‘Trump Death Clock’ counts preventable US coronavirus deaths
It ticks on assumption that 60% of deaths could've been prevented if Trump administration had acted earlier
NEW YORK: A newly erected billboard in New York's Times Square shows the number of US coronavirus deaths its creator says could have been avoided if US President Donald Trump had acted sooner - and it's called the "Trump Death Clock".
Created by film-maker Eugene Jarecki, the "clock" was installed on the roof of a Times Square building, empty due to the pandemic. As of Monday, the counter showed more than 48,000 deaths out of a total of more than 80,000, by far the highest tally in the world.
The "clock" ticks on the assumption that 60 per cent of Covid-19 deaths in the US could have been prevented had the Trump administration implemented mandatory social distancing and school closures just a week earlier than it did, on March 9 instead of March 16, Mr Jarecki explained in a post on Medium.
Coronavirus cases in the US have exceeded 1.3 million and are rising in some states.
Despite this, Mr Trump accused Democrats of moving to reopen US states from lockdown measures too slowly for political advantage on Monday.
He targeted the election battleground state of Pennsylvania, which has a Democratic governor, Mr Tom Wolf.
"The great people of Pennsylvania want their freedom now, and they are fully aware of what that entails.
"The Democrats are moving slowly, all over the USA, for political purposes. They would wait until Nov 3 if it were up to them. Don't play politics. Be safe, move quickly!" Mr Trump said in a Twitter post.
In separate development, Mr Trump dismissed concerns over the possible spread of coronavirus in the White House but said he may limit contact with Vice-President Mike Pence.
Mr Trump, speaking to masked reporters in the White House Rose Garden, suggested that Mr Pence was in quarantine after his press secretary tested positive, though he did not say it outright.
Ms Katie Miller, the spokesman for Mr Pence, who heads the White House's coronavirus task force, tested positive for coronavirus last week along with a personal valet to Mr Trump.
A spokesman for Mr Pence denied over the weekend that the vice-president was in quarantine, but Mr Trump suggested he was when asked on Monday whether he had considered limiting his contact with him.
"I would say that he and I will be talking about that," Mr Trump said.
"During this quarantine period, we'll probably talk. I have not seen him since then.
"We can talk on the phone."
Mr Trump abruptly ended his briefing after a testy exchange with an Asian-American reporter.
CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang asked Mr Trump why he continued to insist that the US was doing better than other countries when it came to testing for the virus. She asked why it mattered and why it was a global competition to him.
Mr Trump replied: "And maybe that's a question you should ask China. Don't ask me, ask China that question, OK?"
"Sir, why are you saying that to me specifically?" she asked, implying it was due to her race.
"I'm saying it to anybody who would ask a nasty question like that," said Mr Trump. He then turned to other reporters but before they could ask any questions, stormed out. - AFP, REUTERS