Shortly after he took office, President Donald Trump and members of his administration were given an exhaustive, 69-page pandemic response plan that had been formulated by the Obama administration’s National Security Council (NSC) in the wake of the global battle against Ebola. But instead of implementing the plan, Trump and his top aides decided to ignore the recommendations when coronavirus arrived in the United States earlier this year.
According to a shocking report from Politico, despite Trump’s insistence that the disaster from coronavirus was completely unforeseeable, his top aides were warned they would likely face a pandemic:
“Trump’s aides were told to expect a potential pandemic, ranging from a tabletop exercise that the outgoing Obama administration prepared for the president’s incoming aides to a ‘Crimson Contagion’ scenario that health officials undertook just last year and modeled out potential risks of a global infectious disease threat. Trump’s deputies also have said that their coronavirus response relies on a federal playbook, specifically referring to a strategy laid out by the Centers for Disease Control.
“It is not clear if the administration’s failure to follow the NSC playbook was the result of an oversight or a deliberate decision to follow a different course.”
As the administration struggles to meet the most basic needs of a medical emergency from a virus such as COVID-19, the White House should have begun procuring the needed supplies — protective masks and gowns, gloves, ventilators — the minute the virus was discovered in the U.S. shortly after the first of the year. Instead, the administration delayed and denied:
“The Trump administration, state officials and even individual hospital workers are now racing against each other to get the necessary masks, gloves and other safety equipment to fight coronavirus — a scramble that hospitals and doctors say has come too late and left them at risk. But according to a previously unrevealed White House playbook, the government should’ve begun a federal-wide effort to procure that personal protective equipment at least two months ago.”
Part of the NSC action plan that was shelved and ignored by Trump lays out a step-by-step plan to fight any deadly disease:
“Is there sufficient personal protective equipment for healthcare workers who are providing medical care?” the playbook instructs its readers, as one early decision that officials should address when facing a potential pandemic. “If YES: What are the triggers to signal exhaustion of supplies? Are additional supplies available? If NO: Should the Strategic National Stockpile release PPE to states?”
As of Thursday morning, COVID-19 has killed 1,036 Americans and infected another 68,000.
Featured Image Via NBC News