Merkley Statement on the Loss of 200,000 American Lives to the Coronavirus

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after America passed the grim milestone of 200,000 coronavirus deaths:

“America is in mourning. As of today, more Americans have lost their lives to the coronavirus than from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, World War I, and on September 11, 2001, combined. My heart is with every person who is experiencing the shattering pain of losing a loved one, and I pray that they may find peace in this difficult time.

“Any death—no matter the cause or circumstance—is devastating. In the case of this pandemic, the massive loss of American lives is more than heartbreaking; it’s infuriating, because so many of these deaths were entirely preventable. A lack of leadership, an active disinformation campaign by the President of the United States, a failure to listen to scientists and experts, and a refusal by Donald Trump and his allies in Congress to take common sense steps to control the virus led us here.

“We know that Donald Trump intentionally downplayed the severity of the coronavirus, because he told us he did. Even now, eight months after the first recorded coronavirus case in America, his administration continues to undermine science, aims to keep Americans in the dark, and provides misleading myths at every turn. Just last night—on the eve of this horrific milestone—he told the American people that this disease ‘affects virtually nobody,’ a dangerous and deadly lie. His crippled CDC is apparently forced to recant sound scientific advice. Meanwhile, his allies in the Senate continue to refuse to even discuss, let alone implement, the action our nation desperately needs—including a robust national testing and contact tracing plan, the production of personal protective equipment for workers on the frontlines, and economic relief for our communities, businesses and families—to turn the page on this nightmare.

“Today, our coronavirus response is worse than nearly any other developed nation’s not because of bad luck, but because of bad leadership. Leading the world in infections and deaths is nobody’s measure of greatness. Americans won’t forget.”