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Letters to the Editor: Hubris and bad leadership made America a perfect target for the coronavirus

Coronavirus briefing
Dr. Anthony Fauci and President Trump.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Our national institutions and warning systems failed us miserably when it mattered the most. (“We were caught flat-footed by COVID-19. How can we do better?” editorial, April 12)

Billions spent on the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the national stockpiles, and still we were caught unaware. It seems that there were reports and memos written and sent, but what good are they if no one reads them and acts on them?

Our leaders ignored (and some continue to ignore) the seriousness of the threat.

Because we live in “the greatest nation in the world,” we thought nothing could harm us. Well, we were wrong.

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Steve Miller, Encino

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To the editor: My compliments on your even-handed editorial.

As you point out, there is no single answer. You note a lack of government leadership at all levels. You rightly point out that human nature is another big factor — people are not good at dealing with threats that seem far off.

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I suggest another factor: regulations that initially made the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the sole diagnostic laboratory for coronavirus tests. This over-regulation delayed testing in the U.S., making informed leadership more difficult.

Opening up the U.S. market for tests from other countries or from private labs in the United States would have been lifesaving.

Steve Murray, Huntington Beach

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To the editor: Your editorial about the pandemic catching us unaware had valid points. However, it missed some of the causes for us being caught “flat-footed.”

Not mentioned were the budget cuts for the CDC and National Institutes of Health. Not mentioned was the disbanding of the agency within the National Security Council that was supposed to coordinate the national response to a pandemic. Not mentioned was the dismissal of a CDC epidemiologist in Beijing.

Most important, the editorial failed to mention the agendas of politicians in both China and the U.S. who tried to downplay the severity of the virus.

In China, the government attempted to suppress news about its epidemic, arresting doctors who tried to inform the public. In the U.S., the president initially claimed that the Democrats’ criticism of his response to the coronavirus was a hoax.

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Both Chinese and American politicians delayed a proper response.

David E. Ross, Oak Park


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