A congressional panel on December 9 published its final report on the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the Trump administration’s “failed stewardship” and detailing how a “persistent pattern of political interference undermined the nation’s ability to respond” to a crisis that has claimed more than a million lives in the United States.
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis report notes that “the United States was underprepared for a major public health crisis for years before the coronavirus pandemic,” and that “chronic underfunding and long-standing health disparities put many Americans at heightened risk of becoming infected and developing severe illness as a result of the coronavirus.”
“The Trump administration’s reckless pandemic response resulted in devastating and lasting harm,” the Democrat-controlled subcommittee contended. “The toll of the coronavirus fell hardest on those who were already most vulnerable. Communities of color suffered disproportionally high rates of coronavirus infection, hospitalization, and death. Nursing home residents suffered high levels of infections and deaths, exacerbated by understaffing and meager wages and benefits for their workers.”
The publication continued:
“The United States had long failed to invest in measures necessary to prepare for a global pandemic, including failing to maintain the Strategic National Stockpile and to adapt to indications that federal agencies were likely to be stymied by a lack of cooperation and communication failures in the event of a major public health calamity. These factors were exacerbated by the Trump administration’s disastrous initial response in 2020. The Trump administration failed to recognize the looming threat as reports of a novel pathogen emerged in early January and failed to take sufficient measures to prepare the country by developing adequate testing or acquiring sufficient personal protective equipment and other critical supplies.”
The paper accuses high-ranking members of the Trump administration, including advisers Peter Navarro and Dr. Steven Hatfill, of waging a “knife fight” with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the immunosuppressive Covid-19 treatment hydroxychloroquine.
According to the report, Navarro and Hatfill relied upon advice from “known extremists and prolific conspiracists like former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Dr. Jerome Corsi, and the Association of 40 American Physicians and Surgeons, which, among other radical conspiracies, propagated the theory that [former] President Barack Obama used a covert form of hypnosis to win the 2008 presidential election.”
In contrast, the report notes the “historic” vaccination campaign launched during the tenure of President Joe Biden, an effort resulting in 200 million vaccine doses administered in 100 days.
However, “the rampant spread of misinformation has led to damaging distrust in public health expertise,” while contributing “to harassment, threats, and attacks on public health officials working on the coronavirus response,” the document added.
This misinformation “convinced far too many Americans to decline lifesaving coronavirus vaccines—resulting in hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths.”