Former officials: Trump’s reshuffling of positions and departments, focus on business solutions, downgrading of science, left the country dangerously unprepared for an unprecedented pandemic.
“When the first reported cases of Ebola in Guinea came to light in March 2014, it set off a mad scramble inside the Obama White House to track and contain the spread of the virus, which killed around 50% of the people it infected. Though not nearly as contagious as the current coronavirus, an epidemic, or even a pandemic, seemed possible if the disease weren’t confined to its West African redoubts. The Obama White House had clear protocols and chains of command for these kinds of threats. “The way to stop the forest fire is to isolate the embers,” Beth Cameron, a former civil servant who ran the White House’s National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, told me. Cameron and her colleagues quickly drew up a memo to Susan Rice, the national-security adviser, and Lisa Monaco, the homeland-security adviser, outlining what was known about the outbreak, setting off a chain of action that went up through the Oval Office, then spread through the government.”