporters, resulted in Coronavirus establishing a much more significant foothold than it might have gained otherwise. The list of actions that ultimately muted, and or delayed, our national response is long and substantive.
Here is a less than exhaustive sample:
May 2018 – The Trump Administration disbanded the White House pandemic response team.
July 2019 – The CDC epidemiologist embedded in China’s CDC left the post; the role was eliminated.
January 22, 2020 – Trump said, “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”
January 24, 2020 – Trump said, “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American people, I want to thank President Xi!”
February 2, 2020 – Trump said, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”
February 7, 2020 – Trump said to Bob Woodward, The Washington Post, “It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu… This is deadly stuff.” (Made public September 9, 2020).
February 10, 2020 – Trump said, “I think the virus is going to be—it’s going to be fine.”
February 10, 2020 – Trump said, “Looks like by April, you know in theory when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”
February 24, 2020 (one year ago today) – Trump said, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… the Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
February 25, 2020 – Trump said, “CDC and my Administration are doing a great job of handling Coronavirus.”
February 25, 2020 – Trump said, “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away… They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine”
February 26, 2020 – Trump said, “The 15 (cases in the U.S.) within a couple is going to be down to close to zero.”
February 26, 2020 – Trump said, “We’re going very substantially down, not up.”
February 27, 2020 – Trump said, “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
March 4, 2020 – Trump said, “If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”
March 5, 2020 – Trump said, “I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.”
March 5, 2020 – Trump said, “The United States… has, as of now, only 129 cases… and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!”
March 6, 2020 – Trump said, “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it… Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”
March 7, 2020 – Trump said, “No, I’m not concerned at all.”
March 13, 2020 – Trump said, “I don’t take responsibility at all.”
March 14, 2020 – Trump said, “I’d rate it a ten,” [Trump’s rating of his coronavirus response]
March 17, 2020 – Trump said, “The only thing we haven’t done well is get good press.”
March 19, 2020 – Trump said, I intended “to always play it down.” [Trump in a private taped interview with Bob Woodward, made public on September 9]
March 26, 2020 – The United States becomes the country with the most confirmed coronavirus cases. A title it keeps for the remainder of Trump’s time in office.
March 30, 2020 – Trump said, “Stay calm, it will go away. You know it — you know it is going away, and it will go away, and we’re going to have a great victory.”
April 3, 2020 – Trump said, “I’m feeling good. I just don’t want to be doing — somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful resolute desk, the great resolute desk, I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don’t know, somehow I don’t see it for myself. I just don’t. Maybe I’ll change my mind.”
April 6, 2020 – Trump said, “LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!”
April 6, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 10,000
April 9, 2020 – Trump said, “I couldn’t have done it any better,” [When asked if his coronavirus response could have been better]
April 11, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 20,000
April 14, 2020 – Trump said, “[w]hen somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total.”
April 15, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 30,000
April 20, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 40,000
April 24, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 50,000
April 29, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 60,000
May 5, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 70,000
May 11, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 80,000
May 18, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 90,000
May 22, 2020 – Over 38 million jobless claims filed
May 27, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 100,000
September 19, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 200,000
October 2, 2020 – Trump tweets that he tested positive for COVID-19-19.
December 9, 2020 – 3,103 COVID-19 deaths in a one day
December 14, 2020 – U.S. death toll passes 300,000
January 1, 2021 – U.S. surpasses 20 million confirmed COVID-19 cases
January 4, 2021 – CDC reports that 4.6 million people have been vaccinated.
January 6, 2021 – Trump mob stormed Congress. Officials reported at least 3,963 new coronavirus deaths in the US, a new single-day record.
January 14, 2021 – The Trump administration promised to have 20 million people given their first shot by the end of 2020. Two weeks later, they have administered just over 11 million.
January 20, 2021 – Each day in January, covid-19 killed an average of 3,100 people in the United States — one every 28 seconds.
Trump’s term in office saw over 25 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, over 400,000 of which resulted in death.
February 22, 2021 – U.S. death toll surpassed 500,000
The Biden administration has been in office just over a month. He has pledged to be guided by science in working to fight Coronavirus. The disease Trump conspiracy theorists claimed would disappear November 3rd, has continued to ravage the country. While there are signs it is receding at long last, partly due to getting past the holiday season, partly because of the expanding vaccination effort, and partly as a result of masking, social distancing, and handwashing, doctors and scientists warn, this is no time to relax. Doing so, may lead to another spike.
Research has shown a disparity in who’s getting vaccinated. Blacks and other people of color are disproportionately impacted by the effects of the virus, but are also the least likely to receive vaccinations. This combination presages a deadly double jeopardy. It is wrought by a confluence of circumstances that includes an uneven distribution system, further complicated by an inherent reluctance of certain groups to avail themselves of the vaccine. Black people in particular, are concerned about being on the receiving end of historical patterns of abuse, perpetuated by what at times has been a wantonly irresponsible healthcare system. That the current wave of vaccines came about so rapidly is by and large a good thing. It does not, however, lend itself to alleviating the reservations of people who have legitimate reasons to mistrust a system that has abused them on a horrific scale, on more than one occasion.
Nevertheless, there is an undeniable hankering to return to some level and degree of normalcy. Refusing the vaccine heightens the likelihood one will contract the virus, which increases the probability one will become seriously ill, which ups the odds one with prematurely perish from Coronavirus. Over half a million of our friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances have already died on that hill. Most of them didn’t have the option to take the vaccine. It’s coming to your cohort; sooner rather than later. Don’t be a vaccine martyr. Take the shot. Your kith and kin need you. “What A Difference A Year Makes: 500,000+ Coronavirus Deaths and Counting!”
I’m done; holla back!
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