On Monday, Donald Trump gave another of his relentlessly weird and rambling speeches, this one aimed at supporters gathered at a Minnesota airport. There he again flat-out lied about the COVID-19 pandemic's status in countries with less dimwitted leaders. He's been doing that a lot, apparently out of resentment that those other countries were able to mobilize to contain the virus in a way that he, Jared Kushner, and his collection of yes-men sycophants could not.
Monday's attack was on New Zealand. "You've seen what's going on in New Zealand? Big surge in New Zealand. It's terrible, we don't want that," Trump declared.
What was the "big surge" in New Zealand cases that Trump was referring to on Monday? Nine.
Not 9%. Nine cases, nationwide. Another 13 whole cases cropped up today.
It goes without saying, of course, but Trump is wrong about everything, all the time. We don't want that, he says? We do want that. United States officials would chew off their own arms if it would get us down to nine cases a day, and even that was considered a new "outbreak."
He's an idiot. Dumb as a post, this guy. The recent Jonathan Swan interview alone was sufficient proof that Trump is not a cleverly scheming propagandist carefully massaging words and meanings to his benefit, but a rich do-nothing dilettante so absorbed in decorating the inside of his own head that he cannot even describe the meaning of charts he holds in his own hands. One of his aides or (more likely) favorite television programs offered him the news that New Zealand cases were up eleventy billion percent, knowing he would be pleased by it; Trump ran with it without question.
Trump's recent kick has been to claim that other nations are also seeing "big surges" of new cases, as the United States rapidly moves towards 6 million cases and tops 170,000 deaths, and so it must not be his own failures of leadership that are causing continued pandemic cases here. Those "big surges," however, consist of microscopic fractions of the 40,000+ new U.S. cases each day. Those surges are containable, with contract tracing and local closures.
Ours are too big for contract tracing to handle, and often directly caused by, rather than reduced by, our government's own actions. School openings, for example, are leading to rashes of new cases in states with outbreaks so severe that they had no business contemplating school reopenings to begin with.
What wouldn't we give to be able to treat a new outbreak of nine cases nationwide as a serious setback? More people than that test positive each day within a one-mile radius of the Oval Office desk. The reopening of the University of North Carolina alone caused four separate new clusters before university officials abandoned their plans.
And it's not going to get any better. Not soon, and not ever. Trump's current plans lead to no containment of the virus until the entire nation reaches "herd immunity" status through mass infections and deaths; New Zealand, like nearly every other nation, is using aggressive measures to limit each new outbreak so that it does not grow into the sort of nationwide systems collapse that Republican leaders have blusteringly declared to be the best our own nation can muster.