ABSTRACT

Structured to Fail: Lessons from the Trump Administration's Faulty Pandemic Planning and Response   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Introduction: "The spread of a virulent pathogen poses challenges to governance even under the best circumstances. But society stands the best chance of minimizing illness and death, just as it does in addressing myriad social problems, if it is well-organized to take on those challenges. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration's planning for and response to the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic provide a stark reminder that poorly designed government can be a matter of life and death. The Administration's public recognition or acknowledgment of the severity of the crisis was, to put it mildly, slow to develop. President Trump himself was well aware of the health threats posed by COVID-19 at the very early stage of the pandemic, but nonetheless downplayed those threats in public comments. Kenneth Barnard, a retired Rear Admiral, a physician, and a top security and health advisor for both Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, put it simply as the virus's toll in the United States increased: 'Delays in response cost lives. When you lose time with an epidemic, it really matters.' But the bungled initial response (or lack of response) was made worse by the Administration's confused and confusing reallocation and abdication of authority to perform or supervise tasks essential to reducing the virus's ravages. That reordering disabled an important mechanism available to the federal government to respond to public health threats--its ability to coordinate the efforts of public and private actions to effectively combat the crisis."

Author:
Publisher:
Date:
2021
Series:
Copyright:
Camacho, Alejandro E.; Glicksman, Robert L.
Retrieved From:
George Washington University Law School Scholarly Commons: https://scholarship.law.gwu.edu/
Media Type:
application/pdf
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