Editor, Townsman:

The COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging the world, but despite having the best hospitals on Earth, it’s affecting the United States the most. As of the writing of this letter, there are almost 600,000 documented cases in the country, which is over three times as many as the next country on the list.

And the reason for this unique suffering is President Donald Trump’s failure to properly respond.

At the beginning of March, as the virus was starting to spread across the country, the Trump administration insisted on having the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention make their own tests rather than simply accept ones from the WHO. This left us with a critical lack of test kits (in fact, the lowest per capita of any industrialized nation) at a critical testing period, thus allowing the already contagious coronavirus to spread essentially unnoticed for weeks.

Following the concern over Ebola in 2014, President Barack Obama founded an emergency pandemic response agency within the National Security Council, which has consistently received high praise from our nation’s public health experts.

Despite this, within the past year, Trump disbanded it, leaving us unprepared and vulnerable to this pandemic.

Trump has also failed to mobilize the federal government to coordinate the spread of resources to states, as they have often been forced to compete with one another for necessary supplies, thus driving prices up. Even a Republican governor, Larry Hogan, admitted he and other governors are “not satisfied” with the actions Trump has taken with regards to state governments, leaving them with far fewer supplies than needed.

This is the case for most governors, as our state of Massachusetts, for example, has received only 17% of its requested personal protective equipment as of the end of March. However, some states with governors that Trump likes haven’t faced similar difficulties, as Florida (with renowned Trump loyalist Ron DeSantis as governor) received everything they asked for within three days of the request.

Presidencies are made in crisis. Trump’s failed response to this one proves what many of us have known all along: he is simply unqualified to be our president.

MATTHEW ALLEN

Andover

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