Editor’s note: This editorial expresses the views of the Log Cabin Democrat. The editorial board is composed of Frank Leto, Jeanette Anderton and Alex Kienlen.
As of Friday morning, 157,357 Americans have died as a result of COVID-19, and the U.S. had more than 4.7 million confirmed cases of the virus, according to the World Health Organization. More than 1,300 of those deaths were reported in the previous 24 hours. The latest forecast from the CDC projects an average of around 1,000 deaths per day through Aug. 22. The U.S. has become the hardest-hit nation in the world, accounting for a third of the reported cases and 22 percent of its 709,511 cumulative deaths.
This is, in large part, due to unclear guidance and delayed or deficient reactions from our leaders.
On Jan. 31, the White House announced a travel ban on China that took effect Feb. 2. A move the president has boasted about repeatedly. The ban, no doubt, helped by not allowing spread from what was, at that time, the epicenter of the pandemic. However, the federal government didn’t block travel from European countries until March 11. Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC’s second in command, said the extensive travel from Europe – nearly 2 million people traveled from Europe to the U.S. during February – accelerated the spread in the U.S.
On April 3, the president issued a recommendation that people wear non-medical-grade face masks in public settings where social distancing would be difficult to maintain, saying: “It may be good.” He followed that statement by announcing he would not do so himself, immediately undercutting the guidance the CDC had urged him to make.
In an interview with Axios’ Jonathan Swan that was filmed last week and aired Monday, President Trump downplayed the virus’s impact, saying: “Right now, I think it’s under control. We have done a great job.” When pressed about rising hospitalizations and a thousand Americans dying each day, the president answered: “It is what it is.”
Along with the health crisis, the pandemic has brought the economy to its knees.
According to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor, 16.3 million Americans are unemployed.
Yet, after a three-hour negotiation on Thursday, White House officials and Democratic leaders left the meeting without a coronavirus relief bill with both sides of aisle saying they were “too far apart” to reach an agreement.
Americans are the ones paying the price while our leaders are playing politics. Rather than listening to experts armed with data, they are making decisions – or not making them – based on how it will affect them politically.
Our national leadership needs to focus and develop a clear and cohesive policy in order for the nation to overcome this pandemic.