Trump’s coronavirus response

Byron York reassesses Donald Trump’s response to the Wuhan coronavirus. His points will be familiar to faithful readers of Power Line. Indeed, his reassessment is essentially the same as our initial assessment.

There are two aspects to Trump’s response. They are: (1) attempts to limit the virus’ spread, pre-vaccine and (2) attempts to develop and deploy vaccines.

Clearly, Trump deserves very high marks on the latter aspect. As Byron writes:

President Trump pushed and cajoled and threw money at vaccine makers in the form of Operation Warp Speed. Critics scoffed at Trump’s vow to have a vaccine in record time, before the end of 2020. But he did just that. “It’s just breathtaking that that got done in 11 months from when we first knew about this virus,” National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins told Axios last week. “It is at least five years faster than it has ever been done before.”

James Hamblin, a doctor who writes on the virus for The Atlantic, tweeted, “It is honestly beyond my wildest expectations that we’d have three extremely effective vaccines a year into the pandemic.”

Furthermore, it’s beyond dispute that the U.S. has done a much better job than Europe (other than the UK) at getting vaccines into arms. This was true while Trump was president and it remains true. The vaccinations per day trend line in the U.S. has stayed essentially the same since Biden’s inauguration, as the chart in Byron’s post shows.

In Europe, the vaccination program has been a quite disappointing, as even leftist journalists acknowledge. The Europeans are well behind us.

A friend of our family living in France told me she doesn’t expect her parents, both of whom are older than 75 and live in the Bordeaux region, to get a first dose until late March or April. My wife’s 88 year-old French cousin, who lives in Nice, finally got an appointment for her first dose, to be administered in mid-March. Another cousin, a Parisian who is 75 with serious respiratory problems, didn’t have an appointment a week ago when we spoke with him.

What about Trump’s efforts to halt the spread of the virus before vaccines were approved? On this score, as I’ve written repeatedly, the U.S. comes out about the same as major European countries other than Germany.

That’s not surprising. First, the virus was the same whether in Europe or the U.S. Variants didn’t spring up until recently, as far as we know.

Second, no one knew how to combat the virus. It was novel. A friend compared it to an alien invasion force with superior technology. Until we developed new “technology,” the vaccine, there was no effective way to keep it from killing lots of people, mostly the elderly.

Third, the U.S. tried to cope with the virus in essentially the same way most of Europe did — through lockdowns, social distancing, good hygiene, and masks. The policies in most U.S. states were similar to those in most major European nations.

No wonder the results, measured in per capita deaths, were so similar.

Joe Biden went big when it came to lying about America’s performance during the pandemic. He insisted that the U.S. was doing worse than the rest of the world in preventing deaths from the virus, and even tried to blame Trump for every American death.

Big lies are common in presidential campaigns. However, you might have to go all the way back to 1960 to find lies as big as the ones Joe Biden told.

In 1960, John Kennedy claimed that the U.S. was behind Russia in the arms race and that the Eisenhower administration was doing nothing to stop Cuba from becoming communist. Kennedy knew from briefings that there was no missile gap and that the CIA was developing a plan to attempt the overthrow of Castro. He also knew that his opponent, Richard Nixon, couldn’t divulge those plans.

In 2020, Biden knew that U.S. firms were on the verge of developing a vaccine and that deaths per capita in the U.S. were in line with the rates in comparable European nations. This knowledge didn’t stop him from lying about the situation.

And, not surprisingly, it is only now that the leftists quoted in Byron’s report are “reassessing” Trump’s record in dealing with the Wuhan coronavirus.

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