Trump, COVID-19, and the leadership void

More than 300,000 COVID-19 casualties in the U.S. (and rapidly approaching 350,000 deaths) tells us a very sad story. A very sad story about a country that wants to lead the world and considers itself to be the greatest country mankind has ever seen. It is a story about poor leadership and malfunctioning healthcare.

The story of poor leadership and malfunctioning healthcare starts and ends with Donald Trump. When the danger of this virus became clear, and the World Health Organization gave crystal clear warning with declaring a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30th, Trump responded by banning travel from China, and declared that as if it was a victory on its own. Even during his re-election campaign, Donald Trump continued to appraise himself for this action.

Travel restrictions are a simple and effective tool, and basically every country used it on top of a wide range of other measures, but for Donald Trump it apparently was all it takes to control a pandemic. Unfortunately, nothing much came after it for quite some time and it was not even a real travel ban. It only applied to non-US citizens who had been in China within the last 14 days and were not the immediate family member of U.S. citizens or permanent residents. That is a lot of exceptions to a rule that was going to “save the nation”…

Overwhelmed by his own success of the “China travel ban”, Donald Trump introduced another travel ban for Europe except for the United Kingdom but explicitly naming the Schengen countries, targeting the European Union. Little did he know that especially the Schengen countries had already imposed travel restrictions on their own, and soon these would explicitly include the United States (and still do).

The United Kingdom, where the pandemic was already reaping havoc under Boris Johnson’s “take it up the chin”, was excluded from this travel restriction for “the purpose of national interests” but later added to the restrictions when Trump finally understood that the lethal virus does not care much about “the purpose of national interests”. At that point, the U.S. had already almost 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 5,000 casualties.

What followed was a long chain of typical Trump actions. By either denying a real problem or creating a fictional problem, Donald Trump and his followers try to take the attention away from what is happening. The COVID-19 pandemic was “a hoax by the democrats” and his favorite TV shows urged people to travel.

Regardless of being a real or a fictional problem, Trump needs to blame someone to make sure he is not responsible and who better to blame for the pandemic than China? The offensive slogan “China Virus” was born. There was a group of people who tried to count how many times Donald Trump said “China Virus” during his public appearances since the moment he used the insulting slogan for the first time, and they gave up early-September when the count exceeded 10,000 times which makes it a whopping more than 40 times a day…

With the blame secured and all responsibility diverted, Trump as always goes on a frenzy of unfounded claims about his alleged successes. The ventilator crisis in the U.S. was solved by Donald Trump according to Donald Trump. In reality, it was Phillips N.V. from The Netherlands that spearheaded the first lifesaving supplies. When Trump discovered in the middle of the year that they are not “a great American company” he simply cancelled the remaining orders because by that time the American companies had finally caught up on the growing demand. But Mr. Trump still does claim the supplies from a Dutch company as his personal success story.

Like all countries all over the worlds, the pandemic caused a serious PPE crisis, and the U.S. was no exception to that. Mr. Trump wend as far as blaming nurses and doctors for stealing masks where in reality they had to bring their own masks, wear waste bags as gowns and were exposed to a lethal virus by a lack of PPE. During the first PPE crisis, the “great U.S. companies” were still exporting PPE to the highest bidder and Trump failed to prohibit that. In April, the U.S. switched from PPE exporter to PPE importing nation, and of course that is a victory for Donald Trump according to Donald Trump. Save to say, the ones who saved the day are the countries which actually are able to supply the U.S. with PPE until the U.S. PPE industry caught up!

Now that we are rolling out a series of vaccines, Donald Trump of course claims credit for that, too. The first internationally approved vaccine is however developed by BioNTech, a German company that pioneers, develops, and manufactures active immunotherapies since the day it was founded by second generation immigrants and Mr. Trump had nothing to do with that. China and Russia have developed their own successful vaccines and there is no doubt that Donald had nothing to do with these either.

When Donald Trump was infected himself, and even needed to be ventilated, he got the best medical care available. No wonder, he is the President of the United States. A privileged position. The vast majority of U.S. citizens do not have these privileges. Healthcare is only available to those who can afford it and those who cannot afford it pay for the sick profit driven U.S. healthcare system with their lives during this pandemic.

Let the data speak for itself. Most countries were able to at least slowdown the spread of the virus during the summer period, allowing them to prepare for the second wave of winter. Not the U.S. Cheered by Donald Trump, encouraged even, the country kept going as if there was no global pandemic. Month after month, Trump refused even the basic measures and wend as far as objecting against people wearing facemask.

Donald Trump did not make America great, Donald Trump made America fatally ill!

Dad, consultant, coach, speaker, author. Mainly Cyber Security, leadership, responsible tech and organizational change.

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