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Trump has been woefully inadequate during crisis

To the editor:

In a letter to the editor dated June 26 Stephen Sellers blamed everyone but President Donald Trump for the United States’ early failed response to the pandemic. He concluded, and presumably with a straight face, “President Donald Trump was the only one for three months who raised any alarm.”

The first case of the coronavirus was on Jan. 21, 2020 for both the U.S. and South Korea. While Trump was downplaying the virus, more worried about its impact on the stock market and his reelection, and calling it a hoax, South Korea began aggressive testing for the disease and quarantined those who tested positive. South Korea tested nearly 300,000 within two months of diagnosing their first case. During that same period, the U.S. tested only 60,000 in a country of 330 million. Today the U.S. death toll stands at 126,000 while South Korea’s is 282. This is a death rate of 38.37 per 100 thousand in the U.S. compared to 0.55 in South Korea!

Because the U.S. lagged behind other countries in testing, our country lost valuable time that could have prevented many deaths. Trump cannot argue that South Korea had more information on this impending pandemic than he did. Because he did not take it seriously, we are all paying the price!

On June 26, Vice President Mike Pence said at a coronavirus task force press conference that “we have flattened the curve.” According to figures kept by the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, cases are dramatically rising, not falling.

To make matters worse (if that is even possible), Trump has politicized our response to this crisis. He refuses to wear a mask and even mocked a reporter for wearing one. His supporters have followed his lead. He holds rallies where very few are wearing masks, and there is no attempt at social distancing. This puts at risk his supporters, Secret Service and his own staff, some of whom have tested positive. By violating the guidelines set by our own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal government sends a very confusing message.

Every infectious disease expert states unequivocally that wearing a mask will save lives! This is no more a violation of your basic rights than requiring that you wear a seat belt.

During a press conference, Trump has also touted unproven medical remedies like injecting a cleaning product or light into the body. At the daily briefings he played doctor, recommending the use of hydroxychloroquine as a “game changer.” This was an irresponsible and dangerous suggestion for a treatment that was found to be more harmful than helpful.

Trump is not only cruel, narcissistic and immoral, he is also incompetent! Many of us had feared he could never handle a crisis, and the pandemic has confirmed these fears to the nation’s detriment.

Gary Gill

Lewistown

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