Joe Biden is going to take the oath of office exactly one year to the day after the first COVID-19 case was diagnosed in the United States. How many people will the epidemic — which Donald Trump spent the last year of his presidency lying about, thereby massively inflating the death toll from it — have killed by then?
(1) As of late November, the CDC estimated that there have been about 370,000 excess deaths in the USA this year (that is, deaths above and beyond the number that would be expected under normal conditions). Note that fully one third of these excess deaths haven’t been attributed to COVID-19. This is because some unknown number of those 124,000 excess deaths actually were caused by COVID-19 but were mis-categorized, while the rest can be attributed to spillover effects from the pandemic (overwhelmed health care systems, people hesitating to get conditions treated, excess deaths of despair etc.).
In addition, there’s a lot of lag built into mortality statistics — it often takes many months or even a year for them to be complete — and while the CDC tries to account for this lag in its current estimates, those estimates tend to be conservative. So the 370,000 number is almost surely too low.
(2) The epidemic is exploding. We are now shooting past 200,000 cases per day. By way of comparison, at the peak of the epidemic in the spring, the moving three-day average topped out at about 30,000 cases per day. [ETA: Commenter CaptServo points out that the latter number was no doubt a significant undercount because of how haphazardly testing was rolled out — another little gift from the Trump regime.] Luckily treatments have gotten much better, so the case fatality rate is a lot lower now, but still the moving three-day average of official COVID-19 deaths is currently around 2,800, and given the explosion of cases and the lag time between diagnosis and resolution, it’s sure to go a lot higher. And again, recall that official COVID-19 deaths account for only around two-third of the actual number of deaths being caused by the epidemic. So that suggests that more than 4,000 Americans are now dying every single day as a consequence of the epidemic.
(3) Using even conservative projections, current trends indicate that somewhere between 500,000 and 600,000 Americans will have been killed by the epidemic by the time Joe Biden is sworn in as president next month. That’s, roughly speaking, a 9/11 type event every other day for an entire year.
That wearing a mask in public remains a controversial issue illustrates as well as anything how dysfunctional this nation’s politics and culture have become. Well, that and the fact that 74.2 million and counting of your fellow citizens voted for Donald Trump, after he went out of his way to bring about the deaths of a significant percentage of the hundreds of thousands of people that have already died as a result of his malevolent incompetence.
People who still have any doubts about whether Trump is the worst president in American history need to adjust their scorecards. And we still have 47 days when he’s still going to be, technically, occupying the office, during which time he will do worse than nothing about the pandemic, while continuing to gaslight both himself and the political cult that worships him about the fact that he lost the election.