COVID death toll could have been under 300K if Trump took the pandemic seriously early on: analysis

While the tide against coronavirus seems to be turning for the better -- at least in some parts of the U.S., there is still the question of what could have been done differently at the outset of the pandemic.

"It's likely that the government's response to the pandemic led to hundreds of thousands of deaths that could have been prevented," writes the Washington Post's Philip Bump. "And it's likely that the pandemic response cost Donald Trump the presidency."

Bump cites research from Andrew Atkeson of the University of California at Los Angeles, who found that if widespread testing and mask mandates had been implemented early on, the country's death toll could have been held below 300,000 in total.

"His model estimates that the country will reach 672,000 deaths overall as vaccines are rolled out, one of every 490 Americans alive at the beginning of last year," Bump writes. "That's a gap of nearly 400,000 deaths."

As we know, Donald Trump didn't embrace such mandates during his time as president, and his hesitancy helped spark a partisan response to the pandemic, according to Bump.

"Other research suggests that it was instead the lax approach to the pandemic that led to Trump's eventual defeat. His own pollster, Tony Fabrizio, produced research showing how those who voted against Trump were more likely to view his response to the pandemic critically," writes Bump. "There's necessarily a chicken-egg question here, with preexisting Trump skeptics probably being less likely to say that they thought he did a good job on the pandemic. But there's a correlation."

Read the full article over at The Washington Post.