Moscow: The Lancet has published a special commission report that tracked the drawbacks of former US President Donald Trump’s response to COVID-19, having found that tens of thousands of lives could have been saved by better preparedness and a response aligned with best practices of other developed nations.
The Lancet Commission on Public Policy and Health in the Trump Era was formed in 2017 to track the former US president’s public health-related policies.
“The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on the USA, with more than 26 million diagnosed cases and over 450 000 deaths as of early February, 2021, about 40% of which could have been averted had the US death rate mirrored the weighted average of the other G7 nations,” the commission said in a report.
Among the reasons that commission said were behind the poor preparedness and response were Trump’s “disdain for science and cuts to global health programmes and public health agencies.”
According to the commission, during his presidency, Trump “politicised and repudiated science, leaving the USA unprepared and exposed to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The report pointed to the drop in spending on public health from 3.21 percent to 2.45 percent between 2002 and 2019 in the United States.
With regard to the three years within this period that coincided with Trump’s presidency, the report pointed out the 2017 hiring freeze at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the 2018 transfer of the Strategic National Stockpile of drugs and medical supplies from the CDC to the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Trump’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic — compounded by his efforts to dismantle the USA’s already weakened public health infrastructure and the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) coverage expansions — has caused tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths,” the report read.
The commission further criticized Trump for an excess reliance on market forces to supply COVID-19 products, such as rejecting WHO testing kits while waiting for US tests to be produced, which it said created bottlenecks slowing down the national response.
While criticizing these and other policies of Trump, the commission stressed that many of them were inherited from previous administrations, dating some 40 years back.(Sputnik)