Donald Trump has unknown health problems
This article is part of our book Corona - History of an Announced Dying, which was published on June 19. has appeared.
SARS-CoV-2 is not a living being and has no will, it just wants to multiply and needs human cells for this. In the countries where the virus is made easy to multiply, it is multiplying faster and more aggressively than in the countries where politicians and virologists ensure that it is contained.
In addition to Brazil, the USA is the paradise for SARS-CoV-2, its President Donald Trump did everything to ensure that the virus could spread like no other country.
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Month after month, Trump's policies are fueling the pandemic. The failures begin as early as January. The government is setting up a crisis team and Health Minister Alex Azar has declared a health emergency, but test kits, ventilators and masks are missing and the crisis team is doing little to prepare the United States for the impending epidemic.
When Minister of Health Azar tried shortly afterwards to make $ 4 billion for the procurement of masks and protective clothing, household officials in the White House were stunned. The meeting ends with both sides yelling at each other.
Health Minister Azar sits between stools. He has a strained relationship with several senior officials in the White House, and if anyone doesn't listen to him, it's President Trump. Azar tried to telephone President Trump to warn of the epidemic twice, on January 18 and January 28. But it doesn't get through. Trump dismisses the warnings as "alarmist".
There were many warnings. In the President's daily briefing - rarely read by Trump - the secret services warn. His economic advisor warns of half a million deaths. Trump wipes it away. He doesn't want a riot. He does not want to jeopardize the trade deal with China. He wants the stock exchanges to continue to soar. He doesn't listen to his advisors. His most talented and experienced officials are long gone, replaced by incompetent careerists who speak to him. The White House is unable to respond to the crisis.
Trump: “We have it very well under control. We have very few problems in this country right now - five. And these people are all recovering successfully. "
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And at the CDC headquarters in Atlanta, one of the flagships of the American health authorities with 22,000 specialists, they are not much smarter. Be it out of hubris or out of the knowledge of one's own superiority: The CDC decides not to use the WHO test, but to develop its own. It's too flawed. So February goes by.
It is unclear how many people will be tested in the US by the end of February, the numbers fluctuate. It's 4,000 at most. Even those who have COVID-19 symptoms are only allowed to take a test if they have had contact with an infected person or have been in China. But since hardly anyone is tested, there are hardly any infected people, so others are not tested either. The virus can move undetected through the states of the USA.
US President Trump appeased: “And by the way, the virus. ... theoretically it looks like that in April, you know, when it gets a little warmer, it will miraculously disappear - I hope that's true. But we are doing well in our country. China, I have spoken to President Xi and you are working very, very hard. And I think everything will be fine. "
Anyone who sees what is going on in China's hospitals in mid-February 2020 can imagine what can happen to the USA, Germany and many countries around the world. But only countries like Taiwan and South Korea have taken steps not to be surprised by the virus.
There would still be time enough at the end of February to take the measures suggested by what is happening in China. The messages from China: prevent social contacts as much as possible, track infection chains reliably and quickly, protect yourself against infection with masks, top up intensive care beds with ventilators. But none of that will happen in Germany, the USA, Italy and all the other countries that will have to deal with millions of infected people in the next few months.
Warnings since 2009
The USA in particular should know what to expect: The warning of a pandemic has appeared in the annual threat report by the US intelligence coordinator since 2009 at the latest: "A possible flu pandemic or unknown diseases like SARS remain the greatest health threat to the United States "it says in the report. A possible pandemic is also the greatest challenge internationally.
In 2013, again in the annual report of the secret services, the warning reads more specifically. There is already talk of coronaviruses spreading from bats to humans. "An easily transmitted virus that affects the respiratory tract and kills more than one percent of its victims would be one of the most momentous events ever," the report said. In less than six months, such an outbreak could lead to suffering and death in any corner of the world. And: "This is not a hypothetical threat."
Until February 25, the major American authorities ignore the danger, in line with their chief employer.
A department head of the CDC epidemic authority steps out of cover. "We expect the virus to spread in this country," she said at a telephone press conference. "It is not a question of whether this will happen, but when it will happen and how many people will become seriously ill."
Cities and municipalities should begin to prepare for an emergency. Schools would have to be closed, conferences canceled, offices relocated to the home office. "We ask the American public to work with us in case the worst comes to the worst."
The day before, the stock exchanges fell by more than three percent. Now the courses continue to plummet.
"We are absolutely prepared"
President Trump was on a state visit to India, he is on the 18-hour flight home and has a press conference called for the following afternoon.
Trump appears in the front of the press in the "Situation Room". Lined up behind him, including: CDC chief Redfield and Minister of Health Azar. "It's a flu, like a flu," says Trump. "Whatever happens, we are absolutely prepared."
The pandemic has been canceled. The CDC gets a muzzle, the most powerful disease control agency in the world. When SARS broke out in 2002, CDC researchers helped decipher the genome of the virus. When the world had to fight epidemics, the CDC could be relied on. But now the US is at the center of a pandemic, and the agency must submit to a president who wants to counter the greatest threat to the United States since 9/11 with petty speeches.
"If you have 15 cases, and the 15 is going to drop to almost zero in a few days, then we've done a pretty good job," Trump says that day.
The tone for the coming weeks in March has been set - no more alarming messages. Vice President Mike Pence takes over the management of the crisis team, the health experts have to duck.
The CDC's disempowerment is mainly criticized by its former boss, infection medicine specialist Tom Frieden. He headed the agency under US President Barack Obama. "The apparent absence of the CDC at the national level is dangerous. To marginalize them will cost time and life. It's like fighting with one hand behind your back," Frieden says later.
And he names the weak points in the fight against the intruder, who is taking state by state unnoticed. “Have we ramped up fan production? The production of N95 safety masks for our health workers? The training in the intensive care units? The production of thermometers, hand disinfectants? The training of people who investigate chains of infection? "
Then in March: New cases every day. In Utah and Nebraska, in Kentucky, Indiana and Minnesota. In South Carolina and Pennsylvania, in Oklahoma and Nevada. In Colorado, Tennessee, and Maryland. The criticism is powerful, impotent. Why was it not tested for Corona, massively and systematically? Why was February wasted? Whose fault is it?
President Donald Trump does what he always does in situations like this: create headlines, take over the debate. On this day he visits the headquarters of the CDC epidemiological agency and presents himself to the press in a laboratory. A memorable picture: Trump in the middle, in a windbreaker and a red “Keep America Great” campaign cap. To his left, Minister of Health Azar, to his right, CDC Director Redfield, in a suit and tie - the two men who screwed it up. Their authorities have failed. But this morning it's all about success stories.
"Almost perfect," said the corona tests, Trump boasts. And admits to having a keen medical mind of his own. “I like this stuff. I really understand. The people here are surprised that I understand. Each of these doctors said: How do you know so much about it? "Up to this point: harmless nonsense of a narcissist. But then Trump says one of those sentences that not only creates laughter or confusion, but causes damage:" Anyone who wants a test gets a test. "
Millions of Americans hear it on the news. Tens of thousands are on their way. Fearful, overly cautious, cold. Block the hotlines, clog the emergency rooms and practices.
Donald Trump still does not take the virus seriously. He still has one main concern - that the economy will crash, the stock market will continue to crash, his re-election will fail. Three days later, on March 9, he tweeted: “Last year 37,000 Americans died from the flu. The average is between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life and the economy go on. There are currently 546 confirmed cases of Corona, with 22 deaths. Think about it! "
Mid-April: 4,500 dead in the US in one day. Lockdown in New York and California, Seattle and Chicago. The longer it lasts, the more shrill the political argument becomes. It will not be long before gunmen will occupy a parliament.
The dispute between New York's Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo and the President shows how the virus is becoming a pawn between the two political camps. He and Trump have known each other forever. Both are from Queens, both have overpowering fathers, both have a never-ending need to keep proving to the world that they are the best. "They're two egomaniac," says a renegade Republican. "But what speaks for Cuomo is that he is a competent egomaniac."
Trump: “When someone is the President of the United States, their power is all-encompassing. And that's how it has to be. All encompassing. And the governors know that ”.
Andrew Cuomo then switched to several news shows. "I honestly don't know what the president is talking about," he said on NBC. “We have a constitution, not a king. The president doesn't have total authority. ”On CNN, he called Trump's crisis management“ schizophrenic ”. And on MSNBC, he compared its corona briefings with a “comedy sketch”.
In fact, Trump rowed back. Because he saw his mistake? Hardly likely. More because he traditionally doesn't want to take responsibility. No matter what goes wrong with the reopening of the country, he will blame the governors for it.
Cuomo: “They were your models, Mr. President. If we were so foolish as to listen to you, then we are ashamed. "Trump had fiddled with numbers of 100,000, 200,000 or 2.2 million dead Americans at his press conference and - while he was presenting these model calculations - made a joke about his relationship models allowed.
All over the world, people are moving closer together during the corona pandemic. They gather behind their rulers, the party quarrel is silent for the moment, the criticism is getting quieter. The virus unites. But not in the USA. Here the crisis only deepens the division. The Kulturkampf is entering a new round.
In the states, Trump supporters are starting to demonstrate for more easing. In Louisiana, a nurse stands in the way of the demonstrators. The demonstrators curse them, insult them, and wave flags in front of their faces. She doesn't budge. Standing there with a face mask and blue coat, for hours, and soon this photo will also be going around the world, a nurse opposing angry demonstrators who want the lockdown to end. A picture of nonviolent resistance.
What is happening now in the USA between people who actually have an interest and a goal: to prevent this threatening virus from advancing further? Which sentences will one remember one day from Donald Trump, in 50, 100 years? Perhaps these are part of it, speaking in the White House, on a day when another 2,000 people in the US die from COVID-19, at least. In the press room of the White House, US President Donald Trump says, glancing over and over at a medical professional who has spoken in front of him, "Let's say we treat the body with an enormous amount of ultraviolet or just strong light, I think you said that has not been verified yet, but you will test it. Suppose you could bring the light into the body, through the skin or in some other way. I think you said you will test that too. Sounds interesting. "
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Trump cannot be stopped: “There is a disinfectant that kills in a minute. A minute. And is there any way we can do that, by splashing or almost cleaning? Because you can see that it gets into the lungs and causes an enormous amount there. So it would be interesting to check that out. You'll have to get doctors on it, but that sounds interesting to me. So we'll see. But the whole concept of light, the way it kills in a minute, that's pretty powerful. "
Laughter. Fright. Bewildered. Did the President really say that?
In those days a memo leaks through about a possible strategy of the Republicans in the presidential election campaign, the key points according to "Politico":
Blame China for the coronavirus outbreak. Link the Democrats to the Chinese government. Avoid any discussion about Trump's corona crisis management.
In early May, protesters entered the Michigan Parliament, shouted at the guards and chanted slogans. Some are heavily armed. Legs apart, they pose for the photographers, balaclavas over their heads, assault rifles in their hands.
Images that are reminiscent of a coup
Thousands of demonstrators surround the Capitol. “Lock her up,” the demonstrators shout in unison - meaning the governor. Red versus blue. Democrats versus Republicans. Lockdown versus relaxation. Common good versus unconditional freedom. The primacy of public health versus the primacy of the economy. Face masks versus no face masks. The controversy in the US is getting shrillier. Militant. A few days earlier, a security guard was shot dead while trying to prevent a man from entering a supermarket without mouth and nose protection.
And of course, President Trump interferes and pours fuel on the fire. "These are good people, but they are angry," he tweeted. "You want your life back."
Now, in early July, the virus is multiplying exponentially in Republican-ruled states that have too quickly lifted easing in the fight against the virus. Texas, Florida, Arizona and other southern states are now the new global epicenter of the pandemic. The top disease expert in the United States warns of the next hundred thousand new infected people - every day.
It is made easier for the virus in the USA than in any other country in the world because it has become the plaything of the political camps.As the Nobel Prize winner Joshua Lederberg said: "Viruses are our only rivals for rule on this planet. "And they triumph when people make it too easy for them. In the past five weeks, the number of people infected worldwide has doubled, from 5 million to over 10 million.
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