A botched response

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, April 8, 2020

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To the Editor:

Donald Trump’s botched response to the coronavirus is a moral outrage. He was briefed when he came into office about the pandemic possibilities and, at that time, there existed a government office that dealt with epidemic/pandemic management. He soon dismantled it. When the outbreak began, it was ignored, then minimized, then dismissed. He famously said when there were 15 cases that soon there’d be zero and it would be gone. Then he didn’t want a cruise ship with victims to disembark because it would increase our case numbers. Next, he was touting Easter as things getting back to normal. Step by painful step, he has misled the public and fed denial. All the while, people were dying.

There still is no organized testing program. Doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and other health care providers were forced to care for an overwhelming influx of incredibly sick patients without the proper personal protection equipment, ventilators and medications. There still was not national leadership to manage the crisis, though Trump referred himself as a “wartime President,” and bragged that “I’m No. 1 on YouTube.” When asked at his press conference about financial implications yesterday, he started talking about his “big, beautiful wall” and how his primary presidential challenger had just dropped out of the campaign.

He needs to put on some PPE (as president, I’m sure he’ll have no trouble getting a full set), go to one of the coronavirus wards and observe the exhausted staff working heroically among the sick and dying. He needs to see those patients dying alone with only the eyes of a caring nurse at their side. He needs to talk to those families who could not see or touch their loved one as they lay dying. He needs to meet with the first responders as they fall ill from doing their duty. He needs to see the staff catching a couple of hours sleep on stretchers in the hallways in the middle of a 14-hour shift, after having already worked four or five of them. He needs to go to the funeral of one of the emergency room physicians who died from the virus.

Maybe then he’ll get it. However, his lead announcement at his recent press conference was that he was reinstating the tax-deductible business lunch, stating that this would help to resurrect the restaurant industry. Just today, the Centers for Disease Control came out with a voluntary, but strongly encouraged recommendation for mask/face coverings when out in public. He immediately said he wasn’t going to wear one because he didn’t think it would look right to be wearing one while meeting presidents, dictators, kings and queens at the Resolute desk in the oval office — mixed messages, yet again.

There is still no plan. This is the United States of America; I cannot believe we are having these conversations. When the test came, Trump failed, and now he has blood on his hands.


Kathy Vasquez