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Trump pandemic worse than ever

President Donald Trump shakes hands with supporters upon arrival at the Orlando Sanford International Airport, Monday, March 9, 2020 in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Even before we reach the dead of winter, Trump’s plan of “doing as little as possible while denying there’s a problem at all” is having incredibly deadly results:

The outlook for the pandemic continues to worsen, and many areas of the United States are experiencing their worst weeks yet. The country reported a record of more than 500,000 new coronavirus cases in the past week.

It’s not just a few areas driving the surge, as was the case early on. Half of U.S. counties saw new cases peak during the past month. Almost a third saw a record in the past week.

In the Upper Midwest and Mountain West, records are being smashed almost daily, and in some counties as much as 5 percent of the population has tested positive for the virus to date.

Some records come with an asterisk. With less widespread testing capacity in the spring, cases went undercounted then compared with now.

And in some less populous places, a record number is not necessarily a very high one. Orleans County, Vt., for example, saw eight cases in the past week — a record for the rural county of about 27,000 people on the Canadian border, but hardly a severe outbreak.

Taylor County, Fla., a Gulf Coast county of similar size, had 32 cases in the past week, four times as many as Orleans but far fewer than the record 600 new cases it had during the first week of August.

Yet many parts of the Sun Belt that were hot spots over the summer continue to record substantial numbers of new cases each day, even if they are falling short of their summer peaks.

And other critical metrics underscore the severity and acceleration of the current outbreak. Hospitalization data, which the Covid Tracking Project collects at the state level, shows that the number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus reached record highs in almost half of states in recent weeks.

Trump is pretty much explicitly pushing for a “herd immunity” strategy at this point, which given the reality of COVID is somewhere on the spectrum of “eugenics” and “genocide.” Removing him from office could not be a more urgent necessity.

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