Did Trump Deliberately Let People Die of COVID-19?

Medical, legal experts say Trump is liable for half a million deaths

Manny Otiko

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Former President Donald Trump (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

We just passed a grim milestone. Coronavirus deaths have officially hit the 500,000-mark. And according to The Lancet, a British medical journal, many of those fatalities could have been avoided.

“Many of the cases and deaths were avoidable. Instead of galvanising the US populace to fight the pandemic, President Trump publicly dismissed its threat (despite privately acknowledging it), discouraged action as infection spread, and eschewed international cooperation,” said The Lancet in its Feb. 10 issue. “His refusal to develop a national strategy worsened shortages of personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests. President Trump politicised mask-wearing and school reopenings and convened indoor events attended by thousands, where masks were discouraged and physical distancing was impossible.”

In an article I wrote almost a year ago, I talked about how 60,000 people had died from the coronavirus. Back then, I thought that number was shocking but now the number has just crept over 500,000. That’s hard to wrap your brain around but that’s the figure we’re at today. Let’s put that into perspective. I live in Moreno Valley, Calif. and the population here is about 300,000. The neighboring city, Riverside, has about 300,000 people too. The coronavirus death toll is like wiping both of those cities out.

But did Trump try to kill people or show criminal indifference to Americans? I’m leaning towards yes. According to Bob Woodward’s “Rage,” Trump gave up trying to contain the coronavirus once it was discovered that most of the people dying in the early stages were People of Color who lived in blue states.

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Manny Otiko

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.