COVID-19: Who should be held accountable here?
It is time to begin examining what we have done and whether, with the benefit of hindsight, we were right to do it. As I reflect, I come to an inescapable conclusion: Someone must be held accountable.
The accountability that matters most here is that of the medical establishment.
We looked to the medical experts for the projections on which to base policy, and they completely let us down, deferring to British epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who was so wrong on the swine flu and now just as wrong again on this one.
We need to get our own modelers so we can fire them when they drop the ball as Ferguson always does. Let Ferguson have ruined his last rodeo.
Politically, we need education on which bureaucracy has what responsibility in a crisis like this. After ignoring the virus and insulting the president as racist for even noticing it at the end of January, the media thereafter went haywire that Trump didn't flood each state with equipment and people before even knowing which state needed what help. The system is set up so that governors initiate the process with on-the-ground assessment so they, and through them the feds, know what to send. They continue to monitor, manage, and implement things on the ground while the feds feed the pipeline with money, people, and materiel.
Donald Trump has done his part magnificently. Once Democrat governors understood they had to do something themselves, some (Andrew Cuomo, Gavin Newsom) actually did pretty well, but their first inclination was to throw rocks at Trump and do nothing on their own. I suspect they got telephonic coaching from Trump to the effect that this was a chance for them to show some real executive ability, that he would do his part, but they had to hold up their end, and that things always work better with public back-patting than public blaming. A lesson in leadership.
Finally, there needs to be some serious examination and (hopefully) accountability of the media's sad performance in stirring up panic, hysteria, and fear — in misreporting, getting facts wrong, jumbling up sequences, and ignoring context. The lack of professionalism in the mainline media was (and still is) appalling. One is reminded of fifth-grade schoolboys throwing spitballs in class. We all saw the verbal sparring between the president with grandstanding boys and girls acting as if their ignorance were just as good as his facts. It isn't. Were I in Trump's shoes, some of these self-important airheads wouldn't be allowed in the door after showing their lack of professionalism once.
Overall, looking back at this point, one gives Trump an A, the governors from B to C, the medical establishment a C to D, the media an F.
Photo illustration by Monica Showalter with use of Pixabay public domain images.