"There are few things more dangerous than a mixture of power, arrogance, and incompetence." — Bob Herbert, journalist
Based on America’s inadequate response thus far to the coronavirus pandemic, that statement perfectly describes why we remain so far behind the eight-ball.
A word on "criticism." Not only does constructive criticism call out egregious decisions, but, if expressed loudly enough, it leads to changed behaviors and better policies.
And — unlike mundane tax proposals or omnibus spending bills, the difference between good and bad decisions with COVID19 affects life and death.
Therefore, it is our collective duty to put politics aside and call out mistakes.
If we "wait," it will be too late. People will resume normal life, and the window for lessons learned will be lost, setting ourselves up for history to repeat itself.
Following are just a few mind-blowing policy decisions, proving that no matter how many academic degrees or titles "experts"have, they don’t automatically equate to competence and common sense.
Independence Hall: How can the birthplace of liberty, a magnet for American and international tourists, have remained open after the federal government declared a national emergency?
President Trump: During a recent press conference, there were many protocol breaches: Mr. Trump shook hands; the podium was packed with tightly-packed people, violating the CDC’s rule of six-foot distancing; the president was standing inches from the vice president; and members of the press corps were on top of each other. All of this occurred while the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was in attendance. Thus, these sins were made even more mortal.
Americans are receiving mixed messages. When that occurs, the most important weapon in fighting a pandemic is lost — credibility.
President Trump then refused to answer tough questions, and took no responsibility for dismantling the pandemic task force in 2018, and failing to upgrade the Center for Disease Control (CDC’s) testing protocols.
Instead, he blamed the Obama administration.
But taking the cake was the president’s response as to why he wasn’t emulating the self-isolation of those Republican senators who had also been in contact with coronavirus cases.
The reason? He felt fine and didn’t have symptoms.
But that’s the point of a self-quarantine! An infected person can exhibit no symptoms for 14 days, but be contagious from day one.
How can the government expect people to act responsibly, when the president himself disregards the protocols his own administration's advocates?
Recall that three weeks ago, when America had 15 coronavirus cases, the president declared, " . . . the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero . . . that's a pretty good job we've done."
Testing: Every press conference has become the same. Messrs. Trump and Pence claim tests are available for all Americans, yet doctors on the front lines say the opposite. It remains unfathomable that, almost three months after the outbreak began, America still lags behind virtually every other country.
Unfathomably, this administration could have used a test from the WHO (World Health Organization) but didn’t.
And this administration also refused to allow hospitals and private labs to develop their own tests.
Trump Administration: Here are several of the most incomprehensible decisions: the travel ban with China was enacted weeks late, and the two-day advance notice gave possibly-infected Chinese nationals time to enter America; the State Department placed both healthy and corona-infected Americans together on the same plane; the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sent a team to Wuhan, epicenter of the hot-zone, to retrieve Americans, but provided neither training nor protective equipment; travelers entering America from hot zone proximities were not being screened upon their arrival.
This author was one of them.
The administration was long overdue in declaring a national emergency.
Such impotence left the feds far behind states, private companies, and colleges that had enacted sound isolation/mitigation strategies.
More infuriating was the government’s response to its mask shortage, after revealing it had less than 10% of the 300 million necessary.
The administration got caught with its pants down, so the U.S. Surgeon General excoriated Americans for buying masks.
Imagine a riot where police respond without guns because the they forgot to buy them. The chief then scolds anyone buying weapons, arguing that the police needed them. Sorry, but the safety of Americans should never be jeopardized because of governmental complacency. And yes, people do need masks, not just for venturing out when necessary, but to protect sick people —and their caretakers — at home.
Airline ban: What was the point of banning flights from Europe if we excluded the UK and Ireland? As it is, one could take the Chunnel to England and fly from there. Yes, the ban has now been extended to the whole of Europe, but the initial decision demonstrated an alarming lack of virus awareness.
Ignorance is bliss, and incompetence is dreadful. But it’s a loudly crying shame when people die as a result.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.
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