A giant clock has been installed high above New York’s iconic Times Square ticking up the number of deaths which its creator said are directly caused by US President Donald Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The so-called Trump Death Clock now displays almost 52,000 fatalities “due to POTUS inaction”.
Created by filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, it as a version of the National Debt Clock, which since 1989 has kept a count of the US’ total borrowing.
“I believe we need a national measure of the cost of the recklessness of the President’s pandemic response,” Mr Jarecki told The Guardian newspaper.
“He was advised multiple times by the intelligence services and his own public health experts of the significance of this pandemic and the need to take mitigating action, and yet those warnings were not acted upon.”
According to John Hopkins University’s COVID-19 dashboard, the US has 1.4 million cases of coronavirus and has suffered almost 86,000 deaths. It is the world leader – by far – in both of the grim tallies.
The Death Clock’s creator doesn’t suggest the Trump administration is responsible for, or could have prevented, all of the US deaths. But Mr Jarecki claims up to 60 per cent of those who died from the virus may not have if it were not for poor and delayed decisions made by the White House.
“We have meticulously isolated just that portion of the US death toll where one can see a specific line between the president’s decisions and actions and the loss of life,” he said.
The 60 per cent figure stems from a study by epidemiologists from Imperial College London and the University of California Berkley, which said that if social distancing measures had been introduced just a week earlier in the US then a majority of deaths could have been avoided because the delay gave the virus a huge opportunity to spread.
President Trump has, on numerous occasions, defended his handling of the crisis.
It was reported this week that the White House was now questioning the official US COVID-19 death count that is collated by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some close to President Trump have said the figure could be too high with some deaths incorrectly listed as being caused by coronavirus. But health officials have said the opposite and that some people who have died at home and were not tested for the virus which may have caused them to pass away.