What if the COVID-19 pandemic had been handled differently here in the U.S.?
As the country with the highest per-capita death rate on the entire planet, we certainly ought to be asking that question. And we deserve answers. It’s abundantly clear that our government response at so many levels was inept at best…some people even call it genocidal. It begs the question: would it have made a difference if we had capable leadership?
There was no escaping the virus itself but there is a mountain of indisputable evidence that a little bit of leadership would have gone a long way toward getting it under control. We’ve recently learned, thanks to one of best news reporters around, that President Trump understood that COVID-19 was highly deadly back in January, but he continued to lie to the American people about its severity.
What if he hadn’t? What if, for example, he had gathered Congressional leaders, medical and scientific experts, and public health professionals as soon as he knew how bad it was, to get to work. We could have had a six- to eight-week head start on so many necessary systems to mitigate the horrifying death count. We could have developed tests that are affordable, quick and accurate to show us where the hot spots are. We still don’t have that, some eight months later. We could have had a national mask mandate, modeled by those in charge who emphasized our obligation to protect each other. We still don’t have that. We could have had the resources and personnel to keep front-line professionals safe. So many of them died trying to save lives. We could have had a safety net for those who lost their jobs, their health insurance…and maybe soon, their homes. We still don’t have that. And the virus is still spreading.
The other thing we still don’t have is a plan, nor access to data to know how badly we need a plan. And we’re putting children and college students – our future – in harm’s way by opening up schools before we have the virus under control. We know there are serious lasting health problems from COVID, but our leadership is weary of being vigilant about the spread and more worried about the economy, so we roll the dice.
The truth is, competence would have made a difference. We all know that. The horrific body count could have been avoided. If we had a real leader, this crisis which announced itself early, would have been manageable. But we still don’t have that. And there’s only one way to get it – vote Democrat up and down the ballot. Before the next crisis is bungled right in front of our faces.
This article was written by Tish Hevel for the Collier County Democratic Party