The world Coronavirus infection cases crossed 1.7 million mark, while the US surpassed the grim figure of 20,000 coronavirus deaths on Saturday, April 11 during the Easter holiday. But reports blamed US President Donald Trump and the administration ignoring early warnings about the Coronavirus outbreak.
At this time, in twitter #TrumpVirusCoverup and #TrumpPlague are trending as Americans are showing their rage against the President who not only overlooked early intelligence warnings but also underestimated the Coronavirus initially when the COVID-19 was knocking at the doorsteps the country.
US lost 20,000 lives due to Coronavirus
A top disaster response official at the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr Robert Kadlec, met the White House coronavirus task force on February 21. During the meeting, the group conducted a mock-up exercise of the pandemic and the result showed 110 million infections, 7.7 million hospitalizations and 586,000 deaths. The group understood that soon they have to adopt aggressive social distancing methods "even at the risk of severe disruption to the nation's economy and the daily lives of millions of Americans."
Even though Trump was warned about the upcoming scenario, it took over three weeks to enact social distancing guidelines which were implemented on March 16. As per The New York Times, almost two days after the meeting, Kadlec learned of human-to-human transmission from asymptomatic individuals.
The director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Dr Nancy Messonnier issued a warning stating that the Coronavirus would disrupt America's daily life. But Trump first cancelled a meeting where he was supposed to discuss the mitigation efforts and appointed Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the Coronavirus task force and channeled coronavirus messaging through him. Meanwhile, other officials of the Trump administration told media on several occasions that the US had contained the virus.
From February 26 to March 16, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases raised to 4,226 from just 15 cases to more than half a million Americans. Now, the US has topped the list of countries with infection cases as it has recorded 529,951 Coronavirus cases and its death toll crossed 20,600-mark.
The ignorance towards early warnings
It should be mentioned that as per a US official, who recently talked to CNN, Trump government's public health experts agreed that the US needed to take stricter actions to contain the spread of the virus in the third week of February by adopting mitigation strategies and aggressive social distancing measures.
The public health officials had planned to urge Trump to move toward a mitigation strategy after he returned from his India tour but that meeting was called off after President returned to Washington infuriated by a plunging stock market and Messonier's warning about "severe" disruptions to daily life.
The officials also said that an email on February 23 received from a researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology revealed a report of potential asymptomatic spread of the disease in the US which caused alarm among several top officials. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar also briefed Trump about the potential seriousness of the virus during a phone call on January 18 but still, a few days later the President told in a press conference that "We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It's -- going to be just fine" and started referring to the Coronavirus as the "Chinese virus."
It was also reported that the deputy national security adviser, Matthew Pottinger was warned of the asymptomatic spread of the deadly virus in early January on a call with an epidemiologist from Hong Kong. Backed by national security adviser Robert O'Brien, he pushed Trump to take action against China and managed to convince him to enact travel restrictions. But Trump's economic team was worried that such strict measures could hurt the trade deal between both the countries.
Recently when Trump was asked about a January memo, which included an early warning about the virus outbreak, on Tuesday, April 7, the President said, "I didn't see them, but I heard he wrote some memos talking about the pandemic. I didn't see them. I didn't look for them either."
Early intelligence was overlooked
Recent reports revealed that Trump and lawmakers failed to pay attention to the warnings issued by the US intelligence agencies regarding the COVID-19 pandemic at an early stage. Intelligence agencies warned the Trump administration in January and February this year regarding the Coronavirus threat. The reports revealed that the intelligence officials have tracked the COVID-19 spread in other countries as well as in China and found that Chinese officials were able to minimise the severity of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Altogether the reports showed what would be the global scenario if the virus continues to spread, Trump did not care about it until the virus started to infect people all around the US in a massive way. Even lawmakers took it so lightly at an initial stage. If the administration heeded all these alerts, it would have helped the country to slow down the spread of the pathogen, revealed US officials familiar with intelligence reports.