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article imageOp-Ed: Trump touts 'phenomenal job' he's done as US nears 200K deaths

By Karen Graham     Sep 20, 2020 in Health
Total confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 6.7 million on Sunday, accounting for nearly 22 percent of the world-wide total of 30.8 million. The U.S. death toll for the virus is hovering close to 200,000, more than any other country.
According to Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 tracker, global cases now stand at 30,838,610, with 958,090 deaths. The U.S., while reporting about 41,000 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, now has 6,777,026, closing in on 7,000,000 cases, with 199,352 deaths recorded as of Sunday.
Even with the death toll nearing 200,000, HHS testing czar Brett Giroir told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday morning that progress was being made. One glaring statistic, the lower number of tests being done nationwide, was discussed. For a number of reasons, including complacency, or the lack of testing materials, testing is down across the U.S.
“From the peaks in early July and late July, the number of cases are down by 41 percent,” the Health and Human Services official told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “The number of people in an ICU are down 62 percent. The number of deaths are down almost 30 percent. But we have to stay strong and do the things that could decrease the spread.”
However, the reality is that the U.S. will surpass 200,000 deaths by Monday, making the president's expectations more ominous. In March, according to the Associated Press, Trump said If the U.S. could keep the death toll between 100,000 to 200,000 people, it would indicate that his administration had “done a very good job.”
And while there is no vaccine even close to being ready, no new plans or ideas coming from the White House on how better to handle the pandemic, and definitely - no regrets being expressed - Trump has decided to reshape the significance of the death tally.
Obviously looking through rose-colored glasses, his interpretation of the 200,000 deaths is to say the numbers are actually a success story because the numbers could have been even higher without the actions of his administration.
“If we didn’t do our job, it would be three and a half, two and a half, maybe 3 million people,” Trump said Friday, leaning on extreme projections of what could have happened if nothing at all were done to fight the pandemic. “We have done a phenomenal job with respect to COVID-19.”
I guess a number of western states haven't heard what Trump said on Friday. Utah on Friday reported its highest daily case total since the pandemic began, recorded more than 1,000 new cases for Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert said on Twitter on Saturday that the state’s performance during the pandemic has been positive. However, he said, “our new spikes could jeopardize progress and put lives at risk. This is a tough road, and careless decisions could set back months of hard work.”
Besides trying to rewrite the history surrounding his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has a whole laundry list of problems to contend with - from poor poll numbers to the wildfires out west and the tropical storms pummeling the Gulf coasts of the country, and the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
“He sees everything, including the implications of this terrible virus, in terms of his own political and personal success — ‘How does it affect me and my electability and my popularity,’” said Margaret Susan Thompson, a professor of history and political science at Syracuse University, speaking about Trump.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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