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Rep. Connolly Called on White House to Take Pandemic Risks Seriously in May 2018

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by A Siegel

As the nation reels from coronavirus impacts, aggravated by the calculated malevolent ignorance and (essentially criminal) negligence of Donald Trump and his gang (such as slumlord son-in-law Jared Kushner), we learn that Trump and Team Trump had warning after warning about pandemic risks while consciously taking actions to weaken U.S. and international preparedness for a (coronavirus) pandemic (such as eliminating a US pandemic early warning program in late 2019). For example, while Trump was joking about this being less than the flu and his Secretary of Commerce was saying that coronavirus would be good for the U.S. economy, a U.S. Army briefing warned that the coronavirus could be a “Black Swan”  event with devastating impacts if the United States didn’t take it seriously and act decisively. But, well, ‘nobody could have known …’

In May 1918, on the anniversary of the influenza pandemic (the misnamed “Spanish Flu”), Representative Gerry Connolly (VA-11) and Rep. Ami Bera, MD (CA-7). sent a letter to National Security Advisor John Bolton to express their “deep concern” about Trump Administration steps undermining global health security. They articulated how forcing out top-flight pandemic experts and cutting pandemic-related funding “sends a dangerous message that the U.S. no longer considers global health security a priority.”

Their letter ends:

Saving lives from the next global pandemic starts with investing in preparedness before it strikes.  We fear these recent decisions will leave the United States vulnerable to pandemics and commit us to a strategy of triage should one occur.

Connolly and Bera were exactly right. Sadly, for all Americans and all of those who will suffer from COVID-19, team Trump ignored them.

On the anniversary of the Spanish Flu
A plea to Trump: Please (PLEASE) take pandemic risks seriously!

Not just Gerry Connolly

Note, as a reminder, it was not just a Virginia member of Congress who was cognizant of the risks from pandemics and pleading Donald Trump and the Trump Administration to take pandemic risks seriously. For example, from Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH):

PanDUMBic

As the body count mounts, mounts far beyond what would have been the case with a competent President, the deadly Keystone Kops-like antics truly are a devastating #PanDUMBic.