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Yale epidemiologist says U.S. response to coronavirus "close to genocide by default"

(Xinhua)    09:44, May 07, 2020

WASHINGTON, May 6 (Xinhua) -- An epidemiologist at Yale University on Wednesday launched one of the harshest attacks on the U.S. administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying it was "close to genocide by default."

"How many people will die this summer, before Election Day?" tweeted Gregg Gonsalves, co-director of Yale's Global Health Justice Partnership, on Wednesday morning, one day after administration officials hinted a possible disbanding of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

"What proportion of the deaths will be among African-Americans, Latinos, other people of color?" Gonsalves wrote in a series of combative tweets. "This is getting awfully close to genocide by default. What else do you call mass death by public policy?"

Shortly after the scholar vented his outrage, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the White House Coronavirus Task Force will continue "indefinitely" with possible personnel changes, one day after officials hinted that the team will wind down.

The task force, Trump tweeted, "will continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN," adding that the administration "may add or subtract people to it."

The president, who has been pushing for the reopening of the country despite cautions voiced by health experts, also said that the task force will focus on developing vaccines and therapeutics for the coronavirus.

Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the task force, said Tuesday that "conversations are being had about winding down the work for the task force," and that the White House is looking at the Memorial Day -- which falls on May 25 -- as a possible "window."

Pence made the remarks in a briefing in response to a question about a New York Times report on the potential disbanding of the team.

"I think we're having conversations about that and about what the proper time is for the task force to complete its work and for the ongoing efforts to take place on an agency-by-agency level," Pence told reporters, adding that talks were ongoing about a transition plan with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Gonsalves was serious about his claims, saying later in a tweet that he was "being serious here: what is happening in the US is purposeful, considered negligence, omission, failure to act by our leaders. Can they be held responsible under international law?"

Total confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States rose beyond 1.2 million, with the death toll surpassing 71,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of Wednesday.

Citing an internal document acquired from FEMA, the New York Times reported earlier that daily coronavirus-related deaths in the country could nearly double to reach about 3,000 by June 1. It also predicted that new cases will probably average at 200,000 a day by the end of May, up from the current daily rate of about 25,000.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement on Monday that the document had nothing to do with the White House, "nor has it been presented to the coronavirus task force or gone through interagency vetting."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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