Since the moment the first COVID-19 cases in the world began being reported, former President Donald Trump deliberately, repeatedly downplayed the threat posed by the virus and constantly undermined the recommendations of his own health officials.
Before the virus went on to kill 700 thousand people, Trump insisted it could be contained and that it wasn't much worse than the flu (he said the diametric opposite in private). When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began recommending masks after discovering the severity of asymptomatic transmissions, Trump refused to wear one in public and mocked those who did. Conservative opposition to masking has pervaded since.
Trump also pushed bogus treatments like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. He even floated the possibility of injecting disinfectant as a cure for the virus.
Trump continued to hold packed, maskless rallies throughout the 2020 campaign trail, which led to at least 30 thousand cases of the virus, according to a Stanford University study.
Trump's pandemic recklessness undoubtedly contributed to the stratospheric number of COVID-19 deaths the United States continues to endure, but his former COVID Response Coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, gave congressional investigators an estimate of just how many deaths could've prevented had Trump supported basic safety protocols like masking and crowd avoidance.
Birx told the House Select Subcomittee on the Coronavirus:
"I believe if we had fully implemented the mask mandates, the reduction in indoor dining, the getting friends and family to understand the risk of gathering in private homes, and we had increased testing, that we probably could have decreased fatalities into the 30 percent less to 40 percent less range."
Forty percent of the United States' current COVID death toll is nearly 300 thousand lives.
People were disgusted.
And they were far from sympathetic to Birx.
Regardless, the 700 thousand COVID deaths will never be undone.