I suspect Leigh and I will discuss this ad nauseam today on the Nurseferatu Podcast. I am not going to tell you to wash your fucking hands, I am not going to tell you too stay the hell home. If you are not doing these things, you are screwed anyway. What I want to discuss is the political leadership or lack there of we have had around this outbreak.
Lets touch on the last major outbreak of a highly contagious virus, H1N1. 61 Million People contracted this virus in 2009, something close to 12,500 people died of it here in the United States. The first case of H1N1 was reported on
April 15, 2009, and the government declared H1N1 a public health
emergency on the April 26. The first test to detect the new virus was
approved by the FDA two days later. Shipments of the new CDC test began
May 1, just 15 days.
Now lets look at the Trump administration's reaction to COVID-19. The first reported case of COVID-19 in the U.S. occurred on
January 19th, it is now March 15th and this administration was still
claiming Corona Virus was a hoax up until last week, and just got around
to declaring an emergency two days ago. The CDC does have a test for it, however the first batch was error prone caused more than few false positives. The new tests are still being developed and the CDC is saying the new tests will not become available for 3-4 weeks.
When H1N1 was spreading, there was no wide spread panic, in fact it barely registered on my person radar at the time. Today, we are seeing panic buying, people are buying out the stores of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. The news is full of "WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!" segments. If you want know why this is happening and why the stark differences between the two events, the answer is very easy, Leadership.
The Obama administration lead from the front, The President was worried about people and livelihoods, he did exactly what he was supposed to do, he gathered his people together, built a plan and executed it, mind you, he had been president for 3 months at this point. Mistakes were made, there were things that did not go as planned, some of the things planned did not work out as well as was hoped for, and President Obama owned those mistakes, he took responsibility for it, he owned the bad as well as the good. President Trump on the other hand did not even acknowledge COVID-19 existed until February and that was just to call it a hoax and no big deal. When it came time for him to own up to it and was asked said and I quote, "I don't take responsibility at all.". This is not what a good leader does.
All the leadership in this crisis has come form House Speaker Pelosi. When it became obvious the White House was not going to act, Speaker Pelosi put together a bill appropriating money for the things that needed it, giving money to the CDC, whose budget was cut earlier in the year, specifically for research and development of a new testing kit, money to States for handling the crisis and many other projects, totaling 8 billion dollars. Speaker Pelosi then followed up with another bill guaranteeing free testing to those without insurance, paid sick leave and tax credits to help small businesses survive the labor shortage. Without Speaker Pelosi's leadership, the Trump administration would still be fumbling around in the dark trying to figure out what to do and how.