To the Editor:
Remember Nero fiddling while Rome burned? Trump diddled while a virus raged.
On January 29, his adviser, Peter Navarro, warned there could be half a million deaths and huge economic losses. Trump diddled.
Throughout the month of February, leaders in other countries were taking action to control the virus. Trump was delaying, minimizing the threat.
On February 26, he said the number of cases was “going very substantially down, not up.” Actually, they were going up ... fast.
Leaders of other countries acted quickly. South Korea established a testing program. They isolated infected people, traced their contacts and quarantined them. Trump restricted travel from China, ignoring advice to do more.
As late as March 10, he promised: “Just stay calm. It will go away.”
Covid-19 wasn’t going away. It was spreading. And people were dying.
A study by Columbia University found that if the U.S. had enacted social-distancing measures in early March rather than mid-March, about 36,000 fewer Americans would have died. If the measures had been in place two weeks earlier, on March 1, the death toll would be 54,000 lower.
On March 26, the U.S. led the world in the number of coronavirus cases. The infections and the deaths continue.
Leaders in other countries listened to scientists and health experts and took action. Our leader saw the virus as a threat to his presidency and shifted responsibility to governors. No plan, no supply of protective gear for health care workers and precious weeks were lost.
When a person fails to do his or her job, they should be fired. Trump bungled the most important part of his job, which was to protect the people of his country.