President Donald Trump does not seem at all prepared to competently lead responses to the Coronavirus, even as cases and deaths in the United States continue to slowly but surely rise. At White House meetings this Monday, he seemed unaware of the nature of the vaccine development process, including an apparent ignorance of the existence of clinical trials — which is a pretty basic concept, and one that observers might hope the president of the United States would grasp, especially in times of public health crisis. He repeatedly asked meeting participants if a vaccine would be ready for market within months, and they repeatedly had to explain that no, it wouldn’t.
"So you have a medicine that's already involved with the coronaviruses, and now you have to see if it's specifically for this. You can know that tomorrow, can't you?" — Trump has no idea what a clinical trial is pic.twitter.com/PoA2usKZ9Z
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 2, 2020
Apparently, the concept of testing the vaccine before sending it out to market eluded the president. CNN’s Jim Acosta reports:
‘During the meeting, several of the experts and the pharmaceutical industry CEOs had to explain to the president time and again that they cannot necessarily rush a vaccine on to the market. The president was sort of asking as he was going around the room, well, how quickly can we get a vaccine out on the market, and can we do it in three or four months. At one point, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the infectious disease expert for the administration, at one point told the president, no, it is still going to be about a year, and the experts and the pharmaceutical CEOs were explaining to the president that there needs to be a vigorous testing process for the vaccines before you can put a vaccine out on the market.’
Trump even has a past in the business world, and quality control should be a basic concept — but he missed it. He’s been tasked with stepping out of the racist rally zone and into an actual leadership capacity in a time of serious public health concerns, and he’s failed.
As Acosta explained, continuing to discuss a potential Coronavirus vaccine:
‘Obviously, you can’t put a vaccine out on the market to treat coronavirus if it has not been adequately tested, and so these officials had to explain it for the president time and again. You do get the sense… there is an urgency on his part to address the issues. This is just not an instant gratification type of problem that we are dealing with, that this administration is dealing with right now.’
So far, six U.S. deaths from the Coronavirus have been reported, all of which were in Washington state. Cases have been reported across the country, including in dense population centers like California, Texas, Florida, and New York, among other locales.
Repeatedly, observers have warned of the danger of the virus spreading undetected among the population before the serious symptoms and occasional deaths start popping up, and that’s happening now.
On Monday, perhaps conscious of the scrutiny of their failures to actually accomplish large-scale testing for the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped publicly reporting the number of tests for the virus conducted. Other countries have received testing supplies from the World Health Organization, but the current federal government opted to develop their own — and it’s not going well.
BREAKING: The CDC has stopped disclosing the number of Americans tested for coronavirus.
On the left is how the website looked last night. On the right is what it looks like now, with the testing info removed.
The lack of testing is a scandal.
This is the coverup. pic.twitter.com/za5w9dkEKq
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) March 2, 2020