missteps

health

Grave missteps seen in US virus response



Vehicles line up as a healthcare workers help check people in as they are being tested at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP)


© Provided by Associated Press
Vehicles line up as a healthcare workers help check people in as they are being tested at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — A president who downplayed the coronavirus threat, scorned masks and undercut scientists at every turn. Governors who resisted or rolled back containment measures amid public backlash. State lawmakers who used federal COVID-19 aid to plug budget holes instead of beefing up testing and contact tracing.



President Donald Trump gestures to supporters as he arrives for a campaign rally at Phoenix Goodyear Airport, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)


© Provided by Associated Press
President Donald Trump gestures to supporters as he arrives for a campaign rally at Phoenix Goodyear Airport, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

As a powerful new wave of infections sweeps the U.S. just ahead of Election Day, the nation’s handling of the nearly 8-month-old crisis has been marked by what health experts see as grave missteps, wasted time and squandered opportunities by leaders at all levels of government.

The result: The country could be looking at a terrible winter.

“The inconsistency of the response is what’s been so frustrating,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University. “If we had just been disciplined about employing all these public health methods early and aggressively, we would not be in the situation we are in now.”



Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer as he walks off stage after speaking during a campaign rally at Phoenix Goodyear Airport, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)


© Provided by Associated Press
Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer as he walks off stage after speaking during a campaign rally at Phoenix Goodyear Airport, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Though Redlener sees some of the new wave as inevitable, he estimates at least 130,000 of the nation’s more than 227,000 deaths could have been avoided had the country more widely embraced masks and social distancing.

Even if a Chinese-style lockdown wasn’t possible, Redlener said, a more modest approach like Canada’s, with a strong central message of caution in reopening and widespread mask-wearing and distancing, would have saved lives over the state-by-state and widely partisan approach.



Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden attends a virtual public health briefing at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)


© Provided by Associated Press
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden attends a virtual public health briefing at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Now the U.S. is seeing cases spike, especially in the Midwest and the Plains, with the country posting a record high number of new infections last week of nearly a half-million.



A shopper passes a sign urging customers to wear masks at a Brandy Melville store on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, in San Francisco. As the coronavirus pandemic transforms San Francisco's workplace, legions of tech workers have left, able to work remotely from anywhere. Families have fled for roomy suburban homes with backyards. The exodus has pushed rents in the prohibitively expensive city to their lowest in years. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)


© Provided by Associated Press
A shopper passes a sign urging customers to wear masks at a Brandy Melville store on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, in San Francisco. As the coronavirus pandemic transforms San Francisco’s workplace, legions of tech workers have left, able to work remotely from anywhere. Families have fled for roomy suburban homes with backyards. The exodus has pushed rents in the prohibitively expensive city to their lowest in years. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, likewise pointed to states’ varied responses to

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