After US death toll surpassed 85,000 and the country is gearing up to reopen the economy, a highly popular medical journal in its newly published editorial slammed U.S. President Donald Trump's "inconsistent and incoherent national response" to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The British medical journal Lancet accused Trump administration of relegating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to a "nominal" role stating that the government has marginalized the CDC to a degree that is dangerous for both the U.S. as well as for the world.
The unsigned editorial also cited that citizens of America should oust Trump from the White House and elect a leader who will support public health experts who are battling the COVID-19 pandemic, instead of neglecting facts.
The Lancet Criticizes Trump's Actions
The popular medical journal, which was founded in Britain in 1823, mentioned that "Americans must put a president in the White House come January 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics."
At this point of time, the U.S. is the worst-hit country in the world with more than 1.4 million Coronavirus cases and over 85,900 COVID-19 related deaths. Apart from New York, other parts of the country are also reporting new cases including places like Minnesota and Iowa.
In addition, the editorial, titled "Reviving the U.S. CDC," stated that:
The Administration is obsessed with magic bullets — vaccines, new medicines, or a hope that the virus will simply disappear
But only a steadfast reliance on basic public health principles, like a test, trace, and isolate, will see the emergency brought to an end, and this requires an effective national public health agency.
It also said that CDC which was once "the gold standard for global disease detection and control" has devolved into an "ineffective and nominal adviser" on the U.S. response to Coronavirus which paralysed the country as well as the whole world.
The Trump administration has "chipped away" the ability of the federal agency in terms of combating the virus in a number of ways, the journal said adding that the reduction of CDC employees in China and withdrawing the last American CDC expert from the Chinese CDC campus in July 2019, left an "intelligence vacuum" when COVID-19 was detected in Wuhan last December.
It wrote: "The USA is still nowhere near able to provide the basic surveillance or laboratory testing infrastructure needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic."
Accusations Against Trump Administration
Earlier in several occasions, the U.S. President and his administration faced criticism for neglecting facts related to the pandemic which also included neglecting the early warning of the outbreak which the White House received from intelligence sources in January but did not pay attention.
Now the British journal accused the administration of accelerating the "erosion" of its healthcare agency that it says took place under the Republican government rule that used CDC and its funding to gain political points.
n the wake of Coronavirus pandemic which has already infected 4.4 million people worldwide, the president and his administration have repeatedly undermined the leading U.S. agencies on infectious diseases, said The Lancet, adding that "the CDC needs a director who can provide leadership without the threat of being silenced."
The editorial also included the name of CDC's Dr Nancy Messonnier, who earlier warned the U.S. and asked Americans to prepare themselves for shutdown. After she made these comments on February 25, director of the Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases was removed from the White House briefing and since then Messonnier has been playing a limited public role.
The editorial said: "A strong CDC is needed to respond to public health threats, both domestic and international, and to help prevent the next inevitable pandemic."
The journal published the editorial soon after Rick Bright, a whistleblower who claims that he was removed from his government post for raising concerns about COVID-19 preparedness, told a Congressional hearing on Thursday that the U.S. could face "the darkest winter" of recent times if it does not improve its response to the pandemic.
He testified to a U.S. House of Representatives panel about readiness for the outbreak and said, "What we do must be done carefully with guidance from the best scientific minds. Our window of opportunity is closing. If we fail to improve our response now, based on science, I fear the pandemic will get worse and be prolonged."