Scandals and disclosures attesting to a disastrous handling of coronavirus pandemic in America continue to plague the Trump administration while the death toll in the United States from Covid-19 infections neared 75000, provoking President Donald Trump to characterize it as an attack worse than Pearl Harbor and 9/11.
The US President again trained his guns on China on Wednesday even as his administration came under fire at home for the purportedly sloppy handling of the situation, leading to the US becoming the biggest host – and perhaps victim -- of the novel coronavirus. The US now has almost one-third of the world’s Covid-19 infections and deaths, far more than China even taking into account Beijing’s dodgy figures.
“We went through the worst attack we've ever had in our country. This is worse than Pearl Harbor. This is worse than the World Trade Center. There's never been an attack like this,” Trump responded defensively at a White House Oval Office meeting, as he maneuvered to end the lockdown and re-open the US for business despite cautionary advice from experts and disclosures from whistle blowers about corruption and nepotism in handling the pandemic.
Asked by one reporter if he saw the Covid-19 outbreak as an act of war, Trump said that he viewed the virus as the enemy. 'I don't like how it got here, because it could have been stopped, but no, I view the invisible enemy like a war.' He said. Profound mistrust of China and Chinese nationals has now seeped into US political discourse with calls from some conservative political quarters to restrict student visas to Chinese and disbar them from studying STEM subjects.
The US President also opened another front in course of the war on the pandemic, sharply countering a nurse who told him to his face in that availability of personal protection equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers in the US is “sporadic.”
"The infection control measures that we learned back when we went to school, one gown and one mask for one patient per day -- this is a different time," Sophia Thomas, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners said in front of the media in the Oval office, adding that she has been reusing a single N95 mask for "a few weeks now."
"Sporadic for you but not sporadic for a lot of other people," an irked Trump cut in, causing the nurse to reel back her criticism as the US President went on to claim there was now enough equipment, even as he blamed the last administration, which demitted office more than three years ago, of leaving behind empty shelves.
The event came on the heels of whistle blower disclosures about the Trump White House’s shambolic response, led by the President's son in law Jared Kushner, to the crisis, including acquiring PPE and medications in transactions that involved favoritism, cronyism, and political pressure. Trump dismissed one whistleblower, a senior health mandarin, as a disgruntled employee who was trying to help Democrats win the upcoming elections.
Amid all this, 42 states will have ended the lockdown partially or fully by Monday even though several that rushed to re-open early are showing an uptick in infections. But thanks to a downward trend in New York, an early hotspot that instituted tough measures, the nationwide infection and death count is showing a downward trend, emboldening the federal government to encourage states to end the lockdown.
But the good news from New York was scarred by a worrying development with reports of 64 children hospitalized with a mystery illness that some experts say may be linked to Covid-19. In an advisory to health care providers, state health officials said that most children, who were thought to have what has been termed “pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome”, had tested positive for the virus or for antibodies to it. Children have been so far considered less vulnerable to Covid-19 and the rash of such inflammation cases has caused alarm.
Anything originating out of New York is cause of concern now after it transpires that the state, according to studies, accounts for spreading as much as 65 percent of the infections across the U.S.
The US President’s drive to get the country to re-open is under scored by surveys and reports showing minorities are far more affected by the coronavirus than whites in Middle-America who constitute the Trump base. According to one study, black people make up a disproportionate share of the population in 22 percent of U.S. counties, and those localities account for more than half of coronavirus cases and nearly 60 percent of deaths.
Another poll showed that Hispanics are almost twice as likely as whites to have lost their jobs amid pandemic. The survey revealed that 20 percent of Hispanic adults and 16 percent of blacks report being laid off or furloughed since the outbreak began in the United States, compared with 11 percent of whites and 12 percent of workers of other races
SOurce :Times of India