When Dr. Messonier brought their February warnings, they came with a glimmer of hope.
"We never expected that we would catch every traveler with the novel coronavirus from China. It would be impossible. We don't see any spread here in the US, but it is possible, even likely, that it will happen at some point. Our goal is to continue to slow down the introduction of the virus into the US. This will give us more time to prepare our communities for more cases and possibly continued spread. This new virus poses a tremendous threat to public health. "
Of all the public statements, none may have been more forward-looking than Messonier's. Unfortunately, the ramifications of their blunt – and accurate – statements did not shock the Trump White House. It should bury Messonier somewhere far from the nearest camera.
By March 11, it still seemed possible to pretend that the US could take appropriate action. Although Trump uses terms like "China flu," despite obvious flaws in developing adequate tests, and despite an obvious desire to simply hope that this is all gone "like magic," there might still be an opportunity to hold this one Train on before it actually leaves the station. Even when Trump tried to brush the threat aside, other Republicans seemed to be taking it seriously.
A week earlier, the stock market had collapsed as traders tried to figure out what it would really mean for the United States to plunge into a pandemic. And a sickening hint of things to come followed when CNBC host Rick Santelli said the United States should admit defeat and help the virus infect everyone. For business reasons.
“Maybe we'd just be better off giving it to everyone and then it would be over in a month because the death rate from it is unlikely to be any different if we do it this way than the long time. Term image, but the difference is that we are devastating global and domestic economies. "
Trump had canceled a visit to the CDC but hadn't interrupted his golf schedule as the real cost of what it would mean to do nothing in the face of this illness became clear.
Projection chart that first ran on March 6, 2020
In addition to this threat, the United States faced a leadership vacuum. Trump would not rise and he would not allow anyone to steal a fraction of the headlight by taking effective action. It was clear that the measures taken in China were aimed at containing the outbreak there. Cases in South Korea had flattened as this government demonstrated how a system of reviewing and tracing cases can be effectively implemented. But the United States still essentially did nothing. The few tests available were so rare that they were saved for those with severe symptoms. Most people who have felt sick have been told to just assume you have it and stay home.
Please, please people. We made a big mistake here in northern Italy. Everyone kept saying "It's just the flu" and now our intensive care units are collapsing. Everyone went outside like nothing had happened, and now our grandparents and parents are dying. # Coronavirus is not #flu
– Bianca🪐 (@biancazaga) March 9, 2020
On March 11th, Dr. Anthony Fauci busy before House Oversight Committee. He had just explained what COVID-19 is like. "10 times more deadly than the seasonal flu " when he was called back to the White House for an emergency meeting. On the same day, the World Health Organization officially took part WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus delivers the news.
"In the past two weeks, the number of cases of COVID-19 outside of China has tripled and the number of affected countries tripled. There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries and 4,291 people have died. Thousands more are fighting for their lives in hospitals. In the coming days and weeks we expect the number of COVID-19 Cases, the number of deaths and the number of countries affected continue to rise. "
COVID-19 was officially a pandemic. To underline that news, Americans were shocked that evening when the NBA games were canceled minutes before the start. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announced that they had tested positive for the disease. And Trump banned most travel from Europe while insisting he did everything right. Trump also announced his grand plan to fight COVID-19 by giving companies a tax cut. When it came to helping individuals target those who are losing their jobs or offering a plan to fight the virus … Trump had nothing.
Now, if you look back on the events of the first three months of 2020, it is impossible to see them without knowing that the result would be more than half a million unnecessary deaths. Each day of Trump's foot dragging and downplaying has a cost measured in terms of lives lost and broken families. March 11th was just one day among many, but it was a day when it was absolutely clear that Trump was ready to drown the nation instead of throwing it with a rope.
But a day after it all fell apart there was a sign of hope for the future. On March 12, Joe Biden reached out to the nation to request a national testing program, free testing and treatment for COVID-19, and a recognition that the only way to save the American economy was to save the American people first.
"We have to do whatever it takes to spend whatever it takes," said Biden to protect families and secure the economy. "This crisis will hit everyone, but it will hit people who are living the hardest from paycheck to paycheck. Another tax cut … won't do the job." He specifically mentioned workers in the gig economy, parents in need of childcare, children who depend on school lunches, students who don't have internet access for online schooling, and those who need help with rent or mortgage payments because of them meanwhile have lost work this crisis. And Biden called for support to small businesses affected by event cancellation.
The help Biden spoke of on March 12, 2020 is exactly the help he will be providing in signing the contract American Rescue Plan Act on Friday, March 12, 2021.