In a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Homeland Security joint memo leaked by the New York Times on Monday, new COVID-19 projections in the United States look to catapult as summer nears.
Editor’s note: Bradley Blankenship is a Prague-based American journalist, political analyst and freelance reporter. He has been featured on Press TV, Russia Today and Radio Sputnik. The article reflects the author’s opinions, not necessarily the views of CGTN.
This is largely thanks to reopening strategies being rolled out in various states, at the behest of the federal government. The picture is grim – an estimated 3,000 Americans could die per day by June 1.
Another new model released by the University of Washington shows that the “65,000” death prediction touted by U.S. President Donald Trump a few weeks ago as a victory will not hold. The new projection supposes 134,000 deaths, nearly double its prior projection, by August alone.
The president himself waffled on projected death counts on Sunday during a live town hall with Fox News, suggesting that he is well aware of what’s happening with projections.
“I used to say 65,000 and now I’m saying 80 or 90 and it goes up and it goes up rapidly,” Trump said.
Can Trump be held responsible for this increase, since he knows that the projections are rising and it’s a direct result of his reopening plan?
Top coronavirus task force adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, posed a serious question to the American people on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time.”
“How many deaths and how much suffering are you willing to accept to get back to what you want to be, some form of normality, soon rather than later?” Fauci asked. This question may as well have been directed at the president.
Trump, with his signature lack of human empathy, has made clear that he is willing to move forward with this human sacrifice in order to maintain corporate profits.
On April 28, Trump directed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to “ensure that meat and poultry processors continue operations consistent with the guidance for their operations jointly issued by the CDC and OSHA,” despite calls by labor unions as COVID-19 ravages the industry’s workers.
Even meat plants in states such as Iowa and Nebraska that have been less affected by COVID-19 are hotbeds for the disease due to unsafe practices.
A new GOP bill proposal, headed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will ensure that workers will have no legal recourse for illnesses they may suffer due to employers not abiding by CDC standards. This will time largely with the reopening, ensuring that the inevitable resurgence of the disease will only harm workers’ health and economic wellbeing.
Trump and Republicans know that there will be blame to lay and they’re preparing for it – it’s why the State Department is making up clear lies, saying the virus originated in a Chinese lab. But, the true question of whether Trump and his circle will be responsible for this will largely depend on the political support his reopening has.
In an interview published by the New York Post on Tuesday, Trump suggested that Americans were ready to get back to normal.
“I think they’re starting to feel good now. The country’s opening again. We saved millions of lives, I think,” Trump said. “You have to be careful, but you have to get back to work,” he said.
However, a new poll by the Washington Post and University of Maryland directly contradicted this notion. According to the poll, Americans broadly oppose reopening most businesses. According to the poll, 67 percent said they would be uncomfortable visiting a retail store and 78 percent said they’d be uncomfortable going to a sit-down restaurant.
It seems that the president believes that a majority of Americans share his same callousness and want to open businesses as soon as possible because Fox News has been favorably reporting on radical right-wing protests for weeks.
These same protests that have violated stay at home order issued by governors and local leaders have led to spikes in COVID-19. For example, in Kentucky on April 20, the state had its then-biggest spike in cases after protests were launched against the lockdown. Inevitably, these radicals have prolonged suffering and led to deaths all over the nation.
Social distancing in the United States has so far plateaued the spread of COVID-19, about 30,000 new cases per day for nearly a month, but it has not created a marked decrease. It only shows that social distancing should have continued, not ended.
Undoing this too quick means that all of the lives lost, especially those of healthcare workers who died fighting the disease, have been in vain. So too has been the economic suffering of average Americans who are filing for unemployment in droves, some 30 million so far. Scientists and economists both agree that lifting the lockdown now is short-sighted.
Trump has had every opportunity to face the facts and has still declined to make the decisions that will save American’s lives. If it were any other country than itself, the United States would be demanding a human rights inquiry. But it is indeed a violation of human rights, and every death from the resurgence of this disease likely to happen next month will be tantamount to pre-meditated murder.