Sat Apr 11th, 2020 at 05:25:16 PM EST
Since it became front page news I have believed that the only way to properly control COVID-19 was through wide spread testing of a large percentage of the population. From recent data it appears that both the USA and Korea have tested about 1% of their population: ~500,000 tests in Korea out of ~ 50 million people and ~ 3 million tests in the USA out of 327 million people. Yet the percent of the population infected is dramatically different between the two countries.
The difference is that Korea mobilized nationally at an early date and was able to develop and deploy tests towards the beginning of the outbreak. This strategy allowed Korea to CONTAIN the infection.
In the USA Trump refuses to put the federal government in charge in any meaningful or useful way and leaves the governors of the states in charge, making a coordinated national approach impossible. The one thing that the USA DID attempt to federalize was the production of a virus test, and that was a tragedy/fiasco that needlessly prevented other labs from deploying other tests. I have yet to see an adequate explanation of this failure.
Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger
Another major failure in the USA was/is the lack of availability of Personal Protection Equipment. Korea excelled here. The personnel doing mass sterilization of streets and transit systems in Korea are wearing gear that appears to be better than what is available to most US medical personnel treating active COVID infections.
In the USA the responsibility comes down to the President and his administration. A Pandemic IS a National Security Threat and protection against such threats are the chief justification for the existence of the Federal Government. There were warnings as early as November of the potential danger of the new virus. By January we had a clear example of the danger in China. National Intelligence Agencies and Trump's own chief economic adviser, Peter Navarro, warned of the danger in January. But Trump blew off these warnings and the ONLY substantive early action he took was stopping direct flights to and from China.
One early action Trump DID take back in February was to classify the internal discussions of the pandemic in his administration. This was harmful. His concern was and remains that of the appearance of his actions in our response. As a result his actions have been much more harmful than helpful.
Instead of mobilizing the full capabilities of the USA to respond Trump has restricted the ability of medical experts to comment openly about medical matters. He has substituted his own 'feelings' for the findings of science. Instead of allowing a team of medical experts to take charge of presentation of the response to the public Trump has seized this role for himself. He then has used that position to undercut the medical recommendations of his top medical advisors repeatedly as to the danger of the virus, the need for social distancing, the length of time for which distancing will be required and the need to wear masks in public.
Instead of coordinating the production and distribution of needed supplies such as PPE, tests and ventilators via the National Production Act he has invoked the act but refused to actually use it properly. Very belatedly he has coerced Ford, GM and 3M into producing needed supplies but even now refuses to take charge of the distribution of these supplies. Instead, he leaves the Mayors and Governors to compete with each other in a bidders war over vital supplies.
Were the threat human one might think Trump was allied with the enemy. But that is as absurd as his actual actions. The most likely answer is that Trump sees his actions as vital to his re-election and he sees that as vastly more important than stopping the pandemic. This is the consequence of electing a POTUS who is so self-centered that he is incapable of distinguishing between self interest and the national interest.