Trump’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic is Making Conditions Worse

Trump+has+made+countless+false+claims+regarding+the+pandemic%2C+misleading+the+nation+in+the+process.+

Lou Targoff

Trump has made countless false claims regarding the pandemic, misleading the nation in the process.

Esther Cull-Kahn, Contributing Writer

From the start of the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump has misled the American public about the threat of the virus, the precautions essential to slowing its spread, and the potential severity of its consequences. In times of crisis, it is a political leader’s primary obligation to communicate clearly and provide for the safety and security of their citizens. Trump’s mishandling of the crisis began when he initially minimized the threat that the virus would pose to Americans. This reaction fell woefully short of properly addressing the crisis, which led to a dramatic increase in the danger and likelihood that millions of Americans will contract the virus unnecessarily. 

For the sake of brevity, here are three blatant lies that Trump has made out of dozens more. On February 10th, Trump stated—without evidence—to Fox News that the virus “dies with the hotter weather.” This statement contradicted the predictions of health expert Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, who predicted it would be reckless and illogical to assume that the virus would diminish in the summer. Furthermore, on March 2nd, Trump said at a campaign rally in North Carolina that a vaccine would be coming “relatively soon.” Earlier that day, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Trump that it would take at least between 12 and 18 months to develop a vaccine. Trump’s outlandish claim that a vaccine was close to being found convinced the public that the virus would quickly resolve itself, when, in fact, that was, and is, completely false. Additionally, on March 6th, in an interview in Atlanta, Georgia, Trump falsely claimed that “Anybody that wants a test can get a test. That’s what the bottom line is.” This was simply untrue—just a day prior, Vice President Pence explained that Americans were unable to get testing simply because they wanted to. Misstatements such as these not only misinform the public but are evidence of Trump’s habitual tendency to contradict and undermine his own COVID-19 task force. 

Trump and his administration’s faults led to a delayed response to the crisis, which resulted in a far more uncontained and deathly spread than what was expected. ”

Trump and his administration’s faults led to a delayed response to the crisis, which resulted in a far more uncontained and deathly spread than what was expected. As an example, South Korea, a country that was hit by the coronavirus weeks prior to the United States, tested over 66,000 people within one week. In contrast, the US tested the same amount of people over the span of three weeks and is now on track to have a worse outbreak because of the slowness of the testing. 

Compounding the slowness of his response, his routine dishonesty, and the subsequent panic and confusion he has created, Trump has deliberately issued statements that characterize the virus as “Chinese,” which stigmatizes and blames Chinese Americans for a virus they had no part in creating. The kind of stigma that Trump promotes can and has resulted in direct violence against all Asian Americans. Despite protest and questioning from reporters, the president has refused to change his language, regardless of its impact. When Trump refers to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus,” he misleads the public into believing that the virus was a result of Chinese people’s behavior.

As MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow said in a recent tweet, “Mr. President … You personally are leading the worst national response of any industrialized nation in the world, in what is now the largest COVID-19 outbreak on earth.”