The USA now has just under half a million cases and 15,000 dead. Trump is largely responsible for failing to stop this spread, though he is already trying to rewrite history and to blame the WHO. For posterity here’s a timeline of some of his comments since late January:
Dec 31, WHO informed by China about unknown disease.
Jan 15, Patient One arrives in the US by plane from China, CDC announces the news a few days later.
Pronouncements from Trump thereafter:
“We already handled it very well”
“We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China”
“on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi [of china]”
Jan 30 – WHO declares worldwide public health emergency
“We think we have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country”
“Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”
“The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. … Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
Between 19th and 28th Feb, , the stock market fell 20% and by 23rd March it had fallen 40%. Yea, Trump is a stock market genius clearly. Or maybe he had shorted lots of American stocks, in breach of several laws. But then his security chief Burr did exactly that when prewarned about Covid-19 in a sentate briefing.
“It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
“Yeah… its safe to fly. Large portions of the world are very safe…”
“Anyone who wants can get a test.. the tests are all perfect”
tweets that the doctors around him wonder “how do you know so much about this?” “Maybe I have a natural ability”
“The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything […] to inflame the CoronaVirus situation.”
“Just stay calm. It will go away.”
March 12, WHO declares Pandemic
“We’re using the full power of the federal government to defeat the virus, and that’s what we’ve been doing.”
“This is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible. But it’s something that we have tremendous control over.”
“I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
Compare to his tweets/comments from before 12th March.
“I […] have done a very good job from the beginning, including my very early decision to close the ‘borders’ from China – against the wishes of almost all.”
Some travellers from China were refused entry on 31st Jan
Flights from europe stopped on 11th March.
Border with Canada closed on 18th March, border with Mexico part-closed on 20th.
Still no restrictions on Africa, S America, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore, etc
“HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.”
Trump touts untested “cure” for Covid-19. Following this an arizona man dies due to taking a non-pharmaceutical version of the drug.
There is still no evidence the drug does any good. Meanwhile people who are prescribed it for other life-threatening conditions are reporting shortages.
“America will again, and soon, be open for business — very soon — a lot sooner than three or four months…”
“I’d love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.”
“I think Easter Sunday — you’ll have packed churches all over our country.”
“I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.”
This was in response to a plea from the governor of New York state which had around 30,000 cases and at least 2,000 dead. Andrew Cuomo put out a plea for ventilators, saying the state had about 400, and estimated they’d need at least 30,000.
As of 9th April the state has 151,000 cases and 6,000 dead.
“Very simple: I want them to be appreciative.”
“If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,”
Trump complains that some state governors are not showing him enough appreciation and threatens to withold federal aid to states unless he’s treated nicely.
“we will be doing well to keep the number of deaths under 100,000”
“”I said it was going away – and it is going away.”
Around this point, it seems to have finally sunk in with Trump. His rhetoric changes from denial to anger, war-footing language appears, and he starts trying to blame the WHO.
“The WHO really blew it, [it is] too ‘China-centric'”
[The WHO] “must get its priorities right”
Trump adminstration threatens to end funding for the organization.
In response the WHO calls for an end to Trump’s politicisation of Covid-19, and points out that close work with China was ‘absolutely essential to deal with a virus originating in China.