Here’s How Trump Led The U.S. Into The Coronavirus Disaster | Madras Courier

The United States is now the epicentre of the Coronavirus disease. With over 435,160 cases and 14,797 deaths, the country is facing one of the worst crises in recorded history. The world’s most powerful nation, with its economic might and the world’s most advanced intelligence gathering tools, could not help stop the spread of this disease. Why? The answer is simple: Bad Governance. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has repeatedly ignored warnings issued by America’s intelligence agencies, epidemiologists, virologists and White House advisors, on the possible outbreak of a deadly infectious disease. By doing so, he has put his country – and his countrymen – in harm’s way. To figure out the enormity of the harm done to the country by Trump let us look at an abridged timeline:

The Early Years: Warnings Ignored

2017: Trump administrations officials are briefed on an intelligence document titled “Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents.” The administration literally had an actual playbook for what to do in the early stages of a pandemic. Among the playbook’s protocols:
  • Begin early procurement of PPE materials for healthcare workers as soon as the threat is identified.
  • Concentrate on “early diagnostic capacity”— which is government-speak for have a mountain of tests on-hand so that you can monitor the spread of the disease.
  February 2018: The Washington Post writes “CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to cut by 80 percent efforts to prevent global disease outbreak.” The meat of the story is “countries where the CDC is planning to scale back include some of the world’s hot spots for emerging infectious disease, such as China, Pakistan, Haiti, Rwanda and Congo.”   May 2018: At an event marking the 100 year anniversary of the 1918 pandemic, the Director for Medical and Biodefense Preparedness at the National Security Council Dr. Luciana Borio says “pandemic flu” is the “number 1 health security issue” and that the U.S. is not ready to respond. One day later her boss, Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer is pushed out of the administration and the global health security team is disbanded. Ami Bera, Congressman from California, warns that “Admiral Ziemer’s departure is deeply alarming, especially when the administration is actively working to cut funds that addressed past pandemics like Ebola.” Beth Cameron, the former senior director for global health security on the National Security Council, adds: “It is unclear in his absence who at the White House would be in charge of a pandemic,” calling it “a situation that should be immediately rectified.” Note: It was not.   January 2019: The director of National Intelligence issues the U.S. Intelligence Community’s assessment of threats to national security. Among its findings:   Page 17: “The increase in frequency and diversity of reported disease outbreaks—such as dengue and Zika—probably will continue through 2018, including the potential for a severe global health emergency that could lead to major economic and societal disruptions, strain governmental and international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support. A novel strain of a virulent microbe that is easily transmissible between humans continues to be a major threat, with pathogens such as H5N1 and H7N9 influenza and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus having pandemic potential if they were to acquire efficient human-to-human transmissibility.”  

Page 21: “We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support.”

  September, 2019: The Trump Administration ended the pandemic early warning program, PREDICT, which trained scientists in China and other countries to identify viruses that had the potential to turn into pandemics. According to the Los Angeles Times, “field work ceased when funding ran out in September,” two months before COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan Province, China. On April 1, 2020, the US AID used emergency powers to reboot the program.   January 3, 2020: The CDC is first alerted to a public health emergency in Wuhan, China (This fact was revealed later, publicly, by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.)   January 6, 2020: The CDC issues a travel notice for Wuhan due to the spreading coronavirus.   January 8, 2020: The CDC issues an official health advisory about COVID-19.   January 10, 2020: Former Trump Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert warns that “we shouldn’t jerk around with ego politics” because “we face a global health threat…Coordinate!”   January 18, 2020: After attempting to meet the President for two weeks, the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar finally gets the chance to speak to Trump about the virus. But “even before the health secretary could get a word in about the virus, Trump cut him off and began criticizing Azar for his handling of an aborted federal ban on vaping products, a matter that vexed the president, according to the Washington Post.   January 20, 2020: First U.S. case is reported in Washington state.   January 21, 2020: Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease at the CDC, tells reporters: “We do expect additional cases in the United States.”   January 22, 2020: In a CNBC interview in Davos, Switzerland , President Trump says:
We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.  
January 27, 2020: Top White House aides meet with Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to encourage greater focus on the threat from the virus.   January 28, 2020: Two former Trump administration officials—Gottlieb and Borio—publish an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal imploring the president to “Act Now to Prevent an American Epidemic.” They advocate a 4-point plan to address the coming crisis:   • (1) Expand testing to identify and isolate cases. o Note: This did not happen for many weeks. The first time more than 2,000 tests were deployed in a single day was not until almost six weeks later, on March 11. • (2) Boost flu vaccination efforts to reduce the load on hospitals. • (3) Prepare hospital units for isolation with more gowns and masks. o Note: There was no dramatic ramp-up in the production of critical supplies undertaken. As a result, many hospitals quickly experienced shortages of critical PPE materials. Federal agencies waited until Mid-March to begin bulk orders of N95 masks. • (4) Vaccine development.   January 30, 2020: Dr. James Hamblin publishes another warning about critical PPE materials in the Atlantic, titled “We Don’t Have Enough Masks.”   January 30, 2020: Even with 7 confirmed cases in the U.S., Donald Trump, speaking at a Michigan manufacturing plant, said:
we have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five — and those people are all recuperating successfully. But we’re working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for us … that I can assure you.  
Late January, 2020: The Health and Human Services Secretary sends a letter asking to use its transfer authority to shift $136 million of department funds into pools that could be tapped for combating the coronavirus. The White House budget hawks argued that appropriating too much money at once when there were only a few U.S. cases would be viewed as alarmist.   January 31, 2020: Trump puts into action a temporary travel ban on China. Trump’s Chinese travel ban only banned “foreign nationals who had been in China in the last 14 days.” This wording did not—at all—stop people from arriving into America from China.   February 4, 2020: Gottlieb and Borio take to the WSJ again, this time to warn the president that “a pandemic seems inevitable” and call on the administration to dramatically expand testing, expand the number of labs for reviewing tests, and change the rules to allow for tests of people even if they don’t have a clear known risk factor. • Note: Some of these recommendations were eventually implemented—25 days later.   February 9, 2020: Donald Trump compared the Coronavirus to the common flu. “The flu, in our country, kills from 25,000 people to 69,000 people a year,” he said, suggesting that it dwarfed the 15 cases of COVID-19 that had been reported in the U.S. at the time.   February 12 ,2020: Even with 12 confirmed cases, the President assured everyone that the virus will die in April because of the heat. During a White House meeting with governors, he said:
As I mentioned, by April or during the month of April, the heat, generally speaking, kills this kind of virus.  
February 23, 2020: As the number of cases surged, with 51 confirmed cases in U.S., Trump told reporters:
We’re very much involved. We’re very — very cognizant of everything going on. We have it very much under control in this country.  
February 24, 2020: Trump tweeted:
The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!  
February 29, 2020: Even as the number of cases in the United States surged to 74, Trump did not stop chest thumping. At a Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, he gloated:
We’ve done a great job. And I’ve gotten to know these professionals. They’re incredible. And everything is under control. I mean, they’re very, very cool. They’ve done it, and they’ve done it well. Everything is really under control.  
One attendee from that event later tested positive, and lawmakers who attended went under self-quarantine. The same day, at a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, he continued to brag:
We’ve taken the most aggressive actions to confront the coronavirus. They are the most aggressive taken by any country and we’re the number one travel destination anywhere in the world, yet we have far fewer cases of the disease then even countries with much less travel or a much smaller population.”  
March 9, 2020: Even with 959 confirmed cases in U.S., Trump once again compares Coronavirus to flu. The President tweeted:
So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!
In the next few weeks, the number of Coronavirus cases in the United States spiralled out of control.   March 12, 2020: Even though the United States records over 2,200 confirmed cases, Trump, in a meeting with the Irish Prime Minister, brags about the low number of deaths.  
I mean, think of it: The United States, because of what I did and what the administration did with China, we have 32 deaths at this point. Other countries that are smaller countries have many, many deaths. Thirty-two is a lot. Thirty-two is too many. But when you look at the kind of numbers that you’re seeing coming out of other countries, it’s pretty amazing when you think of it. So, that’s it.
By March 13, 2020, over forty people died in the U.S., and Donald Trump declared an emergency. Even as he declared an emergency, he praised himself. At a press conference in the Rose Garden, he said:
We’ve done a great job because we acted quickly. We acted early.
As the Coronavirus raged, the White House was “beset by denial and dysfunction.” As an in-depth investigation by the Washington Post puts it, “by the time Donald Trump proclaimed himself a wartime president — and the coronavirus the enemy — the United States was already on course to see more of its people die than in the wars of Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq combined.”   As the virus continues to decimate the United States Of America, President Donald Trump continues to attack the press – and anyone who criticises him – calling them “fake news media.” Even as Trump’s boasts about managing the COVID-19 epidemic “very well,” we can be certain that he will go down in recorded history as a President who – with a toxic combination of unscientific temper and bad governance – has spectacularly mishandled the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease, causing thousands of deaths.   The above article written by Ambassador K.P. Fabian was initially published on Madras Courier Credits:-

April 09th, 2020 | category:international-affairs |

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