". . . April 2018 — Trump's administration, with John Bolton newly at the helm of the White House National Security Council, began dismantling the team in charge of pandemic response, firing its leadership and disbanding the team in spring 2018. . .
The first sign of a massive failure came with testing. South Korea, which has been widely praised for its response to coronavirus, tested more than 66,000 people within a week of the first community transmission within its borders. By comparison, the US took roughly three weeks to complete that many tests — in a country that is much more populous and, now, is on track to have a much worse outbreak than South Korea and other nations. . .
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 (in March) . . .
The Trump administration . . . put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of handling the coronavirus pandemic, building out a team that includes well-respected experts like Deborah Birx. But this is in reaction to the epidemic, instead of something that a preexisting agency within the administration was working on for years. . . “It would be nice if the office was still there,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said during a congressional hearing. “We worked very well with that office.”. . .
other countries’ actions, such as China’s draconian measures, gave the US a bit of time to do something, but the federal government has failed to get even the basics right in that time. . .
Trump has consistently downplayed the coronavirus, comparing it to the common flu and claiming that his administration is doing a “GREAT job” and keeping things under control. Even when announcing his administration’s goal to get 5 million test kits out, Trump said, “I doubt we’ll need anywhere near that.”. . .
Trump “did not push to do aggressive additional testing in recent weeks, and that’s partly because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear — the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential re-election this fall.”. . .
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