Donald J. Trump’s “America first!” policies take on a whole new meaning in light of the COVID-19 pandemic: the US is now the global leader in infections and deaths from the virus. With almost a million known to be infected and more than 50,000 deaths, the US now accounts for nearly a third of infections worldwide, and a quarter of the fatalities. We’re lightyears ahead of our leading competitor in COVID-19 incompetence, with four times as many cases as Spain. No one can catch us! The Trump administration can be justly proud of the new records it’s setting. Hey, no such thing as bad publicity, right?
The actual numbers in the US are likely much higher, as inadequate testing continues to plague the nation, preventing an accurate count of those exposed, while most recorded deaths are ones which occur in hospitals or medical centers, and do not include individuals who have died at home from undiagnosed coronavirus complications.
But there are encouraging signs in the data, mostly due to actions taken by governors and mayors across the country to enforce stay-at-home orders. The curve seems to be bending in the right direction, with hospitalizations down nationally, though regional hot spots continue to erupt.
New York City, the epicenter for the US outbreak, has lost massive numbers of citizens, with more than 10,000 dead, fully a fifth of the national total. But even here, social distancing restrictions and closed businesses have seemingly brought the pandemic somewhat under control, with daily reported infections consistently falling day by day from their high of 11,500 on April 15.
As the statistics become less grim, the clamor to return to “normal” grows ever more deafening. Several Red State governors, most notably in Florida, Texas and Georgia, were not only late to the party in shutting down their economies, but are now making moves to reopen them quickly, which may be precipitate and even deadly.
Testing is the thorny issue here; how do we reopen the country for business without first knowing who has been exposed? Recent studies indicate that COVID-19 has a high incidence of asymptomatic carriers, meaning that apparently healthy individuals are still circulating the virus by their daily interactions. Without knowing who has been exposed, who is no longer contagious, and who may have antibodies in their system allowing them to participate fully in society without fear of reinfection or infecting others, returning to the status quo ante-virus is fraught with danger and potential disaster.
But testing is just what we don’t have in practice, nor even in theory, with planning for national testing on the massive scale required still in its infancy. Trump is fond of stating that the US tests more than any other nation; that may be true as a matter of raw numbers of those tested, but as a percentage of population we lag far behind, with barely 1% of the 330 million Americans tested.
Iceland leads the world in testing its citizens, yet even they have only tested 10% of their population. Still, that figure, representing 96,000 tests per million of population, dwarfs the US, with a mere 7100 per million tested. Iceland’s data is disturbing in other respects: it shows nearly half those tested are positive but asymptomatic. Researchers had previously suggested that number could be as high as one in four, but Iceland’s statistics show the problem is far more extensive than expected.
Sweden stands as the cautionary tale on the opposite side of the scale. Its government made the controversial decision to impose no restrictions, “suggesting,” but not enforcing, social distancing measures and keeping borders and businesses open. The plan there is to rely on an eventual acquired “herd immunity” once a significant percentage of the population has been exposed (and its weakest members culled from the herd). The results have been disastrous so far. As of April 19, Sweden reported roughly 15,000 cases, with some 1700 deaths, more than ten times that of its near neighbors, who took typical mitigation steps. Norway to the west has seen only 7100 infections and 182 deaths; Finland to the east a mere 4100 cases, barely a quarter of Sweden’s, with just 141 fatalities.
In the US, testing continues to lag, and Donald Trump, Reality-Denier in Chief, maintains his “happy talk” about the virus, interspersed with moments of lucid appraisal of the situation. In January he opined that US cases were “just 15, which will be down to zero soon.” There are now nearly a million infected.
In February, he said the virus would disappear in April with the warmer weather, “like a miracle.” April has been the deadliest month on record thus far. In March, Dr. Trump touted the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, for both prevention and cure of COVID-19, stating he had a “good feeling” about it, and “what have you got to lose” by trying it? Recent studies by the VA now show that not only is the drug ineffective, it may be deadly in itself, with a higher incidence of mortality among those who were given the drug, than those who were not.
Trump now asserts that there may not be a resurgence, or “second wave” in the autumn and winter, coinciding with flu season, and possibly proving more deadly than the current COVID-19 onslaught. On April 22 the nation witnessed the spectacle of the President attempting to pressure the head of the CDC into agreeing with him that he had been “horribly misquoted” in the New York Times about the potential for the virus’ autumnal revival, only to have Robert Redfield confirm that the Times quite had been completely accurate. This was followed by direct rebuttals to his face of Trump’s “it’ll be gone-gone” theory by Drs Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, heading the national coronavirus task force.
His latest buffoonery is not only embarrassing, it’s potentially lethal. At the Thursday, April 23, daily press briefing, Trump suggested that injections of disinfectant might be one way to combat the virus. Yes, by all means, let’s mainline Clorox! This pronouncement prompted Lysol to issue a disclaimer to the affect that none of their cleaning products should ever be injected, ingested, or taken by humans in any form.
Astrologically, we can perhaps predict the coronavirus’ progress by tracking its celestial referent, asteroid Koronis, in its heavenly passage. COVID-19 has spread exponentially across the globe during Koronis’ transit of Pisces, sign of universality, but as of April 28 it enters Aries, sign of rugged individualism, which may help to slow its advance. Hopefully leadership, another Aries hallmark, asserts itself at this time, with mayors, governors and perhaps even presidents standing firm in continuing social distancing measures. But Aries also indicates rashness and a willingness to rush in where angels fear to tread, so headstrong but ill-advised leaders may just make matters worse by reopening their economies before advisable.
Koronis meets up with Chiron, the wounded healer, on May 20; hopefully this will help us to learn from our experience and mistakes, and perhaps formulate better therapeutic or palliative responses. I wouldn’t expect a vaccine at this time, but inroads may be made in treatment.
Koronis in Aries takes us through the summer, until it turns retrograde at 0 Taurus on August 31. The period of its retrograde represents when the virus is at its most vulnerable, but also gives it time to adapt and retrench. The retro phase is, to my mind, the most likely timeframe for the development of a vaccine, but many months will elapse before such drugs can be tested, proven and disseminated. COVID-19 then returns with a vengeance on December 2 as Koronis turns direct once more. It’s likely that widespread availability of a vaccine will not occur until Koronis’ subsequent retrograde phase, which begins December 10, 2021.
So we’re in this for the extremely long haul.
In the meantime, let’s break down some of the data presented above, to see how it squares with astro-reality. When New York reported its highest infection rate on April 15, the Sun at 26 Aries with asteroid Records at 28 Aries squared Pluto and Jupiter at 24 and 25 Capricorn, highlighting (Sun) the statistical (Records) peak (Jupiter) of COVID-19’s devastation (Pluto). With asteroid Manhattan at 11 Aries exactly squared asteroid Osiris, named for the ancient Egyptian god of the dead, at 11 Cap, the epicenter of mortality (Osiris) was New York City (Manhattan).
Also in the mix is centaur Hylonome, in square to Manhattan from 17 Capricorn, and representing the grief experienced in the nation’s hardest-hit metropolis. A T-Square with asteroids Aesculapia, Sisyphus and Industria at 7, 10, and 13 Cancer shows the “endless repetition” (Sisyphus) endured by the health-care community (Aesculapia, named for the Roman god of healing) as it worked tirelessly (Industria) to stem the tide of the deadly virus. At 25 Pisces, Koronis itself is still within orb of Neptune’s universality at 19 Pisces, and exactly semisquare Mars, ruler of contagious diseases, at 10 Aquarius.
Let us also compare and contrast the widely disparate responses to the COVID-19 threat by Iceland and Sweden. Both countries are represented by asteroids which were at station when COVID-19 was identified and isolated by the Chinese government on January 7, 2020.
Asteroid Stockholm, named for Sweden’s capital, falls at 21 Taurus, from where it squares Koronis at 15 Aquarius, and turned direct the day before. Asteroid Iceland at 0 Gemini follows suit by turning direct a week later, but is not within orb of aspect of Koronis. But both stations represent a stasis for their respective countries, with Sweden digging in its heels and refusing to budge as the rest of the world enacted mitigation protocols, while Iceland also hunkered down and inaugurated the world’s most extensive, aggressive testing program, locking down the country and quarantining known cases.
The stark difference in response may perhaps be explained by the relative placements of asteroid Koronis in the countries’ natal charts. Iceland (17 June 1944, 2 PM WAT, Reykjavik; source: Nicholas Campion’s Book of World Horoscopes) has Koronis at 5 Leo conjoined Pluto at 7 Leo, so it recognized the potential for the virus (Koronis) as an existential threat (Pluto) with devastating ramifications (also Pluto). With transit Koronis at 15 Aquarius exactly opposed natal Mars at 15 Leo, Iceland saw the deadly contagion (Mars) for what it was, and took appropriate action (also Mars). [As an aside here, Iceland’s independence from Denmark was perfectly timed, with asteroid Iceland exactly conjunct its 26 Gemini Sun at its founding, and Venus nearby at 23 Gemini reflecting its notoriously friendly and outgoing populace.]
In contrast, Sweden (current constitution enacted 9 December 1865, no time available) has Koronis at 17 Gemini, exactly opposed its 17 Sagittarius Sun, in a T-Square with the Moon at 11 Virgo and asteroid Stockholm at 20 Virgo. Mars is also in the mix, more widely opposed Koronis from 9 Sag. Points connected to the Sun can be self-defining, for good or ill, and Sweden stands to go down as having among the least effective COVID-19 responses globally.
Exactly why the government (Stockholm) chose to expose its populace (Moon) to the full vagaries of the contagion (Mars) is unclear, but the result is apparent (Sun). Sweden is also represented by asteroid Sverige, the nation’s name for itself, which appears at 18 Capricorn in the COVID-19 chart, conjoined the Sun at 16 Cap, and about to return to its natal place at 20 Capricorn, also highlighted by the transit Sun. From 20 Cap, natal Sverige is inconjunct natal Koronis, with natal asteroid NOT at 3 Aquarius in sesquiquadrate (also semisquare the Sun), perhaps helping to explain Sweden’s (Sverige, Sun) contrarian streak (NOT) and its refusal (also NOT) to make any adjustments (inconjunct) for the virus (Koronis).
Which brings us, inevitably, to Donald Trump. With polls showing plummeting support for his handling of the emergency, not just in battleground states crucial to his reelection, but among key populations such as seniors, the president may be facing his own existential crisis from COVID-19. This may be intuited by his natal Koronis at 13 Capricorn in opposition to natal Nemesis at 16 Cancer, that point of self-undoing, ruin, and downfall.
But Trump has faced threats from his Nemesis with alarming regularity since the start of his presidency, which have thus far failed to bring him down. Examples include such notables as having asteroids Mueller and Russia conjunct each other and in square to Nemesis, prefiguring the Russia Collusion Investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. So far, that damned stationary direct Jupiter of his has always pulled his considerable fat from the fire, but can even Jupiter stanch the bleeding of support engendered by tens of thousands of lost American lives and a wrecked economy, based largely in his ineffectual, inadequate, imbecilic and injurious responses to the pandemic?
Time will tell.
For now, we can look to that Earth Day press briefing at the White House, where Trump was routinely contradicted by his medical experts on the continued threat from COVID-19. I’m using asteroid Hippokrates here for the docs, christened for that worthy ancient Greek physician for whom the famous oath is named. When Trump’s coronavirus happy talk was rebuffed in no uncertain terms, asteroid Hippokrates at 6 Scorpio opposed the 2 Taurus Sun conjoined Uranus at 6 Taurus, indicating the triumph of Science (Uranus) and rationality (Sun) in the contrary (opposition) opinions expressed by the medicos (Hippokrates). Sun/Uranus and Hippokrates also create a T-Square with Saturn at 1 Aquarius, showing tension (square) between science and the medical establishment (Hippokrates), and the chief executive (Saturn).
Additionally, Hippokrates lies at the Apex of a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with inconjunct aspects to asteroid Troemper at 5 Aries and Apollo at 10 Gemini, suggesting that Trump (Troemper) was unable to sway the docs (Hippokrates) to adjust (inconjunct) their opinions of the plague (Apollo). With transit Mars at 15 Aquarius exactly conjoined the degree of the Koronis/Apollo pairing at COVID-19’s isolation, the power and force (Mars) of the virus (Koronis/Apollo) going forward was underscored.
Just why the President likes to play doctor can be seen in the natal placement of asteroid Hippokrates exactly conjunct his 29 Leo Ascendant. He gravitates naturally to the image of himself as a physician, and encourages others to see him in that role as well.
Donald Trump claims to see a light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel. Sometimes, that light is an oncoming train.