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So, I think @Yascha_Mounk article in @TheAtlantic is some ways a needed cry for help, of despair, but it starts to 'both sides' responsibility for the #COVID19 epidemic in the US, which I think is unfortunate and unhelpful. 1/ theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
The uniquely deadly American path on #COVID19 was set early. @GYamey and I wrote about this in late April. First, WHO, which deserves some criticism of its response said this on January 23rd: 2/ bmj.com/content/369/bm…
“Be prepared,” WHO said, “for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread." Some countries acted. WE DID NOT. 3/
.@GYamey & Dean Jamison detail this further here. I think some writers are frankly "bored" of this founding narrative. But @realDonaldTrump's actions led the virus to flourish across the US, seeding itself in every corner of our country. 4/ time.com/5850680/u-s-re…
Because all public health is local in some ways, some of the blame has to go to mayors and governors. Let's start with NYC, where I lived for many years. 5/
I was getting calls from panicked colleagues early on. @NYCMayor ignored the advice of @NYCHealthCommr for too long, with assurances from @DrKatzNYCHH that NYC had enough hospital capacity to handle a 'surge,' etc. The story gets told here: 6/ politico.com/states/new-yor…
And it is not until April (April, folks!) that the laggard governors in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi finally shutdown their states. 8/ nytimes.com/2020/04/02/opi…
This is where @Yascha_Mounk's insistence that "everybody" failed, there is enough responsibility to go around starts to look like revisionist history. 9/
Let say it all together, in unison. The federal response to the pandemic was and is a shit-show, while the state and local responses were just terrible in some places and yes, good in others, but these founding events set us on our path. 10/
Now let's talk about re-opening. If the early events seeded #SARSCoV2 in every nook and cranny of this country, the reopening were the gasoline on the fire. Many public health experts were freaking out in early May about the rush to re-open. 11/ npr.org/2020/05/09/853…
And though @Yascha_Mounk talks about Fox News' current downplaying of risks, he doesn't really articulate the role of the network, its amplification of @realDonaldTrump's just batshit crazy pronouncements from the start and real risks this created. 12/ businessinsider.com/fox-news-is-do…
The Fox New phenomenon was so important that people started studying it. 13/ npr.org/local/309/2020…
Yet, Americans showed tremendous generosity & solidarity in social distancing, but we NEVER provided them with the support they needed to weather the storm, keep it up. We left people Alone Against the Virus as @akapczynski and I wrote in early March. 14/ bostonreview.net/class-inequali…
.@Yascha_Mounk thinks "we were on the brink of doing something incredible," pointing to this generosity, solidarity of "many ordinary citizens who lived up to their moral responsibility in an extraordinary moment." 15/
But what @Yascha_Mounk doesn't see or acknowledge is that the die was cast this winter. If many of us were hunkering down then, our leaders told us not to worry, and too many of us waited too long or never were able to go to ground at the peak of the pandemic in early spring. 16/
I'd ask @Yascha_Mounk to think what if #JacindaArdern #AngelaMerkel or any of a dozen other leaders who rallied their countries to a more effective, comprehensive response, was at the helm in the US. 17/ vox.com/2020/5/21/2126…
“The coronavirus is currently dramatically changing our lives...Our understanding of normality, of public life, of social togetherness; all this is being tested as never before..." 18/ nymag.com/intelligencer/…
“I firmly believe that we will manage this task if all citizens see it as their task,” Merkel said. “This is serious. Take it seriously.” 19/ carnegieeurope.eu/2020/03/24/why…
So, as hard as many of us all tried to stop the virus early on, we never got to the place were we had a truly, national response, a shutdown strong enough, with policies in place to cushion its impact like Denmark and others put into effect. 20/ theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
So, no, @Yascha_Mounk we were not on the cusp of something incredible, not through any fault of our own, as ordinary Americans, but because of the folly, ignorance, malign narcissism of our leaders, who worked against us at every step. Full stop. 21/
Even China where a totalitarian government can force a severe shutdown is seeing a resurgence of cases in some spots, our piecemeal, too little, too late response set us up for this sustained plateau of infections, deaths. 22/ nytimes.com/2020/06/13/wor…
Now I want to talk about us in public health, to us in public health. I am not interested in setting us up as heroes, but here I think @Yascha_Mounk gets it wrong too. 23/
So, many of us sounded the alarm about @CDCDirector back around the time of his appointment. 24/ poz.com/article/amid-c…
We knew then and we knew this winter that this man wouldn't rise to a challenge, he didn't have the experience or skills, had questionable judgment, but more importantly was too beholden to the @WhiteHouse and @VP to ever tell them bad news. 25/
We heard a few times from the talented line staff at @CDCgov, people like @DrNancyM_CDC, but the entire agency was sidelined early on. 26/ cjr.org/analysis/cdc-p…
And yes, the rollout of #COVID19 testing in the US was as disaster aided by the bungling at the @US_FDA. 27/ washingtonpost.com/investigations…
Should people of good conscience have resigned during this period, scientists at @CDCgov @NIH? "I know, but what do you want me to do? I mean, seriously Jon, let’s get real, what do you want me to do?" 28/ sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/i…
So to @Yascha_Mounk: there is a clear history here for people to see and no, it's not all experts and institutions that failed. In fact, by saying it's "everyone," of us, it's just saying "no one", no individual(s) is (are) responsible. The general claim obscures the truth. 29/
So, what do we do now? It was clear as all states re-opened that the "shutdowns" were over for good. This is from May 3rd in Atlanta. 30/ wsbtv.com/news/local/pie…
This is why public health folks were panicking then. It's hard to put the genie back in the bottle once it's out. 31/
But as of May 20th, "each state that had imposed a stay-at-home order or shelter in place had begun lifting the restrictions of businesses and public spaces." 32/ cnn.com/interactive/20…
But many were not ready to do this safely. They did it ANYWAY. 33/ time.com/5837846/us-sta…
Now George Floyd is killed on May 25th. Protests start at the end of May. This is a late chapter in the story, but @Yascha_Mounk decides to pile on the public health people who supported the protests, because, hey it's a pile-on, that what we do. 34/ aljazeera.com/news/2020/06/t…
.@JuliaLMarcus and I go through why the blaming of public health experts around this is just a noxious narrative, but I don't want to get off-track here. 35/ theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
The nation has seemed to move on from #COVID19 because our leaders have. I mean really, did it ever occur to anyone that having @POTUS start ignoring the pandemic, which is good for him politically, would shape news coverage on #COVID19? 36/ politico.com/news/2020/06/1…
And people are getting numb to all this death. It's not rocket science. It happens again and again. Believe me, I lived through the AIDS epidemic. America can look at at lot of dead bodies, shrug and look away. 37/ vox.com/explainers/201…
And young people who often perceive risk differently may be less likely to take precautions, particularly as we have suggested this is a disease of the old and infirm. 38/ thedailybeast.com/coronavirus-su…
But I'm not ready to give up. Keep throwing the shit at us in public health, but we won't give up because this is what we've devoted our lives to, this is what we do. Again, we took shit during the AIDS epidemic from politicians and others, but we kept fighting. 39/
So what's next? 1. keep your eyes on our political leaders, they control resources & policies, they are the deciders. It may be boring to say this but the buck stops with @realDonaldTrump. But keep an eye on governors, mayors. These are the people who will determine our fate. 40/
2. Harm reduction. Our leaders never were interested in a full-on assault on #COVID19, so this has always been about reducing risk. There are ways to think about this even if your government isn't leading the way. 41/ theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
More and more is being written about how to minimize your risk. 42/ vox.com/21262268/coron…
Even @CDCgov woke up and is trying here. 43/ vox.com/2020/6/13/2129…
3. Don't despair. I remember the words of the late, great Vito Russo who gave this speech at an @actupny demo in the late 1980s. 44/
4. Prepare. We can bend the epidemic curve. @realDonaldTrump and others have made it more difficult, but elections are around the corner, and our best chance of getting rid of #COVID19 is getting rid of him. Better policies matter. 45/
5. Take care yourself and others. This is going to be hard. Political choices made mean that many people will die unnecessarily. The pain and grief of that will be tremendous. Take care of your mental and physical health. 46/
6. Act up. Fight back. We can all do something. This is still a collective struggle. Get a group of friends together and think about what you can do in the world. We are not powerless. 47/
7. Filter out the noise. The @GOP strategy is to "flood the zone" with shit. There will be more misinformation, attempts to manipulate from @realDonaldTrump, but also here on @twitter by concern trolls that want to redirect your anger away from our political leaders. 48/
And I know this was long. Thanks to @Yascha_Mounk for inspiring it. For still caring about what is happening with this pandemic. I criticized him here, but in the end, he's as angry as I am about what is happening, so peace brother. 49/
And there is joy in this life. Even in these dark times. 50/
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