For the good of the country, Congress and the White House need to rise above their usual partisan sniping and name-calling and show a little unified leadership as the United States readies itself for the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.
We know it will be hard, given the level of bitter polarization in Washington, but Democrats and Republicans owe it to the American people to swallow their differences. That’s what rational, responsible governments do in cases of war, natural disaster and, yes, a mass outbreak of infectious disease.
There’s a lot riding on the ability of the federal government to get things done fast to support states like California that are on the front lines fighting this new and frightening infection, which has killed more than 2,800 people, most of them in China, and has spread to 47 countries. An outbreak in the U.S. seems all but inevitable now. Transmission without a known connection to someone who is sick or traveled to a place where people are sick marks a concerning turning point in any disease outbreak.
One thing that needs to happen now is the accelerated production of the estimated 270 million face masks needed to protect healthcare providers; another is to get working testing kits out to the states to confirm suspected cases.
President Donald Trump made the same point about working together during a news conference Wednesday night, when he walked back some of his recent bluster about the coronavirus being no big deal. Instead, he tried to assure the country that he and his team had things completely under control.
Trump then announced he was putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the coronavirus response. But Pence must offer better, less ideological leadership than he did as governor of Indiana during an HIV epidemic in 2015.
— Los Angeles Times