Warnings from medical experts that weekend rallies could produce even more disastrous infections than Memorial Day events mean that now is hardly the time to celebrate the country.
This is why Trump’s hyperbolic and deceptive embrace of encouraging unemployment figures on Thursday – he could barely wait an hour after their release before materializing for a boastful soliloquy in the White House briefing room – seems so discreet and selective. The president’s desperation to boast of some good news after so many grim weeks of controversy has served above all to illustrate the depth of his own political distress in the context of what appears to be an endless fight against the virus. The White House’s victory lap – when nearly 130,000 Americans died in a pandemic that Trump first ignored, then mismanaged, and then ignored again – illustrates his perverse insistence on focusing solely on the economic pain caused by the national crisis rather than by the increasing infections. dramatically.
While everyone can be encouraged by the fact that the unemployment rate dropped surprisingly to 11.1% in June, news of the increase in cases and cities under siege that Trump has dismissed could make Thursday’s data a false dawn. Bars, restaurants and shops are closing again across the country – including California, which is facing an extended disaster – in a way that could again increase job losses and stifle the rebound that Trump is ready to inflate beyond any link with reality to boost his hopes for re-election.
Trump appeared before reporters just hours after the U.S. reached its worst daily total of 51174 new infections on Wednesday. The record would only last 24 hours as the United States again broke its record with 51,504 new cases reported Thursday evening.
But the president had other files in mind.
“There’s nothing like it – a record. It has just been said that the US economy created nearly 5 million jobs in June, upsetting all expectations, “said the president. “Today’s announcement proves that our economy is on the move. ”
In what become daily examples of neglect, the president has massively distorted the state of the pandemic.
“The crisis is being treated. … Some areas that have been hit very hard are doing very well now. Some were doing very well, and we thought they were gone and they are igniting, and we are putting out the fires. , ” he said.
The discouraging pandemic data that leaked like a gusher on Thursday has denied Trump’s assessment that the crisis is “managed.”
Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, one of Trump’s most aggressive partners in pushing for rapid economic openings that defied guidelines from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, insists he not shut down the economy even though his state recorded a new record of 10,000 new cases on Thursday. Texas arrived with nearly 8,000 additional new cases, just days from its worst day on Wednesday. Arizona reported more than 3,000 new infections Thursday after its worst day on Wednesday, when it reported more than 4,800.
In a historic move that broke with the President’s resistance to mandates, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, said he would now demand that all Texans wear masks when in public if they came counties where more than 20 cases of coronavirus had been recorded. He showed graphs from Texas showing rising infection rates, positivity rates for tests and hospitalizations.
“These figures reveal a very brutal reality. Covid-19 will not go away. In fact, the situation is getting worse, ”said Abbott.
Another member of Trump’s group of early-opening Republican governors, Brian Kemp of Georgia, said that people should “do the right thing” and wear a mask.
While Trump refuses to lead by example by wearing one in front of the cameras, many experts expect things to get worse.
“He set up a perfect storm: the combination of travel, the combination of reopening – perhaps in some cases, too soon – and the combination of people not necessarily following some of these preventive guidelines,” said the Dr. Joshua Barocas, an infectious. medical specialist at Boston Medical Center, told the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Peter Hotez, Director of Baylor School of Tropical Medicine, has warned that Texas, Arizona and Florida are about to enter “apocalyptic” territory in terms of new infections .
“Bad on both fronts”
Even for a president who is used to framing reality with his political priorities, Trump’s comments on the economy on Thursday were staggering and, under the circumstances, insensitive. But there were also flickering signs of anxiety in Trump’s bravado. At one point, he warned that if the presumed Democratic candidate Joe Biden won the presidency, there would be an economic crash of 1929. Trump apparently did not notice the irony that his refusal to consider the pandemic as a problem for the United States contributed to a lack of preparation, helping to trigger the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Trump didn’t stay to answer questions about the virus, but left Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, to minimize the frightening warnings of the government’s top infectious disease expert , Anthony Fauci, according to whom the virus is in full swing and could produce a number of cases of 100,000 new infections per day.
“I think what Dr. Fauci said is that if people don’t take these things seriously, the numbers could keep going up,” said Mnuchin.
Fauci, banned from British radio, even when the American media pressured the White House to speak to the Americans, directly contradicted Trump.
“In the United States, even in the tightest closings, only about 50% of the country has been locked – which has allowed the epidemic to continue, which we have never mastered very well,” Fauci told the flagship channel of BBC Radio 4. “Today” program.
“The problem we are facing right now is the attempt to reopen or open the government and bring it back to some form of normalcy. We are seeing very disturbing peaks in different states in the United States, ”he added.
Another senior government health official, Admiral Dr Brett Giroir, made a hole in another Trump lie – the claim that cases are only going up because the United States is testing more coronavirus.
“There is no doubt that the more tests you get, the more you will discover – but we think this is a real increase in cases, as the positive percentages increase. So this is a real increase in cases, “said Giroir. told the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis on Thursday.
Biden accused Trump of wanting to get out of the crisis to focus on his candidacy for re-election.
“Trump wants to declare his health crisis over and unemployment resolved. Unfortunately, he is wrong on both fronts, “said the former vice president on Thursday. Noting the number of lives lost, Biden added: “This is a direct result of Donald Trump’s failed leadership and a totally mismanaged crisis from the start. “