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The USA’s response to the pandemic has been confused, chaotic, feeble, unfocused, disjointed, shoddy and sinister. Consequently, our nation is suffering the most deaths and financial losses of any nation. In a perfect world, we would have responded as a nation to this pandemic in the manner that South Korea and Singapore did. Those nations had recent prior experience dealing with the Ebola and SARS pandemics. Their response to Covid-19 was swift, thorough, competent and unified. As a result, they have suffered the least number of deaths and economic hardships. The current administration in the White House not only dismantled our nation’s pandemic response capabilities that had been set up by the prior administration, but when the COVID-19 pandemic came along, they failed to consult our allied nations in the Far East, failed to follow their example on how to respond to the pandemic, and blatantly ignored all warnings about it.

If the current administration had responded swiftly and competently, and had orchestrated an immediate, unified and effective response all across the nation, our lives would be returning to normal by now, a whole lot of Americans would still be alive, and a whole lot more Americans would not have to die in the coming weeks and months.

When businesses finally open up again, herds of people from all parts of Oregon and from all around the world will travel to Oregon’s coast to cool off and enjoy nature’s beauty. They will also bring the coronavirus with them, and our coastal cities and towns will be awash in it.

When school starts up again, students going to and from school will carry with them whatever viruses and bacteria they pick up in their homes and classrooms. Health officials have been warning us that to open up the economy, businesses and schools without robust and functioning COVID-19 testing and contact tracing systems in place will lead to second and third waves of the virus and a widening of the pandemic.

The current administration, by its latest actions of shifting its focus exclusively on opening up the economy, appears to be giving up on managing the nation’s response to the pandemic. Someone please tell the people in the White House that this is not the way to be making America great again.

Thomas Bertka

Coos Bay

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