Thursday, May 28, 2020

With 100,000 Dead, The Cost of Trump's Dithering is Both Undeniable and Indefensible

by Nomad

As the death count from the Coronavirus pandemic in the US exceeds 100,000, we should never forget how President Trump, instead of taking action, attempted repeatedly and consistently to downplay the approaching crisis.

As The Washington Post notes:
Reports show that as early as January, the president was advised by both his own experts and the intelligence services of the need for urgent mitigation measures against the spread of the virus. Instead, he engaged in petty political feuds and Pollyannaish predictions minimizing its significance.
It was not until on March 16 that the dismissive Trump was finally coaxed into action, issuing “new guidelines for every American to follow.” But by then, it was too late.
Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has stated that, had the guidelines been implemented earlier, a crucial period in the exponential spread of the virus would have been mitigated and American lives saved. Leading epidemiologists have put a finer point on this, estimating that 50 to 80 percent of covid-19 deaths in New York and approximately 90 percent of all American covid-19 deaths can now be attributed to the administration’s delay between March 2 and 16.
The true scale of the national catastrophe soon became apparent despite the best efforts of the Trump administration to deflect and distract. Rolling Stone sums it like this:
When the administration’s dangerous denialism crashed into reality, the scope of the fallout was almost inconceivable. The virus was spreading exponentially, as markets crashed and millions were put out of work — forcing Congress to pass the largest rescue package in the history of the country. Worse, the administration’s months of inaction had compounded the crisis by leaving frontline healthcare workers without proper equipment, battling the pandemic in stadium ponchos and homemade masks.
Even today, when mitigating measures could be taken, Trump is instead making war with Twitter after the social media organization decided to protect its users from the president's wild conspiracy theory accusations and false information about "miracle cures."

As calamitous as the current situation is, the situation is likely to become worse as more and more states prematurely reopen their economies at Trump's reckless endorsement.