If the United States had implemented social-distancing measures on March 1 — two weeks earlier than it did — 54,000 fewer people would have died from COVID-19 by early May, according to a new report from disease modelers at Columbia University.
The New York Times reports: The enormous cost of waiting to take action reflects the unforgiving dynamics of the outbreak that swept through American cities in early March. Even small differences in timing would have prevented the worst exponential growth, which by April had subsumed New York City, New Orleans and other major cities, the researchers found. … After Italy and South Korea had started aggressively responding to the virus, President Trump resisted canceling campaign rallies or telling people to stay home or avoid crowds. The risk of the virus to most Americans was very low, he said. “Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on,” Mr. Trump tweeted on March 9, suggesting that the flu was worse than the coronavirus. “At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”
Asked about the report Wednesday, Trump responded by attacking a reporter and calling it “fake news.” The White House later issued a statement blaming China and the World Health Organization.
“What would have saved lives is if China had been transparent and the World Health Organization had fulfilled its mission. What did save American lives is the bold leadership of President Trump, including the early travel restrictions when we had no idea the true level of asymptotic spread and the greatest mobilization of the private sector since World War II to deliver critical supplies to states in need and ramp up testing across the country that has placed us on a responsible path to reopen our country,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said.
Trump also took to Twitter on Wednesday night to continue his attacks on China.
“Spokesman speaks stupidly on behalf of China, trying desperately to deflect the pain and carnage that their country spread throughout the world. Its disinformation and propaganda attack on the United States and Europe is a disgrace,” Trump wrote, apparently responding to earlier criticism from a spokesman from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
“It all comes from the top,” Trump added. “They could have easily stopped the plague, but they didn’t!”
“China is on a massive disinformation campaign because they are desperate to have Sleepy Joe Biden win the presidential race so they can continue to rip-off the United States, as they have done for decades, until I came along!”