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As the U.S. tops 250,000 deaths from COVID-19 today and President Trump continues to reject cooperation with President-Elect Biden’s team on the pandemic, Amnesty International USA Interim Executive Director Bob Goodfellow issued the below statement: 

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a human rights crisis on an unprecedented scale. The U.S. government’s response to the pandemic has laid bare systemic disparities that have long undermined our human rights, including those to life and health, to and at work, to social security, and to be free from discrimination. From the very beginning, this crisis has affected everyone, but some have been hit much harder than others. Communities of color, frontline and low-wage workers, people with disabilities, older people, people who are undocumented, and those of us facing economic hardship are yet again dying and suffering in far greater numbers. 

“It didn’t have to be this way. The current administration must reverse course and refrain from disseminating false information minimizing the risks posed by the pandemic and undermining the importance of testing. It is paramount that it stops sending mixed signals about the importance of wearing masks and practicing physical distancing, and instead urgently implements evidenced-based strategies, including providing timely, accurate and accessible information and services to prevent the spread of the virus. 

“President Trump’s rejection of the results of the 2020 election and refusal to cooperate with President-Elect Biden’s team will effectively cost even more lives and worsen this human rights crisis. It’s long past time for Donald Trump as President of the United States to acknowledge the mobile morgues and miles-long food lines that are the manifestations of the pandemic’s devastation. He must do everything in his power to ensure the incoming administration can access the resources needed to facilitate an effective, rights-based COVID-19 response, and he must work with Congress to urgently pass a relief package. 

“Respect for human rights must not be a casualty of the current political situation. We call on President Trump and his administration to fulfill their human rights obligations under international law and cooperate with President-Elect Biden to protect the rights to health and to life, with special attention on the impact on those of us who have long faced discrimination, marginalization, and exclusion.”