There have been more than a million coronavirus cases in the US and more than 60,000 deaths, with LGBT+ people disproportionately affected, but the White House gift shop is busy selling commemorative COVID-19 coins. No, really.
The coin, which costs $125 to pre-order, has a graphic of coronavirus on one side and on the other side shows the presidential podium.
It also features the words “WORLD VS VIRUS”, “We FOUGHT The UNSEEN Enemy” and “Everyday HEROES Suited Up”.
It also lists names of people involved in the coronavirus task force; president Donald Trump, vice president Mike Pence, secretary of the treasury Steve Mnuchin, surgeon general Dr Jerome Adams, coronavirus response coordinator Dr Deborah Birx and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr Anthony Fauci.
The coin is the eleventh in the White House gift shop’s “globally recognized” commemorative coin series.
Number seven in the series is called “President Donald J Trump: A Study in Genius”, which apparently symbolises the “genius-level thinking skills and proven successes of president Donald J Trump”, and there are also coins featuring King Jong-un and Vladimir Putin.
While the White House gift shop is busy selling coronavirus coins, tens of thousands of people are dying in the US, with LGBT+ people left more vulnerable to the virus.
Last month hundreds of health organisations wrote an open letter urging governments around the world to act.
“LGBT+ communities are very familiar with the phenomena of stigma and epidemics. We want to urge people involved with the COVID-19 response to ensure that LGBT+ communities are adequately served during this outbreak,” the letter said.
The open letter, sent on March 11, said three factors make LGBT+ people more vulnerable to coronavirus: the prevalence of smoking in the LGBT+ community, higher rates of HIV and cancer, and barriers to healthcare that mean LGBT+ people are reluctant to seek medical treatment.