Taking a look at Donald Trump’s crisis management during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thursday, 06 August 2020 12:57
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By Adriana Palloks

While most nations of the world are challenged by the covid-19 pandemic, not a single country counts as many infections and deaths as the United States of America. On top: a president who remains mainly dismissive throughout the early stages of the pandemic and who takes limited preventative steps to combat the spread of the virus within the country’s borders. A president, who during a press conference in late February characterizes the progression of the virus the following way: “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”

Yet the numbers indicate otherwise: with nearly 5 million confirmed corona cases, the United States account for 30% of all infected people worldwide. The authorities report an average of 60,000 - 70,000 new corona cases every single day. Most affected regions are primarily southern States such as the States of California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana and Florida. Among the population, Native Americans and African Americans suffer particularly from the virus. Due to their socio-economic status and lack of access to medical care, they represent the citizens most likely to get infected or even decease from an infection.

So, what has Donald Trump publicly said and done within the scope of managing the crisis in the last few months?

In early 2020, Trump downplays the thread of the virus as he continuously compares it to the flu and claims that it won’t have any severe effect on public health, despite early warnings of intelligence agencies which were examining the development in China. Although he does close the borders to foreigners from China entering the U.S. (except U.S. citizens) on January 31st and additionally on March 11 to foreigners from 26 European countries, the president does not refer to measures that would prepare the U.S. for the onslaught of the virus.

According to the Washington Post Trump finally becomes more aware of the severity of the situation when on March 15 he enacts social distancing and quarantine measures. Yet he fails to equip public health officials with the necessities needed to provide national testing for the public. Alongside the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) private companies could have contributed to the scientific development of corona tests, but the government chooses not to deploy them early enough. As a result, due to lack of testing, the actual infection rates remain largely unknown to the federal government.

Against the recommendations of American immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, a lead member of the Trump administration's White House Coronavirus Task Force and one of the world's leading experts on infectious diseases, the president thus far rejects a nationwide mask order to slow the spread of the corona virus. In an interview with Fox News in mid-July he explains to the reporter that he wants “people to have a certain amount of freedom”. As of lately, he does welcome the voluntary use of face masks by the public. He even politicizes the use of face masks in a Twitter post by comparing it to an act of patriotism: “We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance. There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!”. However, the CDC states that “if everybody wore a mask for 4-6 weeks, we could get this under control.” Clarifying that the mandatory use of face masks could turn the tide in the States. But Trump fails to order the mandatory use of masks, condoning the health of thousands of U.S. citizens.

Despite harsh criticism by health officials, fellow politicians, the press and the general public, president Donald Trump is not rising to the occasion nor taking responsible actions against the spread of the virus. And the infection cases and deaths keep growing.

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