Last week much was made of Trump’s reckless desire to ‘get things back to normal’ by Easter. But with coronavirus cases soaring, the death toll mounting, and hospitals in New York City (and elsewhere) besieged, Trump and his cabinet scrambled to keep a positive face on an outbreak out of their control. By Sunday, Doctor Fauci was explaining to Trump and the public that millions would probably contract Covid-19 and anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 would likely die. In yesterday’s daily presidential presser and hate rally, Trump acknowledged that social distancing would need to continue until at least the end of April. He also lost his cool with several reporters and hurled insults at them and their networks rather than answer basic questions about the competence of his response. Across social media this weekend pundits and experts were excoriating Trump for botching this pandemic from the beginning and lying about it now. Jeremy Konyndyk, who led our government’s response to international disasters from 2013 to 2017 as the head of USAid, including our response to the Ebola outbreak, said this:
“We are witnessing in the United States one of the greatest failures of basic governance and basic leadership in modern times.”
Brett McGurk, a foreign affairs analyst who served under both Bush and Obama posted this on Twitter:
It’s an extraordinary statement, but it’s also an extraordinary graph. South Korea and the United States learned about the outbreak in China at almost the exact same time. And South Korea put their pandemic playbook into action: they mobilized their resources, produced medical supplies, and implemented widespread testing to flatten the curve and keep their outbreak isolated and under control. Trump, in the other hand, whined about a hoax and wasted time while the virus took hold on our shores and ran rampant. An article in GQ this weekend by Julia Ioffe about domestic coronavirus testing companies reveals that testing professionals believe the highly contagious virus was spreading long before we thought:
“Northwell’s astronomical positivity rate–nearly 70 percent–across such a wide swath of the greater New York area indicates that the virus has been spreading and reproducing for weeks under the radar, and we’re only seeing a fuller picture now.”
It’s a depressingly informative article:
When nationally recognized policy experts and former insiders say things like “catastrophic failure of national leadership” and “greatest failures of basic governance” it should get our attention. From the beginning Trump utterly failed in his duty to take this pandemic seriously and now we are locked into paying a heavy and tragic price. It’s even more disgusting and reprehensible that he now tries to play favorites with Federal aid to the states. But pretty soon this outbreak will reach every corner of our nation and people who were told by Trump and the Fox Network that this was a hoax or “just a flu” are going to be negatively affected in ways that hadn’t imagined.
Meanwhile, many of our neighbors are out of work and terrified. Most will be getting checks from the government–but not soon enough. Our first priority is to look out for them and do what we can to ease the burden. Donating to food pantries is a good start. It’s going to be difficult for landlords to evict tenants en masse, but if out-of-work people don’t have money or credit, they can’t eat, and this must be our biggest concern.
We are still closer to the beginning of this outbreak than its resolution so brace yourself for a marathon and stay safe. Don’t go out among other people unless for groceries or an emergency. Covid-19 mainly spreads through the air when someone infected coughs or sneezes, or when they contaminate a surface that we touch and then spread the germs to our mouth or face.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”