Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, which is projected to kill an overall total of 100,000 Americans by June 1, top Trump administration official Alex Azar sounds like he believes that it’s at least partially actually some of the pandemic victims’ fault that they ever got sick and died in the first place. This weekend on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper, Azar — who leads the Department of Health and Human Services — blamed “greater risk profiles” among pandemic victims for the high mortality rate in the U.S. and claimed that the Trump administration’s pandemic response has been “historic.”
This reads to me like he’s saying “our numbers would have been much better if not for those dang black people”. https://t.co/xie4okZAg3
— Jeff Kemp (@jkempcpa) May 17, 2020
In other words, it appears that the Trump team is ready to ascribe some kind of grand inevitability to the pandemic before they accept a modicum of responsibility for their own shortcomings.
Asked for an explanation as to why the United States’ share of the officially recorded Coronavirus deaths is drastically higher than its share of the overall world population, Azar didn’t exactly have an answer. He suggested that the high number of tests that the U.S. is doing is to blame for the high number of confirmed cases, but in terms of tests per capita, the U.S. is actually currently 39th in the world. The United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and a whole host of other countries have conducted at times sharply higher numbers of tests per one million inhabitants than the United States.
‘We defined in January a core strategic objective… to delay the curve and to flatten the curve and that is exactly what we did through the historic border control measures and then through working with our health care systems and our governors and our heroic front line health care workers.’
One note: the idea that the president has launched some kind of encouraging cooperation with governors around the country amidst the pandemic is ludicrous. He’s spent an inordinate amount of time whining about those governors on Twitter. At one point, he even insisted that the White House shouldn’t call governors who aren’t thankful enough.
Meanwhile, Azar continued:
‘Every death is tragic.. unfortunately, the American population is very diverse, and it is a population with significant, unhealthy comorbidities that do make many individuals in our communities, in particular African-American and minority communities, particularly at-risk here because of significant underlying health disparities and disease comorbidities, and that is an unfortunate legacy in our health care system, that we certainly do need to address. But no, the the response here in the United States has been historic.’
HHS Secretary Alex Azar says that the high number coronavirus mortalities in the United States is due to "greater risk profiles," in certain communities and says the American response to the virus has been "historic" #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/WgywaH8NE5
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 17, 2020
It’s incredible that “unfortunately, the American population is very diverse” is an actual sentence that an actual federal public health official on the Trump team said. While he did acknowledge the disparities in access to health care that wouldn’t exactly be the victims’ fault — he also sounded like he at least partly blamed the victims for their own disease, although if the president took the virus more seriously from the beginning, then far fewer Americans may have ever been exposed to the Coronavirus in the first place.
There we go, now we’re victim blaming people dying from a global pandemic our President doesn’t give a fuck about and botched the response to. Just blame the dead people! https://t.co/MbqItzFRKi
— Claire O. (@cowens_02) May 17, 2020