On Thursday morning Americans awoke to a celebratory tweet from President Donald Trump. “Congratulations AMERICA” he wrote, in an apparent celebration of the Senate’s vote to pass a massive $2 trillion coronavirus relief package.
Mr Trump probably is overjoyed— the promise of federal money has propped up the stock market over the past few days and many believe it could help keep the economy from tanking.
As usual, Donald Trump’s focus was on the economy and the stock market— both of which he’s planning to use as evidence of his success during his reelection campaign.
But just a few hours before he patted himself and his colleagues on the back, healthcare workers in New York City hospitals were forced to wear trash bags as they treated a tsunami of coronavirus patients. 48-year old Kious Kelly, an assistant nursing manager at one such hospital, had just died after contracting the disease.
Indeed, Donald Trump and the U.S. federal government’s stimulus package should help keep corporations from going under. It will likely help many people make ends meet as they struggle with unemployment. What it won’t do, though, is address the underlying problem of coronavirus.
New York City Governor Andrew Cuomo said as much on Wednesday as his overloaded hospitals started to crumble under the weight of the city’s coronavirus outbreak. He says the funds promised in the stimulus package aren’t aimed at locations hit hard by Covid-19 .
Of the $3.8 billion promised to New York, he says NYC will only receive $1.3 billion. That’s not nearly enough to deal with the rising tide of coronavirus patients in a city deemed the epicenter of the pandemic. NYC is dealing with seven times the number of patients in the entire state of California.
Not to mention that the stimulus money won’t help New York get its hands on necessary supplies like ventilators and protective gear for workers. Cumo says there simply isn’t enough, and the government isn’t don’t anything to ease the supply shortage.
“We’ve purchased everything that can be purchased” he remarked, saying the city would need an additional 15,000 ventilators to cope with the influx of critically ill patients.
Donald Trump’s “congratulations America” tweet further underscores his lack of understanding of the gravity of the coronavirus crisis.
As medical professionals give their lives to rush into the fire completely unprotected, Mr Trump has maintained a sharp focus on the economy and the stock market. That was clear in his pledge to lift lockdown restrictions by easter.
Trump’s focus on the death rate of the disease has irresponsibly caused many Americans to compare coronavirus to a seasonal flu outbreak. By encouraging the public not to take social distancing seriously, the President is setting the stage for an apocalyptic outcome.
Even in a best-case scenario, coronavirus will absolutely overwhelm the healthcare system. That’s already evident in New York where the hospitals are begging for ventilators and protective equipment.
It’s shocking to see a world leader patting himself on the back as his own people needlessly die for lack of equipment. Returning to business as usual without equipping the country with the necessary medical equipment is unthinkable. It’s the equivalent of sending soldiers into war without guns or helmets and then provoking the enemy.
Trump supporters are praising his focus on the economy and the financial markets. But the spread of coronavirus across the rest of the world has proven that people are unwilling to take the virus seriously until it’s too late— you need only look to Italy, Spain and now New York City to see the outcome.