Lancet report faults Trump for ‘avoidable’ coronavirus deaths
A report in the British medical journal The Lancet blames former President Trump for an error-filled response to the coronavirus pandemic that it says contributed to 40 percent more deaths compared to other wealthy countries.
The report from the Lancet Commission on Public Policy and Health in the Trump Era points to the more than 450,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus and says about 40 percent of them “could have been averted” if the U.S. death rate matched that from Group of Seven members Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.
The 33 doctors and other experts on the commission also make broader critiques, ranging from racism to climate change. They argue that in 2018, 461,000 fewer Americans would have died in the U.S. had the same life expectancy as the other G-7 countries.
The Lancet, a respected medical journal, has published opinion pieces highly critical of Trump before. In May, it published an editorial calling for Trump not to be reelected, citing his undermining of science at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Americans must put a president in the White House come January, 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics,” the journal wrote then.
The commission report published Thursday was written in part by Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein, two doctors who are co-founders of the group Physicians for a National Health Program, which advocates for a single-payer health care system in the United States.
The report points to a range of actions by Trump on the pandemic that have drawn widespread condemnation from experts, such as undermining messaging on the importance of masks.
“Many of the cases and deaths were avoidable,” the report states. “Instead of galvanising the US populace to fight the pandemic, President Trump publicly dismissed its threat (despite privately acknowledging it), discouraged action as infection spread, and eschewed international cooperation.”
“His refusal to develop a national strategy worsened shortages of personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests,” it adds. “President Trump politicised mask-wearing and school reopenings and convened indoor events attended by thousands, where masks were discouraged and physical distancing was impossible.”