CORONA WATCH-Just how badly has America — or the Trump administration and the Republicans — botched Coronavirus?
You know things are bad. But only some global context reveals just how staggeringly bad they really are.
America had 41,000 new Coronavirus cases yesterday. That’s an all-time high. As in, since the beginning of the pandemic, in March. America hasn’t flattened the curve — it’s still marching relentlessly upwards.
How much is 41,000 new cases — just yesterday?
Here’s what it means in global terms. India had 15,000 cases. Europe had 16,000 — and that includes Russia. China had just 13.
America has more new Coronavirus cases than Europe, India, and China — combined.
(By the way, if you doubt China’s numbers, go ahead and add a zero. Go ahead and add two zeroes. Doesn’t really change a thing.)
Let’s continue with context. What does that really mean?
Europe’s population is 740 million. India’s population is 1.35 billion. China’s population is 1.4 billion. Together, that’s roughly about half the planet.
America’s population is…330 million.
America had new more Coronavirus cases than half the planet. In just one day.
That’s a glimpse of how badly America’s botched Coronavirus. Now you begin to see the epic scale of the failure. America has more cases than half the world? Than Europe, China, and India — combined? What the? The numbers are both staggering and surreal.
So staggering and surreal, that I don’t think Americans have fully processed them yet. I don’t blame them. This is a catastrophe moving faster than the human mind’s capacity to really comprehend it.
So let me continue with some global context.
There are about 9.6 million reported Corona cases worldwide. America alone has 2.5 million. That’s 26% of global cases. America makes up just 4 percent of the world’s population — but it has 26% of the globe’s Coronavirus caseload.
Let me put that another way. Yesterday, there were about 167,000 Corona cases reported worldwide. America had 41,000. That’s about 25 percent. America had 25% of the world’s Coronavirus cases today — and that number’s rising — and yet it has less than 5% of the world’s population.
Are you seeing what a colossal failure this is? It isn’t just one of the greatest public health failures in modern history — it’s one of the greatest failures, period.
So how will all this evolve?
Consider the varying shapes of the globe’s Corona curves. Europe — aside from foolish Britain and poor old Sweden — genuinely flattened the curve, meaning the daily incidence dropped right back down to minimal levels. How did that come to be? By now, you know the story: lockdowns, testing and tracing, a society willing to cooperate, swift, decisive leadership.
In America, none of that happened. First, as the now-infamous story goes — the one history will recount, horrified — first, Trump denied, then he minimized, then he told people to drink bleach, then he cut funding for the WHO, and right now, he’s trying to rip apart what little health insurance Americans have, while dismantling Coronavirus testing centers.
Trump seems almost gleeful that a lethal pandemic is raging through America. What else did you expect, though, from the kind of man who puts kids in cages? But I digress.
The result is that Europe’s and America’s curves look completely different now: Europe’s really is a wave — the thing we speak about when it comes to pandemics — but America’s isn’t. Europe’s rose, crested, and fell. But America never really stopped having a first wave — and now that wave is a tsunami, in global terms.
America’s Coronavirus pandemic isn’t like the rest of the world — it’s a massive tidal wave, towering over the rest of the world, looming fifty stories tall, its shadow stretching back all the way inland, comparatively, one which has yet to crest and fall at all.
How did that come to be? And what happens next?
In the absence of leadership from the top, American states were left to take their own actions. And because Red States are run by figures every bit as ignorant, foolish, and childish as Trump…they didn’t fight the virus, they fought against fighting the virus.
Texas’s governor made it illegal to make people wear masks…not to make people not wear them. I know, that puts your mind in knots — it’s not my fault, it’s because the illogic is twisted upon itself like a pretzel of idiocy. Arizona’s governor followed. Across America, Red States reopened, cheering, before a damned thing had really been done to contain the virus…while most of the world looked on, wondering: “What the? Do these morons have a deathwish?”
Remember just a week or two ago…when, in Red State after Red State, people celebrated the summer by…getting half-naked in pools full of complete strangers…in the middle of a deadly global pandemic? What the?
Where will it go next?
Well, consider these three ugly facts. One, there’s still no national strategy, plan, or agenda. Two, Americans — especially leaders, like governors and so forth — still don’t really know what global best practices are. Do you think the Governor of Texas knows how New Zealand defeated the virus? Do you really think he cares? Three, Americans are still resisting lockdown — politically, culturally, and socially. No, maybe not you. But the American Idiot. The Red Stater who’ll get naked in a pool during a pandemic, and then go home and vote for the kind of Greater Idiot who makes it illegal to wear a mask.
These three facts alone say that the virus in America is just going to continue climbing and climbing. Red States, now, are putting some half-measures into effect. But they are half measures, too little, too late, and barely enforceable at this point, anyways, when the point has been made. That point is this: Free-dumb is what matters most in America. So Americans have their free-dumb now — but they are also among the people in the world most likely to catch the virus and die.
All this lines up neatly — and unfortunately — with the predictions of people like me, who’ve been saying that America needed to do far more, far faster, to contain the virus. Not just for the sake of public health.
As the pandemic continues, the effects will be disastrous. The economy will not be able to reopen — really reopen — as it is, hesitantly, cautiously, across Europe. Instead, Americans will face a kind of dystopian choice: you venture out to get your daily goods, at the risk of your life. Maybe you’re forced back to work — it’s your life, or your livelihood. They will shoulder the burden of the risk of a virus their failed institutions have not allowed them to contain or manage.
All of that will plunge the economy into a depression — that much is already beginning, the 14th week now of more than a million people claiming unemployment.
As the economy goes into depression, something even more bizarre will begin to happen. Because no real effort has been made to contain the virus, because Americans have to simply bear the risk of the pandemic themselves, they will have to work and venture out and so forth. That means the pandemic will probably go permanent. Unlike in much of the rest of the world, which has beaten back the virus, it will become a kind of new illness that’s just a part of daily American life, like the flu, only worse. You got Corona? Too bad. That’s just yet another risk of living in this failed society — like having no healthcare, savings, retirement, another way that you have no safety or shelter from failed institutions and systems.
America will be one of few countries in the world which never really beats Coronavirus — it will enter a kind of permanent viral winter.
How prosperous do you think an isolated America will be? It will do less business. It will trade less. Fewer ideas will flow through it. It will become something — finally — very much like the Soviet Union, an ailing society, shunned by the world.
There’s one kind of person for whom all that’s very good news. Have you guessed it yet? Who wanted America to be isolated in the first place? To be a society of unimaginable cruelty, where brutality and violence reign? Who’s the most narcissistic individualist of them all? Who believes absolutely in free-dumb?
That’s why Coronavirus is ripping through Red States. Because the American Idiot wants to live in a kind of medieval society, made of mass death, barbarity, and cheering folly. As long as they have their pool parties, their dictator, and their minorities to hate…what do they care?
America has 26% of the world’s Coronavirus cases — and just 4% of its population. It has more new cases than Europe, China, and India — half the planet — combined. What does the American Idiot care? They have their free-dumb. They can carry a gun to Starbucks, and infect a whole town on the way. Yay! I’m free!
That, my friends, is the tragedy of folly. It’s where a society like America — legendary for its brutality and cruelty — ends up. Shrugging with indifference at mass death, as a pandemic tears it limb from limb. The whole world looks on at America, horrified, making plans to build a wall around it, as it descends into sickness, poverty, despair, and impotence. Donald Trump and his idiot army cheer in glee. They finally got what they always wanted.
(Umair Haque writes for E&CO … where this piece was first posted.)