By Mark Faulk
Today is a grim landmark day for the United States in its battle to contain COVID-19, as the number of confirmed cases topped 1,000,000 on the same day that the country’s death toll surpassed the total military casualties inflicted in the Vietnam War.
The coronavirus totals: 1,026,771 confirmed cases (nearly one-third of the total confirmed cases in the entire world), and 58,269 dead, was even starker when put into perspective. While the 58,220 soldiers lost their lives in Vietnam over the course of a 20-year conflict, the US death toll for COVID-19 is just two months into the pandemic.
At a February 26th White House press conference, President Trump downplayed the severity of the coronavirus, proclaiming, “Because of all we've done, the risk to the American people remains very low. The level that we've had in our country is very low and those people are getting very better.”
Trump even laughed and joked that COVID-19 was no different than the flu, telling a reporter, "You don't have to necessarily grab any handrail if you don't have to.” He also said at the time that he agreed with Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh’s claims that the deep state had created the coronavirus as a political weapon “to bring down Trump.”
At the time of his press conference, there were 14 confirmed cases in the US, and as of today, the deadly coronavirus that Trump claimed was no different than the flu has infected over 1,000,000 people.
Three days later, on February 29th, the CDC confirmed the first of over 58,000 US COVID-19 deaths.
As we commemorate these tragic landmarks, states across the country have begun to re-open for business, even though the single highest day of infection was just four days ago, with 36,138 confirmed cases on April 24th. Models show that in most cities and states, we are easing shelter in place restrictions at least a month early, showing that the Trump administration and many states are still not taking COVID-19 seriously, putting Americans at risk for a second wave of cases and fatalities over the next few weeks.