22 February 2021
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
The incompetence of the previous administration was a four-year-long nightmare of ineptitude and cronyism. Nowhere was that more obvious than in the response to the virus pandemic. At first, the administration denied there was a problem. Then, the administration denied that it was necessary to act. Then, it bumbled to vaccination planning. Finally, it handed over to its successor a complete mess. As a result 500,000 Americans are dead as of yesterday. Competent handling of the outbreak could have saved 200,000 of them.
What is particularly maddening was the fact that President Trump knew how bad the virus was. In his book, Bob Woodward quoted the ex-president as saying that Covid-19 was much worse that the flu back in February 2020. Officially at that time, the virus was going to go away with warmer weather. It was supposed to vanish like a miracle.
The American people themselves bear a degree of responsibility for believing this idiocy. Given the choice between taking action that would inconvenience them or ignoring the bad news, they took the easy way out. Mask wearing was discouraged in some circles, as was social distancing. Mercifully, washing hands was a habit many had developed since childhood. Otherwise, the conditions to spread the disease were enhanced by a willingness to believe the false happy talk.
However if the Trump administration had simply taken the disease seriously and ordered its cult followers to fight the disease, they would have done it. Masks, social distance and clean hands would have been the least of the measures folks would have taken.
Because the Trump administration misread the politics, because they failed to realize that saving the voters from disease was even better for re-election prospects than building a strong economy, the US now has 22% of the Covid deaths with just 4% of the global population. That some Americans would die from Covid-19 was inevitable. That such a disproportionate total of deaths from the virus would be Americans was not.
Indeed, the Lancet recently reported that up to 40% of the US deaths would not have occurred if the US policies had been wiser. The journal published this when the death tool was 450,000 and state that "about 40 percent of which could have been averted had the U.S. death rate mirrored the weighted average of the other G7 nations."
The Lancet also said, "Many of the cases and deaths were avoidable. Instead of galvanizing the U.S. populace to fight the pandemic, President Trump publicly dismissed its threat (despite privately acknowledging it), discouraged action as infection spread, and eschewed international cooperation. His refusal to develop a national strategy worsened shortages of personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests. President Trump politicized mask-wearing and school reopenings and convened indoor events attended by thousands, where masks were discouraged and physical distancing was impossible."
The 500,000 dead is not the end of the story. There are vaccines, far earlier than one expected, and some parts of the country have taken the mitigation actions seriously. Warmer weather will allow people to move back outside, making the disease harder to spread. The new infection, hospitalization and death rates are in a significant decline on a 7-day moving average. It may take months to hit 600,000, but another 100,000 dead is almost inevitable.
Containing the virus early was the key to keeping the costs in lives, health and money down. It is now so widespread that mutations threaten to undermine the efficacy of the vaccines available. This milestone illustrates that American leadership failed.
© Copyright 2021 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.