I’ve received a number of comments lately suggesting that I should weigh in on the failures of various politicians in the COVID-19 response. One also suggested that by not specifically calling out the blunders of the executive branch I was in fact condoning them.
I wish to remind everyone that the focus of this blog is not to assign blame for the COVID-19 response to any politician or political party. This blog was started to clarify scientific and medical issues related to this pandemic. With this goal in mind, I could spend every hour of every day just trying to correct many of the misstatements in the news and social media that are dangerous to individuals who are trying to protect themselves against infection.
There are hundreds of blogs out there addressing political perspectives as they relate to this pandemic. Many are entirely partisan and twist every event in the pandemic to be the result of a failure of one politician or another. This only adds to the confusion for people who are trying to decide what rational actions they need to take to protect themselves and their families.
The mistrust that these blogs, social media outlets, and commentaries have generated, many of them run by large media corporations, has truly hurt the ability to communicate useful information to people at risk. I believe that this is one of the reasons that we’ve had such poor compliance with simple protective measures that would significantly help prevent infection. People need to understand what can be changed and what is inevitable given our scientific and medical capabilities.
I certainly am not condoning any of the mistakes made by government in the effort to try to control this virus any more than those made by the scientific and public health communities. There is enough blame to go around for everyone, and I view the actions of many individuals in government as nauseating when it comes to not being civil and helping to control the pandemic. Hundreds of billions of government dollars have been spent on biothreat preparedness since the anthrax attacks of 9-11 under several different administrations. This money was given to HHS including the NIH, DHS, FDA, CDC and other agencies specifically to prepare for this type of event. Accurate pandemic planning was done, specific needs were identified, and yet we appeared almost totally unprepared for what happened.
Many types of mistakes have hurt the COVID-19 response. Errors of ignorance have occurred, such as demanding ventilators for everyone with COVID-19 respiratory difficulties only to find it may have actually done harm. Some errors of perspective have harmed our preparedness, such as allowing coronavirus vaccine research started after SARS in 2005 to die for lack of funding prioritization. However, the worst mistakes have involved the purposeful twisting of medical and scientific findings for personal gain. Unfortunately, at times it seems our entire political system is guilty of that offense.
My goal is not to argue who turned off the lights, but to try to find the switch and turn them back on. If that does not appeal to you, feel free to move on.