Lack of confidence in American leaders’ responses to COVID-19


Photo by Shalah Russell

The four political leaders whose actions are discussed in response to the pandemic within the article.

Paul Proteau, Staff Reporter

January 20, 2020, America had her first case of COVID-19 in Washington state. In less than two months, on March 13, President Donald Trump declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency. Multiple governors, including Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D), across the nation, took actions to protect their populace by canceling school, enacting social distancing orders, and closing down businesses. 

At the federal level, economic stimulus packages, travel restrictions, and federal guidelines on phases to open America up again have taken place amid this pandemic. The federal response has also included press conferences from President Trump and his COVID-19 team, which have come off as very controversial (notably due to controversial statements made by the President).

Some of the President’s remarks have consisted of claims that certain drugs such as hydroxychloroquine (a drug used to treat Malaria), could be a potential drug that could be used to treat COVID-19. However, some studies have found that it is ineffective and the Food & Drug Administration has stated the drug could cause heart problems.

The President has also come under fire for suggesting that disinfectants could be used as a method of treatment. 

Trump claims his statements were sarcastic and were said to see how reporters and news outlets would react to them. Lysol has since had to issue a statement stating not to ingest their products. 

While the Prairie State continues enforcing strict social distancing guidelines, states such as Georgia and Texas have both lifted restrictions on business, but businesses are expected to operate at limited capacity. Since these restrictions were lifted on April 24, Georgia’s cases have notably continued to rise, and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) has come under fire for these actions.

For many Americans, the past two months have been incredibly frustrating and alarming. Across the country, a question has been asked: Do we continue with these policies that risk our economy and our jobs, or do we stick to the plan of preventing the spread of COVID-19?

I sympathize with both arguments, and I feel as if taking a side on this argument is a very tough decision. However, I do believe that this is an issue for the states to decide when to reopen their economies and lift social distancing orders. Certain states face different factors such as population, population density, healthcare quality, number of hospitals, etc. If a state is capable of reopening and avoiding a breakout, then they should be allowed to.

As for the federal response, I can’t say I have too much confidence in Washington. As I mentioned above, the President has made some very controversial suggestions which I think only adds fuels to the fire. As much as I don’t have a problem with the president calling out biases in the media, now is not the time to throw controversial statements and see how the media will react (which is how justified his disinfectant claim).

The stimulus checks and other spending bills, for the sake of the everyday American and the American economy as a whole, I feel these were the right move to hold the economy up temporarily. Other measures such as travel restrictions I believe were also the right move. 

At the state level, I would say the governor, who currently is self quarantining, has done a decent job. However, I do find it rather interesting that his wife has recently taken a trip to Florida. This isn’t an isolated incident of there being a “double standard”. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) pretty early on during the quarantine got a haircut. Mayor Lightfoot justified it as important because of her appearance before the media. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has also come under fire working out at a gym after advising others not to.

In conclusion, with a tough road ahead I find it hard to trust our politicians. Part of this is because I feel like there are agendas trying to be pushed from both the media and their own interests. Regardless of the uncertainty, as Americans we should do what we can, to flatten the curve.