Lack of federal leadership exacerbated pandemic

28 Sep 2020 | 06:29

    To the Editor:

    I’m no expert, but it seems that a substantial federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic would have made sense. Instead, Donald Trump left things to the states to handle. This appears to have resulted in the whack-a-mole COVID-19 situation our country faces today.

    In most other developed countries the central government dealt with the virus, not provinces. As a result, their per capita mortality and infection rates are a fraction of ours. In the United States, some states got control of the situation -- only to lose it again. After all, we are one nation, and something like a world-wide pandemic is something best managed on the federal level. Failure to do so resulted in the whack-a-mole situation we see today, and will continue to see for the foreseeable future.

    One egregious example of our president’s failure to lead -- his instructions to the governors of the separate states to buy protective equipment and ventilators on their own. The result was a seller’s market in these items. The states bid against each other . The excess profits generally went into the hands of foreign manufacturers and brokers.

    I have heard that the Obama administration created an agency charged to identify and provide the early warning of pandemics arising in foreign countries. I understand that this was one of the agencies Trump dismantled -- just before the pandemic arose. I try to imagine the justification for that act -- other than a desire to dismantle any legacy of President Obama, however reckless.

    The only early action taken by the Trump administration to stop COVID-19 once it was recognized as a danger was a travel ban. However, I understand that for a critical period the ban applied only to China, and only to some travelers.

    The failure to take meaningful action is consistent with the President’s constant downplay of the strength and danger of covid-19. It is apparent that the President does not believe his scientific advisors about the danger COVID-19 poses to the country. To this day, his lack of leadership and failure to take seriously the possibly preventable death of hundreds of thousands of American citizens is undermining the strength and vigor of our nation and has negative ramifications for a robust recovery of its economy.

    Michael G. Busche