After weeks of dismissing the coronavirus as a flu, a Democrat-made hoax, and a media campaign against him, Donald Trump has finally admitted something needs to be done.
The president’s 11th hour entry into the world’s fight against coronavirus has economists shaking their heads in disbelief. One such man is Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff who called Trump’s response to the crisis “abysmal” in an interview with Barrons:
I would give the U.S. response a 3. It is really abysmal and we should be ashamed.
It turns out many Americans are ashamed, though their feelings generally line up with their political perspective.
Unsurprisingly, Republicans overwhelmingly agree that Donald Trump has handled coronavirus better than most countries. Democrats are skewed in the opposite direction. A survey of independents showed a slight majority believe believe the U.S. response to COVID-19 is worse than that of most other nations.
Many of those surveyed were unsure—which is fair considering coronavirus outbreaks still haven’t hit their expected peak in most nations. But one thing has become painfully clear: countries that didn’t act quickly suffer the most. Donald Trump and the United States fall squarely into that category.
Countries that were overly prepared appear to have weathered the storm with confidence. Germany is a shining example of how taking the threat of coronavirus seriously from the beginning saved both lives and money in the long-run.
When coronavirus first emerged in China, German scientists began looking for ways to test for it in case it made the leap to Europe. By mid-January such a test existed and was ready to be used by hospitals around the country.
That early testing likely contributed to Germany’s low death rate. Germany has the fourth-largest number of confirmed cases at 72,914 but has only recorded 793 deaths. By contrast, of the America’s 188,693 cases, 4,059 have died. That’s a full percentage point higher than Germany’s.
Other factors, like Germany’s well-equipped healthcare system, have contributed to the nation’s relative success in managing coronavirus.
Germany boasts 8 hospital beds per 1,000 inhabitants, a measure widely used to gauge the strength of a country’s healthcare system. That’s nearly three times the number of beds in the U.S..
Even with that advantage, the German government has been prepping medical staff in case the outbreak worsens. That includes adding usable intensive care beds and training more staff on ventilator use.
In the U.S., it’s taken weeks for the president to even acknowledge the threat of coronavirus. Just last week, he was quoted saying he doesn’t believe hospitals are lacking supplies. His comments have raised suspicion among the public, who have taken to belittling medical professionals’ pleas for aid.
Now that COVID-19 has become an unavoidable tragedy in the U.S., Donald Trump has shifted his coronavirus strategy. He’s lowered the bar for a ‘successful outcome’ to levels that would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago.
This week White House estimates of the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. stood at up to 240,000 . Trump said a figure between 100,000 and 200,000 would be “a very good job.”
Just a few days ago the president was still calling coronavirus “the flu” and accusing the media of overstating its danger. He downplayed the dangers associated with coronavirus by comparing the death rate to that of car accidents:
You look at automobile accidents, which are far greater than any numbers we’re talking about. That doesn’t mean we’re going to tell everybody no more driving of cars. So we have to do things to get our country open.
But just under 40,000 people died from car accidents in 2019 . In Donald Trump’s best case scenario, coronavirus will be more than twice as deadly. If the number of coronavirus deaths reaches 240,000 as the White House expects, it will be six times as deadly as car accidents and 16 times as deadly as gun violence in the U.S .
At the time Trump was comparing coronavirus to car accidents, the rest of the world was instituting lockdown measures. The WHO was begging world leaders to take the virus seriously and encourage social distancing.
Donald Trump has been forced into acting. If he had put the public ahead of his economy-based reelection hopes, the U.S. could have seen its statistics track more closely to that of Germany.