In an op-ed for The Atlantic this Monday, columnist George Packer argues that the coronavirus didn't "break" America -- it revealed what was already broken.
When the virus began to emerge in the U.S., the country already had a number of underlying conditions, according to Packer -- conditions that were being "ruthlessly" exploited. "...a corrupt political class, a sclerotic bureaucracy, a heartless economy, a divided and distracted public—had gone untreated for years," Packer writes. "We had learned to live, uncomfortably, with the symptoms. It took the scale and intimacy of a pandemic to expose their severity—to shock Americans with the recognition that we are in the high-risk category."
Packer contends that while the U.S. needed a response to the outbreak that was concise and goal oriented, the Trump administration acted like the governments of Pakistan or Belarus -- "like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering."
"The administration squandered two irretrievable months to prepare," he writes. "From the president came willful blindness, scapegoating, boasts, and lies. From his mouthpieces, conspiracy theories and miracle cures. A few senators and corporate executives acted quickly—not to prevent the coming disaster, but to profit from it. When a government doctor tried to warn the public of the danger, the White House took the mic and politicized the message."
Read the full op-ed over at The Atlantic.