21 May 2020   Leave a comment

Edward Luce has written a very comprehensive article for the Financial Times on how the US handling of the COVID-19 pandemic compares with other countries and on the decision-making process in the US (fortunately, the Financial Times is making its articles on the coronavirus free for the time being). The article is based on many interviews with people from all over the planet and it provides a refreshing change from the US-based media. The analysis is devastating:

“Again and again, the story that emerged is of a president who ignored increasingly urgent intelligence warnings from January, dismisses anyone who claims to know more than him and trusts no one outside a tiny coterie, led by his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner – the property developer who Trump has empowered to sideline the best-funded disaster response bureaucracy in the world.

“People often observed during Trump’s first three years that he had yet to be tested in a true crisis. Covid-19 is way bigger than that. ‘Trump’s handling of the pandemic at home and abroad has exposed more painfully than anything since he took office the meaning of America First,’ says William Burns, who was the most senior US diplomat, and is now head of the Carnegie Endowment.

“’America is first in the world in deaths, first in the world in infections and we stand out as an emblem of global incompetence. The damage to America’s influence and reputation will be very hard to undo.’”

The conclusion is reinforced by a study just released by the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. The study has not yet been peer reviewed so its findings are tentative. But the study found that if effective social distancing rules of 15 March had been imposed one week earlier (8 March), 35,927 deaths could have been prevented. If those rules had been enforced two weeks earlier (1 March), then 53,990 deaths could have been avoided. When asked about the study, Mr. Trump called it a “political hit job”. We will look back on this period as one of the most pathetic times in US history.

Posted May 21, 2020 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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