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article imageOp-Ed: History will not speak well of government's COVID-19 response

By Karen Graham     Apr 5, 2020 in Politics
It is obvious to everyone seeking to understand the United States’ response to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, that there were massive governmental failures of judgment and inaction in January, February, and even March of this year.
We have seen the U.S, government fail to get it right before- Take Katrina or the Iraq war. However, history will be most unkind in describing President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
And it is not like our president is the leader of a third-world country, either. Trump has at his fingertips detailed guidance from the previous administration on how to handle a public health crisis and a team of experienced health experts and intelligence agencies very much attuned to the threat posed by the quick-spreading virus.
But we also have a leader who does not like being told what should be done in a crisis and a leader that has a total lack of interest in the daily intelligence briefings. We can add to this list the infighting between the White House and our public health agencies - who tried to warn Trump of the coming pandemic.
The bottom line is that while the United States may not have been able to stop the coronavirus from reaching our shores because of the globalized economy, we were well-equipped to deal with the health crisis. But as the New York Times says, "Trump ignored, downplayed and dismissed the problem until it became one of the worst crises in our nation’s history."
Trump was appraised of the COVID-19 outbreak on Jan. 3, and just a few days later, intelligence reports were warning of the danger of a pandemic. It took Trump 70 days before he started treating the coronavirus as a serious threat, and since that time - he has continued to confuse the public with conflicting messages.
At a news conference at the White House on Feb. 26, Trump told the American public our risk for the coronavirus "remains very low." He said: “We have a total of 15” cases, adding “the fifteen within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” Let's see - today we have over 330,000 confirmed cases and 9,582 deaths.
The White House is now whistling a different tune - claiming we can expect 100,000 to 240,000 deaths, provided most Americans follow federal guidelines for social distancing. And that brings to mind Another issue. Does Trump really expect his political base to follow guidelines when he blatantly disregards them himself?
In the end, when this crisis is hopefully over, Trump will take credit for the fantastic job he did - even though at least 100,000 Americans may have lost their lives in a health crisis he chose to ignore until it was too late. He will contend that he did the best he could, seeing what he had inherited from the previous administration.
All this means the role of the US as an effective global leader in crisis could change: "This has been a real blow to the sense that America was competent," an intelligence expert said.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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