Leadership needed on COVID-19

Dear Editor:

My great-aunt, then a healthy 19-year-old, died in the flu pandemic of 1918 that killed 50 million people. I am a social worker and I have worked in two hospitals, one large one small. All staff were required yearly to have training in preventing the spread of disease for the sake of patients and ourselves. We had to pass a test with an 80 percent score. Prevention of spreading infectious diseases was taken very seriously. I am also a 62-year-old diabetic at high risk of catching and dying from the COVID-19 virus. We have many high-risk groups in Hancock County, especially the elderly and diabetics.

This is not a hoax and I am concerned regarding how the Trump administration is handling the pandemic. Governor Cuomo of New York, which has been hit especially hard by the pandemic, has had to plead with President Trump for more ventilators, face masks and other equipment to save lives. New York did receive 4,000 ventilators from the government when the need is 30,000 to 40,000. Even though he has had the power all along, just recently President Trump used his power to order corporations to produce ventilators and other protective equipment. This power is in the hands of the President and is called the Defense Production Act. We are at war with a life-threatening virus.

Mr. Trump has said that he “is not responsible” for the virus, yet he has tremendous power to lead the federal response to this deadly disease. President Trump’s administration has been slow to respond to this crisis and has sent mixed messages about the danger. His medical experts have expressed concern with Trump’s statement that we will be back to work by Easter. Medical experts such as Dr. Fauci have not supported this and warn this action could further increase the number of people dying. Decisions such as this need to be made with facts from medical experts. President Trump is not listening to medical experts and staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of people with COVID-19 in the United States is increasing, exceeding China and Italy. The federal government needs to focus financial help on the poor, low-income, middle class and the self-employed who are experiencing staggering job loss. We must not bail out huge corporations like the airlines without strict regulations such as not increasing the salaries of millionaire CEOs and demanding that any loans be paid back. Help for small businesses must happen. In Maine we have many self-employed and small businesses who are hurting.

People are dying and yes, President Trump, this is your responsibility to use your power to save lives and follow recommendations of medical experts. The COVID-19 virus is serious and without leadership on the federal level we are all in grave danger.

Cecily Judd



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