Trump Owns This 100%
We have a death toll per capita 60X higher than South Korea's. It didn’t need to happen. And there’s no else to blame.
After a long weekend of golfing and retweeting Joe Scarborough conspiracy theories, misogynistic anti-Pelosi memes and racist attempts to fat-shame Stacey Abrams, President Morbidly Obese is once again trying to rewrite history and convince his low-info supporters that he’s done a great job during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the con to work this time, MAGA voters simply have to ignore the body bags, their current lack of a job, and the fact that Dear Leader is still planning to cut their food stamps. They also have to survive the rest of the pandemic’s first wave, which may not be over yet.
Death Toll: USA 100,000, South Korea 269
Between now and Election Day, Trump will be relentless in pushing the fiction that his handling of the coronavirus outbreak is the envy of the world. He’ll push testing numbers, even though America’s numbers have, for the time being at least, been rendered meaningless thanks to the CDC idiotically combining the results of viral and antibody tests. He’ll talk about ventilator manufacturing. He’ll promise a phenomenal recovery. He’ll continue to avoid all facts and science and deny basic math.
That’s why it’s important to push back against this relentless stream of bullshit at every opportunity. And the comparison with South Korea makes the pushing back easy.
On the very day that the US death toll surpasses 100,000, the death toll in South Korea sits at just 269. Why is this significant? For starters, South Korea and the USA reported their first COVID-19 cases on the same day in January.
The countries have some differences but enough similarities to make comparing what happened next highly relevant. South Korea is recognized as thriving First World economy and a global technology leader, famous for brands such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG. It’s also a highly populated nation of 57 million people. While that’s only about one sixth the population of the USA, South Korea is much smaller geographically and far more densely populated, with 1,302 people per square mile vs. the USA, which has only 94 people per square mile. If the quality of the government’s pandemic response were equal in both countries, one might expect South Korea to be hit even harder than the USA, at least on a per capita basis.
South Korea and the USA reported their first COVID-19 cases on the same day
There was, of course, a huge difference in how South Korean President Moon Jae-in handled the pandemic compared to Trump. By the end of March, after Trump had allowed COVID-19 to spread untested and unchecked for two months, South Korea had already reined in the outbreak. They showed what could have been done here—if only Trump had paid attention to the intelligence warnings and memos from his senior advisers in January… if only he had gotten serious about testing in February.
How did South Korea do it? It’s simple. They took the threat seriously from Day One. They manufactured tests from the WHO recipe Trump rejected. They quickly developed a system that could test 10,000 people a day. By February, while Trump was still golfing and downplaying the threat, South Korea was already offering drive-through testing.
As Propublica reported recently:
The quick fielding of a widely available test gave South Korea a key advantage in fighting the spread of the disease, said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “They used the WHO test, so they had a test that was validated early on. Then, they made a simple decision: Test as many people as possible. They organized themselves to get specimens and then made sure they had a very high throughput in the labs.”
Testing 10,000 people a day at the start of the outbreak is very different than testing that many AFTER hundreds of thousands of people have already been infected.
Trump failed to enact the social distancing measures that could have prevented most US deaths
In the same way that early testing could have helped control the spread, enacting social distancing measures a few days or weeks earlier could have saved TENS OF THOUSANDS of American lives.
Yet when the CDC’s Nancy Messonier told the truth about what was ahead in February, Trump immediately sidelined her and continued downplaying the risk of the coronavirus. In April, one analysis showed that the US death toll was 10 times higher than it would have been if Trump had enacted social distancing just two weeks sooner, at the start of March. Today, that’s the difference between 10,000 dead and 100,000 dead. If you believe Bush caused 3,000 to die on 9/11 by ignoring the August 2001 memo, it’s fair to say Trump caused 90,000 preventable deaths — a death toll equivalent to thirty 9/11s — by ignoring the scientists in February 2020.
Now 100,000 are dead and Trump wants to convince you he’s done a “very good job.” There have been 302 deaths for every million people in the USA. In South Korea, there have been just five per million.
Of course, anyone with a half a brain could have predicted Trump’s term as President would be a disappointment. But most Americans could probably not have imagined the scale of the actual disaster. We knew he was a racist. We knew he was a liar. We knew he was a conman. We knew he was corrupt. We knew he was a serial sex predator. We knew he was (at least slightly) bonkers. But did anyone realize he was this f**king incompetent?
Trump continues to say he takes no responsibility. But he’s our so-called leader. We have a death toll per capita that’s 60X higher than South Korea’s. It didn’t need to happen. And there’s no else to blame.
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