The Washington Post on Saturday described the details of President Trump’s blundered response to the novel coronavirus pandemic that led to the critical loss of time that might have avoided some of the worst outcomes the country is now facing. “It may never be known how many thousands of deaths, or millions of infections, might have been prevented with a response that was more coherent, urgent and effective,” the Post wrote. “But even now, there are many indications that the administration’s handling of the crisis had potentially devastating consequences.”
As the Post noted:
Other failures cascaded through the system. The administration often seemed weeks behind the curve in reacting to the viral spread, closing doors that were already contaminated. Protracted arguments between the White House and public health agencies over funding, combined with a meager existing stockpile of emergency supplies, left vast stretches of the country’s health-care system without protective gear until the outbreak had become a pandemic. Infighting, turf wars and abrupt leadership changes hobbled the work of the coronavirus task force.
Tracing the systematic failures of the administration during the first 70 days of the epidemic, Post reporters note that concerns about the possible pandemic were first raised several months ago.
The CDC learned of a cluster of cases in China on Dec. 31 and began developing reports for HHS on Jan. 1. But the most unambiguous warning that U.S. officials received about the coronavirus came Jan. 3, when Robert Redfield, the CDC director, received a call from a counterpart in China. The official told Redfield that a mysterious respiratory illness was spreading in Wuhan, a congested commercial city of 11 million people in the communist country’s interior.
There followed a toxic but now familiar combination of denial, attempts to politicize science, crushing internal efforts to address the issue, and relentless wishful thinking by the president and some members of his administration. This time with deadly consequences: The United States has the most cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, topping 300,000 on Saturday, with more than 8,000 deaths. Read the Post story here.