Written by Pablo Reid (News Writer)
Sources within the White House have revealed that the President’s response to the virus was deliberately slow and ineffective, which explains how difficult it has been for the country to contain its outbreak of COVID-19. A leaked chain of emails and two anonymous sources close to the president confirmed that the medical community was aware of the threat posed by the coronavirus, but that many officials, including President Trump, overlooked these signs in favor of a more passive strategy. Delays, tantrums, and poor leadership led to the general lack of preparedness.
When a new virus broke out all over China, health officials throughout the U.S. quickly began discussing its implications, and what possible solutions there could be if it reached the U.S. The email thread was called Red Dawn, in reference to a movie about an invasion of the U.S. It provides many insights into American response. It shows that experts knew the virus spread rapidly and that they had enough models and data to know it would likely be much more dangerous than the seasonal flu. Tentative solutions, such as closing schools, were discussed. However, the most interesting aspect of the emails is that they reveal that past simulations were totally ignored by politicians, who chose to downplay the threat. One scientist joked that saying the virus was no worse than the seasonal flu would be one of the greatest mistakes in history. We now know that they were right to be worried.
Another interesting aspect of the emails is what they reveal about President Trump’s response to the virus and his leadership style. Those countries that successfully overcame their outbreaks acted swiftly and decisively. But when a health official’s warnings made the stock market dip, Trump was so furious that he refused to speak to medical experts for three crucial weeks, delaying an already needlessly slow American response. Actions like that are a major reason why the United States has been hit hard, and they show how the importance of the economy overruled the importance of responding to the virus correctly.
When Trump began to act, he chose a policy that most countries avoided. Instead of containing the virus everywhere, a useful step but one harmful to the economy, he tried to rely on herd immunity. In a meeting, he asked Dr. Fauci whether it wouldn’t be best to allow the disease to roll over the U.S, and he only stepped back when the doctor replied that such a step would kill hundreds of thousands of people. Again, such callousness and indifference to the cost of the virus is why the United States has suffered so much from it. Instead of being responsible, key leaders ignored warnings and instead tried to do what would be best for the economy and not the American people.
These revelations explain why the government, when faced with a major crisis, did not do much to respond. Although the outbreak is far from over, the leaks teach us lessons we should have learned already about how to handle a virus. Hopefully, future leaders will learn from this situation and take better steps going forward.