On Wednesday, Fox News host Martha MacCallum invited Dr. Rishi Desai, a pediatric infectious disease physician, for an interview segment centered on the coronavirus response.
Dr. Desai recommended a nation-wide shutdown to slow the spread of COVID-19, something Donald Trump has been reluctant to order.
In recommending a complete shutdown mandate across the country, he stated:
We would see a drop off in cases within 2 weeks. Within 2 weeks, the number of cases would start to fall and the entire country would breathe a sigh of relief. But we’re not doing that.
He also boldly criticized the administration’s response saying the US should have been more prepared.
They should’ve been working on [coronavirus testing] for months. The fact is, we knew about this from the WHO when? December 31st 2019. Why is it that it’s this week that the FDA finally approved these kind of new Abbot labs testing […] We needed this months ago.
Dr. Desai’s response was shared thousands of times on Twitter as an example of some much-needed honesty. On Fox News’ homepage, 3 of the top 4 stories are about China’s failure to report accurate coronavirus case numbers. Donald Trump has been focused on the fact that the US probably doesn’t have more cases than China because China was likely lying.
To Trump’s credit, the evidence does suggest that China has been intentionally underreporting coronavirus deaths . US intelligence claims the nation may have known about COVID-19 nearly a month earlier than it was reported. But China’s lies don’t take away from Donald Trump’s complete failure to take action.
As Dr. Desai points out, South Korea and the U.S. registered their first coronavirus cases on the same date—January 19. That was nearly 3 months ago. While South Korea sprung into action with a heavy volume of testing, Donald Trump brushed the disease off as little more than “the flu.”
Like South Korea, Germany took the initial coronavirus threat seriously and started developing tests. Also like South Korea, Germany has seen only a fraction of the deaths that the U.S. has.
Sure, China probably lied about the coronavirus outbreak . But what about Italy? Italy started sounding the alarm over a shocking rise in cases in February when it quarantined two towns at the center of a coronavirus outbreak. By March 11, it became clear that the virus was beyond containment. On March 12, Donald Trump banned travel from Europe, suggesting by then he was aware it was more dangerous than the seasonal flu.
Having had more than 3 months to prepare, you’d expect US hospitals to be better prepared with an adequate supply of ventilators. At the very least, you’d expect medical professionals to have the protective equipment they need to protect themselves against infection. Instead, the U.S. is struggling to keep up with an ever-rising number of cases and a sickening death toll.
Just a few days ago, Donald Trump said he thinks New York hospitals are overstating their needs. He has refused to issue a nation-wide lockdown despite growing concern about the spread of the disease. Even if you were willing to let the President off the hook for not taking China or Italy’s outbreaks seriously, it’s difficult to rationalize his reasoning for not taking New York’s outbreak seriously.
As Dr. Desai noted on Fox News, we know that the virus is easily transmitted from person to person.
There’s evidence that lockdowns help to slow the spread and give hospitals and laboratories time to catch up with testing and treatment.
Ok, China lied. That’s something that shouldn’t go unnoticed, but it doesn’t excuse what’s happening in the U.S. right now. It shouldn’t be Donald Trump’s focus. Nor should his Facebook fame , but I digress.
The bottom line is that Donald Trump’s attempts to deflect the blame for the nation’s pitiful coronavirus response are doing nothing to address the issue at hand— slowing the spread of the virus and saving lives.