More GOP stunts rather than action. Trump continues to emit a cloud of disinformation about the lag in testing which because of a lag in data is causing public anxiety. Example: CDC says there are 80 cases (there are 158).
(CNN) President Donald Trump sought to lay blame on the Obama administration for slowing down new diagnostic testing, but a Republican senator's office and a lab association said this is not correct.“The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we're doing,” Trump said Wednesday during on a meeting addressing the coronavirus outbreak. “And we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place in a much more rapid and accurate fashion.”An aide to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, said the Obama administration made no such rule change. The aide, Taylor Haulsee, said the Obama administration did propose that the Food and Drug Administration have more oversight over approving diagnostic tests, but that did not go through.
— Rep. Richard Dangler (@RDangler) March 5, 2020
In the spring of 2018, the White House pushed Congress to cut funding for Obama-era disease security programs, proposing to eliminate $252 million in previously committed resources for rebuilding health systems in Ebola-ravaged Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. Under fire from both sides of the aisle, President Donald Trump dropped the proposal to eliminate Ebola funds a month later. But other White House efforts included reducing $15 billion in national health spending and cutting the global disease-fighting operational budgets of the CDC, NSC, DHS, and HHS. And the government’s $30 million Complex Crises Fund was eliminated.
In May 2018, Trump ordered the NSC’s entire global health security unit shut down, calling for reassignment of Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer and dissolution of his team inside the agency. The month before, then-White House National Security Advisor John Bolton pressured Ziemer’s DHS counterpart, Tom Bossert, to resign along with his team. Neither the NSC nor DHS epidemic teams have been replaced. The global health section of the CDC was so drastically cut in 2018 that much of its staff was laid off and the number of countries it was working in was reduced from 49 to merely 10. Meanwhile, throughout 2018, the U.S. Agency for International Development and its director, Mark Green, came repeatedly under fire from both the White House and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And though Congress has so far managed to block Trump administration plans to cut the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps by 40 percent, the disease-fighting cadres have steadily eroded as retiring officers go unreplaced.
Since the great influenza pandemic of 1918, the United States has been spared terrifying epidemics. Americans now are epidemic voyeurs. They watch YouTube videos of China’s struggles. They see the government attack its epidemic by building a 1,000-bed quarantine hospital in a single week, lock down cities larger than New York or Los Angeles, ramp up 24/7 manufacture of face masks and protective gear, deploy its armed forces medical corps to treat ailing citizens, send enormous convoys of food and supplies to anxious citizens of Wuhan, and release terrifying, growing tallies daily of its swelling patient populations. They look in horror at panicked lines of masked people waiting to learn if their fevers are caused by the deadly disease, at bodies lying on cold floors in overcrowded hospitals, and at people crying out from behind their masks for help. And they ask, “What would the United States do? What would the White House do?” The answers are not reassuring.
— Jeremy Konyndyk (@JeremyKonyndyk) February 24, 2020
— Randy Leonard (@RandyLeonard) March 5, 2020
— New York Post (@nypost) March 4, 2020