Six weeks after the Trump administration declared that it had successfully “flattened the curve” and told states to begin reopening, there is now an accelerating rise in coronavirus cases in the American south and west. Contrary to the official line, the pandemic remains an extraordinarily dangerous public health crisis.
There are now more than 2.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, along with nearly 120,000 known deaths. The US accounts for about a quarter of the world’s cases and deaths, which currently stand at 8.3 million and 450,000, respectively. The worst-hit countries in terms of new cases and new deaths are the United States, Brazil, India and Russia. Others include Chile, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Peru, Bangladesh and Mexico.
Half of the cases in the US have occurred since May 1, when the federal guidelines to “slow the spread” of the deadly contagion expired. At the time, the disease had not truly been contained, only blunted, by the physical distancing measures abided to by workers across the country. A rational and scientific plan would have continued such efforts, while expanding testing and contact tracing to hunt down new cases of the disease.
Every effort was instead made to reopen the economies of every state, regardless of whether or not there were necessary medical facilities, equipment and personnel to prevent, find and treat cases of the coronavirus. The Coronavirus Task Force, which provided the veneer of a federal response, has been effectively disbanded. Beginning with Georgia on April 24, every state has now partially or largely reopened its offices, warehouses, factories and other workplaces.
Arizona, California, Florida and Texas are among the worst affected states this week. Arizona two days ago recorded 2,392 cases and 25 deaths, while it saw 1,827 new cases and 20 deaths yesterday. California suffered a cumulative 7,266 cases and 163 deaths over those days. There were 2,783 cases and 55 deaths in Florida on Tuesday, and 2,610 cases and 25 deaths in the state on Wednesday. And in Texas, which has seen some of the largest outbreaks since the reopening began, noted 7,658 new cases and 88 new deaths in the past 48 hours.
Stratfor notes, "The escalation of Turkey’s operations against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq has shown Ankara’s willingness to encroach on Iraqi territory, even if it risks damaging ties with Baghdad."
Turkey has regularly targeted PKK military camps in northern Iraq by ground and air, including in large-scale operations in 2007 and 2018.
The recent assault may be an attempt by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to project power, Bakawan said. “Turkey is deeply engaged in the conflicts of Syria and Libya, and hopes to get involved in Yemen,” he told AFP. “It aims to present itself as an essential power when trying to resolve conflicts in the Middle East — and Iraq forms a part of this,” Bakawan added.
Baghdad Thursday demanded Ankara immediately halt its assault in northern Iraq, where Turkish special forces and helicopters have been targeting Kurdish rebel hideouts.
Turkey early Wednesday launched a cross-border operation into the mountainous regions of northern Iraq where the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), considered by Ankara to be a "terrorist" group, is thought to be hiding out.
Iraq's foreign ministry summoned the Turkish ambassador on Thursday and handed him a "strongly-worded memorandum calling for a halt to such provocative actions".
"We stress that Turkey must stop its bombardment and withdraw its attacking forces from Iraqi territory," the ministry said in a statement.
"We affirm our categorical rejection of these violations."
The letter called on Turkey to stop such "provocative acts and rejected violations," the statement said.
The letter also demanded Turkey to withdraw its forces from the Iraqi territories, which the Turkish forces entered on Wednesday, as well as its former presence in a military camp in Bashiqa area, some 30 km northeast of Nineveh's provincial capital Mosul.
Iraq "retains its legitimate rights to take all measures that will protect its sovereignty and the safety of its people, including demanding the UN Security Council and the regional and international organizations to assume their responsibility," it added.
On Tuesday, Iraqi Foreign Ministry also summoned the Turkish ambassador to Baghdad and handed him a letter of protest over airstrikes on PKK positions in northern Iraq.
On Monday, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command condemned in a statement a series of airstrikes conducted by 18 Turkish warplanes late on Sunday night on refugee camps in Sinjar, some 100 km west of Mosul, and Makhmour, about 60 km southeast of Mosul.
The Arab Parliament -- the legislative arm of the Arab League -- on Tuesday denounced Turkey’s recent raids in Iraq, calling on Ankara to respect the sovereignty of its neighbor and put an end to its unilateral military operations there.
Arab Parliament Speaker Meshaal bin Fahim al-Salami said in a statement that “these actions are an infringement on the sovereignty of Iraq, a flagrant violation of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and international norms, and in violation of Security Council resolutions.”
The statement also voiced support for Iraq’s stance against Turkey’s moves.
Iraqi lawmakers also reacted to the latest developments, condemning Ankara’s operations in a statement and calling on the Baghdad government to take action to protect civilians and stop Turkish violations of the country’s sovereignty.
The UAE has deplored the Turkish and Iranian military interventions in the brotherly state of Iraq, a statement from the foreign ministry said Wednesday.
It said it denounces their violations against the state's sovereignty through aritrikes in northern Iraq.
"UAE denounced the Turkish and Iranian military interventions in brotherly Iraq, through their bombing of areas in northern Iraq, which constituted a violation of the sovereignty of a sisterly Arab country and led to intimidation and the spread of terror among innocent civilians," a foreign ministry statement said.
The statement affirmed the country’s “unwavering principle in rejecting all interference in the affairs of Arab countries."