Getting good information about our personal and national safety can seem daunting right now. How are our leaders doing at protecting us and our fellow citizens from the spread and consequences of the coronavirus? It’s a question in the forefront of each of our minds.
It’s remarkable how varied the responses and reports to this question are from various news organizations. New York Times’ columnist Charles Blow entitled his piece from yesterday “A Deadly Lack of Leadership.” He said…
“America watched a churlish child stand among serious leaders, corporate leaders and scientific ones, trying to appear in command, but continuously exposing himself as small and shallow.”
“Trump’s thoroughly inept handling of this crisis will not pass from the American memory easily. Fear and panic will help etch this one into the psyche. This will leave a scar.”
In the opening of his broadcast last Friday evening, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell said our executive leader’s response to the pandemic “is one of the worst responses by any government in the world today.” He added that, “More people are dead and dying tonight in America because Donald Trump is President.”
There are others who take a bit of a different approach.
We all have the benefit today of hearing from the most knowledgeable, non-partisan, and trusted doctor in the United States, perhaps in the world, on viral epidemics. That is Dr. Anthony Fauci who has served as our director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease since 1984. He appeared on nearly all of this week’s Sunday morning news shows to answer questions about the status of our federal response to the coronavirus.
The host of ABC’s This Week referred to Dr. Fauci as “the most trusted person on this” and asked him directly “Are you confident that the Federal government is doing everything right now to contain this?” Fauci responded without hesitation or reserve, “Right now, yes. Absolutely.”
In the same breath, he goes on to explain, “In fact, what I like to see is when people look at what we are doing and say you’re over-reacting.”
ABC News, in their online story on his appearance, wrote,
“Dr. Anthony Fauci said he is confident the federal government is doing everything that needs to be done to contain the novel coronavirus…”
On CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday morning, Fauci expressed the same confidence, explaining the very high infection we’ve seen in other countries “is not going to happen if we do what we are attempting to do and are doing…”
He added that stopping the spread comes down to “doing a few things, and we are doing it.” He explained these include our national policies on travel restrictions, keeping new infections from coming into the country, and doing containment and mitigation within the United States. He warns that infections will indeed naturally go up in the coming days and weeks but is wholly confident our nation’s response is currently exactly what it should be. He said the government is carefully taking and accurately executing his team’s advice.
On Sunday morning’s Meet the Press, Dr. Fauci told Chuck Todd that our nation has “really made somewhat of a sea-change” in how we are confronting the virus. He added, “Pretty soon we are going to see a major escalation in capability and implementation” in precautions such as the availability and application of testing kits.
Todd asked Fauci if we are indeed “blunting the curve” referring to managing the spread of the disease so that we can successfully respond to new infections. He answered, “I’m sure that we are with what we are doing…” but added we don’t have hard numbers right now. Why? Dr. Fauci explained that if you’ve indeed blunted the curve, “you don’t know about it till after the fact.” But he is confident we are doing what is needed to flatten the curve.
Clearly Dr. Fauci has unqualified confidence in what our nation’s highest leadership is doing on this crisis and he assured our nation of this on his Sunday morning interviews. This, while even more precautions and protective actions have taken place since and then and continue to.
So, who are you going to believe on what and how our federal leadership is doing in protecting our nation and its citizens?
Dr. Fauci, the best person to believe and take our cues from, perhaps in the world, says we are right where we need to be and is secure in our response.
What we must do now is stay there and be even more vigilant and we can all play the crucial role. The virus’s future and its spread lies in the behaviors and choices of every citizen. The CDC says our most effective weapon is for each of us to wash our hands thoroughly and regularly with warm soap and water, cover our coughs and sneezes, greet people with elbow bumps only, don’t touch our faces, and radically minimize group contact by staying home. When we all do what we can do, and our government and community institutions do the best that they can do, our nation will make it through this time of difficulty.