The crisis created by the outbreak of the coronavirus is still far from over and already we are witnessing record unemployment, mass death, and an uncertain future. It’s as yet unclear what kind of world we will emerge into when this disaster finally ends, but it will almost certainly be an unrecognizable one.
The tragedy of all of this is made worse when one considers how things might have played out with competent federal leadership at the wheel, if we had selected a president who spent the early days of the pandemic focused on getting proper medical supplies distributed to the states and ramping up COVID-19 testing. Instead, we have a president who dismissed the virus as a Democratic hoax and who continues to be more focused on “ratings” than on actually saving lives.
Now, the Trump administration is poised to backslide on the little progress it has managed to make in the fight against COVID-19. Starting tomorrow, the federal government will cease funding for numerous coronavirus testing sites. While not all of them will be closed down, the cutoff of federal funding will put additional stress on states already struggling with this epidemic.
The disturbing development is unfortunately in perfect keeping with the actions and rhetoric of a White House that has repeatedly refused to take responsibility for protecting the public health, preferring instead to shunt these obligations (and a healthy helping of blame) on state and local officials. Such a move is incredibly ill-advised at this stage of the pandemic and will almost certainly exacerbate the problem.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a reliably outspoken advocate for the American people in the face of the relentless indignities and atrocities of the Trump White House, took to Twitter to sound the alarm on the federal funding decision, calling it “completely irresponsible.”
AOC correctly pointed out that we should “err on the side of ‘testing too much'” and that Trump’s cutting of this funding will literally cost people their lives. This is a grim reality that every American has a responsibility to take with them to the ballot box in November. Voting for Donald Trump is voting for a man who could not care less if Americans die on his watch.
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.