Fauci squandered the time we gained by closing our border to China

Dr. Anthony Fauci may not be the best person to have President Trump's ear.  Among other things, the time we gained after Trump closed the border to China was squandered by the CDC.  ABC News reports:

[A] former senior federal health official nominated to his post by President Trump, alleges that the delays in testing occurred because leaders at the Centers for Disease Control "lied" to the president, and to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, about the center's ability to produce the kits.

A couple of weeks ago, after the roll-out of testing kept stalling, Fauci admitted there was a "glitch" in the system.  "Glitch" seemed an understatement and a breezy way to describe what occurred in the face of the looming threat that landed on our shores.

Later, the word "problem" was used to describe the massive failure of the CDC to deliver the goods in a timely fashion when every day counted.

CDC has acknowledged that its initial stab at mass production of the test kits encountered "a problem," and that federal deployment of safe testing equipment lagged as a result.

It's also disconcerting to hear that we were engaged in an "initial stab" at something this critical and time-sensitive.

Trump was spot on shutting down all flights from China when he did.  But then Americans waited and waited for tests while Fauci kept making promises that didn't materialize until the spread of the virus was already well underway.

Recently, Fauci downplayed the importance of testing somewhat when stating that it doesn't change what we all need to be doing right now with respect to social distancing and other infection control measures.

While our behaviors are one of the few things we've got in our arsenal to beat this virus, it seems odd (and perhaps convenient) that Fauci would downplay the importance of widespread testing — particularly in light of the fact that countries that have been most successful with containment implemented widespread testing as part of their multi-pronged approach to reduce infection.

So what did Singapore do, and why have such measures not been put into practice here?

Perhaps most critically, Singapore, like other Asian countries that have been ahead of the curve, learned from prior pandemics and built necessary infrastructure.  In the case of Singapore, those in charge built isolation hospitals and passed legislation to address readiness for a future pandemic.  So, when the coronavirus hit, they were prepared.

Among other things, they immediately conducted widespread testing, putting those who tested positive (1%) into isolation hospitals.  Those who had close contact with these patients were put in home quarantine with strict supervision and steep penalties for those who broke it.  As a result of these actions, life for everyone else went on without major changes or interruptions.

As of this writing, the country has had no lockdowns, and the number of cases has remained extremely low.  However, the Singaporeans, along with other Asian countries, are now experiencing a second wave of infections with an uptick in cases this month.  (The idea of waves of infections was briefly noted by Dr. Birx during the Monday press conference where she explained that there are typically three waves — a topic for another blog post, perhaps.)

Granted, Singapore differs vastly from the United States, yet there are surely lessons to be learned.  One among them is that perhaps it's convenient for the CDC to downplay the need to do massive testing since we don't have enough tests to implement that.

It also seems completely absurd that if someone becomes infected and he doesn't require hospitalization, he would remain at home with healthy individuals and no masks to protect them.  Again, it seems awfully convenient for Americans to be told that masks don't help since there aren't even enough to meet the needs of health care providers.

All in all, it's hard not to feel uneasy about how all of this is unfolding.  I'm not convinced that Trump is being given the best advice.  Nor am I convinced that American's are being given all the resources we need to be safe in this perilous time.

We're sailing toward Italy, as Singapore fades into the distance.

Hat tip: Legal Insurrection.

Dr. Anthony Fauci may not be the best person to have President Trump's ear.  Among other things, the time we gained after Trump closed the border to China was squandered by the CDC.  ABC News reports:

[A] former senior federal health official nominated to his post by President Trump, alleges that the delays in testing occurred because leaders at the Centers for Disease Control "lied" to the president, and to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, about the center's ability to produce the kits.

A couple of weeks ago, after the roll-out of testing kept stalling, Fauci admitted there was a "glitch" in the system.  "Glitch" seemed an understatement and a breezy way to describe what occurred in the face of the looming threat that landed on our shores.

Later, the word "problem" was used to describe the massive failure of the CDC to deliver the goods in a timely fashion when every day counted.

CDC has acknowledged that its initial stab at mass production of the test kits encountered "a problem," and that federal deployment of safe testing equipment lagged as a result.

It's also disconcerting to hear that we were engaged in an "initial stab" at something this critical and time-sensitive.

Trump was spot on shutting down all flights from China when he did.  But then Americans waited and waited for tests while Fauci kept making promises that didn't materialize until the spread of the virus was already well underway.

Recently, Fauci downplayed the importance of testing somewhat when stating that it doesn't change what we all need to be doing right now with respect to social distancing and other infection control measures.

While our behaviors are one of the few things we've got in our arsenal to beat this virus, it seems odd (and perhaps convenient) that Fauci would downplay the importance of widespread testing — particularly in light of the fact that countries that have been most successful with containment implemented widespread testing as part of their multi-pronged approach to reduce infection.

So what did Singapore do, and why have such measures not been put into practice here?

Perhaps most critically, Singapore, like other Asian countries that have been ahead of the curve, learned from prior pandemics and built necessary infrastructure.  In the case of Singapore, those in charge built isolation hospitals and passed legislation to address readiness for a future pandemic.  So, when the coronavirus hit, they were prepared.

Among other things, they immediately conducted widespread testing, putting those who tested positive (1%) into isolation hospitals.  Those who had close contact with these patients were put in home quarantine with strict supervision and steep penalties for those who broke it.  As a result of these actions, life for everyone else went on without major changes or interruptions.

As of this writing, the country has had no lockdowns, and the number of cases has remained extremely low.  However, the Singaporeans, along with other Asian countries, are now experiencing a second wave of infections with an uptick in cases this month.  (The idea of waves of infections was briefly noted by Dr. Birx during the Monday press conference where she explained that there are typically three waves — a topic for another blog post, perhaps.)

Granted, Singapore differs vastly from the United States, yet there are surely lessons to be learned.  One among them is that perhaps it's convenient for the CDC to downplay the need to do massive testing since we don't have enough tests to implement that.

It also seems completely absurd that if someone becomes infected and he doesn't require hospitalization, he would remain at home with healthy individuals and no masks to protect them.  Again, it seems awfully convenient for Americans to be told that masks don't help since there aren't even enough to meet the needs of health care providers.

All in all, it's hard not to feel uneasy about how all of this is unfolding.  I'm not convinced that Trump is being given the best advice.  Nor am I convinced that American's are being given all the resources we need to be safe in this perilous time.

We're sailing toward Italy, as Singapore fades into the distance.

Hat tip: Legal Insurrection.