500,000 Americans have now officially and directly died from COVID-19:
A nation numbed by misery and loss is confronting a number that still has the power to shock: 500,000.
Roughly one year since the first known death by the coronavirus in the United States, an unfathomable toll is nearing — the loss of half a million people.
No other country has counted so many deaths in the pandemic. More Americans have perished from Covid-19 than on the battlefields of World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined.
And history will record that a significant number of these deaths were preventable, but happened because the president was activiely indifferent to these deaths and hostile to many of the measures necessary to counter them:
Even after Trump and the first lady contracted COVID-19, compelling emergency treatment that included, in Trump’s case, hospitalization at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and round-the-clock treatment from an army of physicians and nurses, the president refused to regularly don a mask. On the day of his hospital admission, Oct. 2, the United States had cumulatively logged more than 200,000 deaths to COVID-19—an undercount, as are all U.S. COVID-19 numbers, but an official data point that would more than double by the Jan. 20 inauguration of Biden. According to a new Lancet Commission report compiled by an international team of august scientists and public health leaders, some 40 percent of America’s COVID-19 death toll during the Trump administration was needless, meaning it could have been averted with available nonmedical interventions.
By the time the election took place, Trump had ignored the pandemic, not attending a single COVID-19 White House meeting for at least five months, since late May. Behind the scenes in the fall, the Trump administration lobbied Congress vigorously to block the movement of funds to states for vaccine rollout efforts, leaving them unable to efficiently execute mass immunizations.
And going forward from election night, on Nov. 3, to the inauguration on Jan. 20, Trump was fully fixated on overturning Biden’s victory. He ceased speaking to the press on Dec. 8, held no public events after Nov. 4, and made his final public appearance at a Dec. 12 football game. According to White House schedules, Trump had few official meetings for days, left Washington for Mar-a-Lago on Dec. 23, and did not resurface until New Year’s Eve, when he delivered a video address to the nation celebrating Food and Drug Administration emergency approval of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. On Jan. 6, the president delivered his now infamous speech to supporters, exhorting them to march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. From Jan. 7 until he moved out of the White House on the morning of Jan. 20, Trump made few public remarks, frustrated by his loss of access to social media. As his much-touted Operation Warp Speed sputtered, unable to speed vaccines into the arms of Americans, Trump was silent. And the White House became COVID-19 central, with chief of staff Mark Meadows, four other White House staff, Secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs Ben Carson, and David Bossie, Trump’s designated leader of efforts to challenge the election, all infected. In line with the president’s mantra that COVID-19 wasn’t all that serious—“Don’t let it take over your lives”—none of these individuals regularly wore protective face masks in the White House or on the election-counting trail.
At least America’s voters made the choice to give Trump enough votes for the Electoral College to hand him the election with full knowledge of Doug Band’s true feelings about Chelsea Clinton.