Letter: Trump leaves us unprepared for Covid-19
President Trump spent the past two years slashing the government agencies responsible for handling the coronavirus outbreak. This administration also has spent the last couple of years dismantling the very government programs responsible for combatting a global health crisis:
- He shut down the entire global-health-security unit of the National Security Council.
- He eliminated the U.S. government’s $30 million Complex Crises Fund.
The Center for Disease Control has announced that it is expecting the virus to spread enough within the United States to cause a “disruption to everyday life.”
Trump tells American’s not to worry saying, “I think that is a problem that is going to go away.” His comments are at odds with reality. The director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases tells us, “It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen in this country any more but a question of when this will happen.”
Trumps claims the U.S. is “very close to a vaccine.” Not true. While health officials have praised the record speed with which they expect to get a coronavirus vaccine into early clinical safety tests, it will likely be at least a year or year and a half before the vaccine is widely available, according to Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Further, they estimate most people will not be able to afford the vaccine.
The Covid-19 outbreak is a reminder that it remains a scary world and that the American government deals with a lot of important, complicated challenges. We have no reason to believe the current president is up to the job.
Trump not only hasn’t personally involved himself in the details of coronavirus response but has designated VP Pence to be in charge. Pence has a terrible track record dealing with such a response. Just check out what Pence didn’t do as the governor of Indiana where the spread of Aids was rampant.
The Trump administration has asked Congress for $2.5 billion in emergency funding to fight the outbreak. But this is just a fig leaf. The reality is that in the midst of this global outbreak (as of Feb. 11), Trump has proposed huge cuts to the CDC and the National Institutes of Health. The CDC is short about 600 employees.
Our country is unprepared for a possible health disaster, and it is because our president has dismantled the infrastructure we’ve had in the past to handle such a disaster.
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Unity without accountability is impossible or, at best, hollow. We cannot expect to move forward without acknowledging where civil society came off the rails. That holds true all the way from the White House to…