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Our disjointed, inconsistent, and ill-informed response is 100% to blame for the severity of COVID-19 in the US. Could we have stopped it? I don’t see how. Could we be in a much better position today if we had competent leadership? Absolutely.

It sounds as if you're saying that the severity of the disease is on Trump, but that no one could have stopped it altogether in the US. I disagree: there were many points at which Covid could have been stopped, just as SARS had been. I am confident that any US president since WWII would have mustered the forces and process needed to keep the number of US deaths to a few hundred at most, mostly on the west coast, mostly in assisted living.

The main reason Covid was initially out of control here is that the disease entering from Europe went unrecognized for so long, even though we knew how contagious it was and how quickly it had taken over in Italy, Spain and elsewhere. This was at least in part because testing was strictly limited to those who had contact with Asia, ignoring the increasing number of East Coasters and others who had Covid symptoms. This in turn was because there was so little testing available, which in turn was because the administration failed to use the head start we had to organize procedures, certifications, supplies and reagents between the end of December and the end of February. By the time the European seeding was recognized, it was too late to stop the disaster that occurred in the mid-Atlantic states, but it was entirely preventable.

Of course, the administration is continuing its errors, repeating the cycle in each new hotspot, so the severity is definitely on them. But the idea that all this was inevitable is dangerous: there will be a next time, and we must be ready.
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