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Trump dropped the ball on virus

To the Journal editor:

Well, a grave threat has befallen our country and the president had a chance to refashion his legacy. That moment has come and is likely gone. For weeks, he has downplayed the danger by comparing it to the flu but the virus currently has no treatment or vaccine.

He has denied responsibility for a shortage of tests that are crucial to tracking the virus. Only recently has his administration begin exhorting Americans to avoid restaurants and stay home from school, steps that state and local officials have already been putting in place on their own.

We knew about the virus last December and our first cases showed up in February. At this time, it would have seemed prudent to assess how prepared we were. Unfortunately, this administration two years ago dissolved the White House office set up to prepare for the next disease outbreak, leaving us less prepared.

It is unreasonable that any president would have the expertise to be in charge of the response to a virus, and would defer to the experts in regards about what to do. Seems the safest response to a new virus is to plan for the worst-case scenario.

The number one thing the experts agree on was to make sure we have sufficient protective gear for our medical providers.

Second thing is to ensure sufficient tests are available to track the virus. Developing and distributing tests for a new disease is a major logistical and scientific challenge, but it can be pulled off with the help of highly efficient, effective government leadership. Regrettably, we are still sorely lacking in protective gear and testing kits.

We still have a chance to blunt the curve. The president can dip into our medical reserves until the private sector catches up and call up the VA medical system to back up our health care system.

RONALD MARSHALL

Petoskey

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