I feel angry. The federal government’s response to the COVID-19 virus pandemic has been disastrous and many thousands of people’s lives will be turned upside down through death, long-term health consequences, economic hardship, and financial ruin.
In early January we learned that China was experiencing an epidemic from a new cross-species virus with potential to cause a world pandemic. With easy access to the nation’s top health and disease expertise, President Trump chose to “trust his gut” and failed to initiate any meaningful federal response until March. The delay is responsible for the severe shortage of readily available COVID-19 testing and the medical protective gear and equipment we are now experiencing.
Imagine if we had a president humble enough to know he was not a public health expert; one who took seriously the reports in early January. Imagine that the president then began to encourage appropriations and shifts of budgets to focus on developing testing focused on public health. Imagine that as the news grew more grim in China and the virus began to spread that our president had set up a task force to ensure that we had enough medical gear stockpiled and initiated contracts for increased production. Imagine if our COVID-19 testing were now at a robust public health level so we could confidently target “shut-downs”.
We would be able to keep different geographic areas of our economy going, school district closings could be targeted, panic lessened and health equipment more easily directed where needed.
We don’t know where this pandemic will take us as a country and as families. We can be sure though, that President Trump will continue to pat himself on the back for closing the border to Chinese nationals and he will refuse to accept any responsibility for our nation’s poor preparedness. He will cast blame at anyone who criticizes his response. We can expect dedicated public servants to be fired because they don’t agree with him and almost assuredly he will find a reason to blame asylum-seeking immigrants for the misery we will face.
Let’s not be duped by this president’s rhetoric. Let’s demand a president to trust the nation’s top experts over his gut.