Trump says “safe to re-open” as infection and death rates soar
President Donald Trump makes big hand gestures while speaking about re-opening the country, during a roundtable with industry executives at the White House, April 29, 2020, in Washington. | Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump on Sunday told Americans it is safe for states to re-open even as the number of infected and dead continues to rise rapidly across the country. When the president made his remarks, the death toll from the coronavirus had passed 67,000 and the total number of infections approached 1.2 million.

The CDC itself issued a warning Monday morning that enormous increases in the infection and death rates can be expected through the end of this month and into the future.

“I really believe that you can go to the parks and beaches if you stay away a certain amount,” said the president, who is ignoring the science and just two days earlier ordered meat plant workers who toil shoulder-to-shoulder back to work.

As he does regularly now, the president revised upward his prediction about the number of Americans who will die, from the 65,000 figure he was actually bragging about a few weeks ago to the 100,000 he is now forecasting.

What he did not say is that if the current rates continue, it is only a matter of weeks when reality will blow through his new 100,000 prediction.

Continuing to search for anyone but himself to blame, the president and his administration continued this weekend to try to implicate China. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Sunday that he is in possession of “enormous evidence” that COVID-19 originated in a lab in Wuhan, China.

Pompeo made outrageous and completely contradictory claims in this regard during an interview on Fox News. He declared that the “best experts” believe the virus was “man-made” and later in the same interview said he has “no reason to doubt” the U.S. intelligence community’s assertion last week that the virus was not man-made or genetically altered.

Trump has gotten increased help from his minions in the governor’s seats in states that have chosen to follow his lead and prematurely force their states’ residents back to work.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves of Mississippi, for example, said that the sharp recent rise in deaths in his state was “nothing more than a blip” caused by increased testing.

Also over the weekend, Trump defended right-wing mobs that have descended on state capitols demanding an end to health and safety measures put in place by governors who, unlike Tate Reeves, live on planet Earth and are trying to protect their people.

In Michigan, in particular, he described the heavily armed demonstrators as “good people who are frustrated with not being able to move about freely.”

A protester carries his rifle at the State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., April 30, 2020. Confederate flags, swastikas, nooses, and other extremist symbols were common sights among the protests that returned to Lansing to denounce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-home order and business restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. | Paul Sancya / AP

Michigan’s Gov. Whitmer said the demonstrators in her state displayed some of the “worst racism and awful parts of our history.”

“The Confederate flags and nooses, the swastikas and the racism you have seen in these actions is not reflective of the people of Michigan,” she said.

Governors in the northeastern part of the U.S., who are also operating in the realm of reality, are trying to address what they see as a continuing health emergency.

New York Gov. Cuomo announced a partnership with six neighboring states to purchase billions of dollars in protective equipment, tests, ventilators, and other things that, in the real non-Trumpian world, are still in short supply in those states.

New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania are forming a collective, he said, to be able to keep prices low and prevent states from competing against one another. It is the absence of Trump administration action that has forced states to go it alone in this crisis.

The lack of leadership by the administration is causing new problems almost every day. One such problem is a glut of fake antibody tests now appearing on the market.

The Trump FDA, failing to do its duty, has allowed more than 100 different labs to put their tests onto the market without regulating any of them. The result is a glut of fake tests appearing all over the country, tests that are worthless in terms of producing a reliable result. The FDA now has to scramble to rectify a problem caused by its own laxity.

The public, across the country, has shown great resolve and determination to do what it can to defeat this pandemic. People have been practicing social distancing and have been making unprecedented economic sacrifices for months now. History, it seems, will show that the Trump administration failed to use the time the people have bought for it to do its part.


John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.