In My View
Trump gives himself A+ as US crosses grim milestone
As America crossed the grim milestone of 200,000 deaths due to coronavirus, fresh debates began among various circles within the country over Trump administration's response to the deadly disease that took so many lives in a single country.
By and large, Americans aren't happy with the way the administration of President Donald Trump handled the pandemic right from the beginning. Critics said many Americans would give President Trump probably an "F" or a failing grade for managing COVID-19 so poorly.
They say a lot of deaths could be avoided had the Trump administration handled the global pandemic in a better manner as in many other countries. However, talking to American Fox News channel just a few days ago, Trump gave himself an "A+" over management of the pandemic in America.
"We have done a phenomenal job, not just a good job - a phenomenal job," the president bragged. If it had not been for his administration's efforts, millions of people would have lost their lives, he claimed. However, many Americans do not buy the argument of the president; they rather flat out reject it.
As per the latest figure on September 23, coronavirus took lives of a total of 202,000 Americans across the country with fresh deaths of 942 people in only one day. And in just 24 hours, the virus infected another 37,293 more Americans and the total number of coronavirus cases in the country is currently 6.96 million.
Compared to the U.S., Canada's response to the global pandemic is arguably better, even though it is not perfect. So far the country has lost a total of 9,242 people including only six people in the last 24 hours. Currently, there are 148,000 cases of coronavirus in the country including freshly infected 1,248 people on September 23.
In order to combat the global pandemic of COVID-19, Canada which shares the world's longest international border-8,891 kilometers-with the United States, has adopted several bylaws. All provincial governments have been strictly enforcing them, even though their enforcement has markedly changed the normal Canadian way of life.
Wearing a mask or face covering is mandatory in any enclosed public spaces as well as transportation while social distancing is also being strictly enforced. Anybody coming to Canada or a returning Canadian citizen or immigrant from abroad will now notice a somewhat slow-moving and new way of life as a result of COVID-19 the moment they will enter Canada through any land or airport.
After withdrawal of lockdowns, businesses resumed in most Canadian cities and life started to slowly return to normal but still in a restricted way for protection from the deadly disease of coronavirus. Shoppers are returning to major malls and plazas in Toronto, Canada's largest city but everybody putting on a face mask and following the designated walkways keeping a 6-foot or 2-meter distance from person to person. The same rule applies even inside any store.
After President Trump gave himself an A+ for managing coronavirus, various American media outlets started scrutinizing his response to the pandemic. Host after host of CNN ran their shows on the grim milestone of 200,000 American deaths over the last couple of days with signs of visible sadness on their faces. Most guests interviewed by CNN held similar views that many lives could be saved had there been a better management of the disease from the start.
Dr Anthony Fauci of the US National Institutes of Health who is America's top infectious diseases expert doesn't agree with many of the assessments of President Donald Trump on coronavirus. While the president painted a positive picture of the ongoing disease which is still killing hundreds of Americans and infecting tens of thousands on a daily basis, Dr Fauci warned Americans that the danger wasn't going to be over so soon in America.
During an interview with CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta recently, Dr Fauci described the current fall and upcoming winter as a critical period and warned that the Americans would need to what he called "hunker down" during this time, especially when the weather would get too cold. "We are really entering into a risk period," Fauci told Gupta.
Meanwhile, President Trump insists that the much sought after COVID-19 vaccine would be ready before the November presidential election. However, many Americans do not believe that a safe and effective vaccine against the deadly virus would be available in such a short time and Democrats say the president is "playing politics with the vaccine." None of the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing companies is reported to have successfully completed their Phase 3 clinical trial as yet.
However, Pfizer Inc, an American multinational pharmaceutical corporation, which is one of the companies developing coronavirus vaccine, has already begun the manufacturing process of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. Disclosing this to "Face the Nation," the Sunday talk show of CBS News recently, Albert Bourla, and the CEO of the company said that on the basis of Pfizer's studies there is a good chance of knowing whether or not the vaccine will work by the end of October.
Even before the approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Pfizer has already manufactured hundreds of thousands of doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine. Bourla said the company would be prepared to market it once it gets approval from the FDA. Pfizer didn't accept any federal money for its coronavirus vaccine development program and Bourla said that the company took this decision to remain free from any politics.
Currently, there are over half a dozen companies in Phase 3 clinical trials for the potential coronavirus vaccine. They include Pfizer and Moderna, another well-known American pharmaceutical company and also the Oxford University which is developing its vaccine in partnership with Swedish-British drug company AstraZeneca. On September 23, Johnson & Johnson became the latest company to launch its Phase 3 clinical trial for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
Making this announcement on its website, Johnson & Johnson said that its Phase 3 clinical trial was launched on the basis of positive results of the Phase 1 and 2 clinical studies and discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "For the Phase 3 clinical trial, the ensemble will enroll up to 60,000 volunteers across three continents and will study the safety and efficacy of a single vaccine dose versus placebo in preventing COVID-19," Johnson & Johnson said.
American presidents have always been role models not just for American children but also for children around the world. However, by telling incredible things and lies after lies as recorded by the Washington Post and other American media outlets, President Trump disappointed not just the children of the world but also millions of other people.
The writer is a Toronto-based journalist who also writes for the Toronto Sun and Canada's Postmedia Network