Yesterday, once again, Donald Trump declared victory over the coronavirus. Nobody asked him to, because anyone with any sight—hind-, or fore-, or second-, even regular sight—knows we are losing. But in Trump-land. as on the range, never is heard a discouraging word, and when reporters responded to the president's starry-eyed pronouncements the way reporters are supposed to—by asking for explanations and specifics—Trump threw a little fit and left.
Our president in a time of crisis—just another three-year-old who didn't get his way.
He could not produce figures or defend generalities. He declared the U.S. and Germany equal in coronavirus fatalities per case, when in fact our rate is three times that of Germany. The pretty banners hanging behind him declared America the world leader in testing. It isn't. We are making strides but have only reached the point where, according to most epidemiologists and other health experts, we should have been in mid-late March. And in per capita testing which is all that really matters, we rank behind Spain, Russia, Canada, Italy, Israel, Denmark, and many others. Soon we will overtake and catch Latvia and the Channel Islands. Maybe Trump will have another sign made when that happens.
The signs proclaim a lie, and the numbers belie his mythical victory: 1.5 million confirmed U.S. cases, probably double or triple that in reality, and coming up on 85,000 confirmed Covid-19 deaths and probably thousands more. These are not the trappings of victory. These are not the figures that precede starry-eyed pronouncements, or more simply put, lies.
I can understand the desire to believe him, to convince ourselves that going out into the workplace, the restaurants, and the malls and "being careful" is safer than it was six weeks ago, but it's only safer because we have not been going out to the workplace, the restaurants, and the malls. Once people begin to mingle again without guidelines, the spread will reignite; and as we learned from the thugs with guns who have invaded various statehouses, guidelines aren't for everybody.
Today Dr. Anthony Fauci, whom Trump forbade to address the House, is addressing the Senate. Some members will not like what they hear, and some, having seen his prepared comments, have already tweeted their distrust of him. And yet he is saying what he has always said, irrespective of the day-to-day madness: if we eschew the guidelines and take shortcuts, we risk multiple outbreaks, needless deaths and suffering, as well as a return to where we were two months ago.
And as if to buttress his comments before he makes them, new clusters of cases have sprung up in countries whose success has been noted and praised: in Germany and Singapore, to name two. And also where it all began in Wuhan, China. But Wuhan will be doing something the United States can only dream of—it will testing every one of its eleven million citizens simply because six new cases have appeared.
Eleven million citizens and eleven million ttsts—I'm not a math whiz, but even I can figure out that testing rate per capita. And if I could for a moment borrow from Ronald Reagan, Mr. President, take down that banner.