Just Tuesday, things were looking extraordinarily bleak. With rising cases, hospital beds full in major cities, and the disease surging everywhere, the COVID-19 pandemic was running at a pace that seemed set to take the nation above 100,000 cases a day by election week. There’s still no national system of contact tracing. Still no coordinated testing. And testing at state levels is so inadequate that multiple states are showing a rate of positive results that’s over 30%.
A nation now deep in pandemic exhaustion also appeared to be neck deep in a looming disaster that could make losses to date seem like a prelude. The number of new cases is so high at this point, that the healthcare system seems poised for failure at multiple points, potentially driving up the fatality rate as patients are unable to get basic treatment.
So it’s quite a relief that that’s all over. We know it’s over because Donald Trump has already taken the pandemic’s carcass and mounted it to his gold-plated rec room wall. On Tuesday, the White House added “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” as the top item on Trump’s list of accomplishments.
As Politico reports, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has now issued a press release trumpeting Trump’s very special victory. According to that press release, Trump took “decisive actions to engage scientists.” This fast and fact-based action then led to Trump to “defeat of the disease.”
So that’s it then. Everybody should get out there and enjoy a nice dinner and a show. Maybe stop off at a Trump rally on your way home.
That’s it … except for the part where it’s not. Trump’s failure to address the COVID-19 crisis is not only total, it was deliberate. Trump himself announced a national testing and tracing strategy back on March 13. That’s when he produced the CEOs of six major big box retailers to announce that thousands of drive-through testing sites would be set up in parking lots across the nation, all to be coordinated by a website being constructed by “17,000 engineers from Google.”
Then Trump himself decided to cancel that effort. Not because it was impossible. But because he thought that not instituting a national testing strategy would result in more deaths in blue states, giving him a political advantage.
The nation is not in dire straits because of some inevitable circumstances. The rising toll of illness and death was a strategy; a conscious and deliberate decision that has led to the death of more than 1 out of every 1,000 Black people in the nation. Trump’s deliberate neglect of the population for sick, misguided political purposes isn’t just a tragedy, it’s a crime against humanity.
“Genocide is a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups … many instances of such crimes of genocide have occurred when racial, religious, political and other groups have been destroyed, entirely or in part.”
— UN Resolution 96(1), December 11, 1946
Donald Trump hasn’t “defeated” anything, other than morality, empathy, and humanity. But he’s hopefully about to get a lesson in defeat. Followed by one concerning justice.