14 May 2020, The Tablet

American dream lies in chaos

Trump and the virus


By comparison with the British, Americans have every reason to feel profoundly depressed. There have been more than 80,000 deaths from coronavirus in the United States so far, and epidemic modelling at the University of Washington (admittedly an inexact science) predicts 140,000 by August. The economy is shrinking fast and unemployment is soaring. Yet political authorities, not only in the White House, have abrogated their responsibilities for the common good and decided now is the time to start returning the economy to normal.

That is despite a warning from Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, that a premature return to work will cost many lives. Premature means now. But that is not the advice they are hearing from Donald Trump. The biggest reason for American citizens to feel depressed is the chaotic leadership of their President, whose single priority seems to be his own re-election in November rather than steering his country through its most severe health crisis ever.

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