How did the United States — the richest country in the world — become the worldwide epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, with one person dying of COVID-19 every 47 seconds? We spend the hour with Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author, discussing this unprecedented moment in history, and its political implications, as Senator Bernie Sanders announces he is suspending his campaign for the presidency. Chomsky also describes how frontline medical workers and progressive organizing are giving him hope.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from New York City, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. itself is now the worldwide epicenter, with one person dying of COVID-19 every 47 seconds. Nearly 16,700 coronavirus deaths have been recorded in the United States, with the number of confirmed cases approaching half a million — more than Italy, Spain and France combined. Of course, the true rate of infections is far, far higher due to a critical lack of testing. This comes as the Labor Department said Thursday over 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits over the past week, as the pace and scale of U.S. job losses is set to rival the Great Depression.
Well, for more on the political implications of this unprecedented moment, we turn today to Noam Chomsky for the hour, the world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author, laureate professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Arizona, Tucson, professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he taught for more than 50 years. His recent books include Global Discontents: Conversations on the Rising Threats to Democracy, Who Rules the World? and Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power.
Noam Chomsky joined us for a conversation Wednesday from his home in Tucson, Arizona, where he is sheltering in place with his wife Valeria. This was just before Senator Bernie Sanders announced he’s suspending his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, making former Vice President Joe Biden the presumptive nominee to face Donald Trump in the November election. I began by asking Professor Chomsky about what’s happening right now in the context of the 2020 elections, and what he sees happening in November.