Support the Timberjay by making a donation.

Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

EDITORIAL

Contrast in response

South Korea shows how a more effective U.S. response could have saved lives

Posted 4/8/20

If there’s a silver lining in the current COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that, across the country, Americans are stepping up to fill the void left by the astonishing lack of leadership in …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in
EDITORIAL

Contrast in response

South Korea shows how a more effective U.S. response could have saved lives

Posted

If there’s a silver lining in the current COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that, across the country, Americans are stepping up to fill the void left by the astonishing lack of leadership in Washington. As we reported last week, small companies like Wintergreen are reaching out to hospitals in their region, in hopes of using their capabilities to help protect healthcare workers through the manufacture of protective face masks and hospital gowns.
Similar stories are now being told throughout the country. In the absence of a coordinated national response, everyday Americans are coming up with their own solutions to help protect themselves, healthcare professionals and first responders in their own communities from the dangers posed by the COVID-19 virus.
That’s the good news. The unfortunate reality is that it shouldn’t have been necessary. It’s no coincidence that the United States is now home to nearly a third of all COVID-19 infections in the world, with more than 25,000 new cases now reported daily. At the current pace of new infection, more than a million Americans will likely be diagnosed with a COVID-19 infection by the end of April and many times that number will likely have the disease without being tested.
America will ultimately be the country hardest hit by this disease in large part due to a monumental failure of leadership by President Trump.
We don’t have to wonder how things might have been different had the federal government acted more decisively. Two countries, the U.S. and South Korea, both experienced their first confirmed case of COVID-19 infection on Jan. 20 of this year. Within a week of those diagnoses, South Korea’s disease control agency mounted a full-court press, mobilizing private industry to prepare for the pandemic by producing quick and effective tests. Within a week, the tests were ready to go and the Koreans efficiently tested hundreds of thousands of their residents within a month, isolating those who tested positive. By taking effective action from the start, the South Koreans have managed to keep their outbreak at a manageable level. Today, two and a half months after their first confirmed infection, that country of 50 million people is seeing new infections on the order of several dozen per day, compared to 30,000 per day here in the U.S. We have reproduced the graphs showing the rate of new infection for both South Korea and the U.S. below. The difference is striking and reflects, more than anything, the relative effectiveness of each country’s response to this public health emergency.
Here in the U.S., the initial response was classic Trump: denial, followed by braggadocio. “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming from China. It’s going to be just fine.”
At a time when most other countries were ramping up for what most epidemiologists by this time recognized was going to be a monumental pandemic, the Trump White House dithered, continuing to vacillate between dismissing it as a Democratic hoax and touting what a masterful job the President was doing to keep it contained. “We are witnessing in the United States one of the greatest failures of basic governance and basic leadership in modern times,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, who led the U.S. response to international disasters at USAid during President Obama’s second term, while speaking recently to The Guardian newspaper. Many, many other experienced former officials have made similar observations.
While reality eventually seeped into the tight bubble that surrounds President Trump, the U.S. largely lost this battle in the critical six weeks from that first infection in January to early March. By failing to take the action that this pandemic required, the Trump White House allowed this plague to gain a firm foothold in America, from which it is wreaking utter havoc, both on the health of millions, our overburdened healthcare system, and our economy. Americans will continue to pay the price of this failed leadership for a long time to come.

Comments

17 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
Steve Jacobson

Too long of a story - didn't bother to read it. I know, Trump bad, Democrats good! Did I do a good job summarizing?

My bigger concern is now that Bernie isn't feeling the Bern who is going to step up to offer free medical, college...…

I guess one should take notice that for two elections Bernie has jumped in head first offering free everything for everyone and yet he hasn't even come close to being nominated by his party. It just shows that once all the fluff is gone voters do realize that the money has to come from somewhere.

Then, last week Trump changed some of the vehicle emission goals set by Obama. I read the comments from the story in the Star Tribune and people were so mad at Trump saying that he doesn't care about the environment. Yet, in the story it was reported that 72% of the car buyers were buying SUV's.

Thursday, April 9
jtormoen

One thing I enjoy about the stories published on the TIMBERJAY is how they are clearly thought out, supported by evidence ... and dang ... understandable.

Now, if only ...

Thursday, April 9
Scott Atwater

On Jan. 15, when the first American with coronavirus returned from China, House Democrats were ceremoniously carrying their articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate. On January 31 Trump instituted travel restrictions on China and was accused by the media and Joe Biden of xenophobia and fear-mongering.

The "hoax" narrative that the left (see above editorial) continue to push is perhaps the most egregious lie of all. Trump was clearly referring to the Democrats' efforts to blame him for the handling of the pandemic, rather than the virus itself.

I'll leave thinking people with a quote from the California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is not exactly a Trump fan: "This is not time to bicker, let me just be candid with you. I’d be lying to you to say that [Trump] hasn’t been responsive to our needs. He has. And so, as a sort of an offer of objectivity, I have to acknowledge that publicly."

Newsom then added: "The fact is, every time that I've called the president, he's quickly gotten on the line. When we asked to get the support for that USNS Mercy ship in Southern California, he was able to direct that in real-time. We've got 2,000 of these field medical sites that are up, almost all operational now in the state, because of his support. Those are the facts."

So Newsome would like to offer some objectivity and facts..........what a novel idea.

Thursday, April 9
bonfire

Facts? Who needs facts when magical thinking is so much more comforting.

Thursday, April 9
Scott Atwater

If that's what works for you...............

Thursday, April 9
bonfire

Trump broke our US agencies and departments with the heads of those agencies fired by trump and leaving long time vacancies of heads and staff and a revolving door of temporary officials. Trump likes it that way, choosing "acting " officials, many or most with no experience the jobs require, saying they give him "flexibility". It should be no surprise that we now have a pandemic catastrophe with woefully inadequate leadership from trump and his Dunning-Kruger clubhouse.

We should not have the chaotic, uncoordinated, life-threatening distribution of medical supplies to the states. Instead of the Federal government doing it's job we have no centralized coordination for the distribution of equipment to hospitals. The states have had to cope with virus spread on their own with trump whining that the governors are "complainers", they'll have to get that gear themselves. Thankfully many state governors have been doing whatever they can to slow down the virus spread in their states. We should have had a federal wide stay home, social distancing, etc restrictions as those states which have not taken the virus spread seriously has allowed their states to explode with virus cases, particularly in rural trump country with few hospitals.

We should have had a mass wide spread testing structure early on and we still need that to get spread down. Much data is needed to learn how to better combat the virus. Trump wants to "open" up the country for business even though we haven't lessened the spread enough, hot spots will continue to pop up, and we can't have people out in crowds or back at work without knowing who is infected and who is not. A reliable vaccine is months or more likely a year or so away.

Trump is not the boss. Covid 19 is.

Friday, April 10
Scott Atwater

Is it the federal government's responsibility to take control of the states now? What sense does it make to mandate a shelter at home order for the entire country at a time when some states had very few cases of COVID-19? The strategy to allow states to make their own decisions based on their unique circumstances is still the best policy. The federal government is focusing it's assistance and testing efforts on pandemic outbreak epicenters, as it should. Trump and his advisory team are right, some areas of the country will be affected by the virus differently than others. A one-size-fits-all plan isn't the best plan.

It's funny, the lefties continually accuse Trump of acting like a dictator, then criticize him when he doesn't.

Friday, April 10
jtormoen

Luckily ... oh so very luckily ... there remains absolutely no interstate travel/transportation in this country.

Friday, April 10
Scott Atwater

Reductio ad absurdum.

Saturday, April 11
bonfire

Good to know, JT, that covid 19 virus will stop at state lines. MN is bordered by ND, SD and Iowa with minimum stabs at restrictions even though SD Gov Noem quoted projections 30% to 70% of SD residents could contract the virus. There are also two ND petitions, one petition with 5,000 signatures in favor of shelter in place, etc. The other petition "Keep North Dakota" had 2,000 signatures. Ah, Freedom!

Saturday, April 11
bonfire

"Keep North Dakota Free".

Saturday, April 11
Scott Atwater

Reality is that over time most will contract the virus. It makes no sense to lock down a geographical area until the number of cases warrant it.

Saturday, April 11
jtormoen

An I mistaken in noting that in every area ... location ... that the initial number of cases was one.

The next step of logic perhaps is limited to few.

Saturday, April 11
bonfire

Scott, you're ok with our hospitals and health care workers being decimated from overload?

MPR news: Yesterday MN had 1,336 CONFIRMED virus cases, St. Louis County, 34. Multiply that by 100 and that is closer to the actual number of people with coronavirus. This is why we need testing, testing, testing! MN doesn't have enough tests. Just think of 3,400 infected St. Louis County residents and 133,600 in the state.

This is not difficult to understand and take seriously.

Saturday, April 11
Scott Atwater

I am most definitely not OK with overrunning the healthcare system. Once again, I emphasize that this is not a one-size-fits-all situation. A stay at home order issued too early is as useless as a stay at home order issued too late. In our own region I have already noticed much heavier traffic than two weeks ago, and as you stated, the cases are just now beginning to increase. Unfortunately it seems that the local population has had enough of sheltering at home and have decided to venture out. On Saturday, after getting some groceries, out of curiosity I parked my car in the lot of a local hardware supply business and remained in my car to observe. In roughly 25 minutes approximately 100 people entered and exited the store........a total of three were wearing masks. Was the stay at home order in our area enacted too soon? I think so, but time will tell.

On testing............... I read today that test centers in Chicago found that 30-50% of patients tested for COVID-19 have antibodies in their system, suggesting they already had the virus and have potential immunity. I highly recommend that people interested in the new antibody testing read the article in the following link:

https://www.dailywire.com/news/early-antibody-testing-in-chicago-30-50-of-those-tested-for-covid-19-already-have-antibodies-report-says

Saturday, April 11
bonfire

SA, The expert epidemiologists and scientists who have been in the field for decades say we don't know yet if the antibodies will last or for how long in people who have recovered from virus. They are also trying to determine if people who recovered from virus can be infected again. There is much more to learn.

Don't listen to Laura Ingraham who has visited trump at WH reinforcing his obsession with hydroxychloroquine bringing the French study or Hannity and "news" people like that. The medical publisher of the French study of only 20 people basically said the study was not reliable, other experts said "pathetic". The drug also can be lethal for people with heart problems and have other serious side effects. Listen to the doctors and nurses on the frontlines. Listen to the virus experts.

It should be a one-size-for-all stay home or should have been much earlier. The 1918 flu actually showed us that the cities which had much stricter restrictions on people crowds and movements fared better than everywhere else. When trump and WH miserably failed in January to try to curb the impending pandemic, we lost a lot of time and hence the chaos and climbing infections now. They never had a pandemic plan even though previous presidents Obama, GW Bush did which was ignored. Trump and WH don't even have a plan now. Doctors and nurses shouldn't have to wear garbage bags as gowns and trump who doesn't seem to know the difference between a bacteria and a virus is only worried about his ratings.

US has now surpassed virus infections and deaths. Yay, we're #1.

Saturday, April 11
Scott Atwater

So Bonfire,

Now that most of your assumptions have turned out to be wrong, how about you step up and start admitting them one by one.

Thursday, May 7