As emergency rooms filled up and the virus accelerated its relentless march through the southern and western states, Trump stuck to the fiction that the worst is already over: “We have had to close it; now we open it, “the president said of the economy at the white house, patting himself on the back for saving” millions of lives “.
As new illnesses reach 60,000 a day nationwide, many leaders, including those who have supported Trump’s aggressive approach, now have no choice but to prioritize the science on politics, leaving the president out of touch with reality.
Texas Democrat Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner proposed a two-week halt just days after Republican Governor Greg Abbott raised the possibility of tougher measures after issuing a masked warrant that offended Orthodoxy conservative. West Virginia has called the weather in the most affected county bars.
In California, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered all restaurants, wineries, cinemas, zoos, museums to close and all bars to be closed. Los Angeles and San Diego said their children would start the new school year online only. Oregon has banned gatherings of more than 10 people indoors due to an “alarming increase” in Covid-19 cases in the state. KFC has encouraged franchises in Florida, Texas, Oklahoma and California to stop catering.
Modest job gains, announced by the president, could turn into permanent job losses.
In remarks likely to infuriate Trump, who laments the press of Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases has done what unfortunately becomes an obvious point: rapid openings triggered a disaster .
“It is very clear – and we know it from countries around the world – that if you physically separate people, to the point of not allowing the virus to transmit … we know we can do it if we close,” Fauci said during a webinar at the Stanford School of Medicine.
“We didn’t completely close – and that’s why, when we went up, we started to drop, and then we got to a really very high level – around 20,000 infections a day,” said Fauci . “Then, as we started to reopen, we see the pushes we see today, right now, in California … in Arizona, Texas, Florida and several other states. “
New York and Massachusetts have tough lessons
There are a few bright spots. For the first time in months, there were no deaths from Covid-19 in New York in 24 hours, a moment of deliverance that Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio called “strike and movement”. Massachusetts has announced that its seven-day positive average has dropped to 1.7% – down 94% from mid-April.
The lesson for the states now at the center of the storm – which is ahead of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on safe reopening – is sobering. New York and Massachusetts bought what may be just a temporary coronavirus truce through weeks of foreclosure and a strict reopening process that waited until the infection curve was properly cleared before restrictions are lifted. Even now, there is no guarantee that the virus will not return to dangerous levels when normal life resumes.
None of this seems to have filtered down to Trump. As always, the President was obsessed with what the latest developments meant to him – especially since he had pressed home his request for all children to return to school despite the fact that he had no plan to ensure their safe return.
On Monday, in a new sign of self-absorption, he turned the current acute social complication of the pandemic into an accusation that his political enemies wanted to keep children trapped at home to harm him.
“I think they think they will do better if they can keep the schools closed during the elections. I don’t think it will help them, frankly, but I think they think keeping the schools closed is bad for the country and therefore good for them ” said Trump.
What really matters to Trump
The president did something similar earlier in the day when he highlighted a tweet from Chuck Woolery, the former host of the Love Connection dating show, who warned “everyone is lying” on the severity of the current crisis, just to “keep the” economy from coming back, which is on the election. ”
It is not at all clear that most Americans stuck in an endless national nightmare are most concerned about an election – especially the one that went into the background and is still more than three months away. Parents want to know if their children can start learning again. The unemployed want to find their jobs. The country wants to return to its life before virus.
Trump’s obsession with his own political outlook has been the driving force behind his administration and is a recurring theme. Its national program is almost uniquely designed to reward its most loyal and radical voters, and its foreign policy aims to create splashy photo ops with the president in the lead role.
It was an Achilles heel that led him to the disgrace of becoming only the third president to be removed, for having abused his power by trying to force a foreign nation – Ukraine – to interfere in 2020 to damage his opponent.
But now it is possible that, while he follows Biden in the pre-election polls, the president’s impatience to see the economy roar again may turn into a fatal political flaw. And he has the potential to condemn his dreams of a second term because it has made the situation worse.
The reopening of schools is crucial for the return of the economy and for the impression that America has returned to a normal life that Trump is trying to reshape into an electoral message of “transition to greatness”. Until the children are in school full time, many parents with child care issues cannot return to work, depriving the American economic engine of its full capacity.
But characteristically, Trump ignores complex issues – such as how to ensure that a massive return to school does not overcome the pandemic – because he considers what is best for himself.
When asked on Monday what he thought New York and Los Angeles were delaying the start of a new school year and the death of an Arizona teacher who died of Covid-19 after teaching at school Trump replied, “Yes. Schools should be opened. Schools should be open … You lose a lot of lives by keeping things closed. ”