The World Health Organization has labeled COVID-19 a pandemic, citing its alarming spread and severity

For New Pittsburgh Courier

Health officials say that for most people, the new coronavirus causes moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.

The pandemic is causing widespread damage to critical economic sectors of the global economy. Airlines are dropping routes because people are not flying, workers are staying home and sports leagues including the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer have suspended their seasons. Major League Baseball has delayed the opening of its season by at least two weeks. High school and college conference basketball tournaments have also been suspended or canceled.

In his address from the Oval Office last Wednesday night, President Donald Trump announced a 30-day ban on most Europeans entering the United States.
Trump has been woefully inadequate in handling this crisis.

He previously downplayed the pandemic. He has now shifted to casting blame.

Trump said U.S. restrictions on people coming from China and other countries with early outbreaks of COVID-19 had held down the number of cases in the United States compared with Europe.

He blamed the European Union for failing to immediately stop travel from China “and other hot spots,” which he said had led to clusters of outbreaks in the U.S being “seeded by travelers from Europe.”

Trump has called the disease a “foreign virus.” He announced that all European travel would be cut off, but U.S. officials later said that restrictions would apply only to most foreign citizens who have been in Europe’s passport-free travel zone at any point for 14 days prior to their arrival to the United States.

In response, Chinese leaders have blamed the U.S. for fanning anti-China propaganda and European leaders have criticized Trump for not consulting with them before announcing the travel ban against European nations.

“The European Union disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation,” European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a joint statement.

The worst possible response to the pandemic is for leaders to start blaming each other.
Trump’s decision on Friday to declare a national emergency is a step in the right direction.
As the leader of the world’s top superpower, Trump should also be calling for an international conference to respond to the crisis. On the national and global level, the president needs to lead a coordinated and comprehensive approach to the pandemic.

(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune)

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