COVID-19, an emerging respiratory virus, has spread across the world infecting thousands. The first case to reach the U.S. was on Jan 20, 2020. The man who was infected had recently returned from Wuhan, China, the place of origin of the disease.
Shortly after, the number of infected in the US began to climb. Trump’s administration declared a public health emergency on Jan 30, 2020. However, sources still see this as a late response to this global crisis, and many of Trump’s actions and comments have been heavily criticized by the media.
The World Health Organization, or WHO, originally stated on Jan. 14 that there was no clear evidence of human to human transmission. WHO received significant backlash when this statement was proven to be false. Gavin Yamey, the director of Duke University’s center for policy impact in global health stated in response to criticism by tweeting, “The whole point of science is that we have initial hypotheses and initial ideas, and we update those ideas as more and more data emerges.”
A month after WHO released a declaration of emergency, Trump stated, “The coronavirus is very much under control in the US.” Trump has since blocked funding for the World Health Organization.
Many travel bans have been instated in order to try to contain the virus. There is currently a travel ban on China and Europe, which was enacted in March. The US-Canada border was closed and immigration was suspended on April 21.
The G7, an international government organization of the seven largest economies, has been especially concerned with some of Trump’s statements, specifically that he refers to the virus as the Wuhan virus or the Chinese virus. A joint statement can not be made due to his actions, as many world leaders disagree with this language. In addition, the US attempted to get monopoly rights over the vaccine being made in Germany, which caused outrage in Europe. Trump offered “large sums of money” in an attempt to gain complete rights over the vaccine once it was finished. German leaders described this as “an extremely unfriendly act.”
Trump’s largest response to the virus was the creation of the White House Coronavirus Taskforce, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence. A large player at the forefront of the task force is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, who many people say makes them feel comforted during these uncertain times.
The task force has taken many actions in order to address the concerns and needs of the nation. In response to the lack of testing available, as well as the efficiency of receiving results, CDC lifted federal restrictions on testing to allow anyone to get tested with doctor’s permission on March 3.
On March 13, Trump made a declaration of national emergency and obtained 42 billion dollars towards COVID-19 efforts. In addition, Trump has spoken with grocery store companies, fast food companies, and more to give guidelines about drive-thru services and food shortages. Field hospitals were opened due to heavy overflow. There has been a major supply shortage in hospitals such as a shortage of masks, gloves, ventilators, and face shields. Due to this, an at-home care tool kit was released on April 23.
The coronavirus has affected millions of people’s lives, whether it be combating the illness or a major change in lifestyle. 22 million people have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 since non-essential businesses were forced to shut down due to stay-at-home orders.
There is clear pressure on the Trump administration to solve these problems. However, Trump made a “sarcastic” suggestion that those suffering from coronavirus should inject themselves with household cleaners such as Lysol. Due to this suggestion, the NYC poison control saw a spike in household cleaner exposures after this comment was made. Many cleaning companies have made statements informing the public that they should not inject, ingest, or breathe in household cleaners.
Trump stated that the United States will reopen, “vaccine or no vaccine.” The coronavirus has affected millions and will continue to affect more people. The virus has created a shortage of supplies at hospitals across the country. Millions have lost their jobs. Returning to normal everyday life before the virus will be a long journey.