"There are outbreaks. There are epidemics. And there are pandemics, where epidemics become rampant in multiple countries and continents simultaneously. The novel coronavirus that causes the disease named covid-19 is on the verge of reaching that third, globe-shaking stage."
President Donald Trump is only making it worse for Americans as the deadly diseases increase across the world. Even his campaign recognizes he's bungling the response, and they're now recognizing that if Trump doesn't start serving as a real president, lives will be lost.
Here are the five reasons that things are going to get far worse than they needed to, all thanks to Trump's foolish decisions.
1. Bringing infected people into the U.S. against the Center for Disease Control's objections.
This week, the world learned that the Trump administration forced a plane full of healthy people to sit with 14 infected people with the coronavirus, and didn't even tell them.
"It was like the worst nightmare," said one senior U.S. official who was involved with the decision. "Quite frankly, the alternative could have been pulling grandma out in the pouring rain, and that would have been bad, too."
It's unknown why the U.S. didn't arrange for a private plane to transport the Americans. They have many available, including through the State Department. They could be decontaminated after the fact. The Trump administration didn't use any of the alternatives that would have made Americans safer.
2. Trump refuses to listen to science over his buddy, Xi Jinping.
Reporter Helen Branswell wrote for STAT that U.S. health officials have been signaling for weeks that a pandemic was approaching.
"While stressing that the virus presents only a 'low risk' to Americans right now, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, acknowledged Tuesday that that might not remain the case for long," she wrote.
But the Washington Post revealed Trump's own advisers were concerned that he's putting too much faith in Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has diminished the seriousness of the virus.
"Trump has repeatedly told advisers that pushing for a harder line against China could backfire because Xi controls the government 'totally' and will not work with the United States if it says anything negative about the country, said one of these senior administration officials, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private talks," reported the Post.
3. Trump lies about the facts of the coronavirus.
President Donald Trump told the world that by April, the coronavirus would be gone. It's unknown who told him that or where he got the information, but it's absolutely false.
"Now, the virus that we're talking about having to do — you know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat — as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April. We're in great shape, though. We have 12 cases — 11 cases, and many of them are in good shape now," Trump said Feb. 10.
It makes no sense because, in the southern hemisphere, it is already summer while the northern hemisphere is dealing with a mild winter. Australia is in its summer, for example, and there are more cases than in the United States, where it's winter.
The CDC director, Dr. Robert Redfield, disagreed with the president's assessment, saying "we don't know a lot about this virus. This virus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year, and I think eventually the virus will find a foothold, and we will get community-based transmission."
4. Trump and the GOP seriously cut public health funding.
One of the greatest allies in a disease outbreak can be public health funding. However, the budget passed in 2018 killed over $1 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF).
"When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law on December 22, 2018, it cut $750 million from the PPHF, diverting the money to cover costs of CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program," The Scientist reported. "CDC relies on PPHF for 12 percent of its budget, with much of that money going toward state and community programs.
The PPHF acts as the "core of public health programs" in the U.S., according to former director Tom Frieden. When Obamacare was passed in 2010, it financed the PPHF, but Republicans have worked to undermine the law.
It was established in 2010 and financed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA)," The goal was to improve health outcomes and enhance the quality of care. The first initial investment form Obamacare was $500 million, and it grew to over $2 billion by 2015. It was supposed to be protected from Republicans eager to cut funding to anything affiliated with the Democrats' healthcare law.
During the 2017-2018 government shutdown, sequestration took $69 million from the fund, "PPHF was left with $931 million annually to support public health, wellness, and prevention activities," in the entire country.
"In the same fiscal year, the CDC received more than $891 million from PPHF to support vaccine coverage, respond to outbreaks of foodborne infections and waterborne diseases, develop programs to counter the leading causes of death and disability, such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and eliminate childhood lead poisoning, among other initiatives," the report said.
5. Trump slashed resources form the Center for Disease Control.
While the reduction in funding to the PPHF has been drastic, it doesn't mean the CDC has gone without its own budget cuts.
"The Trump administration in 2018 further diverted millions of dollars from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)," said the Scientist.
"CDC's mission is to keep Americans safe," said Frieden. "But without funding, the CDC won't be able to protect us."
As the president presents his new budget for 2020, the cuts to public health and the CDC are even more drastic. Thankfully, that budget isn't likely to pass either chamber of congress.
Ultimately, as the coronavirus begins to take over the world, it's not surprising that Trump's campaign is worried that the president's bumbling response could cost him votes in November.
Trump's budget to the World Health Organization that he's proposed would leave everyone at risk. While he complains that other countries aren't paying their fair share into NATO, when it comes to the WHO, Trump wants to gut the U.S. contribution. Diseases aren't like wars; they don't stay contained in borders; everyone is at risk. Trump's budget proves that the president doesn't understand this important fact.