Zhao Minghao: 100,000-plus American COVID deaths, Trump’s art of the deal?

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Zhao Minghao: 100,000-plus American COVID deaths, Trump’s art of the deal?

2020-05-29

By Zhao Minghao    Source: Global Times    Published: 2020-5-28


The US coronavirus death toll has officially surpassed 100,000. This is sad, but for US President Donald Trump, such a number is not shocking at all.


Trump Tuesday tweeted, "If I hadn't done my job well, & early, we would have lost 1 1/2 to 2 million People, as opposed to the 100,000 plus that looks like will be the number." Obviously, his baseline of the death toll in the US is at the level of around 1 million.


Trump, a businessman, is allegedly good at number games. But his views on the number of deaths are unpalatable. This is not a simple number, but the life of every American who was once alive and the huge pain suffered by the families of those who died of the deadly disease. However, as the No.1 superpower, the US has become the country with the largest coronavirus death toll in the world. No matter how the Trump administration attacks China, the White House must take responsibility for Americans' losses.


Trump's indifference, ignorance and slow response to the pandemic are undeniable. More and more evidences show that as early as in January the White House received warnings from various sources. However, Trump had been focused on presidential election and did nothing. Then in February, he repeatedly downplayed the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in the US.


Now it seems that almost all of his statements on COVID-19 were lies - or worse, death traps. This could somewhat be Trump's art of the deal.


Instead of fixing loophole to face the epidemic, Trump took advantage of the outbreak to attack the Democrats. He has been hyping up that the coronavirus is a hoax of the Democratic Party. However, such political maneuver cannot cover up the Trump administration's failures and inability, which made over 100,000 innocent Americans victims.


The Trump administration cannot shift this responsibility no matter how hard it attacks China. More and more Americans are aware of this fact. They know it as their lives are threatened by the pandemic. But their president, their state secretary, and their top government advisers care more about how to win the war of words against China than how to better protect them.


Unfortunately, the COVID-19 death toll in the US is likely to continue rising in the foreseeable future. In order to save the economy and win more votes, the White House is engaging in another gamble. Trump urges US states to reopen their economy and furiously criticizes governors who take cautious attitude toward his imperious orders. Medical and infectious disease experts have warned that many states are reopening too soon and this will result in strong waves of virus resurgence.


In fact, Trump and senior White House officials know clearly the severity of the pandemic. But in order to win reelection, they prefer to risk ordinary American people's lives.


On May 12, the NBC News disclosed unreleased data of White House's pandemic task force, noting that coronavirus infections are spiking to new highs in heartland communities in the US - a report that was at odds with Trump's May 11 declaration that "the numbers are coming down rapidly."


A research from William Frey, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, shows that 79 percent of Americans currently live in counties where the virus is widespread. Hundreds of millions more Americans are now imperiled. In remote communities and counties, medical conditions are relatively poor. In these downtrodden regions of the American Dream, COVID-19 related death rates may soar.


Ordinary Americans are paying the price of their lives for the Trump administration's arrogance and incompetence. Many of them may not be alive to cast their votes in November.


Just as Washington Post's opinion writer Paul Waldman put it, "Can we stop pretending Trump is fit to be president?" When innocent ordinary Americans are suffering from the Trump administration's inaptitude, its moral culpability becomes clearer every day.


The author is a visiting fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.