U.S. Hits 2 Million Coronavirus Cases As Trump Ignores Pandemic to Threaten 'Ugly Anarchists'

President Donald Trump at the White House on June 10, 2020.
President Donald Trump at the White House on June 10, 2020.
Photo: Getty Images

The U.S. has officially identified over 2 million coronavirus cases, the highest number in the world, according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker. The country has at least 112,924 deaths, also the highest in the world, and things are expected to get even worse in the coming months as health care systems in several states are becoming strained by the large number of covid-19 patients. Where’s President Trump in all of this? Threatening “ugly anarchists” in Seattle.

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At least 21 states are seeing a troubling rise in infections, including Arkansas, California, North Carolina, and Florida, among plenty of others. Just 23 states are seeing a decline in cases, according to a New York Times tally of averages over the past week. Local health officials are warning that Arizona could run out of ICU beds early next month if its hospitalizations continue to skyrocket.

One of the most worrying states is Texas, which currently has identified 80,777 cases and 1,885 deaths from covid-19. As of Wednesday, 2,153 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Texas, a whopping 42% increase since Memorial Day, according to the Texas Tribune.

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Meanwhile, President Trump is threatening to send the U.S. military into American cities against the will of local leaders, something that he’s wanted to do ever since the nationwide uprisings began after the death of a 46-year-old Black man named George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.

“Domestic Terrorists have taken over Seattle, run by Radical Left Democrats, of course. LAW & ORDER!” Trump tweeted overnight.

“Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!” Trump said in another tweet directed at Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

Trump is likely referring to the so-called “autonomous zone” that’s been set up around an abandoned police precinct in Seattle. The police apparently expected protesters to set the building on fire, but instead, protesters simply set up a radical community space where they distribute food and supplies and also screen movies.

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Trump has largely ignored the coronavirus pandemic in recent weeks, at least in part because of civil unrest occurring in large swaths of the country. But some of Trump’s flailing on the pandemic was in motion long before the killing of George Floyd on Memorial Day. Trump seems to have simply gotten bored with the pandemic and doesn’t mind if people are dying, with the president often suggesting there’s nothing that could have been done to prevent it. That’s bullshit, of course, as many other wealthy countries have successfully managed their infection rates and saved countless lives.

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Worldwide, there are now over 7.3 million cases and 417,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker. But several countries like Germany, South Korea, and Australia have successfully suppressed the number of new infections. New Zealand has even declared the country to be coronavirus-free. As a result, the country has dropped all social distancing requirements and people are now free to go about their normal lives.

“While we’re in a safer, stronger position there’s still no easy path back to pre-COVID life, but the determination and focus we have had on our health response will now be vested in our economic rebuild,” New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.

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“While the job is not done, there is no denying this is a milestone. So can I finish with a very simple ‘Thank you, New Zealand.’”

Countries like the UK, Brazil, and Sweden have sacrificed so many lives in the name of economic prosperity, and cruelly those countries are still suffering financially. And the people of those countries are starting to wake up to the terrible indifference of their leaders. People in Sweden, for example, used to support their government’s lax approach to the pandemic which has resulted in thousands of unnecessary deaths. Just 45% of Swedes now say they have “very or quite high confidence” in the government’s response, down from 63% who said the same thing in April.

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How do Americans feel about President Trump’s response to this historic plague? Not great. Roughly 56% of Americans disapprove of the way Trump has handled the pandemic response. The opinion of Trump’s job approval overall has slipped to 39%, down from 49% just a few weeks ago, according to Gallup.

Strangely, Trump sent a letter threatening CNN this week after the news network released a poll showing the president’s support declining, claiming the poll was “designed to mislead American voters through a biased questionnaire and skewed sampling.”

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“It’s a stunt and a phony poll to cause voter suppression, stifle momentum and enthusiasm for the President, and present a false view generally of the actual support across America for the President,” the bizarre letter said.

CNN responded that it doesn’t get these kinds of threatening letters from democratic countries, but has seen them from authoritarian regimes around the world.

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“To my knowledge, this is the first time in its 40-year history that CNN had been threatened with legal action because an American politician or campaign did not like CNN’s polling results,” CNN’s general counsel David Vigilante wrote in his public response. “To the extent we have received legal threats from political leaders in the past, they have typically come from countries like Venezuela or other regimes where there is little or no respect for a free and independent media.”

And given everything happening in the White House right now, a comparison to authoritarian countries isn’t entirely wrong. At least 1,299 Americans died of the coronavirus on Tuesday and if that keeps up, another 100,000 Americans will be dead by September. And instead of focusing on the shocking death toll, Trump is preoccupied by “law and order,” like any true fascist.

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Trump, by the way, plans to start doing his rallies again. The first one since “reopening” will be on Juneteenth in Tulsa—two apparent dog-whistles to his racist supporters who may have problems with Black people. Juneteenth is a holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S. and Tulsa, Oklahoma is infamously the site of a massacre in 1921 when mobs of white people destroyed “Black Wall Street” in the city, killing dozens of Black people and wounding thousands more with guns and bombs.

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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DISCUSSION

In the part of Texas I’m in, only like 15% or so of people wear masks and it’s hard to get people to respect my personal 6ft bubble. These people out here are something else. I just stay in as much as possible which isn’t hard for me.