Viewpoint: Dramatic failure of presidential leadership


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By Bob Chaplin

A leader of a democratic government has a responsibility to bring his citizens together in a time of national crisis. President Donald Trump’s lack of consistent leadership during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic has had unfortunate consequences for the people of the United States.

Some basic information:

Chinese government’s knowledge of COVID-19 dates back to October 2019. Despite their awareness of this health catastrophe, they did not restrict the movements of their citizens for their big holiday, the Chinese New Year, nor did they alert the World Health Organization. They kept the virus a secret until a Wuhan doctor reported them.

In january 2020, this doctor was commissioned by the chinese ggovernment to stop transmitting COVID-19 information. Soon after, the doctor died of a COVID-19 infection contracted while treating patients with the disease.

What followed were missed opportunities for President Trump to prepare the U.S. for what was to come and to lead in managing the pandemic.

The World Health Organization visited Wuhan in the first part of January 2020. During this visit, the Chinese were not being truthful about the COVID-19 cases. President Trump insisted he was a trusted good friend of Chinese President Xi Jinping and that there was nothing to fear in reference to a possible pandemic spread of the virus here in the United States..S. (this contradicts his decree on 25 january ban travel from China to the U.S. on Chinese New Year). Then President Trump canceled the virus research lab contract (dating from 2017) between the U.S. Government CDC and a Wuhan lab, thereby eliminating the potential discovery of valuable information about the coronavirus through their collaborative effort.

In February, COVID-19 was spreading exponentially in China and Italy. In a press conference this month, President Trump dismissed concerns around the world by saying, “It will magically disappear.” When this was not the case, as the coronavirus quickly spread through our population, the president had every opportunity to coordinate the flow of supplies needed by our medical communities, for example, by invoking the Franklin D. Roosevelt’s WWII Defense Law. Instead, President Trump abdicated this responsibility, assigning the coordination of the procurement and delivery of essential medical supplies to state governors. This has created a competitive market for medical supplies and COVID-19 testing between states and between states and the federal government, resulting in much higher prices and serious disruption to distribution. It has also contributed to the political divide, with states having different policies on how to handle the pandemic. Had President Trump stepped in to coordinate a supreme effort of American industrial ingenuity to ensure that all healthcare providers had access to what they needed, citizen deaths and the risks of exposure to heroes in our medical community could have been reduced.

President Trump has also disseminated disinformation about protecting U.S. citizens against COVID-19. He announced that he was personally taking hydroxychloroquine as a deterrent to contracting the virus, ignoring the medical community’s claim against it. Many Americans have followed his example, which has led to a shortage of hydroxychloroquine, depriving some individuals of this effective drug for the treatment of Iupus.

Moreover, while scientists at the CDC have promoted the importance of wearing a mask – protecting against the contraction and spread of the virus – President Trump has failed to bolster this critical directive with a national mandate. Following an October meeting at the While House, where no one wore a mask or social distancing, a number of staff and two senators, as well as the president, have been diagnosed with the virus. This is an example of an unfortunate consequence of President Trump’s irresponsible denial of key CDC recommendations.

The U.S. had one of the highest COVID-19 death rates in the world, to date more than 246000, which is 25 percent deaths around the world. Due to President Trump’s lack of decisive leadership, he has consistently let down the citizens of the United States during this rapid spread of COVID-19. If he had made difficult decisions on containmentthe pandemic, these tragic consequences may well have been much less difficult with far fewer deaths. It was a dramatic failure of presidential management.

Bob chaplin Live in Bar-Harbor

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Kevin E. Boling

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