The “An Ongoing Crisis” article published in the April 22, 2020, PAW contained a number of misstatements and provided irrelevant information that doesn’t pertain to the SARS-CoV-2 crisis. The article completely ignores the culpability of the Communist Chinese regime, the complicity of the World Health Organization, and the lack of preparedness of U.S. government agencies whose funding is actually higher under the Trump regime than under Obama (CDC funding at the last year of President Obama’s administration was $7.2 billion and under President Trump in 2020 $7.7 billion; that hardly counts as “gutting the CDC,” as flatly stated in the article). 

The source of the virus is yet unproven, and still controversial. It isn’t clear that the virus is entirely natural or caused by consumption of bats for food. It would be best to say that we don’t yet know. In any case early warnings by Chinese physicians were suppressed, the physicians were imprisoned, and some disappeared. Many false statements were made, then repeated by the WHO.

Secondly in shutting down flights from China early, President Trump took a courageous, appropriate action that undoubtedly reduced the rate of infection and allowed the subsequent quarantine to flatten the curve (which appears to have successfully eliminated the risk of overwhelming our unprepared health care system). President Trump also galvanized the private sector which has, in contrast to our public infrastructure, stepped up rapidly to provide most of the tests and most of the equipment.

Perhaps instead of bashing the current incumbent administration, our Woodrow Wilson School scholars could learn from this pandemic to prepare us for the next one. That would include ensuring that accurate facts and figures get out to the global public, proposing a reserve of imperishable protective and medical equipment, improving the development of testing methods, and setting up a reliable “early warning system” uncompromised by global politics.

Thomas N. Williams ’77
Houston, Texas