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Analysis: Trump absent as vaccine distribution lags and thousands continue to die

At 341,000 and growing, more people have died from Covid-19 in the US this year than died in battle in World War II and Vietnam combined, according to data on casualties in those wars from the Department of Veterans Affairs. There were many more noncombat deaths in those conflicts. But the point here is the country is at war with a global pandemic and the President spent the week on the golf course and tweeting about his election loss instead of trying to save Americans.

It’s worth mentioning, in case nobody has told him, that more than 3,700 US Covid deaths were reported Tuesday, a frightening new record that will soon be eclipsed since the country notched a record number of new hospitalizations on the same day, which was soon broken on Wednesday.

The 3,700 deaths in one day, for context, is more than half the US casualties on D-Day and more than the entire Tet Offensive in Vietnam.

Many people have pointed out the US is suffering a 9/11 every day. But the sad truth of that comparison has worn off as the Covid-19 numbers have grown more unfathomable. And while 9/11 was a single attack that changed the way Americans live, this war with coronavirus is still surging.

We know that so many more Americans will die.

Falling behind

White House coronavirus testing czar: 'We need to be doing a better job' with Covid-19 vaccine rollout

The vaccine program — Operation Warp Speed — which Trump put in place, has deployed millions of doses of vaccines for the disease, but that’s falling further and further behind schedule, which means it could take years at the current rate to vaccinate enough Americans to halt the pandemic.

More than 20 million American arms were to have been vaccinated by the time 2021 began. The confirmed number was less than 3 million on Wednesday, although officials have pointed to weather events and other hiccups, but promise every day the system is ramping up.

“We know that it should be better and we’re working hard to make it better,” Operation Warp Speed head Moncef Slaoui told reporters.

CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner told CNN’s Jake Tapper the country is going to have to get creative and rethink how it pushes vaccines to hundreds of millions of Americans.

“There needs to be a sense of urgency and I don’t feel it right now,” he said.

The horrible developments barely warranted Trump’s public attention between his rounds of golf and feverish tweeting about the election loss he still denies.

He did tweet to pass responsibility for the vaccine rollout to states.

“The Federal Government has distributed the vaccines to the states. Now it is up to the states to administer. Get moving!” he said.

But that abdication of responsibility, the day after President-elect Joe Biden promised more urgency and coordination as soon as he can take office, felt pro forma.

Trump’s heart and attention are still focused on the election, for which he reserved all caps.

“JANUARY SIXTH, SEE YOU IN DC!” he tweeted not long after Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri pledged he would back House Republicans who promise to object to counting electoral votes from swing states that Trump lost.

Hawley’s move assures more drama and a new set of votes in the House and Senate, which will be perceived by the President and his grassroots supporters as tests of fealty to Trump.

It does not matter that there is still no evidence of voter fraud to justify excluding the electoral votes of many millions of Americans.

With the House of Representatives controlled by Democrats, the objections are destined to fail, but Hawley’s imprimatur ensures there will be votes in both the House and Senate to put Republicans on the record for either sidestepping democracy, or not.

Consequential days ahead

GOP senator to delay affirming Biden victory by forcing votes on Electoral College results

The votes in Washington — which, hopefully, should be the final word on the 2020 Electoral College results — will occur the day after two January 5 runoff elections in Georgia, which will determine who controls the Senate in 2020.

Rather than build unified support in the state, Trump called on Georgia’s Republican…

Read More: Analysis: Trump absent as vaccine distribution lags and thousands continue to die

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