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  • New York City has recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases in the United States.

    New York City has recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases in the United States. | Photo: EFE

Published 9 April 2020

While the whole world asks how capitalism can solve the deep crisis it itself could not avoid happening, Noam Chomsky says, in an exclusive interview:  "U.S. response has been shocking. It was known for years that a pandemic was likely."


The COVID-19, a disease caused by a novel coronavirus that is reopening the wounds of the capitalist system, much likely as never before, breaks bleak new records in the U.S.: 1,973 deaths on Wednesday, April 8, exceeding the fatalities in the previous day, 1,939. Up to now, the country has reported 435,160 cases of infection of the virus, and 14,797 deaths as of April 9 at 12:20 a.m. GMT time, according to WorldOMeter.


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Since March 26, the U.S. is the new epicenter of infected with the coronavirus, while masks and respirators are scarce in the "capitalism world center." The U.S. is now the second country of death toll in the world, only behind Italy (17.669). 

The predictions are even worse: Anthony Fauci, leading US government infectious disease expert, told CNN on March 29 that the coronavirus could kill as many as 200,000 Americans, and millions will likely be infected. “I mean, looking at what we’re seeing now, I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 [deaths].”

It is laughable to think that private health care, in any scenario, will work above all for people's needs; in neoliberalism, enterprises act according to their profit. And the U.S. President Donald Trump is well-aware of it. 

Nothing could best illustrate the capitalist system that has brought the world to the current disaster, and Trump's state of mind now - when the humanity too urgently needs cooperation and solidarity - than his own words last February 27, at a press conference at the White House: "I’m the President of the United States.  I’m not the President of other countries. (...) they’re working on their countries and we’re working on our countries."

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In an exclusive talk to Edu Montesanti, Noam Chomsky says that the number of those infected in the U.S. is sure higher than daily officially released. "The U.S. is the only major country that cannot even provide data on the spread of the disease, because of the abysmal lack of testing," points out Chomsky, based in Arizona. 

Asked if he means that the number of those infected with the coronavirus in his country is higher than the publicized, the professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson replies, incisively: "You are right." 

On February 26, Donald Trump predicted that the number of infected Americans would soon go down “close to zero.”  A month before that, in response to a question about how temporarily closed businesses and suspended flights will affect the global economy, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that coronavirus could bring jobs back to the U.S. from China. 

"I think it will help accelerate the return of jobs to North America, some to the U.S., probably some to Mexico as well,” Ross said.  

"The U.S. response has been shocking. It was known for years that a pandemic was likely," says the American analyst, to this teleSUR report. Actually, since the SARS and MERS epidemic also caused by a coronavirus, scientists have been warning of a pandemic. There was, then, a burst of research, but for a short time. 

“From 2005, it became really difficult to get funding for work on SARS coronavirus,” said to NewScientist German Center for Infection Research's Rolf Hilgenfeld. Later, in 2016 the WHO put coronaviruses among the top eight known viral threats, requiring more research.

According to Chomsky, market interests, again in history, have played a terrifying role against humanity: "Drug companies weren't interested in preparing [any medicines against coronavirus]: no profit." On March 16, on a conference call, Trump told a group of governors: "Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment - try getting it yourselves." 

The American Historian Peter Kuznick says, in an exclusive interview, too, that Trump, a hysterical champion of the laissez-faire, refuses to efficiently intervene on the issue, "for fear of showing that the government can solve a problem better than the capitalists can."

"The government can't step in: under neoliberal dogma, its role is to subsidize private power, not to interfere with it. Trump made it worse by smashing all the defenses, eliminating the pandemic division, cutting back on medical funding," adds Chomsky, who also points out: 

"China notified the World Health Organization in early January that unexplained pneumonia cases in Wuhan Province were traced to a new coronavirus and shared its genetic sequence for countries to use in developing specific diagnostic kits."

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World Health Organization report released on January 21, says in early January that China had informed the UN agency, in a December 31 document, about "cases of pneumonia unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China.

According to an ABC News report published on April 8, U.S. intelligence officials were warning as far back as late November that the novel coronavirus was spreading across China's Wuhan region, posing a threat to its people. "Analysts concluded it could be a cataclysmic event," warned a U.S. military's National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) intelligence report compiled last November. 

The ABC News source has said that the intelligence report was then briefed "multiple times to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon's Joint Staff and the White House."

"The West ignored all this, and Trump most all," says Chomsky. "This is an administration that has been at war with science since the day Trump took office," regrets Kuznick, Director of Nuclear Studies at the American University, in Washington D.C., who adds: 

"Trump continues to downplay the seriousness of the situation. The daily briefings have turned into Trump's reality TV show. They’ve replaced his rallies."

The U.S. president has boasted of what he says, "the U.S. is testing more than other countries," particularly mentioning South Korea, one of the nation's most efficient in combating the new coronavirus. Kuznick disgusts Trump's misleading of numbers:

"In response to the fact that the U.S. was pathetically slow to begin testing, he brags that the U.S. has tested more people than any other country, including South Korea. In so doing, he neglects to mention that the U.S. has more than six times the population of South Korea."

The renowned historian mentions the U.S. website COVID Tracking Project, to precisely contradict Donald Trump: "As of March 25, the U.S had tested 367,710 people compared to South Korea’s 357,896, which means the U.S. had tested one in every 900 residents while South Korea had tested one in every 144."

Over three million people have lost their jobs in the U.S. up to date, amid a disease that is surely going to leave many psychological problems, and so many will undirectly die due to the novel coronavirus. "The long-term economic prospects are dismal indeed," predicts Kuznick. The future is uncertain. The current environment is of desolation and panic in the United States.

"We can no longer allow the global economy to be guided by short-term profitmaking and neoliberal economic policies that leave billions in poverty, and destroy national health care systems and the environment itself," says Kuznick to this teleSUR report. 

"Clearly, a world in which the richest eight people have more wealth than the poorest 3.8 billion people, is neither viable nor tolerable. We must become a global community," warns the renowned U.S. historian.

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