Trump Politicisation of COVID Was a ‘Comorbidity’ in Disappointing US Pandemic Response
Donald Trump listens to Fauci
President Donald Trump listens as Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks to the press in 2020.

An expert investigation into the US response to the COVID-19 pandemic has concluded that the country’s performance was the most disappointing in the world. 

The investigation’s report was launched on Tuesday as a book, Lessons from the COVID War, providing an in-depth analysis of America’s response to the pandemic and the aftermath by the COVID Crisis Group, an independent group of experts.

No country’s performance in dealing with the pandemic was more disappointing than that of the US, according to the group. They came to this conclusion as the US excess deaths during the pandemic were around 40% higher than that of Europe, despite the US possessing deeper scientific knowledge about the virus and spending trillions of dollars to address it. 

Donald Trump’s politicking during the start of the pandemic when he was president is heavily criticised, with the authors concluding that his politicisation of the pandemic was a “comorbidity”. 

The book also examines the race to develop an effective vaccine against COVID-19 (Operation Warp Speed), COVID origins and the policies adopted by the federal and state governments. 

The COVID Crisis Group was born in 2021 out of a need to analyse the country’s COVID-19 response given that the pandemic killed more Americans than all US wars combined since the US War of Independence. The group consisted of 34 members – physicians, public health and policy experts led by Philp Zelikow, who led the official commission that looked into the 9/11 attacks. 

Lab-leak theory

The report examines both the lab leak theory and the animal-human transmission theory of COVID-19, but doesn’t support either of these due to lack of sufficient evidence in both cases. 

The origins of COVID-19 has been a controversial topic as some believe that the virus might have broken out into the general population from the high-security laboratory that conducts research on coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

However, this theory has been disputed by many other eminent scientists and the World Health Organization (WHO), who believe that COVID-19 might have originated from a spillover event at a wet market in Wuhan province. 

The book comes down heavily on the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and says that the agency took on a reactive role in a pandemic instead of proactively leading the way. 

Elaborating on the activities that went behind the development of successful mRNA vaccines against COVID, the book says that both Pfizer and Moderna enjoyed tremendous support from the federal government, either through upfront investment into development or as advance purchase guarantees that ran to billions of US dollars. It also emphasises how “Operation Warp Speed”, as it was known then, was a success only because of a perfect alignment of many other factors around it. 

Image Credits: flickr/The White House. Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks.

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