Every American has felt the effect of the extremely contagious coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in recent weeks. The economy has taken a tumble as well, so much so that the current U.S. administration is considering a stimulus package to help out Americans that are hurting in the short term. But this pandemic was bungled from the very start.
The Trump administration severely underestimated the threat of COVID-19 and must be held responsible for their incompetence.
The missteps started in 2018, when the administration disbanded the National Security Council’s global pandemic team. The administration never filled these positions and left a huge hole in our nations defense against contagious diseases. They also cut 80% of the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) funding to fight global pandemics.
Even when news about the disease was spreading it was not taken seriously. Early on Trump appointed his Vice President Mike Pence to deal with the situation. Trump would go on to downplay the severity of the situation. Trump falsely stated the number of cases in the U.S. was falling. As we all know now, this was not true.
In the most recent democratic primary debate both presidential hopefuls Senator Bernie Sanders and Former Vice President Joe Biden criticized President Trump for not making testing kits more available for testing individuals for COVID-19. The need for kits is evident with COVID-19 because healthy individuals can have the virus but not show symptoms. Sanders and Biden also called for an accelerated push for a vaccine, which may take upwards of a year to create.
Lastly, there has been a disconnect in messaging between the CDC and the executive branch. It seems the CDC would have liked to implement policies like social distancing much earlier, but there was significant resistance from the president's camp. It was only recently on March 13, that a national emergency was declared.
It will be interesting in coming months how the virus affects American politics in general. Voting in some states which have Democratic Primaries have been pushed. But Former Vice President Joe Biden still has a commanding lead over Senator Bernie Sanders. The likelihood of a comeback diminishes every day they both remain in the race.
While we can all hope this virus will not be still around when the general election comes around, it will have it's effects in terms of story lines which will play out before November. COVID-19 is not a good news story for President Trump, as the outbreak has shaken confidence in his administration.
Furthermore, it was no secret the president planned to run on how well the economy was doing. While the economy has yet to turn into a full on recession, putting hundreds of thousands Americans out of work for months will deal serious damage.
One can only think, will the thoughts that go through anxious American's minds today seriously affect the votes they cast in less than half a year? For my money, I think it should effect their vote.