Letter to the Editor: President plays Nero in the face of worldwide pandemic

“Nero fiddled while Rome burned” is a description of the administration’s handling of our current crisis.

Since the first case of COVID-19 appeared in the U.S. in early January, we have heard from President Trump that “it will go away when the weather warms. Nothing to worry about.”

In fact let’s review his actions as late as March 6: That Friday he finally signed a bill authorizing money for healthcare and vaccine research, playfully then tossing the pen to a Reuters reporter. He then left on Air Force One going to tornado ravaged Tennessee where he hugged people, shook hands, and posed for selfies. Next stop Atlanta to the CDC, at which stop he falsely stated, “Anybody that wants a test can get a test.”

Final stop Mar-a-Lago. Saturday he spent six hours at the golf club. Back to the “Winter White House” for campaign fundraisers and a birthday party for his son’s girlfriend where a conga line was in full swing. Sunday saw him return to the golf club for hitting balls with several Washington Nationals players. Left the club early in order to attend a fundraiser brunch with nearly 900 people at Mar-A-Lago.

At the time of the halt in trading the next day by the stock market, he was on his way to Orlando for another fundraiser. In the three days he was gone from the White House the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country had doubled.

He finally declared a national state of emergency on March 13.

On Jan. 29, a memo from the administration’s trade advisor Peter Navarro had laid out the potential for the catastrophe. HHS Secretary Alex Azar directly warned him on January 30, the second warning he delivered directly to Trump in two weeks.

On Feb, 5, a group of senators met with the administration about funding. This meeting, which included Secretary Azar, was told that no money was needed. As Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut has said, if that money had been appropriated we could have started buying the re-agents needed for testing.

After the development by Abbott Labs of a test that – please note – was supposed to mean everyone could get tested, the government is sending out only enough test cartridges for states to do 100 tests.

The Fed has taken over the purchasing and distribution of these tests, overriding orders placed by the states, and then not sending enough to the states to do the job.

This has been true with PPE and ventilators as well. Sending a state 170 broken ventilators is no help! And as late as April 1 the administration had not yet told the Pentagon where to send ventilators.

President Trump’s touting of Hydroxychloroquine to treat this disease is full of holes. This drug has not been tested for use against COVID-19, can produce terrible side effects, and even cause hemolytic anemia in those of Mediterranean descent. Could this push have anything to do with the fact that Novartis previously paid more than $1 million for healthcare policy insight?

Now, with the congressional $2 trillion dollar aid package, loopholes make it possible that Trump’s winery in Virginia and Kushner’s rental properties could net them millions of dollars that should be going to our small businesses. Here again, the government has not issued the proper guidelines for the small business loans to be properly distributed, and the people of our country continue to wait.

The administration treating this as nothing for two months and ignoring all the doctors and scientists, the CDC failing in producing tests, the FDA holding up tests as companies developed them, and the continual lies and attitude of the administration has sickened over 800,000 people, killed over 48,000, and destroyed our economy.

The buck stops here.

Doris W. Draper

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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