For Months, Trump Ignored Early Warnings, Failing To Prepare
March 30, 2020
For months, Trump ignored warnings and failed to prepare or take decisive action to combat the coronavirus. Now, we’re seeing the consequences as hospitals turn into war zones, and states and medical professionals face severe supply shortages.
For nearly two months, Trump downplayed the coronavirus and undermined preparations to respond.
The Guardian: “The president was aware of the danger from the coronavirus – but a lack of leadership has created an emergency of epic proportions”
Washington Post: “As Trump declared coronavirus under control, local leaders faced confusion and chaos as cases piled up”
Washington Post Fact Checker: “The president spent nearly two months issuing confusing and contradictory signals — leaving the bureaucratic machine of the U.S. government to chart the course for the coronavirus response… The missteps that went unmanaged were ignored by leaders at the highest level of government and allowed cases to go undetected, contributing to the spike in the virus’s spread.”
Trump ignored repeated early warnings that hospitals and medical workers lacked sufficient supplies to battle a pandemic like the coronavirus.
CNN: “Federal officials repeatedly warned that US hospitals lacked enough ventilators”
Kaiser Health News: “A high-ranking federal official in late February warned that the United States needed to plan for not having enough personal protective equipment for medical workers as they began to battle the novel coronavirus, according to internal emails obtained by Kaiser Health News. The messages provide a sharp contrast to President Donald Trump’s statements at the time that the threat the coronavirus posed to the American public remained ‘very low.’ In fact, concerns were already mounting, the emails show, that medical workers and first responders would not have enough masks, gloves, face shields and other supplies, known as PPE, to protect themselves against infection when treating COVID-19 patients.”
Trump cut his own administration’s budget request to buy new supplies for the national stockpile by 75% — now we have shortages across the country.
The Washington Post: “Azar had asked OMB that morning for $2 billion to buy respirator masks and other supplies for a depleted federal stockpile of emergency medical equipment… The $2 billion request from HHS was cut to $500 million when the White House eventually sent Congress a supplemental budget request weeks later.”
Trump’s delayed response, even after he was warned ventilator shortages would be a critical problem, contributed to our nation’s current shortage.
New York Times: “Mr. Trump’s first mistake was recognizing the problem far too late, even though his own medical experts had identified a probable shortage of ventilators as a critical problem in late January, as panic set in that the virus was headed to the United States. Had the president acted sooner, thousands of new ventilators would probably be coming off production lines next month, when they are likely to be desperately needed.”
Even after acknowledging the crisis, Trump’s chaotic leadership has only made it more difficult for states and hospitals to get the supplies they need.
New York Times: “It was unable to communicate how many ventilators it would need or how quickly it would need them. Mr. Trump set states off on a mad scramble to find their own, leading to bidding wars against one another. Even today it is unclear who is deciding where the new American production will be directed — to the highest bidders or to the cities that need them most.”
Wall Street Journal: “Producers and distributors of medical supplies across the country are raising red flags about what they say is a lack of guidance from the federal government about where to send their products, as hospitals compete for desperately needed masks and ventilators to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.”
Now, as hospitals have turned into war zones, Trump is blaming hospitals and states for supply shortages, instead of taking responsibility.
CNN: “At Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center in New York, the ICU is at capacity, patient beds line the hallways of the emergency department, and the morgue is overflowing. Covid-19, Dr. Arabia Mollette said, has turned the Brooklyn-based hospital into ‘a war zone.’”
Washington Post: “President Trump has been focused on shifting blame for whatever becomes of the coronavirus outbreak. And on Sunday, he set about blaming hospitals and states for the well-established shortages of equipment to deal with the situation… Trump suggested that hospitals had squandered or done worse with masks and were ‘hoarding’ ventilators, and that states were requesting equipment despite not needing it.”