With COVID-19 still ravaging New York City, Times Square may not be as bustling as it once was, but one new feature is drawing the attention of everyone who happens through.
An installation referred to as the “Trump Death Clock” stands tall amid all the billboards and bright lights, but rather than advertising a product to be bought, it counts the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States that may have been avoided had President Trump taken more immediate action rather than telling Americans everything was going to be fine.
The project is the brainchild of filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, and has resided in Times Square since May 8. According to the website, the Trump Death Clock serves as a reminder that Trump failed to act when he was informed about the novel coronavirus back in January, instead waiting until March 16 to take any action.
“Epidemiologists now estimate that, had mitigation measures been implemented one week earlier, 60% of American COVID-19 deaths would have been avoided,” the text reads.
The epidemiologists referenced are Dr. Britta Jewell and Dr. Nicholas Jewell, who work in infectious disease epidemiology and biostatistics and epidemiology, respectively.
As of May 15, there have been over 86,000 deaths from COVID-19 reported in the United States alone. According to Jarecki’s clock, that means there have been nearly 52,000 lives that potentially could have been spared had Trump not mishandled the outbreak.
“The goal is to let numbers speak for themselves,” Jarecki told The Daily Beast. “They cut through the noise and circus of propaganda in the news cycles. We wanted the Trump Death Clock to live outside of all that, and so it only focuses on the one-week period around which there is no debate.
“That failure by the president he wants to dissemble by pointing in a million directions and confusing matters, but you can’t bully the numbers. What the numbers do to him is they demand accountability. In a pandemic every second counts.”
Jarecki also told The Daily Beast that he’s hoping to bring the Trump Death Clock to other cities, to display this reminder of our president’s refusal to act and refusal to take any responsibility across the country, in cities big and small.
And the filmmaker has a very specific message for Trump himself: “These numbers are going to harm you.”
The completely preventable loss of life has certainly harmed the country. But whether they have any lasting impact on President Trump, his chance of reelection, or even his legacy remains to be seen.