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Inaction and Indifference

Published on May 21st, 2020

The New York Times reported on a new study that shows that the Trump Administration’s inaction on coronavirus caused tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths according to a new analysis by researchers at Columbia University.  If the U.S. had enacted social-distancing measures just a week earlier than it did — in early March rather than mid-March — about 36,000 fewer Americans would have died, the study found.  That’s more than one third of the current death toll, which is over 100,000.  If the measures had been in place two weeks earlier, on March 1, the death toll would be 54,000 lower or more than half.

In January and certainly by late February, most public health experts were warning Trump about the pandemic. But on Feb. 26, Trump said — incorrectly — that the number of cases was “going very substantially down, not up.” As late as March 10, he promised: “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”

This kind of advice appears to have cost tens of thousands of American lives.  Jeffrey Shaman, the leader of the Columbia research team, told The Times: “It’s a big, big difference. That small moment in time, catching it in that growth phase, is incredibly critical in reducing the number of deaths.”
By The New York Times

The study is consistent with real-world evidence from places that responded to the virus more quickly, including San Francisco, Washington State, South Korea and Vietnam — where per capita deaths have been much lower than the U.S. average.

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