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Report: At Least 130,000 Covid-19 Deaths Were Avoidable, Trump Administration An ‘Abject Failure’

Topline

A group of researchers from Columbia University say that between 130,000 and 210,000 Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. could have been avoided were it not for the government’s “abject failures” in managing the crisis — blaming an administration that was slow to act, ignored experts, and failed to adapt and improve over the course of the pandemic, as well as “woefully inadequate” contact tracing and testing and the lack of any national mask mandate or guidance.

Key Facts

The report compared the U.S. response to several other wealthy countries in order to estimate how many deaths were “avoidable” if the government had taken a different approach. 

While figures differ — the U.S. Covid-19 fatality rate is double that of Canada and 50 times that of Japan — the researchers estimated a minimum of 130,000 deaths could have been avoided if the U.S. took an “averaged” approach that mirrored the strategies of other nations. 

While a crude metric, the researchers say the discrepancy in deaths — which continues to grow daily — is useful in assessing the government’s response to the crisis. 

The report slammed the president and his administration who have “actively mocked basic, well-established public health guidelines,” advocated unproven or unsafe treatments, and “denigrated its own public health officials.”

To calculate the number of avoidable deaths, the researchers determined how many people in each country would have died if it were the same size as the U.S.; the difference highlights how many lives could have been saved had the U.S. adopted that country’s approach.   

Key Background

With over 220,000 recorded deaths from Covid-19, the U.S. ranks first in the world in total fatalities. The report’s conclusions are not surprising — U.S. leadership has taken an almost perverse pride in actively ignoring, even mocking, its own experts and undermining the reputation of its own public health organizations that before this pandemic were considered among the best in the world. The numbers do, however, illustrate the tragic cost of poor leadership and just how many American’s might be alive today had leaders taken another path. 

Crucial Quote

In the report’s conclusion, the researchers put a particular emphasis on the “inability or unwillingness” of U.S. officials to adapt or improve the national pandemic response. “The U.S. should have — and could have — done better to protect the nation, and in particularly its most vulnerable populations, from a threat that was identified and recognized in early 2020,” they wrote. 

“The weight of this enormous failure ultimately falls to the leadership at the White House,” they said.  

Further Reading

“130,000 — 210,000 Avoidable Covid-19 Deaths — and Counting — In The U.S.” (Columbia University)

Many U.S. coronavirus deaths were avoidable (Axios)

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Source: Forbes – Business

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