Over the weekend, the Washington Post ran a tour de force piece about all of the Trump Administration’s failures in combating COVID-19. It alternates between infuriating and saddening. There isn’t that much that’s new, but when you see it all in place, the colossal magnitude of the failure is overwhelming: at this point, resignation and investigation is the compromise solution–ritual self-disembowelment on the White House lawn is the honorable one.
It’s hard to quote any one thing, as the article is just one psychological body blow after another, but, if there is one part that was soul-crushing for me, it is this (boldface mine):
Despite shunning recommended protocols internally, Trump aides speak with pride about the actions they took on the pandemic and are incredulous that their work has been so widely panned…
A second senior administration official said, “I’m not clear on what Trump should have done different, but put me in the camp of, well, something, because it has not been a success.”
[Mad Biologist goes full Hulk and smashes all the things]
HOW COULD YOU FUCKING NOT KNOW THIS? THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE.
[Mad Biologist smashes more things]
Leaving aside the unwillingness to use adverbs, here are some suggestions as to what Trump could have “done different”:
- Use the Defense Production Act to produce more PPE.
- Use the Defense Production Act to increase testing capacity.
- Let the CDC do its job, and don’t let political advisors get in the way.
- Get genomic COVID-19 surveillance up and running.
- Use government funded researchers to increase testing capacity and genomic surveillance capacity.
- Encourage people to wear masks.
- Make sure that people had the economic resources to shutter their businesses and stay home from work if they weren’t essential workers or businesses.
- Cancel rents and suspend mortgages until prevalence is low.
- Publicly release the surveillance data the White House Task Force was using (that’s just started).
- Stop chasing magic treatments.
That’s just the short list off the top of my (very angry) head. But it’s mind boggling to think that they didn’t know what else to do. The only explanation I can think of, besides the political issues which continuously rear their ugly heads throughout the piece, is that most of these bozos have no idea what public health is. That is, they saw this crisis, not through the lens of preventing infection, but treating sick people.
Regardless, this isn’t just Trump and his clan. Multiple Republicans, supposedly ‘respectable’ ones, went along with and encouraged this idiocy. Never forget this.