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    The Clown & the Virus: A Timeline of Trump & Covid-19

    How Trump Engineered the Biggest Crisis in the History of the USA

    • February 2017: Trump, hostile to international organizations, decides that the USA will not be joining the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) created by the Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and several countries to speed up the process of vaccine development.
    • March 2018: Trump disbands the global health security team, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has to slash by 80% its program to prevent global disease outbreaks. In particular, Trump defunds and therefore kills a program by the CDC for epidemic prevention activities in 39 countries, including China, a program started by Obama in 2014 to prevent ebola from spreading. The CDC's director complains publicly that this "would significantly increase the chance an epidemic will spread without our knowledge and endanger lives in our country and around the world."
    • May 2018: Trump kills the Complex Crises Fund, a fund created by then secretary of state Hillary Clinton to deploy disease experts and others in the event of a crisis.
    • July 2019: The last CDC inspectors in China are recalled home to the USA, after which the USA has no visibility of China's epidemics
    • September 2019: Trump terminates Predict, an international program started in 2009 by Obama designed to alert the USA to potential pandemics. Obama had negotiated with Xi to have US observers stationed in many cities across China. Trump terminates the work of all the US scientists who are working to prevent pandemics around the world, including China.
    • September 2019: Todas Philipson, an economist at the University of Chicago and chairman of Trump's Council of Economic Advisers, warns the White House that a pandemic could kill half a million US citizens and cause $3.79 trillion in damage to the US economy in a 41-page report titled "Mitigating the Impact of Pandemic Influenza through Vaccine Innovation"
    • December 2019: the CDC's budget is $8bn, down from $12.7bn in 2010 (in 2019 dollars). Both human and material resources to fight an epidemic are in very short supply despite a booming economy and record tax income by the US government.
    • Jan 1: Due to Trump canceling Obama's Predict program, the USA has no scientist in Wuhan when rumors begin circulating of a problem at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.
    • Jan 3: The threat posed by the Wuhan epidemic is first mentioned in the daily briefing to the White House by U.S. intelligence
    • Jan 8: The World Health Organization warns that the 50 pneumonia cases in Wuhan may be caused by a new deadly virus related to SARS and MERS
    • Jan 10: As China publishes the genome of the new virus, Trump ignores both George W Bush's "National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza" (2005) and Barack Obama's "Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents" (2009). Both documents clearly state the likelihood that new diseases would spread in the USA and threaten national security. Quote from the Bush report: "The animal population serves as a reservoir for new influenza viruses... history suggests that ... another novel influenza virus will emerge at some point in the future and threaten an unprotected human population. The economic and societal disruption of an influenza pandemic could be significant."
    • Jan 13: Christian Drosten, who co-discovered the original SARS virus in 2003, now director of an Institute of Virology in Berlin, publishes the first paper on how to test for covid-19 ( "Diagnostic detection of Wuhan coronavirus 2019 by real-time RTPCR"). The test is adopted by the World Health Organization, that begins to circulate it. The USA istead decides to develop its own test.
    • Jan 18: Alex Azar II, Trump's health and human services secretary, calls Trump to warn him of the likelihood of a pandemic
    • Jan 19: Trump's adviser Peter Navarro, an expert on China, warns the US government of the possibility of a devastating epidemic that will cost $3.8 trillion to the US economy (read it here)
    • Jan 20: Chinese scientist Zhong Nanshan confirms human-to-human transmission of the virus and the news is broadcast on national television CCTV
    • Jan 22: Tedros Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, begins daily news briefings to warn the world that the virus is spreading and "we have a window of opportunity to stop this virus, but that window is rapidly closing"
    • Jan 22: Trump is interviewed from Davos on CNBC. Q: "Are there worries about a pandemic at this point?" A: "No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control."
    • Jan 23: China locks down the metropolis of Wuhan, an epochal event reported all over the world, that clearly shows the gravity of the epidemic
    • Jan 24: Trump thanks China in a tweet: "China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency"
    • Jan 26: Anthony Fauci, Trump's director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, declares that the new virus poses a "very, very low risk to the United States"
    • Jan 28: Elizabeth Warren releases a plan to prevent the epidemic and the economic crisis, but it is completely ignored by the government
    • Jan 30: The World Health Organization declares a global public health emergency
    • Jan 30: Trump speaks in Michigan: "We have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment - five. And those people are all recuperating successfully."
    • Jan 31: The USA bars most foreigners who recently visited China from entering the USA, but no returning US citizen is screened and loopholes allow 430,000 travelers from China to enter the USA in the next two months (New York Times investigation). It is NOT true that Trump banned flights: he banned foreigners who recently visited China, but flights from and to China were not banned at all, and 40,000 US citizens got exempted and returned to the USA with no testing, screening, or quarantine.
    • Feb 2: Trump is interviewed by Sean Hannity on Fox News. Q: "How concerned are you?". A: "Well, we pretty much shut it down."
    • Feb 5: The CDC sends faulty test kits to about 100 labs and prohibits the use of any other test kit (for example, New York is forbidden to use its own working test kit)
    • Feb 5: After senators meet with Trump administration officials about the threat of the epidemic, one of the senators, Christopher Murphy, tweets "Bottom line: they aren't taking this seriously enough."
    • Feb 10: Trump at a rally tells thousands of people that: "when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away"
    • Feb 10: Trump proposes cutting Health and Human Services funding by $9.5 billion, including a 16% cut of $1.2 billion to the CDC and a $35 million reduction of the Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund's annual contribution
    • Feb 14: A memo by the National Security Council titled "U.S. Government Response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus" advises "significantly limiting public gatherings and cancellation of almost all sporting events, performances, and public and private meetings
    • Feb 19: Trump speaks on a Phoenix television station: "I think the numbers are going to get progressively better as we go along"
    • Feb 21: Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, tells reporters at a news briefing that "This new virus represents a tremendous public health threat... The day may come when we may need to implement such measures as seen in Asia"
    • Feb 23: Trump declares that the virus is "very much under control. We had 12, at one point. And now they've gotten very much better. Many of them are fully recovered."
    • Feb 23: Trump's adviser Peter Navarro again warns the US government of a "covid-19 pandemic that could infect as many as 100 million Americans, with a loss of life of as many as 1.2 million souls" and "could inflict trillions of dollars in economic damage" (read excerpts here)
    • Feb 24: Robert Kadlec of the Health and Human Services Department present Trump with a plan titled "Four Steps to Mitigation," advising quarantine and lockdowns
    • Feb 25: Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, tells reporters at a news briefing that "Disruption to everyday life might be severe... we ought to be preparing for significant disruption to our lives" but a furious Trump threatens to fire her because there are only 14 cases in the USA
    • Feb 25: The National Center for Medical Intelligence at Fort Detrick in Maryland warns the Joint Chiefs of Staff of a coming pandemic (15 days before the World Health Organization declared the pandemic)
    • Feb 25: Laura Ingraham of Fox News, a close Trump ally, calls covid-19 a "new hoax... a new pathway for hitting President Trump"
    • Feb 26: Trump says at a coronavirus briefing that "When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that's a pretty good job we've done."
    • Feb 27: Trump at a White House press conference predicts that "It's going to disappear. One day - it's like a miracle - it will disappear"
    • Feb 28: The World Health Organization has shipped covid tests to more than 50 countries that requested it while the USA still doesn't have a working test
    • Feb 28: Trump at a South Carolina rally blames CNN and MSNBC for creating unnecessary panic and later writes a tweet mocking "Cryin' Chuck Schumer" who argued that the USA should be more aggressive in fighting the virus.
    • Feb 29: Trump praises his actions as "the most aggressive taken by any country" when in fact the USA is one of the few Western countries that is not taking any action.
    • Feb 29: The F.D.A. finally approves New York's test kit and New York can start testing
    • Feb 29: Trump's surgeon general Jerome Adams tweets "Seriously people - STOP BUYING MASKS!"
    • Mar 2: Trump interviewed by Hannity on Fox News: "It's very mild"
    • Mar 2: After a meeting with CEOs of pharmaceutical companies, Trump selects Moderna, that promises a vaccine in a few months, a company established in 2010 that has never brought a product to market, or gotten any of its nine or so vaccine candidates approved for use by the FDA never even brought a product to the final phase of a clinical trial,
    • Mar 3: Stephen Hahn, the F.D.A.'s commissioner, promises one million tests by March 10 ("By the end of this week, close to a million tests will be able to be performed.")
    • Mar 4: Italy has 3,089 cases and all schools and universities are ordered to close but visitors from Europe are still allowed to enter the USA
    • Mar 5: Trump, interviewed by phone on Sean Hannity's show, minimizes covid-19's threat to the USA, accuses the World Health Organization of disinformation, and suggests that infected people are safe to go to work: "I think the 3.4% is really a false number... a lot of people will have this, and it's very mild - they'll get better very rapidly, they don't even see a doctor, they don't even call a doctor... I would say the number is way under one percent." (Note: he calls it "corona flu")
    • Mar 6: Trump while touring the C.D.C. says that "Anybody that wants a test can get a test" but is contradicted by the CDC itself (the only available test kits are defective)
    • Mar 6: Trump while touring the C.D.C. tells a reporter: "I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, 'How do you know so much about this? ' Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president."
    • Mar 6: Trump discusses keeping sick US citizens on a cruise ship off the coast of California because he doesn't want them counted in the US total (quote: "I would rather because I like the numbers being where they are. I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault. And it wasn't the fault of the people on the ship either, OK? It wasn't their fault either, and they're mostly Americans. So, I can live either way with it.")
    • Mar 6: The Atlantic calculates that only 2,000 tests have been performed in the USA (article). By comparison, tiny South Korea is testing some 10,000 people a day.
    • Mar 6: Patty Murray, a member of the Senate's health committee, sends a letter to vicepresident Mike Pence, to health secretary Alex Azar, to CDC director Robert Redfield, and to FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn asking: "Please provide an explanation for why the Covid-19 diagnostic test approved by the World Health Organization was not used". She receives no answer.
    • Mar 7: Trump declares from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida: "I'm not concerned at all. We've done a fantastic job" while no (working) test kits are available anywhere in the USA
    • Mar 8: Ben Carson, Trump's secretary of Housing and Urban Development and a member of the White House's coronavirus task force, encourages "healthy individual" to attend a large-scale Trump campaign rally (quote: "there's no reason that you shouldn't go").
    • Mar 9, 7:47am: Trump tweets that "last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!"
    • Mar 9: The situation is so serious in Italy that Italy enacts a nation-wide lockdown, the first time in history, but visitors from Europe are still allowed to enter the USA
    • Mar 10: Trump at a Washington press conference declares that "It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away."
    • Mar 10: The CDC announces that 78 state and local health labs in the United States have the capacity to test people for covid-19, which means that about 75,000 people can get tested, obviously a number far lower than the one million promised on March 3.
    • Mar 11: Trump finally admits a crisis with an Oval Office address and bans most Europeans from entering the USA, and gives two days to US citizens to return, so that tens of thousands of US residents fly back in the next two days without being tested (despite the fact that all the clusters in the USA started with returning US residents). Airport footage shows travelers queueing for hours, shoulder to shoulder, in immigration rooms of New York airports. On March 11, New York had about 200 cases: two weeks later, it had more than 25,000.
    • Mar 11: Trump declares that "no nation is more prepared or more resilient than the United States... the risk is very, very low... the virus will not have a chance against us"
    • Mar 12: Trump says that "frankly, the testing has been going very smooth"
    • Mar 12: Ashish Jha, head of the Harvard Global Health Institute states that "Our response is much, much worse than almost any other country that's been affected" and uses the words "stunning," "fiasco" and "mind-blowing" to describe how bad the US has acted so far.
    • Mar 12: Pandemic expert James Lawler writes in an email "We are making every misstep leaders initially made in table-tops at the outset of pandemic planning in 2006... We have thrown 15 years of institutional learning out the window and are making decisions based on intuition."
    • Mar 13: Trump declares a national emergency in the USA, and commercial firms are finally able to start testing for covid-19, almost two months after the first case was detected in the USA
    • Mar 14: Tens of thousands of unscreened US citizens fly back to the USA from Europe, and on arrival are forced to wait in crowded rooms with thousands of other unscreened passengers
    • Mar 15: The USA is now the 8th country in the world for covid-19 cases after China, Italy, Iran, Korea, Spain, France and Germany.
    • Mar 16: Trump at the White House tells reporters that "Relax. We're doing great. It all will pass." Asked by a reporter how he would score his administration's response to the crisis on a scale of one to 10, he replies: "I'd rate it a 10. I think we've done a great job." Meanwhile, with no guidance from Washington, 40 states have declared an emergency over the virus, 29 states have closed all schools, millions of people are already working from home, the whole San Francisco Bay Area (including Silicon Valley) has placed itself on lockdown.
    • Mar 16: During a teleconference with the state governors, Trump tells them to get their own ventilators (quote: "Try getting it yourselves")
    • Mar 16: The Trump administration widely circulates an essay by Richard Epstein (who is a lawyer, not an epidemiologist) in which he argues that "the current organized panic in the United States does not seem justified" and Epstein predicts that only 500 people will die (later revised to 5,000)
    • Mar 17: Trump hails an experimental vaccine developed by Moderna, but it is based on messenger RNA, and no mRNA-based vaccine has ever been approved in the world (Shibo Jiang, who discovered the virus, writes an article in Nature magazine warning against deploying vaccines without adequate research, "Don't rush to deploy COVID-19 vaccines and drugs without sufficient safety guarantees")
    • Mar 18: Chinese airlines resume flights between China and San Francisco
    • Mar 19: The USA is now the 6th country in the world for covid-19 cases after China, Italy, Iran, Spain and Germany
    • Mar 22: The USA is now the 3rd country in the world for covid-19 cases after China and Italy
    • Mar 24: Margaret Harris, the World Health Organization spokeswoman, tells reporters that "we are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the USA" and could become the new epicenter of the epidemic
    • Mar 24: During a live town-hall meeting (which was actually held not at a town hall but at the White House), Trump says: "We lose thousands and thousands of people a year to the flu. We don't turn the country off... We lose much more than that to automobile accidents. We don't call up the automobile companies and say stop making cars. We have to get back to work... We're not going to let the cure be worse than the problem... This was a medical problem, we are not going to let it turn into a long lasting financial problem."
    • Mar 27: A French scientist, Didier Raoult, announces that patients treated with the anti-malarian drug hydroxychloroquine promptly recovered, and Trump promptly announces that a cure has been found, but the study is controversial (see this article)
    • Mar 27: As more than 100,000 cases are confirmed in the USA, Trump remarks that "You can call it a germ, you can call it a flu, you can call it a virus. You know, you can call it many different names. I'm not sure anybody even knows what it is."
    • Mar 28: The USA (population 0.3 billion) has more people infected with covid-19 than the whole of east Asia (population 2 billion)
    • Mar 29: A mathematical model from the University of Washington estimates a death toll between 38,000 to 162,000 by August 4
    • Mar 31: The number of people filing for unemployment benefits in March is the highest of all time (6.6 million)
    • Apr 2: Trump says that "complainers" (i.e. state governors) seeking greater amounts of medical supplies "should have stocked up" before the crisis, laying the blame on powerless states for his government's delays in releasing medical supplies from the USA's strategic stockpile created by his predecessors
    • Apr 2: Trump claims that the USA has tested more people per capita than any other country, when in fact the USA does not have a central source of statistics on testing, most of which is done by private labs, and the most widely-cited count is an unofficial count by the Covid Tracking Project, which collects data provided by journalists and scientists, and that count shows the USA as testing a lot less than other countries (here)
    • Apr 3: After claiming for two months that they are useless, the CDC recommends that people wear face masks, but Trump promptly declares that he will not be wearing one (quote: "I don't think I'm going to be doing it")
    • Apr 3: Donald Trump tells governors that they are on their own, that they should not expect help from the federal government
    • Apr 3: Despite not a single US scientist agreeing with him, Trump again promotes hydroxychloroquine live on TV. Quote: "What do you have to lose? Take it."
    • Apr 4: China donates 1,000 ventilators to New York
    • Apr 9: Two genomic studies (one by Harm van Bakel's team at Mount Sinai and one by Adriana Heguy's team at NYU) show that New York's covid-19 epidemic originated from Europe
    • Apr 9: Trump accuses the World Health Organization of basically having misled him (but somehow the rest of the world wasn't misled because Trump was one of the few leaders who downplayed the gravity of the situation)
    • Apr 10: Trump accuses China over the covid-19 epidemic, the same country that he had praised for its "efforts and transparency" on Jan 24
    • Apr 11: The USA surpasses Italy for highest death toll in the world from covid-19
    • Apr 12: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, admits that lives could have been saved if Trump had listened to the experts (Yahoo News)
    • Apr 13: Trump again repeats the claim that the USA has tested more people per capita than any other country, when in fact the USA does not have an official count but all unofficial counts show that the USA has tested half of the people tested in Italy
    • Apr 13: Seven northeastern neighbors (New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island) announce a coordinated strategy to reopen business, ignoring Trump. Three western states (California, Oregon and Washington) announce their own coordinated strategy, also ignoring Trump.
    • Apr 13: Brazil suspends a study of chloroquine for covid-19 because too many patients who were administered the drug developed serious heart problems that could kill them, and in any case 13.5% of the patients died of covid-19. Trump and Fox News ignore the report.
    • Apr 13: A study published by scientists from multiple countries (Oxford, Stanford, UCLA, MIT, Hong Kong, Peking University etc) concludes that: "The preponderance of evidence indicates that mask wearing reduces the transmissibility per contact by reducing transmission of infected droplets in both laboratory and clinical contexts. Public mask wearing is most effective at stopping spread of the virus when compliance is high. The decreased transmissibility could substantially reduce the death toll and economic impact while the cost of the intervention is low." ( paper). In other words, Trump could have avoided the biggest massacre since the Vietnam war and the biggest economic recession in a century by simply wearing a mask and telling people to wear it.
    • Apr 14: Instead of admitting that he caused the delays that are killing tens of thousands of people, Trump blames the World Health Organization, that in January 22 had publicly stated "we have a window of opportunity to stop this virus, but that window is rapidly closing". He accuses the World Health Organization of making all of the mistakes that he has made since the beginning.
    • Apr 14: Two epidemiologists, Britta Jewell and Nicholas Jewell calculate that tens of thousands of lives could have been saved if the USA had acted just two weeks earlier.
    • Apr 15: Fox News (Trump's propaganda network) spins the conspiracy theory that the virus was made in a Chinese lab and ignores the theory that the virus was made in a US lab.
    • Apr 16: Trump addresses the nation saying that the USA has passed the peak of the pandemic, crediting his strategy ("it is clear that our strategy is working, and very strongly working") when in fact each state adopted its own strategy and there never was a national strategy
    • Apr 16: Trump's favorite Moderna receives a record $483 million in funding by the US government
    • Apr 16: A Chinese study finds no benefits from administering hydroxychloroquine (quote: "no difference in the rate of viral load reduction or symptom alleviation between the group treated with hydroxychloroquine and the one that had not been"). Trump and Fox News ignore the report.
    • Apr 17: Laura Ingraham of Fox News, a close Trump ally, tweets "How many of those who urged our govt to help liberate the Iraqis, Syrians, Kurds, Afghanis, etc., are as committed now to liberating Virginia, Minnesota, California, etc?" referring to the states that are fighting covid-19 with a lockdown
    • Apr 17: Trump's vice-president Mike Pence declares that states have enough test kits to begin reopening
    • Apr 17: Reacting to street demonstrations in various states calling for an end the lockdowns, Donald Trump tweets: "LIBERATE MINNESOTA", "LIBERATE MICHIGAN" and then "LIBERATE VIRGINIA" (He only mentions the states run by Democratic governors, and omits Ohio and Utah, which have Republican governors). After encouraging people NOT to wear a face mask, he encourages people to defy stay-at-home orders.
    • Apr 17: Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, says "Through February 27, this country only had 14 cases... We did that isolation and that contact tracing, and it was very successful" but the "only 14 cases" were due to the early testing problems, i.e. the virus was spreading and nobody could detect it because of CDC's faulty testing kits
    • Apr 18: Trump mentions that there are protests against the stay-at-home orders when in fact he's the one who incited those protests while the number of deaths passes the number of people killed in the Korean War.
    • Apr 18: Trump, while watching a press conference by New York governor Andrew Cuomo, tweets live "Governor Cuomo should spend more time doing and less time complaining. Get out there and get the job done. Stop talking!" to which Cuomo replies "If he's sitting at home and watching tv, maybe he's the one who should go to work". Trump tweets that Cuomo had the wrong estimates, to which Cuomo replies that the estimates came from the White House... "he should read the reports he issues" (watch the full amusing rebuke)
    • Apr 19: During his daily press conference, Trump makes a long list of false claims: that he "inherited" a defective test kit (in fact it was developed this year), that "nobody ever thought" there would be such an epidemic (in fact there were years of warnings, see later, and he's the one who canceled programs started by his predecessors to face such an epidemic), that the reagent needed for testing is "so easy to get" (in fact, only his federal government can provide it to the states that desperately need it), that his travel restrictions on China and Europe amounted to "I did a ban, where I'm closing up the entire country" (in fact he exempted all US citizens and residents and only applied the "ban" to flights coming directly from China and continental Europe, not, for example, from Taiwan and England, and not, of course, from Russia). As for warnings: Trump's own health and human services secretary Alex Azar spoke at the BioDefense Summit in April 2019 about the possibility of a deadly pandemic; David Morens, a top National Institutes of Health official, warned in October 2018 that there would not be enough room in hospitals in the case of a pandemic and that the actual number antibiotics, antivirals and ventilators in the US national stockpile was unknown; and Bill Gates has been speaking since 2015 about a pandemic being on the greatest dangers that humankind faced.
    • Apr 19: A study by the University of Chicago shows that infections and deaths in different regions are proportional to how many viewers watch Sean Hannity's show, a show that consistently downplayed the severity of the epidemic, which also happens to be Trump's main propaganda channel.
    • Apr 20: Trump's vice-president Mike Pence, echoing Trump's tweets, says there is "a sufficient capacity of testing across the country today for any state in America". Dozens of state governors are outraged because they don't have enough testing. Maryland's governor Larry Hogan responds: "It's not accurate to say there's plenty of testing out there, and the governors should just get it done... That's just not being straightforward." Virginia's governor Ralph Northam comments: "We are fighting a biological war and we are asked to fight that war without the supplies we need." The USA is conducting 150,000 tests per day, but a Harvard study estimates that, to ease restrictions, the USA needs to at least triple that number.
    • Apr 20: Various state governors beg the White House to urge citizens to heed the stay-at-home orders after anti-lockdown protests stoked by Trump that risk to increase the number of infections and deaths
    • Apr 20: Rick Bright is removed as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) after refusing to approve malaria pills made in Pakistan and India that were not approved by the FDA (Quote: "Government leadership was rushing blindly into a potentially dangerous situation by bringing in non-FDA approved chloroquine from India and Pakistan from facilities that had not been inspected by the FDA")
    • Apr 21: The director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Rick Bright, is fired for asking that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (quote: "which clearly lack scientific merit") be provided only to hospitalized patients... under the supervision of a physician."
    • Apr 21: Trump's attorney general William Barr, speaking on a neofascist radio program, threatens to take legal action against states over their coronavirus shutdowns calling them "disturbingly close to house arrest"
    • Apr 22: Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, warns that "There's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through... the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time."
    • Apr 22: Contrary to Trump's and Redfield's repeated assertions that in mid February there were only a handful of cases in the USA, California finds that people were already dying of it on February 6, just undetected for lack of testing kits
    • Apr 22: Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky derides the notion of "blue-state bailouts" (providing funds to states like New York) despite the fact that his own state of Kentucky receives every year from Washington as much money as New York state gives, i.e. every single year the failed state of Kentucky is bailed out by the state of New York (watch the response of New York's governor)
    • Apr 23: A study by Alessandro Vespignani's team at Northeastern University estimates that tens of thousands of people were already infected in mid February across the USA, just undetected because there were no testing kits (when, according to Trump and Redfield), there were only a handful of cases). Adriana Heguy, director of the Genome Technology Center at New York University, comments: "Knowing the number of flights coming into New York from Italy, it was like watching a horrible train wreck in slow motion... We weren't testing, and if you're not testing you don't know"
    • Apr 23: During the daily press briefing, Donald Trump touts new bizarre miracle cures such as injecting bleach-based disinfectants into bodies, causing doctors all over the country to take on Twitter to warn the public from experimenting with these ideas that can kill (quote from Trump: "It's just a suggestion from a brilliant lab, by a very, very smart, perhaps brilliant man") and causing the manufacturers of those products to issue warnings to consumers not to ingest them
    • Apr 24: Trump suggests that there is a correlation between Democratic-led states and the scope of the epidemic, despite the fact that the most Democratic state of all, California, has the 3rd lowest per capita deaths in the nation ("It is interesting that the states that are in trouble do happen to be blue")
    • Apr 24: Trump's vicepresident Mike Pence predicts that "we will have this coronavirus epidemic behind us by the Memorial Day weekend"
    • Apr 25: The USA passes 50,000 deaths
    • Apr 27: The mathematical model from the University of Washington now estimates a death toll of 74,000 by August 4
    • Apr 28: Vice-president Pence tours the Mayo Clinic while not wearing a face mask (surrounded by doctors and patients who are wearing masks)
    • Apr 29: As the death count (60,000) passes the number of soldiers killed in the Vietnam war, Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner calls the USA's response to the coronavirus a "great success story"
    • Apr 30: Trump says he has evidence that the coronavirus came from a Chinese lab, but he can't reveal it, a few hours after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement that "The intelligence community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified."
    • Apr 30: South Korea and the USA had the first case on the same day, but, by the end of April, South Korea, which took action immediately, has zero new cases while the USA has more than 25,000 new cases
    • May 3: Trump and Mike Pompeo claim to have evidence that the virus escaped from a Chinese lab, based on a report by the Multi-Agency Collaboration Environment (MACE). Quote from Mike Pompeo: "enormous evidence".
    • May 4: The mathematical model from the University of Washington now estimates a death toll of between 95,092 and 242,890 by August 4 (double the previous week's estimate)
    • May 4: A document leaked to the New York Times shows that the Trump administration is projecting that the death rate will double in a month (to 3,000 deaths per day by early June) and the number of new daily cases will reach 200,000
    • May 5: An investigation finds that Jared Kushner, tasked by Trump with procuring covid-19 medical equipment, assembled a team of inexperienced volunteers with no procurement experience (including a former "Apprentice" contestant) and prioritized bids from Trump's friends
    • May 5: Trump encourages states to reopen (quote: "Will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon")
    • May 5: Trump likens reopening the country for business to fighting a patriotic war and calls for citizens to be the "warriors"
    • May 5: Trump bars Fauci from testifying before a House of Representatives committee to discuss spending on coronavirus testing
    • May 8: Trump does not wear a face mask while meeting with World War II veterans in their 90s, highly vulnerable to covid-19

      May 9: Anthony Fauci declares that "there is virtually no chance it will be eradicated".

    • May 10: During a virtual town hall with Fox News at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Trump says that "We are very confident we are going to have a vaccine by the end of the year"
    • May 11: Fox News holds a special titled "Modern Warriors" in which reopening the country for business is compared to fighting a patriotic war
    • May 11: Trump says that "all throughout the country, the numbers are coming down rapidly" but NBC unveils a secret White House report that shows infection rates spiking in the US heartland, recording weekly increases of 72.4% or higher in Central City (Kentucky), Nashville (Tennessee), Des Moines (Iowa), Amarillo (Texas), and alarming rates in Charlotte (North Carolina), Kansas City (Missouri), Omaha and Lincoln (Nebraska), Minneapolis (Minnesota), Montgomery (Alabama), Columbus (Ohio) and Phoenix (Arizona)
    • May 12: Fauci, speaking via video to a Republican-led committee of the US Senate, admits that the death toll in the USA is likely much higher than the official one. He also warns states from reopening too soon: "There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control, which in fact, paradoxically, will set you back, not only leading to some suffering and death that could be avoided but could even set you back on the road to try to get economic recovery."
    • May 13: A report surfaces that Trump is pressuring the CDC to lie about the death toll while every expert agrees that the CDC underestimates (not overestimates) the real death toll because of the many people who died at home
    • May 14: 100 academics from all over the world write an open letter to all the state governors of the USA pleading for making face masks mandatory in public.
    • May 15: Trump-appointed chief scientist Moncef Slaoui claims that he is "even more confident that we will be able to deliver a few hundred million doses of vaccine by the end of 2020."
    • May 16: Mike Pompeo in an interview with Breitbart backs away from the theory that the virus escaped from a Chinese lab (quote: "we know it began in Wuhan, but we don't know from where or from whom")
    • May 17: The report produced by the Multi-Agency Collaboration Environment (MACE), that Trump and Mike Pompeo claimed as evidence that the virus escaped from a Chinese lab, is proven false
    • May 18: Trump tells reporters that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure for a week and a half. Quote: "I'm not going to get hurt by it... I take it. Front-line workers take it. A lot of doctors take it. I take it." But not a single doctor in the world comes forward to say that s/he takes it.
    • May 18: The mathematical model from the University of Washington now estimates a death toll of between 350,000 and 1.2 million by the end of 2020 and that 20% of the US population will become infected by the end of 2020 unless much stronger measures are taken nationwide
    • James Giordano, a biosecurity expert at Georgetown University Medical Center, in conversation with James Fallows: "Absolutely nothing that has happened has been a surprise. We saw it coming. Not only did we see it, we ran the models and the gaming exercises... Anyone who says we did not see this coming has their head in the sand, or is lying through their teeth."
    • May 20: 31 scientific societies of the USA signed a letter of protest, and 77 Nobel laureates sign another letter, after Trump's National Institutes of Health cancels a grant to the New York-based nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance that was funding a joint US-Chinese research to trace the evolution of the virus
    • May 21: A study by Columbia University shows that tens of thousands of lives could have been saved if social distancing had been imposed just one week earlier by Trump (paper)
    • May 22: For the first time, Trump is seen wearing a face mask. More and more studies suggest that the epidemic could have been prevented by simply wearing masks from the beginning (when Trump was dismissing it) like east Asia did.
    • May 23: The USA records 1,208 deaths in one day while Japan records 12, Australia 1, China 0, South Korea 0, Taiwan 0, Vietnam 0, New Zealand 0. These are the countries that acted in January when Trump was claiming that this was just a flu and that the USA had nothing to fear.
    • May 24: Trump goes golfing at his Virginia golf club while the nation's death toll approaches 100,000
    • May 24: A study by Imperial College London shows that the fastest growing infections in the USA are in the south and midwest (in the order, Texas, Arizona, Illinois, Colorado, Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Alabama, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, New Mexico, Missouri) and predicts tens of thousands dead in the next two months if restrictions on movement are relaxed (quote: "We predict that deaths over the next two-month period could exceed current cumulative deaths by greater than two-fold... we find no evidence that any state is approaching herd immunity or that its epidemic is close to over")
    • May 25: Rather than admitting that the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine is dangerous (as every expert in the world is warning), Trump claims that he has "just finished" taking a two-week course and says "And i am still here" implying that the drug is not dangerous. Nobody believes that he ever took it (because the White House doctor would have stopped him), and in fact he provides no evidence that he ever did, but he still encourages people to take it.
    • May 26: The death toll in the USA passes $100,000 as the USA just celebrated Memorial Day
    • May 27: France, that was the first country to test it, bans the use of hydroxychloroquine as covid-19 treatment, and even Fauci admits that "The scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy".
    • May 30: Trump announces the end of the pandemic in the USA and that "our country is transitioning back to greatness"
    • Jun 5: The University of Oxford ends a large trial of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine after their study shows no benefit from the drug for covid-19 patients (announcement)
    • Jun 9: While Trump continues to encourage states to end their lockdowns, leaked CDC study shows that the USA had the highest spike of daily infections among the major countries
    • Jun 15: The FDA revokes emergency authorization of the antimalarian drugs hyped by Trump (hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine) deeming them useless and possibly harmful to treat covid-19
    • Jun 16: Mike Pence, the head of Trump's coronavirus task force, declares victory in a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled "There Isn't a Coronavirus Second Wave". Quote: "Cases have stabilized over the past two weeks, with the daily average case rate across the U.S. dropping to 20,000-down from 30,000 in April and 25,000 in May" (paper)
    • Jun 16: The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington estimates 201,129 deaths due to covid-19 in the USA through the beginning of October
    • Jun 18: Trump tells the Wall Street Journal that "I personally think testing is overrated, even though I created the greatest testing machine in history," while scientists beg for more testing
    • Jun 19: Trump holds a campaign rally in Oklahoma with thousands of people attending, despite the fact that some on his staff are infected
    • Jun 20: Trump on Hannity's show says "Nobody knew that this virus was so contagious" (something that the Chinese publicized already in mid January, before the first US case)
    • Jun 22: Trump discounts the risks of covid-19 on young people, saying that increased testing is "showing young people that don't have a problem."
    • Jun 25: The USA now has the sixth highest death rate per capita among major countries after Britain, Spain, Italy, Sweden and France
    • Jun 28: As covid-19 cases increase exponentially in the "red" states that voted for Trump, Trump's vicepresident Pence for the first time publicly admits that people should wear facemasks, but Trump still doesn't do it while attending a function in a crowded Phoenix megachurch
    • Jun 29: Houston reports that about 60% of hospitalized covid-19 patients are under the age of 50
    • Jun 29: Two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine report almost 300 children who developed Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) after contracting covid-19 (obviously it is not true that "young people don't have a problem")
    • Jun 30: Fauci warns that the USA could soon see 100,000 new cases per day
    • Jul 1: The European Union reopens its borders to 14 countries, but barrs entry to US citizens because the USA is one of the most infected countries in the world
    • Jul 2: For the first time Trump says on TV that he is in favor of wearing face masks
    • Jul 3: Trump holds a large rally in South Dakota with very few people wearing face masks
    • Jul 5: Trump claims that "99% of Covid-19 cases are harmless"
    • Jul 7: While new cases are rapidly declining in all European and East Asian countries, the USA reports more than 60,000 new cases in 24 hours
    • Jul 10: Alexis Madrigal writes in the Atlantic hat "The lack of testing let the virus run free in February and much of March" (article)
    • Jul 14: Texas reports a record 10,791 new cases and a record 110 new deaths
    • Jul 16: Florida reports a record 156 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours
    • Jul 16: The USA reports more than 60,000 total cases (one month after Pence boasted that the number of cases had declined to 20,000)
    • Jul 17: Several Florida cities introduce curfews
    • Jul 18: Arizona and North Carolina report single-day records of deaths
    • Jul 19: During an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News, Trump claims that the USA had "one of the lowest mortality rates in the world" when in fact the USA has the third highest (a death rate per million people of 428), and claims again that the virus will suddenly disappear (Quote: "it's going to disappear, and I'll be right, because I've been right probably more than anybody else.") Trump also tells Wallace "I don't believe in the statement that if everyone wore a mask, covid-19 disappears."
    • Jul 20: The US death rate per million people is 433, second only to Britain 667, Spain 608, Italy 580, Sweden 556 and France 462
    • Jul 21: Trump finally asks people to wear face masks (Quote: "We're asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask, get a mask")
    • Jul 23: Trump cancels the Republican convention in Florida due to record numbers of infections across the USA
    • Jul 23: New York, New Jersey and Connecticut add 10 more states to their quarantine list amid increasing cases across most of the USA
    • Jul 25: Covid deaths in the USA top 1,000 for the fourth consecutive day
    • Jul 26: A report by the White House task force identifies more than 20 states that had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people in the previous week (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin) (report)
    • Jul 27: Trump retweets a video originally posted by the neofascist website Breitbart News in which "doctors" (calling themselves "America's Frontline Doctors") claim that face masks are useless and that hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment. Asked about the video, Trump replies: "They're very respected doctors. There was a woman who was spectacular in her statements about it, and she's had tremendous success with it." The woman is Stella Immanuel, founder of the Fire Power Ministries church, who has posted videos on the Internet in which she claims that doctors make medicine using DNA from aliens and that sex with "tormenting spirits" is responsible for miscarriages and impotence (quote: "Astral sex is the ability to project one's spirit man into the victim's body and have intercourse with it").
    • Jul 28: Trump declares that large portions of the USA are "corona-free", and urges governors with reopening businesses. He also reiterates that hydroxychloroquine is a cure for covid-19 (Quote: "many doctors think it is extremely successful").
    • Jul 29: The death toll in the USA passes 150,000 with New York State reporting only a handful of deaths per day and Texas posting the highest death toll per capita, followed by Arizona and South Carolina
    • Jul 30: The USA reports 1,400 covid-19 deaths, the most in a single day since May 15, and more people died of covid-19 in just one state, Texas, than in the 5 major countries of Western Europe combined

      Jul 31: US coronavirus deaths rise by 1,453, the biggest increase since May 27

      Aug 1: Trump plays golf for the 283rd time since he became president

      Aug 2: Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, declares on television that the pandemic "is extraordinarily widespread" in the USA, and Trump replies on Twitter mentioning "the very good job we are doing on combatting the China Virus"

      Aug 2: During a television interview, Trump says "We're lower than the world" when asked about the US death toll of 1,000 a day (one of the highest in the world per capita)

      Aug 3: Trump's propaganda channel Fox News, which is largely responsible for the virus spreading in the USA, publishes an article by Trump ally Steve Hilton according to which "most people have nothing to fear" from covid-19 and asking to "reopen the economy everywhere"

    Prophetic words? Peter Wehner, lifelong Republican, January 2016: "Trump has no desire to acquaint himself with most issues, let alone master them. No major presidential candidate has ever been quite as disdainful of knowledge, as indifferent to facts. Trump's virulent combination of ignorance, emotional instability, demagogy, solipsism and vindictiveness would do more than result in a failed presidency; it could very well lead to national catastrophe".
    Continues here: The Clown & the Virus - Part 2,
    See also:
    A Timeline of Covid-19,
    Covid-19: How it may change the World,
    Covid-19: An introduction and summary,

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TM, ®, Copyright © 2017 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.