Thursday 19th November 2020
The US is at its worst point yet in the corona pandemic. But the elected President Trump remains under cover after his defeat. Successor Biden demonstrates zest for action in the fight against Corona – but his hands are tied.
Since his election defeat, Donald Trump has been to the golf course four times, has made two public appearances and posted dozens of messages on alleged election fraud on Twitter. Since his defeat by Joe Biden, more than 11,000 people have died after being infected with the coronavirus – overall, the country has more than a quarter of a million deaths in the pandemic. Yet it appears that the elected president has lost all interest in leading the country through the crisis – or dealing with it.
To make it clear what that means, journalist Max Boot in the Washington Post uses a drastic mind game: “Imagine if President Franklin D. Roosevelt had decided in November 1942 to withdraw from World War II because of it didn’t go as well as he’d hoped. ” For months, critics have blamed Trump for serious failures in the fight against the pandemic. Among other things, he is accused of playing down the virus – despite his own Covid 19 illness in October, after which he called on Americans to “not be afraid” of the virus.
In the election campaign, he kept claiming that the United States was almost over with the pandemic. The facts already spoke a different language. On election day, more than 100,000 new infections were recorded within 24 hours for the first time. The daily value recently averaged around 150,000. But even the escalation of the corona crisis does not bring Trump out of cover. He has still not admitted his defeat to Biden and lets the days pass largely without any known dates.
His spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said on Wednesday that the president was busy because of the virus and the withdrawal of several thousand soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq. The public doesn’t get much of it, however. If Trump speaks about Corona, it will be in connection with recent advances in vaccine development. He claims this progress for himself and his government. He does not announce any new measures to protect the population. Immunologist Anthony Fauci recently said that the incumbent president has not attended meetings of the Corona working group in the White House for months.
Biden moved by Corona stories
The elected US President Joe Biden, on the other hand, demonstrated zest for action after making the fight against the pandemic a priority in the election campaign. Immediately after his election victory, Biden presented his Corona Expert Council. In addition, he keeps reminding Americans of the importance of wearing masks and preparing them for a “very dark winter”.
On Wednesday, he met health workers on a video line to hear their experiences. Mary Turner works as a nurse in an intensive care unit in the US state of Minnesota. She described holding the hand of dying patients who wept for their families who could no longer see them. How their own colleagues had to be ventilated and were fighting for their lives. “We know the right way to fight the virus,” Turner said, but the government and employers failed to protect the frontline workers. For example, there are still not enough protective masks, which is why they have to be reused despite the increased risk.
While Turner was talking, Biden took out a handkerchief and rubbed his eyes with it. With a view to his future responsibilities in the pandemic, Biden said afterwards: “It’s like going to war, you need a commander-in-chief. (…) I will make mistakes, but I promise you, I will admit them. ”
Denial to the death
But until his inauguration on January 20, the Democrats’ hands are largely tied. Trump’s refusal to hand over government business could also make it difficult to get started in the White House. “If we don’t coordinate, more people could die,” warned Biden on Monday. In a crisis like the pandemic, handing over official business is more important than ever, warned immunologist Fauci, who, as director of the National Institute for Infectious Diseases, witnessed five government handovers. “It’s like handing over a baton in a race: you don’t want someone to stop, just pass it on and let them run.”
Michigan governor, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, was alarmed by the “power vacuum” in Washington. The governors must now do everything possible to save lives and heed the advice of health experts, she said on Monday. Many states have now tightened their corona requirements again. Whitmer teamed up with colleagues from other hard-hit Midwestern states to urge people to be careful and wear a mask before Thanksgiving next week.
The White House sends a different message. Trump’s spokeswoman said in the dispute over the corona measures on Wednesday at Fox News that it was not “the American way” to put people in jail for 30 days if you celebrate with more than six people at home. She was referring to the statement by Oregon Governor Kate Brown that violating the corona rules could lead to arrest in the worst case. “We’re not losing our freedom in this country,” said McEnany. “As individuals, we make responsible health decisions.” But in the meantime, several Republican governors have taken measures that they had previously blocked. In North Dakota, for example, Governor Doug Burgum imposed mask requirements and restrictions on restaurants. In West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice ordered that masks must be worn in closed public spaces from now on.
The opposing actions of the political camps – appeasement on the one hand, strict measures on the other – have not remained without consequences. Even dying patients refused to admit the virus existed, nurse Jodi Doering, who works in the state of South Dakota, told CNN. “Your last words are: It can’t be, it’s not real.” Some patients preferred to believe they had lung cancer. On Twitter, she wrote that others were yelling at her, demanding “magic medicine” and saying that Biden would ruin the US – all while gasping for breath.