Editorial: COVID-19: A dubious way to surpass WWI
It’s a tragedy that on Memorial Day, the nation will likely hit or have surpassed 100,000 official deaths due to Covid-19. As of Wednesday, May 20, 93,537 Americans have died of the virus; that’s 1,552 more than Tuesday’s toll — and America has been averaging about 1,300 deaths per day to the virus for the past week. While that trend is steadily declining from its high of more than 2,000 deaths per day, it’s a stark toll and ranks as one of the deadliest events in America’s history.
As a comparison, and since Trump likes to think of himself as a wartime commander battling this virus, the death toll from COVID-19 to other wars provides a timely touchstone to its severity.
In order of the highest number of American soldiers killed in all wars, they were: American Civil War, 1861-65, 750,000 American soldiers were killed; WWII (1941-45)— 405,399 Americans soldiers were killed; WWI (1917-18) — 116,516 (and in that war 64,000-plus died of disease, the Spanish Flu of 1918, while 56,000 died in battle); Vietnam War (1961-75) –58,209 American soldiers killed; Korean War (1950-53) — 36,574 killed; American Revolutionary War (1775-83), 25,000 killed; War of 1812 — 15,000 died; Mexican-American War, (1846-48), 13,283; Iraq War (2003-11) — 4,576; Philippine-American War (1899-1902), 4,196; Spanish American War (1898), 2,246; War in Afghanistan, 2001-present, 2,216.
At current rate, COVID-19 will surpass the death toll of WWI before the end of June, just four months after the first American died in mid-February. Think of that: Almost 100,000 Americans have died due to this pandemic in its three months, whereas 58,209 American soldiers were killed in Vietnam over 14 years; and 2,216 Americans soldiers have died in Afghanistan in the past 19 years.
When you think about the angst Americans have over those two wars, as well as the Iraq War which went on for 8 years killing 4,576 soldiers, you might think more Republicans would be concerned about the president’s shoddy handling of this pandemic.
And if you don’t believe America is faring worst than other countries throughout the world, consider this: The U.S. has by far the highest number of cases of Covid-19 with 1.53 million Americans who have tested positive for the disease. Second highest is Russia with 299,000; Brazil with 271,000; UK with 250,000; Spain with 232,000; Italy with 226,000. France was seventh highest at 180,000; and Germany was eighth with 177,000. India, with a population four times what the U.S. has at 1.4 billion people, ranks 11th at 106,000 cases, and China, also at 1.4 billion people and the site of the original outbreak, has only 84,000 cases and ranks 13th in the world for the number of its citizens who contracted the disease. And don’t believe Trump’s bull about the U.S. testing more than others — on that score we rank 32nd in the world on a per capita basis.
In terms of the number of people killed by the virus, there have been 325,218 killed in the world; almost a third are attributed to the U.S. Quite simply, we fare the worst of any country in the world because Trump and his administration were incompetent.
Consider, too, that China was at the biggest disadvantage controlling this disease with no time to prepare, whereas Trump and America had two full months lead time. Trump squandered that time playing golf, attending parties and denying the pandemic would have much impact on the country. Like a fool, he lead the country into the disaster we now face.
At some point, even the most loyal Trump supporters will take off their Fox-colored glasses and wonder why Trump mishandled this crisis so badly.
The next thought might be to understand that Trump has also led Americans into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And, finally, those same ever-Trumpers might realize that Republican leaders in the Senate stood by his side, repeating his lies and allowing him to misguide the nation to the great detriment of the nation’s wellbeing.