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Honored Social Butterfly

U.S. was beset by denial and dysfunction

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2020/04/04/coronavirus-government-dysfunction/?arc4... 

 

The U.S. was beset by denial and dysfunction as the coronavirus raged

 

From the Oval Office to the CDC, political and institutional failures cascaded through the system and opportunities to mitigate the pandemic were lost.

 

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.

 

 

The country has adopted an array of wartime measures never employed collectively in U.S. history — banning incoming travelers from two continents, bringing commerce to a near-halt, enlisting industry to make emergency medical gear, and confining 230 million Americans to their homes in a desperate bid to survive an attack by an unseen adversary.

 

 

Despite these and other extreme steps, the United States will likely go down as the country that was supposedly best prepared to fight a pandemic but ended up catastrophically overmatched by the novel coronavirus, sustaining heavier casualties than any other nation.

 

 

It did not have to happen this way. Though not perfectly prepared, the United States had more expertise, resources, plans and epidemiological experience than dozens of countries that ultimately fared far better in fending off the virus.

 

The failure has echoes of the period leading up to 9/11: Warnings were sounded, including at the highest levels of government, but the president was deaf to them until the enemy had already struck.

 

 

The Trump administration received its first formal notification of the outbreak of the coronavirus in China on Jan. 3. Within days, U.S. spy agencies were signaling the seriousness of the threat to Trump by including a warning about the coronavirus — the first of many — in the President’s Daily Brief.

And yet, it took 70 days from that initial notification for Trump to treat the coronavirus not as a distant threat or harmless flu strain well under control, but as a lethal force that had outflanked America’s defenses and was poised to kill tens of thousands of citizens. That more-than-two-month stretch now stands as critical time that was squandered.

 

 

Trump’s baseless assertions in those weeks, including his claim that it would all just “miraculously” go away, sowed significant public confusion and contradicted the urgent messages of public health experts.

 

 

“While the media would rather speculate about outrageous claims of palace intrigue, President Trump and this Administration remain completely focused on the health and safety of the American people with around the clock work to slow the spread of the virus, expand testing, and expedite vaccine development," said Judd Deere, a spokesman for the president. "Because of the President’s leadership we will emerge from this challenge healthy, stronger, and with a prosperous and growing economy.”

 

 

The president’s behavior and combative statements were merely a visible layer on top of deeper levels of dysfunction.

 

 

The most consequential failure involved a breakdown in efforts to develop a diagnostic test that could be mass produced and distributed across the United States, enabling agencies to map early outbreaks of the disease, and impose quarantine measures to contain them. At one point, a Food and Drug Administration official tore into lab officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, telling them their lapses in protocol, including concerns that the lab did not meet the criteria for sterile conditions, were so serious that the FDA would “shut you down” if the CDC were a commercial, rather than government, entity.

 

 

Other failures cascaded through the system. The administration often seemed weeks behind the curve in reacting to the viral spread, closing doors that were already contaminated. Protracted arguments between the White House and public health agencies over funding, combined with a meager existing stockpile of emergency supplies, left vast stretches of the country’s health-care system without protective gear until the outbreak had become a pandemic. Infighting, turf wars and abrupt leadership changes hobbled the work of the coronavirus task force.

It may never be known how many thousands of deaths, or millions of infections, might have been prevented with a response that was more coherent, urgent and effective. But even now, there are many indications that the administration’s handling of the crisis had potentially devastating consequences.

 

 

Even the president’s base has begun to confront this reality. In mid-March, as Trump was rebranding himself a wartime president and belatedly urging the public to help slow the spread of the virus, Republican leaders were poring over grim polling data that suggested Trump was lulling his followers into a false sense of security in the face of a lethal threat.

 

 

The poll showed that far more Republicans than Democrats were being influenced by Trump’s dismissive depictions of the virus and the comparably scornful coverage on Fox News and other conservative networks. As a result, Republicans were in distressingly large numbers refusing to change travel plans, follow “social distancing” guidelines, stock up on supplies or otherwise take the coronavirus threat seriously.

 

 

“Denial is not likely to be a successful strategy for survival,” GOP pollster Neil Newhouse concluded in a document that was shared with GOP leaders on Capitol Hill and discussed widely at the White House. Trump’s most ardent supporters, it said, were “putting themselves and their loved ones in danger.”

 

 

Trump’s message was changing as the report swept through the GOP’s senior ranks. In recent days, Trump has bristled at reminders that he had once claimed the caseload would soon be “down to zero.”

 

 

More than 7,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the United States so far, with about 240,000 cases reported. But Trump has acknowledged that new models suggest that the eventual national death toll could be between 100,000 and 240,000.

 

Beyond the suffering in store for thousands of victims and their families, the outcome has altered the international standing of the United States, damaging and diminishing its reputation as a global leader in times of extraordinary adversity.

 

 

“This has been a real blow to the sense that America was competent,” said Gregory F. Treverton, a former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, the government’s senior-most provider of intelligence analysis. He stepped down from the NIC in January 2017 and now teaches at the University of Southern California. “That was part of our global role. Traditional friends and allies looked to us because they thought we could be competently called upon to work with them in a crisis. This has been the opposite of that.”

 

 

This article, which retraces the failures over the first 70 days of the coronavirus crisis, is based on 47 interviews with administration officials, public health experts, intelligence officers and others involved in fighting the pandemic. Many spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information and decisions.

 

 

 
Honored Social Butterfly

Trump got a bump in the polls after the virus hit just like Dubya did after 9/11 and Jimmy Carter did after the hostage crisis started. It just was not as BIG  a bump as either of them and seems to be dropping with every press conference. The problem  for Trump is that people are laser focused on lowering the death and contagion rates.  Trump keeps saying things that people can see are not true.  It is killing him. 

Honored Social Butterfly

   Cue the RW whiners - they continue to blame China for all the problems....because that is what they do as if that is actually a sane response.   

   Some will embrace that nonsense, because if the US had real leaders, they would not give 2 hoots where it began or if the information was downplayed ( just as Donald did for > month)....none of that is anything more than a DISTRACTION from the reality that the current WH regime has no **** clue and refuses to admit that they ever make errors and worse, refuse to make any corrections.     How people believe their lies is beyond rational explanation.

   

     https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-generals-fueled-1918-flu-pandemic-to-win-their-...

PRO-LIFE is Affordable Healthcare for ALL .
Honored Social Butterfly

Trump's incompetent denial and the enormous dysfunction in his corrupt "yes man" administration has already rendered the needless deaths of thousands of Americans ..... with more needless deaths to come!

DUMP TRUMP AND DITCH MITCH TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!
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