Coronavirus: From 'We've shut it down' to 100,000 US dead

Statue of Liberty with a mask Image copyright Getty Images

It's an uncanny and almost tragically perfect piece of symmetry.

The number of US servicemen and women killed in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan - over an aggregate 44 years of fighting - is almost exactly the same as the number of Americans who've now lost their lives to coronavirus in just three months of America's war against the hidden enemy, as Donald Trump likes to refer to Covid-19.

He also calls it the Chinese virus, but we'll come to that.

Now I know you could replace the Covid-19 deaths with US cancer deaths or road crash victims and come up with similarly stark or perhaps even more dramatic statistics. But sadly, fatal car accidents and terminal tumours have always been with us. A global pandemic has not. And out of nowhere 100,000 American families are this spring mourning loved ones, whose lives have been cut short by this virus. 1.5m Americans have been infected. Many millions more have lost their jobs.

One of Donald Trump's first acts when he moved into the Oval Office in 2017, was to restore to a central position the bust of Winston Churchill that Barack Obama had moved out in favour of a bronze of Martin Luther King Jr.

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Coronavirus: Trump berates media at jaw-dropping briefing

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Media captionCBS reporter challenges President Trump at briefing

On Monday morning I had a delivery to my apartment from the nearby off-licence - or liquor store, as they say over here.

And I put a jokey picture on Twitter of a bottle of gin and eight bottles of tonic, with the caption that at least I had the next week sorted.

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Coronavirus: The young doctors being asked to play god

Ambulance workers clean a gurney at Mount Sinai Hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 01, 2020 in New York City Image copyright Getty Images

When the tannoy blasts out a "Team 700" alert at Elmhurst hospital in Queens in New York City it is because a "crash" team is needed immediately. Someone is going into cardiac arrest.

In normal times that would happen maybe once a week. Yesterday, during the course of one 12-hour shift, there was a Team 700 announcement nine times. Not one of the patients survived, according to the young doctor I spoke to.

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Coronavirus: A problem unlike anything else Trump has faced

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Media caption"Every one of these doctors said: 'How do you know so much about this?'"

There are two numbers that Donald Trump has consistently cared about and watched like a hawk. And, in his mind, they are inextricably linked.

The first is his approval ratings. Nothing unusual in that. Ever since the end of World War Two and Gallup introducing its regular polling on this, every president from Harry Truman onwards has kept a wary eye on how they are being seen by the great American public - that is normal.

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Trump impeachment trial: Who will win battle for witnesses?

Chuck Schumer Image copyright Chip Somodevilla
Image caption Chuck Schumer, the Senate's top Democrat, will be a key figure in Donald Trump's impeachment trial

It is hard to exaggerate the importance - and the self-importance - of the hundred men and women who make up the US Senate.

They are kings of the universe, and expect to be treated as such.

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Trump impeachment: A place in history he never wanted

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And so it is done.

Donald Trump now becomes the third member of the exclusive club that no one wants to be a member of.

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Will UK provide light bulb moment for US Democrats?

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are both considered radical progressives among some voters Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are both considered radical progressives among some voters

For the most part American politics exists in its own bubble with its own preoccupations. But every now and then something that happens in a foreign country intrudes. And pokes its nose in. Big time.

The 12 December 2019 UK General Election might be such a moment for the US Democratic Party - just as British politics imposed itself on the US presidential election on 23 June 2016, when the British people voted for Brexit. Coincidentally, Donald Trump arrived in Scotland the following day (not the day before as he has repeatedly claimed) and what the British people had just done was a galvanising moment in his campaign, a light bulb moment, as he prepared to face the American people five months later.

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Gordon Sondland: Explaining the Trump envoy transcript in 60 seconds

Gordon Sondland, the United States ambassador to the EU, filed a three-page addition to his original testimony to congressional impeachment investigators.

But what did it reveal? I explain the significance of the ambassador's testimony in 60 seconds.

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Steve Bannon and Gary Cohn, two fierce rivals, shared one boss: Trump

Steve Bannon and Gary Cohn Image copyright Alamy
Image caption Steve Bannon and Gary Cohn

This is the tale of two interviews with two of the biggest beasts of the first year of the Trump administration - and two fierce ideological rivals.

Steve Bannon was the architect of Trump's election victory - the fight-picking, take-no-hostages, burn-it-all-down, disruptor-in-chief - who brought that approach into the White House as chief strategist. Bannon was the leader of the "build the wall", immigration-limiting, tariffs-work brigade. He would describe himself as an economic nationalist; his many opponents would prefer to use the epithet "racist".

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Mueller report: A president saved from himself

Attorney General William Barr takes questions about the release of the redacted version of the Mueller Report at the Department of Justice April 18, 2019 in Washington, DC Image copyright Getty/Win McNamee
Image caption Attorney General William Barr takes questions about the release of the redacted version of the Mueller Report at the Department of Justice April 18, 2019 in Washington, DC

Lengthy reports on politics tend to be as dry as dust; a perfect cure for insomniacs; a turn on for political obsessives and a total turn-off for those with normal lives to lead. "Sorry darling, I can't come in for dinner now I'm reading appendix 6, paragraph 4 subsection 2 of this really gripping report."

Well my friends, the Mueller report really is a page turner, full of juicy revelations and intriguing titbits of palace intrigue. Its portrayal of life inside the West Wing a couple of years back is riveting. It is a place teetering out of control, with a succession of top advisers choosing to ignore the wishes of an increasingly angry president. There are so many fantastic vignettes.

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