Opinion: Federal response to COVID-19 inadequate, exacerbates health inequities

The Trump administration has failed to provide a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, opting instead for a “let-it-play-out approach that accepts mass deaths as inevitable,” according to a Washington Post op-ed by Mary Bassett and Natalia Linos of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In the absence of federal leadership, state and local authorities have had to deal with shortages in ventilators and other equipment on their own, as well as incur costs in preparing schools to reopen safely, wrote Bassett, François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights and director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, and Linos, executive director of the FXB Center. While individuals have received some relief from the stimulus package passed by Congress in March, much more investment is needed, they argued. They also pointed out that the lack of a coordinated national strategy is exacerbating health inequities.

“Without an adequate response, individuals and communities that have the money to protect themselves will be able to do so, but the death rates will continue to climb in communities of color and among poorer Americans,” they wrote in the July 14, 2020 op-ed.

Read the op-ed: Trump gave up on fighting the virus. Now we’re paying for his laziness.