Leading the number of global positive cases of Coronavirus, the United States has become the new epicenter of the pandemic surpassing China, Italy, and Iran. With over 102,396 cases (10 AM IST), the Donald Trump administration faced momentous criticism for failing to contain the outbreak.
From downplaying the Coronavirus threat to disregarding intelligence reports and calling to revive the economy amid a health crisis here is how the Donald Trump administration jeopardised the COVID-19 crisis:
US President Donald Trump on Thursday rebuffed the need for new ventilators by the New York Governor to treat the patients affected by COVID-19. The biggest cluster by far has been in New York, which has become the home to almost half the cases, overwhelming the hospital system.
Two days ago, Trump told Fox News, "I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be." "I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know you go into major hospitals sometimes, they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying can we order 30,000 ventilators?" he added.
"Look, it’s a very bad situation. We haven’t seen anything like it, but the end result is we’ve got to get back to work, and I think we can start by opening up certain parts of the country," Donald Trump added on Thursday. A day later, the US became the country with the highest cases in the world.
The Group of Seven (G7) countries failed to reach an agreement recently on the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, due to skirmishes over the name of the virus. The US State Department insisted on using the 'Wuhan virus' in the joint statement, which was rejected by the group, thus resulting in separate statements. The G7 includes the US, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, Canada, and Japan.
The US President has repeatedly branded the Coronavirus as a 'Chinese virus', further justified the branding of the pandemic. Asked why he keeps calling Coronavirus as 'Chinese virus' when scientists say the disease doesn't respect borders and is not caused by ethnicity, Trump told reporters at the White House that he doesn't consider it a racist remark. “It’s not racist at all," Trump said, adding that he calls it the “Chinese virus” because he wants to be accurate.
Playing down the severity of Coronavirus, Donald Trump often put up a straight-face and claimed it was "under control" and that "it's going to be just fine" despite the soaring numbers in China. Following the first case of Coronavirus in January in the country, Donald Trump trivialised the issue by stating that it was just "one person coming from China," the country which was the epicenter of the virus.
Late in January, when countries including the United States, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and others confirmed cases of Coronavirus, Donald Trump said, "We have very little problem in this country," after five cases. A similar tone was maintained until March 5, even when the virus had managed to creep into diverse parts of the world, including Italy and Iran. The US President was also accused of prioritising economy revival over human life after Trump announced that he wanted the US market back to normal functioning level by Easter. "This cure is worse than the problem," the US President had said.
Countries including India, China, Iran immediately halted domestic inter-city travel in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak. However, despite topping the charts with the most positive cases, the United States has still enabled travel within the country.
The US President has not announced any travel restrictions domestically. While asked the people to avoid "discretionary travel" for the next 2 weeks, however, said that the domestic ban on travel is still under consideration. The US although has imposed a ban on various international travels. "We’re not really. We hope we don’t have to. We think that hopefully, we won’t have to do that. But it’s certainly something we talk about every day. We haven’t made that decision," Donald Trump said.
The Washington Post had claimed that the US intelligence community had warned the US President and Congress about the glaring threat of Coronavirus, early in January, however, the Trump administration evidently overlooked the warning. Purportedly the intel reports on the pandemic started funneling in since early-January, however, they were disregarded throughout January and February. Trump, however, downplaying the impending crisis had even said 'warm weather would neutralise the threat'. The claim has been dismissed by the World Health Organisation.