October 20, 2020

A Mismanaged Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

To the Editor:

The Covid-19 surge in the South and Sun Belt states is a direct result of President Trump’s monumentally dismal failure of leadership. We’re already into July and still no nationalized testing. Still, no national plan to provide masks and other personal protective equipment for hospitals. Still, no national plan for contact tracing. Still, no plan to safely reopen the economy.

His response to all 50 states: You’re on your own. His response to us: “I take no responsibility.”

And now, he demands that all schools reopen in the fall, leaving safety measures up to each state, which if implemented poorly would put our children and the rest of our families at risk of illness and/or possible death.

While the president continually exacerbates the problem with happy talk, misleading statements, outright lies and setting bad examples by not wearing a mask in public, the virus continues to spread like wildfire. It has always been true that the character of a person is revealed during a crisis. Some immediately rise to meet the challenge, while others shrink away and blame others. It’s abundantly clear that our sitting president is the latter.

Martin Geller
Manhasset, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Re “England Opens Its Doors, but Not to U.S. Visitors” (news article, July 4):

For over three decades, my husband and I took one vacation each year, and it was always to the same place: England. We loved everything about it — fish and chips, hunting for antique cheese dishes, the Thames. But most of all, I loved when people asked me where I was from: New York City — America! They would hang on every word I said, and tell me how they yearned to visit our country one day.

And now England has closed its doors to U.S. visitors. President Trump has so mangled our country’s response to the virus and has so humiliated us with his vulgar, inept attempts at governing that even one of our greatest allies refuses to admit us. The hollowness of Mr. Trump’s mantra, “Make America Great Again,” could not be more sharply evident than in the way our good neighbors shun us.

Cathy Bernard
New York

To the Editor:

When the history of coronavirus in the United States is written, many “missteps” will be identified (“Crisis Missteps by Trump Hurt His Campaign,” front page, July 3). Primary among them will be the failure of leadership to encourage mask wearing. How many of the more than 130,000 deaths in this country would have been avoided if mask wearing had been equated with patriotism, instead of partisanship?

Imagine President Trump’s legacy had he appeared in public with an American flag face mask in March. I am certain that millions of his adherents would have followed suit, and the current surge across the South and West would have only been a tiny blip on the radar screen. His hubris is tragic.

Mark E. Horowitz
New York
The writer is a family physician.

To the Editor:

I conduct research at one of the largest health care systems in Arizona, and I have witnessed the surge in cases. As Dr. Anthony Fauci puts it, Americans are facing “a serious situation that we have to address immediately.” Hospitals in some areas are becoming packed to the brim, but the ripple effects of Covid-19 have also been devastating.

With the loss of jobs and people being quarantined, individuals start to experience other difficulties. It becomes hard to procure food and pay mortgages. Many families cannot afford online education and don’t have access to reliable internet. These problems, known as social determinants of health, affect the well-being of an individual, but they are often overlooked.

To truly understand the magnitude of the pandemic, we should measure not only death rates and test positivity levels but also food insecurity rates and education levels.

Wesley Peng
Scottsdale, Ariz.

To the Editor:

The United States is experiencing a colossal breakdown of its national health system. Some states are doing well, like New York now, while others have increasingly high numbers of virus cases. How is this possible? Why do some states succeed and other fail, resulting in continued loss of life, economic chaos and social disruption? The experience in the successful states proves that the virus can be contained. Why is their practice not followed throughout the country?

The failure is that of national and state leadership. We cannot forgive or forget how we, the citizens, have been misled and mistreated, causing continued and unnecessary deaths and the collapse of our very way of life.

Fred Schlissel