As the U.S. plunges into an ever-deeper coronavirus morass, setting record new infection rates and the death curve begins to rise again, there’s no prospect of the nightmare ending for months. Delusion dominates an administration that perversely claims the United States is the world leader in beating this modern-day plague. There are only contradictions, obfuscations and confusion from the federal officials who ought to be charting a national course. The massive integrated testing and tracing effort that could highlight and isolate infection epicenters doesn’t exist. Attempts to reopen schools in a few weeks are already descending into farce amid conflicting messages from Washington.
Amid all of this, the coronavirus task force does not hold daily briefings, and when it does, they are an exercise in dodging difficult questions and self-congratulation. Months into the worst domestic crisis since World War II, there is no sense that a fractured country is pulling together to confront a common enemy. People are still arguing about wearing masks — a tiny infringement of personal freedoms that represents one of the few hopes of easing the contagion. The one federal official who does seem to have answers, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has been banished to the podcast circuit by President Donald Trump, who was on Fox News Thursday night boasting about acing a cognitive test as the US hit another daily record of infections — over 60,000 — on a day on which more than 900 new deaths were reported.
It’s unimaginable that any other modern President would have handled things this way. Most would have thrown every federal government dollar, resource and expert at it. But Trump appears to believe his reelection relies on creating an alternative reality in which tens of thousands of Americans — now mostly in states where he is overwhelmingly popular — are not being infected rather than actually beating back the pandemic. –CNN
The U.S. on Thursday posted 65,551 new coronavirus cases, a record for a 24-hour period, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The country, the hardest-hit in the world by the pandemic, has a total caseload of more than 3.1 million, with 133,195 deaths. The previous daily record was Tuesday, with more than 60,200 cases in one day. The US has seen a spike in infections in recent weeks, particularly in the south and west, and health experts worry the death rate may soon follow the same trajectory. According to the Johns Hopkins tracker at 8:30pm (0030 GMT Friday), 1,000 people died from COVID-19 in the US in the last 24 hours.
“We’re in a very difficult, challenging period right now,” top US infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci said Thursday during a teleconference organized by news outlet The Hill. As the country began reopening, many states “jumped over the benchmarks,” Fauci said, referring to indicators of a slowing infection rate required for states to begin phasing out of lock-downs. “I would think we need to get the states pausing in their opening process,” he said, although he added: “I don’t think we need to go back to an extreme of shutting down.”
US President Donald Trump, who has openly said he disagrees with Fauci, has downplayed the spike in cases. “For the 1/100th time, the reason we show so many Cases, compared to other countries that haven’t done nearly as well as we have, is that our TESTING is much bigger and better,” he tweeted Thursday. “We have tested 40,000,000 people. If we did 20,000,000 instead, Cases would be half, etc.” – Barron’s