By Mitchell Zimmerman
I’m of the generation that was born during World War II.
We’re now in our mid-to-late 70s. We were a little pre-boomer, but many of us joined or led the rights revolutions of the 1960s, struggled against the Vietnam War, and hoped to make the world more just, generous, and joyous.
That was then.
Now, inexplicable though this seems to me, we usually tilt Republican. But that may be changing. Polls now show the president trailing Joe Biden by double digits among seniors.
Why? Perhaps it’s because, for Donald Trump, we’re simply expendable.
As President Trump’s bungled response to the pandemic has become more evident, our cohort, even including the conservatives among us, has seen that the price of Trump’s failure of leadership is death.
It was March when Texas Republican leader Dan Patrick set out the GOP’s go-gently-into-the-night approach to elders. He proposed it would be noble for us to take our chances on death by coronavirus if that’s what it takes to keep the economy humming, which Trump and the Republicans saw as the key to re-election.
What could possibly be more important?
At the time, fewer than 500 Americans had died of Covid-19. Now, seven months later, well over 220,000 Americans have succumbed due to Trump’s mishandling of the contagion. Eighty percent of the dead were over 65.
When a deadly infection flames across an entire nation like a wildfire, the times demand leadership. Trump ran the other way.
When difficulties arose with our coronavirus testing, he declared: “I don’t take responsibility at all.” When shortages of PPE and medical materials plagued the states, he told governors on a conference call this spring: “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves. We’re not a shipping clerk.”
Trump had no plan for the pandemic then, and he doesn’t have one now. He recently told supporters in Arizona he was “tired” of talking about the pandemic.
But then no plan is needed, in Trump’s considered opinion, since the pandemic is a “hoax.” The virus, he has counseled, is “totally harmless” in 99 percent of cases. “Don’t be afraid of Covid-19,” he offered. “When you catch it, you get better.”
Of course, 220,000 people died and will never get better. Such people are, in the presidential view, apparently not worth thinking about.
Trump explained this last month: Coronavirus “affects elderly people. Elderly people with heart problems and other problems . . . That’s it. You know, in some states, thousands of people, nobody young.”
His words of comfort to younger voters: It’s only your parents and grandparents who will die.
But Trump’s response is even worse than ignorant denial, neglect, and indifference. For months Trump aggressively campaigned against the efforts of public health authorities to control the virus, dividing the country and sabotaging their efforts to control the pandemic.
Doctors, epidemiologists, and public health officers all prescribed social distancing, wearing masks, and business and school suspensions as the way to prevent millions of deaths.
But Trump instructed his fervid followers not to bother observing the precautions, even encouraging armed demonstrations against public health rules. He recruited and deployed tens of millions of potential carriers of contagion.
A nation divided between those doing what it takes to contain an epidemic and those who selfishly flout necessary precautions cannot hold a pandemic in check. And so the coronavirus expands. Recently, the 12 states with the highest seven-day averages of new cases were all states that had voted for Trump in 2016.
Out here in the real world, Covid-19 is very much to be feared. There is no magic cure and no vaccine. Injecting disinfectant won’t stop it. Neither will denial. And we elders are the likeliest to die because the president is a reckless misleader.
Mitchell Zimmerman is an attorney, longtime social activist, and author of the anti-racism thriller Mississippi Reckoning.
Can you post video clips with the full context? I’m done believe “he said she said”. It’s time to see the evidence for ourselves from the source.
Well Dead bodies of Seniors in the Morgues across the Country not enough evidence for you. OH because Atlas or Donnie says different OK. Yeah cuz its a hoax it will disappear we are rounding the corner its under Control helped all those people and Families.
Columbia University Study Says 130,000 Coronavirus Deaths Could Have Been Avoided if Trump Acted Right
Columbia University has released a new report on Coronavirus in which researchers estimate that hundreds of thousands of people in the US died due to COVID-19 because the White House’s response to the pandemic was an “abject failure,” more specifically due to the actions of President Donald Trump.
The research report is titled as “130,000–210,000 Avoidable COVID-19 Deaths—and Counting—in the US.” The report looks into the staggering and disproportionate nature of COVID-19 fatalities in the US—which as of now recorded over 8,337,000 cases and more than 222,000 deaths.
Yea Right says
Yea right, Columbia University ! One of the MOST socialist, liberal “school” in America. Like their “Studies” are not biased. No Thanks…. Next comment
You’ll need to learn to spell “yeah” correctly before getting within 100 miles of Columbia University.
Don’t ever stand next to a bag of hammers–they’re a tough act to follow for a someone such as yourself.
Bless your heart!
Not a Unicorn says
But breitbart and Fox and Russian and Iranian memes in Facebook are a better source? Nah, that’s not biased to the radical right. Open your eyes and ears. Open your mind and you might see the light. So, so sick of ppl like you defending the indefensible. Trump reveals his evil every time he opens his mouth. It really is true, you guys would stand up for him if he shot somebody walking down the street for no reason or, if 220,009 people died most of whom would not have if there’s beef some kind of cohesive National plan for preventing the spread of COVID. Still standing up for a bad man after he shows you the evil he’s capable of is the very definition of a cult. The exact same thing happened when hitler took power. He too, was one of the antichrists the Bible foretold of just as trump is. He’s destroyed our country and enjoys his power to do so. Trumpers desecrate our flag by putting trumps name on it. Disgusting. He will lose. We the people will win our country back and Biden has a big job cleaning up Trump’s mess. But, we will win and that is when this country will begin to be “great” again.
Imagine being this brainwashed. Trump has Columbia U grads on his staff & hobnobs with others.
All I can say is this is a crock of crap. Just more political crap.
Donald Trump not only has failed seniors in this country but he also has failed everyone, he only cares about himself. Yet what still puzzles me that radical people in the State of Florida are still supporting him, what aren’t they hearing? Why are they in such denial about the truth about who Donald Trump really is? When these people cast their votes for Donald Trump they don’t seem smart enough to know they just cast their vote against themselves.
If in fact he does get re-elected because once again Russia was able to help him cheat AGAIN. Those that voted for him will finally see Donald Trump and how clueless and in denial they were all along.
There are plenty more reports saying the same thing. This from STAT. . . Stat is an American health-oriented news website launched on November 4, 2015, by John W. Henry, the owner of The Boston Globe. :
Due to exponential viral spread, our delay in action was devastating. In the wake of the U.S. response, 117,858 Americans died in the four months following the first 15 confirmed cases. After an equivalent period, Germany suffered only 8,863 casualties. Scaling up the German population of 83.7 million to America’s 331 million, a U.S.-sized Germany would have suffered 35,049 Covid-19 deaths. So if the U.S. had acted as effectively as Germany, 70% of U.S. coronavirus deaths might have been prevented.
Seventy percent, though, is the most conservative estimate. Scaled-up versions of South Korea, Australia, and Singapore would have experienced 1,758, 1,324, and 1,358 deaths, respectively, in the four months after 15 cases were confirmed in each country. Had we handled the coronavirus as effectively as any of these three countries, roughly 99% of the 117,858 U.S. Covid-19 deaths might have been averted.
Country Population (millions) Date of 15th confirmed case Stringency Index two weeks after 15th case Number of deaths, four months after 15th case Deaths scaled up to U.S. population equivalent
Singapore 5.85 2/1 32 24 1,358
Australia 25.5 2/6 23 102 1,324
South Korea 51.2 2/2 38 272 1,758
Germany 83.7 2/12 25 8,863 35,049
United States 331 2/14 5.7 117,858 117,858
Sources: Worldometers, Statista, Oxford Covid-19 Government Response Tracker (accessed 5/20/20).
Our conclusions are strengthened by their consistency with the results from different methodologies. Two notable epidemiological projections, based on theoretical models of transmission and “idealized hypothetical assumptions,” have estimated that between 80% and 90% of American deaths could have been averted had lockdowns and social distancing begun two weeks earlier.
For a more granular perspective, we compared the American response to the actions taken by South Korea. By the time South Korea experienced its 15th confirmed case on Feb. 2, it had spearheaded a massive public information campaign, mobilized private sector players to produce testing kits, and expedited regulatory approval for these newly developed tests. Within a week, tests were widely available. Within three weeks, schools and public spaces were closed, large gatherings had been banned, and 26,000 people had been tested.
In contrast, President Trump consistently ignored confidential and public early warnings from experts and intelligence agencies prior to the 15th confirmed U.S. case on Feb. 14, then acted far more slowly and inconsistently than South Korea. The White House banned flights from China on Feb. 2 but later permitted more than 40,000 travelers from China to enter the U.S. From February through April, President Trump made dismissive and contradictory statements to which government agencies and the public paid close attention.
Often taking cues from the president’s words, state by state measures were rolled out piecemeal. Florida and Georgia, for example, waited until April 3 to issue stay-at-home orders while South Carolina held off until April 7.
Another crucial failure involved testing. Three weeks after the 15th Covid-19 case had been confirmed in the U.S., only about 10,000 tests had been administered. By an equivalent point in its epidemic, South Korea had administered approximately 17 times more tests per capita than the U.S. had done. This testing fiasco crippled vital early contact tracing efforts when hot spots could have been contained.
Related: It’s difficult to grasp the projected deaths from Covid-19. Here’s how they compare to other causes of death
South Korea’s decisive actions during this critical early window produced a dramatic disparity. By mid-March, each of the two countries had suffered about 90 Covid-19 deaths. But throughout April, while a total of 85 South Koreans died from the disease, an average of more than 85 Americans died per hour. This divergence only widened as time passed.
Although federal, state, and local governments share responsibility for American health policy and implementation, ultimate accountability during a national crisis heavily rests on the occupant of the White House. At a minimum, the president, perhaps through a tough “testing czar,” should have empowered private companies, labs, and hospitals to augment public testing efforts — as South Korean policymakers did — and imported readily available tests from elsewhere if necessary. If there were shortages of testing components, the president should have immediately invoked the Defense Production Act rather than waiting for months to do so for this purpose. And when the CDC and the FDA fumbled early testing efforts, President Trump responded: “I don’t take responsibility at all.”
NW Flaglergal says
Such bias in this article. Obviously, a Biden supporter perspective. The pandemic was unprecedented, there’s no magic wand to make it better. However, the President isn’t to blame for the number of deaths, that’s on the governors of the states who failed to do their job. People in nursing homes were infected because of the state policy not federal one. Logic tells us that, unfortunately, many who died were living with compromised immune systems, underlying issues. If they got the flu many probably would have died from it.
Keep allowing yourself to be controlled by a political agenda is not going to make it better.
Concerned Citizen says
It’s real enough for those debating.
My wife is a Physicians Assistant. She spent a good part of career as an RN before advancing and has a background in Infectious Diseases. The same goes for my mother who is almost 76 and is still working. She is an RN turned Nurse Practioner with the same background. I’ve watched them deal with Covid-19 for minths now. Watching my wife come come home sometimes so worn out she hits the sofa and crashes for hours. And having to hold her when she looses it just a little bit from the emotional and physical toll of long days. When I talk to my mother on the phone (they live in Atlanta) she’s mostly pissed off at the stupidity involved in this whole thing. I suppose at her age she’s seen just about everything and the hardest to deal with is the stupidity and inaction of our government and citizens to do the right thing.
And I will say this on my behalf.
I retired as a Lieutenant out of Fire Rescue. I had a background dealing with Hazmat stuff and that meant a lot of specialized training. Some of the most simple things they asked us to do to slow the spread of this virus would have been effective had everyone cooperated. They asked us to wear masks for a reason. But no. A bunch of you out there think your right to not wear a mask out weighs the right to live. And I could go on with other stuff but it grows tiresome having to argue. But please come tell me this isn’t real when I have family directly involved.
When it comes to the mask issue I blame the government some for mixed messages. And also because they expected the public to wear PPE with no education or training on it. But I blame us as well. We had a chance to say hey this is some serious shit. And we need to slow it down. So let me put my pride away and wear that mask And let’s knock this thing out.
Instead of loudly claiming you can’t make me do that. We need to band together,drop the divisiness and figure out how to nip this thing once and for all. Otherwise we are in for some bad times for a long time.
And if Biden had been our POTUS I’d bet that those 130,000 lives lost by Trump would still be living, yeah right! Plus I guess all of those scientists that were advising Trump were wrong too? It’s OK, blame it on the BUG GUY. He’s got broad and tough shoulders to see through all of the people who are wannabe Covid-19 experts managing from their TV Lazy Boy recliners.
It’s getting Chilly says
Well, you got one thing right, “he’s the BUG GUY.” A big cockroach opportunist who does not listen to the scientists because it doesn’t fit with his agenda.
BTW the number of dead from COVID is 225,230 today. Not the much lower number you mentioned. The Bug Guy’s agenda is to further himself and his multimillionaire friends, rape women, lie to you, and to the rest of the country and world, steal, cheat and lower taxes for the wealthiest and big corporations while you take home a pitiful paycheck. People are out of work because of no national plan by the president of the United States to prevent the spread of COVID. We could be opened up and doing much better financially if ppl would all wear masks and yes, we need a mask mandate because your people won’t wear one without it. Like children.
Bug Guy’s going to take his dysfunctional family , after he loses, and put out a tv show with nothing but self adulation and delusions of grandeur, while he holds his grown daughter on his lap and Jared pouts like the rich kid he is. ❄️❄️❄️Burrr
Thank you so much for “keeping it real” Concerned Citizen! Families like yours are our true “HEROES”. . . . especially vital in saving lives since our government has FAILED to keep us safe! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! And, Bless You!
Back when the Pandemic became News, Many wondered how soon it would take Liberals to Blame President Trump for most all involved in dealing with the Pandemic. Too bad we did not place bets in Vegas. We are seeing Looting with Riots. Philadelphia sure lost a Dollar General Store and more. If the President Had shouted in Feb. there is a Killer Pandemic here on our doorsteps. How much Looting would there have been? You thought it horrible that Toilet Paper was not to be found and Lysol wipes, etc. News flash, NO One would have made it in to Any store to stock up as they would likely have been Looted. Next time you feel the need to trash our President , you may want to Stop and be Grateful that NO LOOTING took place.