Iagain and again Mary Turner is close to tears, her voice breaks. “I apologize for being so emotional,” said the president of the Nurses United Nurses Union in Minnesota. Turner has been working in an intensive care unit for Covid patients at night since February. On Wednesday she will take part in a virtual round table. Your host: Joe Biden, the American President-Elect. “You emotionalized me,” says Biden, fiddling with a handkerchief and rubbing his eyes.
It is bitter testimony for the American healthcare system that Turner issues during the video slot. She reports how her colleagues demonstrated for protective clothing. “There is something seriously wrong when nurses take to the streets begging for protective gear amid a pandemic,” Turner says. “We have to act now, we have to act quickly,” she appeals to Biden. The number of cases rose, the hospitals were overcrowded, and many of their colleagues were afraid. “Our employers and the government don’t support us,” said Turner, reporting how her colleagues held hands with dying patients while they cried because they couldn’t see their families.
She also laments a lack of protective equipment. A single N95 protective mask is sometimes worn eight to ten times. “We can’t stay safe if we stick to these standards,” says Turner. There is no “second line of defense”, she warns, because there is only “us” – the nurses.
By Wednesday (November 18), the United States had more than a quarter of a million Covid deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Over 11.5 million Americans have contracted the virus. Even the White House sees a dramatic situation.
The US is at a “dangerous point”, said Admiral Brett Giroir, a leading member of the President’s Corona working group. Of the “strongest increase in the number of cases”, Giroir speaks: “Our hospital admissions are increasing by 25 percent week after week, our deaths are increasing by 25 percent week after week.” All of this is “not moving in the right direction,” Giroir said MSNBC transmitter.
Schools in New York will be closed again this Thursday, as Mayor Bill de Blasio announced. Even Covid-Tests are in the meantime again a stroke of luck in the USA. In the capital Washington, for example, people stood in line for several hours at the beginning of the week.
The sparsely populated state of Montana (one million inhabitants in an area larger than Germany) imposed a mask requirement. The Republican Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, enacted restrictions on restaurants, religious establishments and fitness centers starting Friday. Hogan was one of the few Republicans who always resisted Donald Trump’s policies, which devalued the wearing of masks and belittled the virus.
The incumbent president is exacerbating the already precarious situation for the overwhelmed US health system. Trump (“I won the election”) refuses to initiate a proper transfer of power to his elected successor, Biden. Trump is thus creating a dangerous power vacuum: Biden and his transition team cannot access the information, personnel and capacities of the administration, as has been the case with every change of president in the United States.
While the future president is dealing intensively with the pandemic and has long since set up his own working group, Trump is largely letting the government slide. The incumbent president hardly keeps appointments – last week he showed up briefly during Veterans Day and for a press statement about the corona vaccination.
At the weekend he played golf for two days, since then he can only be seen on Twitter and in emails to his followers asking for donations. A “bunker mentality” prevails in the White House, according to the president’s environment.
The Vice President has also largely gone underground Mike Pencewho recently planned a sun vacation in Florida but canceled at the last minute.
Double vaccinations necessary
Pence heads – at least officially – the anti-corona working group in the White House. What remains in his memory of his work are above all optimism of purpose, praise for the president and corporations for their alleged activities against the epidemic, as well as perseverance calls. There will be “no second corona wave”, Pence had tinted in June, and even wrote an article with a corresponding title. Now his country is facing the third and most violent wave of the epidemic.
The hopes that large sections of the population would be vaccinated soon, even immediately, were also greatly exaggerated. Trump had announced a vaccine months ago “very soon”. His chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said in September that 100 million vaccine doses would be available in October. In other words: before the presidential election on November 3rd.
Of course, Trump’s electoral defeat was also based on his government’s miserable crisis management, ignoring and relativizing deadly dangers. He had compared the virus to the “flu” and announced that it would miraculously disappear if the temperature rose. Now the temperatures are falling – and the number of cases is increasing.
Should the supply of 330 million Americans with the vaccine proceed like the Covid tests in the first months of the epidemic, the USA will face chaotic conditions again. Because Pfizer’s vaccinations must be duplicated, the company expects to supply only 12.5 million Americans this year. Moderna plans to provide 20 million vaccine doses this year, Johnson & Johnson speaks of 100 million doses by March 2021.
“Shameful and unacceptable”
President-elect Biden made the fight against Covid a top priority months ago. His team must get access to the plans that show how the Americans should be vaccinated, said Biden on Monday: “This is a huge, huge undertaking.” If you don’t coordinate, “more people could die,” he warned . When his team with the Prepare for inauguration If you have to wait on January 20, postpone all of this for a month or a month and a half.
House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer stated on Wednesday night, “President Trump spends his days playing golf and tweeting angrily about the election results instead of doing his job and monitoring America’s Covid-19 response.” Government health officials would need to coordinate with Biden’s team. The acting president is said to be “shameful and unacceptable”.
There is now growing pressure in the ranks of the Democrats to quickly adopt further billions in aid for the unemployed and small business owners. For reasons of election tactics, the Democrats had recently not wanted to bring themselves to do this. Whether there is an agreement between the Lame-duck-Congress and the Lame-duck-President comes is open.
Incidentally, Trump had always complained before the election that the fake news media always wanted to talk about Covid in order to harm him. At his rallies and on Twitter, Trump repeatedly dared to make extremely bold predictions, even by his standards. So he called: “Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid, Covid. By the way, you won’t hear any more about it on November 4th. ”