Today, the lucky winner is the study from Columbia University on how many deaths could have been saved if Trump had acted earlier, when there was known to be a problem, but instead waited until mid-March.
As the report shows, if Trump had acted just one week earlier to close down the economy, 36,000 lives would likely have been saved. If he acted only two weeks earlier and ordered stricter protective measures for the economy on March 1, then 54,000 lives would have been saved. At the moment, as of late Thursday night, the number of American lives that have been reported as lost is 96,354. Which means that over half of the lives lost could have been saved. And the spread of the coronavirus would have been significantly more contained, which some areas of the country not having any infections.
Now, it can be argued that one can always say, "If only we had acted earlier..." and doing so is Monday Morning quarterbacking. Except that's not the case here.
For starters, it was on February 26 when Trump said that In a few days there will be 2-3 cases and then soon it will be gone like a miracle. And so he didn't act. That means the reality is that he knew of the threat, he knew he was being pushed to take protective measures and he not only didn't, but didn't because he was specifically dismissing that a problem even existing -- that a miracle soon would make it all go away. And we have a date on that to point to -- February 26. Before the Columbia University study said he could have acted and saved 54,000 lives.
Moreover, we know from an op-ed that Joe Biden wrote in USA Today on January 27 about actions that should be taken to deal with the corona and keep it from spreading. That's over a full month before when Trump could have acted and saved 54,000 lives. Now, of course, no one expects Trump to have taken Joe Biden's advice (though if he had, 54,000 lives would have been saved), but the point is that this isn't a case of second-guessing Trump's inaction -- but putting yet another marker on an earlier date ( a much earlier date here) when it was known that there was a problem and action was needed. Yet a month later, Trump dismissed all the evidence of experts and insisted on his own that it was not a problem, it was like the flu, and it would all go away soon, like a "miracle."
And it turns out, shockingly, that all the medical and science experts were right, and Trump guessing from his belief-filled gut was totally, blatantly, obviously wrong -- and so 54,000 Americans died when their lives could have been saved. And if he still wasn't sure and hesitated, and waited another week before acting, then still, 36,000 lives could have been saved. But he waited one more week, as the problem was growing and all the expert advice was growing and the alarm bells were pounding relentlessly -- and as the Columbia University study empirically shows, all those lives were needlessly lost, ultimately 54,000 of them.
So, when I write -- this isn't about Trump, we know who he is, this is about the elected members of the Republican Party who enable him and are complicit and have blood on their hands -- I mean it. Quite literally.