I highly recommend this comprehensive, infuriating chronology of the administration’s denial and dithering nonresponse to the looming and inevitable spread of the pandemic:
- WaPo (4/4/20): The U.S. was beset by denial and dysfunction as the coronavirus raged by Yasmeen Abutaleb, Josh Dawsey, Ellen Nakashima, and Greg Miller
The administration’s bungling of the emergency response—and squandering two months’ heads-up—will greatly exacerbate the loss of life and economic fallout from the coronavirus in the United States.
Update: The Associated Press (AP) has a new, related piece out about the federal government squandering two months that should have been used to rebuild our Strategic National Stockpile of emergency medical supplies and equipment, such as N95 masks and ventilators, which is rapidly dwindling. As the Post article noted, the emergency stockpile was “already woefully inadequate after years of underfunding” and replenishing these critical supplies has been impeded by supply chain disruptions, as much of the equipment is manufactured in China. Time was of the essence. From the AP: “More than three months after China revealed the first COVID-19 cases, Trump finally relented last week, saying he will order companies to ramp up production of critical supplies. By then, confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the United States had surged to the highest in the world.”
And turning abroad, the New York Times has a related article out surveying Germany’s relative successes in combatting COVID-19—they have the fourth most cases, but the lowest fatality rate, at 1.4%. The chief medical factors identified by epidemiologists: “early and widespread testing and treatment, plenty of intensive care beds and a trusted government whose social distancing guidelines are widely observed.” Germany had developed a test in mid-January and began stockpiling test kits before their first case was reported in February. “By now, Germany is conducting around 350,000 coronavirus tests a week, far more than any other European country. Early and widespread testing has allowed the authorities to slow the spread of the pandemic by isolating known cases while they are infectious.” Quite the striking and lamentable contrast with the United States.
Subsequent recommended reading:
- AP News (4/5/20): U.S. ‘wasted’ months before preparing for virus pandemic by Michael Biesecker
- NYT (4/5/20): A German Exception? Why the Country’s Coronavirus Death Rate Is Low by Katrin Bennhold