By December, nearly 300,000 Americans could die from Covid-19. That’s the latest possible projection that CNN is reporting (as of August 6). The good news is that number is significantly lower if we wear masks. The bad news is that there are still many holdouts who won’t.
A friend and I recently discussed how it was possible that America, planet earth’s richest country, is leading the world in coronavirus infections in deaths. So I dug into it and found this CNN report (June 30, 2020):
And here’s another sobering statistic:
For a bit I was puzzled at how America’s response to a global pandemic (that everyone else seems to be handling much better) could be so disastrous. I know many people point a collective accusatory finger at the Trump administration but that explanation was unsatisfying to me. These numbers are so bad that mere incompetence couldn’t explain them. No, to do this poorly, you’d literally need to deliberately work at it. Once I saw these next three statistics though, it all made much more sense:
It may be seem cold, cruel, and cynical but I’m fairly certain at this point, the Trump administration (and even some conservative circles on Reddit– no, I will not link to them) consider America’s Covid-19 response to be a smashing success. Keep in mind that most recent reporting (as of last year, April 2019), predicted the Medicare hospital insurance fund to be depleted by 2026. And likewise, Social Security in America is on the brink of insolvency as well (surprise, surprise– what happens when a country’s citizens end up living way longer and all the young people have fewer babies).
Also keep in mind that for healthcare costs, the bulk of that is incurred towards end-of-life, which is where the cost curve really goes out of control. Years ago, for the library book club, we read Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal— and that statistic has always stuck with me. People are definitely living longer nowadays, but is the quality of life necessarily better? Especially for what it costs society in aggregate? But what would be the alternative? Ubasute?
The conservative mindset (obviously, making a generalization here, but I think there’s a seed of truth in this statement; don’t freak out) is easy to understand: To many people on the right, America is essentially divided into “makers” and “takers.” I actually don’t think many conservatives (at least among the people I know) are racist or sexist. But I do think many people feel that there is a large portion of Americans who are coasting on the coattails of Uncle Sam and exploiting our social safety net whether it be food stamps or people not paying taxes.
I don’t actually know if that perception is actually backed by irrefutable data, but I do know it’s a common thought pattern. And so I think through that lens, is how why many Redditors strongly feel that Trump is a strategic super-genius and handling the Covid-19 response in America perfectly.
Anyway, just thought I’d take some time this morning to put this (conspiracy theory?) out there. I know it seems insane and demented, but I do think it more fully explains the American response to Covid-19. In Trump’s mind, everything is going to plan.