Trump Admin. Bungles Vaccination Program as Deaths Spike & the President Golfs
The Trump administration is mismanaging the nation's Covid vaccination rollout despite months to prepare. The President's pledge to vaccinate 20 million Americans by the end of the year was just another empty promise. With the virus death toll spiking across the nation, the delays will cost lives, but Trump seems oddly detached from the crisis, golfing and tweeting election conspiracy theories in Florida.
Bloomberg: "Only about 3.05 million Americans had been vaccinated as of late Wednesday evening... With one day remaining in the year, that represented roughly 15% of the U.S.’s stated goal of immunizing 20 million Americans by the end of 2020 -- a number already repeatedly reduced."
Yesterday, Trump tied to shift the blame to the states, but the administration hasn't provided adequate resources and didn't coordinate with state health officials on a vaccination strategy. He is repeating the mistakes he made throughout the crisis by refusing to lead or accept responsibility.
Bloomberg: "Robert Wachter, chairman of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said the Trump administration is repeating its grave errors in providing tests and personal protective equipment."
“It’s another manifestation of a lack of a federal plan with appropriate resources. It’s the testing problem now just applied to a different setting."
Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, made a similar point yesterday, noting that the White House should have developed a national vaccination strategy and coordinated with state health officials back in early November when they determined that the Pfizer vaccine was more than 90 percent effective. Jha also noted that federal officials knew that the states would need additional resources to handle the vaccination program efficiently.
Washington Post: "The notion that states can rely on systems they use to deliver the annual flu vaccine, or “efficiently stand up new infrastructure,” Jha said, “is a fantasy.” The $350 million already provided by the Department of Health and Human Services to health-care systems for pandemic response was insufficient, he said. And the additional $8 billion allocated by Congress [this week] for vaccine distribution arrives too late for states to have figured the resources into their initial planning, he said." “This is not how you handle the biggest health, economic, political and social crisis the country has faced in decades,” Jha said. “There’s a lack of seriousness.”
President Trump has shown little interest in leading the nation though the crisis, so none of this is a surprise. When the definitive history is written on the pandemic, the central question will be whether Trump's failure was one of incompetence or indifference. Probably a bit of both.
New York Magazine, David Wallace-Wells: "It’s happening all over again. For months, Americans who despaired about the country’s coronavirus-suppression efforts looked desperately to the arrival of a vaccine for a kind of pandemic deliverance. Now that it has arrived, miraculously fast, we are failing utterly to administer it with anything like the urgency the pace of dying requires — and, perhaps most maddeningly, failing in precisely the same way as we did earlier in the year. That is, out of apparent, near-total indifference."