The COVID-19 pandemic has now killed more Americans than the 1918 Spanish flu, based on the official death count from COVID-19 compared to the estimated fatalities from the 1918 pandemic. As reported by Berkeley Lovelace, Jr., for CNBC:
A substantial percentage of those deaths were due to the gross mishandling of the pandemic by former president Donald Trump, members of his administration, and various elected Republicans at the state and federal level who internalized, adopted, and promoted his policies. According to Reuters, a series of studies released by the Brookings Institution when the death toll was 540,000 in this country estimated that deaths due to Trump and his GOP allies’ botched response numbered as many as 400,000. A Lancet study released earlier had indicated 40% of COVID deaths in the U.S. could have been avoided, assuming that U.S. death rates corresponded to those in other G7 countries. As reported by the Daily Beast’s Jennifer Adams at that time:
The human cost of this abominable example of willful malfeasance and callous, self-serving disregard is incalculable. The number of lives lost and families ruined simply because Trump prioritized his reelection prospects over a massive, lethal threat to the Americans he was charged to defend and protect is equally incalculable.
The most appalling aspect of this country’s death toll caused by the COVID-19 pandemic versus the 1918 Spanish flu is the extent to which this nation in 2020 had the tools available to mitigate it. As Lovelace explains:
Nor was there any mature science of virology in 1918, and, as Lovelace points out, “Scientists hadn’t even seen a virus under a microscope.”
But because Donald Trump and the vast majority of those in the Republican Party who collaborated with him politicized the pandemic and attempted to weaponize it to their advantage, neither the virus nor its variants have been contained. Absent Trump and the Republicans who followed his lead, the delta variant that is now raging through the country’s still-unvaccinated population would have been severely mitigated. People would not still be dying at record rates in various parts of this country, and businesses, public transportation, and schools would likely not be forced to contend with the degree of masking and distancing requirements that are still now in place. Millions of Americans would now be vaccinated who have instead, because of Trump, Republican officials, and disinformation spread by Fox News and other right-wing media, chosen to forgo vaccination. And the hundreds of thousands of deaths still to come would have been avoided.
History is replete with warnings about how much damage one bad human being can cause, particularly when elevated to a position of considerable power and influence. The destruction wrought by these people is usually magnified when they develop a cult of personality that blinds citizens to the degree of evil they represent. From the beginning, Trump clearly aspired to achieve historical significance during his tenure. He has doubtlessly achieved that goal by directly and indirectly causing the preventable deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans.
No matter what else happens in his miserable, toxic life, that is how history will remember him.
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