How Trump Wasted the Best Tool He Had to Fight Coronavirus

Bush didn’t want to hear that there was a major al Qaeda attack coming to the U.S., even though he was told specifically that. Didn’t want to hear it. Rather than saying, “Tell me more, go find out about it, tell me what more we can do,” he reacted by saying, “Well, you’ve covered your ass now by telling me that.” That’s a very different kind of approach than Obama or Clinton, who were always looking for the thing that was going to bite them in the ass.

…None has been more derelict than [the Trump] administration’s failure to provide front-line healthcare workers with the medical and protective equipment they need.

What’s most exasperating is that there was a system in place to provide that equipment: the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile, an integrated collection of secret, federally-controlled warehouses with billions of dollars worth of precisely the kind of critical supplies that were needed in this crisis, such as masks and ventilators.

…The president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has said the stockpile was for the federal government, not the states. In fact, it was built precisely for states and localities to use in the case of an emergency. 

…The president secured money from Congress to put into the Public Health Service and the CDC to create a stockpile. A lot of it was grant money that went down to the state and county level, so they could have labs that would be able to detect and test. They set up a system so that when people came to emergency rooms and reported illnesses, that information would go into a national monitoring system. We realized that if a big event happened in any city, the city would be overwhelmed. So we set up a national stockpile of emergency medical gear that included medicines, hospital beds, ventilators, and put it in warehouses around the country.

We had a plan that when the equipment reached near its expiration date, it would be rotated, either through the Defense Department or Veterans medical systems, so that the equipment would be used before their expiration dates.

…The federal government doesn’t even have first responders. The stockpile is there for community hospitals around the country.

How Trump Wasted the Best Tool He Had to Fight Coronavirus | Washington Monthly

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