Updated 25 March 20
Here is an excerpt:
It’s also something that the federal government has done well before — recently, with H1N1 and Zika. “It’s been surprising to me that the administration’s had a hard time executing on some of these things,” Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, previously told me.
But it’s the kind of thing that the Trump administration has screwed up, while instead trying to downplay the threat of Covid-19. Trump himself has tweeted comparisons of Covid-19 to the common flu — which Jha describes as “really unhelpful,” because the novel coronavirus appears to be much worse. Trump also called concerns about the virus a “hoax.” He said on national television that, based on nothing more than a self-admitted “hunch,” the death rate of the disease is much lower than public health officials projected.
And Trump has rejected any accountability for the botched testing process: “I don’t take responsibility at all,” he said this month.
Jha described the Trump administration’s messaging so far as “deeply disturbing,” adding that it’s “left the country far less prepared than it needs to be for what is a very substantial challenge ahead.”
Even as the Trump administration has tried to escalate its efforts to combat the pandemic, Trump has continued to downplay concerns. Recently, he’s suggested that social distancing measures — asking people to stay home and keep their physical distance from one another — could be lifted within weeks, instead of the months experts say is likely necessary. “What a great timeline that would be,” Trump said.
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