Letter to the Editor

No crystal ball needed

A Columbia University study using mathematical modeling has determined the following: If on March 1st the Trump administration had advised Americans to stay at home to avoid contracting and spreading covid-19, 54,000 lives could have been saved. If Trump had delayed one more week, still 36,000 lives could have been saved.

Some will retort that the president lacked a crystal ball. Fair enough. But what the president really lacked was the willingness to listen and take advice from the scientists and health professionals who were trying to advise him about the danger of this new virus. Trump’s lack of response, followed by an irrational and ineffective response, has resulted in the tragedy we are faced with today.

At first there was just happy talk: We have it contained. It will just disappear, maybe when the weather gets warmer. It will be like a miracle. Then as the seriousness of the disease sunk in, Trump was quick to declare, “We are not responsible.”

Then came the magic bullet briefings.  Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, can prevent or cure coronavirus. (Studies show that the drug actually increases death rates in covid-19 patients.) Lysol kills the virus, so could we inject it? Sunlight and UV rays might just do the trick.

The lack of any kind of coherent federal plan left our states to deal with coronavirus each in its own way. Competing with each other for medical supplies and scrambling to come up with state level responses, the United States has been anything but united. The Trump administration has been of little help, and has often actually interfered with states’ efforts.

Trump’s determination to re-open the economy, despite new spikes in infection rates around the country, will have devastating consequences. Many have warned that a national crisis occurring under this incompetent leader would be disastrous. No crystal ball was needed for that sadly accurate prediction.

Kurt Merchant


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