This is not the article I intended to write for this week’s column. I had actually already started on another one that I’ll probably do next week. But this one refused to go away—I could not get it off my mind. As any decent writer knows, when the muse is so insistent, the only response is to give in to it, or face the consequences of possibly never getting another inspiration.

Okay, let’s get to it. As everyone with a brain knows, President Trump infamously called Africa a bunch of shhole countries a few months back. Mr. Trump has also been roundly and rightly criticized lately for the very poor leadership he has demonstrated in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just recently, tape recordings have surfaced which let the world know that Mr. Trump said he knew the virus was very bad, but he had done all he could to address it, and he was satisfied with his administration’s overall response.

In a country with far less than 20 percent of the world’s population, he had shepherded the U.S.A.  to over 6,764,598 infections, 4,043,637 recoveries, and 199,571 deaths since February, in relationship to the COVID-19 virus. These numbers—in the richest country in the world, reportedly, with more spent on healthcare than in any other country—put the U.S.A. into position as the number one worst country in the world in terms of handling the virus. No other country is even close to the U.S.’s totals.

Africa is a collection of 54 countries with a combined 1.4 billion population. Africa—Trump’s shhole countries—at last report on Sept. 14, had 1,359,724 reported cases, with 1,106,991 recoveries and only 32,795 deaths, according to the African Centres for Disease Control.

By contrast, two states in the U.S., California and New York combined, had more deaths than the entire African continent (47,097).

Certainly, these numbers were not what the experts predicted or expected. The most common conviction was that the COVID-19 virus would simply decimate Africa. After all, the general healthcare systems throughout the continent are thought to be inadequate and generally backwards. Far too many people continue to live in squalid, overcrowded conditions. Industries are lacking, education is poor, just nothing seems to be going right in the entire land mass, according to western standards.

Though publicly, most serious people have decried Trump’s negative name-calling associated with Africa, the general belief was, of course, that he was right, and the virus might clean Africa out, leaving it for re-occupation and re-colonization  by Western powers.

But of course, that has not happened, and the “experts” cannot figure out why. Is Africa’s majority youth population the explanation? Is it the residue in Africans of so much prior medicine for HIV, SARS, tuberculosis, malaria, Ebola, etc.? What in the world is saving Africa from COVID-19 extinction? 

Of course, there is still the matter of the Madagascar Organic Tonic promoted as a palliative. The origin country Madagascar, of course, is still using it. Although there have been some deaths in the country—211—so its efficacy in inoculating everybody might be questioned, there have been very few reported cases of infection and very many recoveries in the country. Other African countries, including Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, and others, have been distributing the potion to their citizens, from the thousands of free bottles delivered to them from Madagascar.

While that debate is going on, one thing is crystal-clear. The African countries and their leaders have handled the pandemic better than Mr. Trump has handled the problem in the U.S.A.

Not one African leader, as bad as he/she may be otherwise, has piloted his ship of state as poorly as has Mr. Trump viz-a-viz the COVID-19 pandemic.

This begs the question: Who’s the real shhole now?

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

DISCLAIMER: The beliefs and viewpoints expressed in opinion pieces, letters to the editor, by columnists and/or contributing writers are not necessarily those of OurWeekly.