Trump claims Germany and Japan are “following us” in their coronavirus responses. No chance.

The United States passed more than 78,000 coronavirus deaths on May 8, far more than the second worst affected country. Unlike most comparable countries, the trajectory is the daily death toll has not yet been meaningfully addressed here nor is the number of new cases diagnosed every day.

In contrast, Germany and Japan together had fewer than 9,000 Covid-related deaths on May 8. Although Japan has not got off to a good start, the number of new cases per day is floating around 200 and in Germany, about 1,000; in both cases, the new case numbers are well below the nearly 15,000 identified in the US on Thursday.

In short, as both countries continue to struggle with the virus and life is far from normal for the people there, the pandemic has been somewhat controlled to an extent that Americans can only dream of. However, things are not really going better here – and there is no indication that our federal government is up to the challenge. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

And to hear President Donald Trump say it, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are charmed by his fantastic response to the corona virus and are following suit. They even told him so much on the phone.

“I spoke to Angela Merkel today, I spoke to Prime Minister Abe of Japan; I’ve talked to many of the leaders for the past four or five days. And so many of them, almost all of them – I would like to say them all, not everyone would admit it – but they all see us as the world leader, and they follow us, ”Trump said at an on-camera meeting on Friday.

Trump went on to tell how US fan and test capacity has expanded over the past month or so. But what he doesn’t seem to comprehend is that because countries like Germany and Japan were more successful with the early outbreaks of coronavirus, they didn’t need fans as much. And while Trump has a habit of bragging about how the U.S. has conducted so many more tests than other countries, the reality is that countries where the virus didn’t get out of hand like here didn’t have to catch up like the U.S. has.

In short, Germany and Japan have little need for American aid and would certainly not be interested in following the path we are following here. However, Trump is trying to turn that reality upside down.

“So many people have died. That’s the one thing we can’t do anything about, unfortunately. “

Trump’s bizarre comments about Germany and Japan came just after he talked about the rising death toll in the US as if it were something he cannot help. He compared the current state of affairs favorably with a scenario in which the federal government literally did nothing and killed as many as 2.2 million Americans.

“So many people have died. That’s the one thing we can’t do anything about, unfortunately, ” he said. “What I can say is that if we did it in a different way – if we were” herd, “if we were just” let’s go, “we would have been talking about numbers that would have been unsustainable.”

Implicit in Trump’s comment is the idea that 2,000 Americans who die each day from the corona virus are “sustainable.” Rather than attempting to reduce that number by urging people to stay at home and continue social distance to slow down its spread, Trump is doing the opposite by calling on states to reopen companies. Models predict that states following his lead will eventually lead to tens of thousands of avoidable deaths, but right now the president is trying to be the main concern in transforming the corona virus into an economic success story.

What was uncovered on Friday is that, insofar as Trump has a plan to tackle the coronavirus, it’s a combination of passing money to the states, blind faith, and changing the subject where possible.

Trump insisted on Friday’s event that “this will disappear at some point.” Pressured to provide evidence, he said, “I just trust what doctors say.”

But no serious doctor believes the coronavirus will simply go away on its own. The best infectious disease experts in Trump’s own administration have even said it in public.

That comment was not the only indication that Trump is struggling to understand the coronavirus problem. He responded to the news that Mike Pence’s chief of press Katie Miller, tested positive for the coronavirus by framing it as an argument against frequent testing.

“Katie, she tested really well for a long time, and then she suddenly tested positive,” Trump said. “This is why the whole concept of testing isn’t necessarily great.”

But the Miller news is actually an argument for more testing, no less, because asymptomatic carriers or people who have recently contracted the virus can be quarantined before coming into contact with too many people. It is also an argument for wearing masks. But even when he had an event with senior World War II veterans at high risk of dying on Friday at Covid, Trump refused to wear one.

The news is moving fast. Follow to stay informed Aaron Rupar on Twitter, and read more about it Vox’s Policy and Political Coverage.

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