“The coronavirus is no longer just a slow-moving public health crisis that may soon turn into a rapid-moving one. It’s a crisis of transparency. It’s a crisis of government legitimacy. So it is in this spirit that we all have to say: enough.
Whose side is the Trump administration on? Based on every public appearance we’ve seen so far — whether it’s from a cabinet member or the director of the Centers for Disease Control or the president himself — the answer is clear: not the public’s. President Trump, hellbent on re-election, is focused on massaging numbers and silencing bearers of bad news. That’s what autocrats do. And it’s endangering lives.
On Saturday, The Associated Press reported that Trump overruled his own health officials, who wanted to warn older Americans and the fragile against flying on commercial airlines. Our storied C.D.C., now annexed by politicians, continues to insist that only the most floridly symptomatic patients be tested for the virus. Even that remains a challenge: Last week, it refused to test an ailing nurse in Northern California who’d treated a positive patient, prompting the head of National Nurses United to read her story aloud at a news conference.
At a Friday news conference at the C.D.C., Trump told reporters that tests for the coronavirus were now available to anyone who needed one. Yet just afterward, we heard from governor after governor and doctor after doctor that this is categorically untrue, with states in dire need of more tests. “We have no local testing available,” Dr. Walter Mills, president of the California Academy of Family Physicians, told The San Jose Mercury News.”