In the middle of a crisis, it can be difficult to comprehend the full scope of the failures that brought the nation to its knees. To reframe the coronavirus pandemic, and the Trump administration’s catastrophic response, Rolling Stone presents here a timeline.
It shows that the pandemic was not a “black swan” event — some unforeseeable tragedy. Rather, a global pandemic of this sort has been predicted for decades, and indeed previous administrations, both Republican and Democrat, had sought to prepare the country for just such an outbreak. Yet upon taking office, the Trump administration consistently sought to defund and disarm America’s preparedness against a mass outbreak of a viral respiratory illness.
When the outbreak hit, the administration dithered. Our once storied public health agencies fumbled the rollout of COVID-19 testing — causing bottlenecks and weeks of delay, as powerful resources sat idle. “We didn’t unleash our biomedical establishment to create tests,” Donald Milton, who runs the Public Health Aerobiology, Virology, and Exhaled Biomarker Laboratory at the University of Maryland told Rolling Stone. He points to the alternate path of South Korea, which controlled its outbreak through mass testing, and has suffered fewer than 300 deaths. “We have that capability,” Milton says, “We could have done that.”
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