New England Medical Journal Calls Trump Admin 'Dangerously Incompetent' Over Handling of COVID

The New England Journal of Medicine has published an editorial saying that the administration of President Donald Trump has "failed ... a test of leadership" in its response to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.

Although the editorial, entitled "Dying in a Leadership Vacuum," doesn't mention Trump by name, it does explicitly mention the federal government twice and its misuse of federal agencies.

"Truth is neither liberal nor conservative," the editorial furthermore states. "When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent."

The article accused U.S. leadership of instituting quarantine and isolation measures "late and inconsistently" with no efforts to actually enforce them after the disease had already spread far in many communities. It called social distancing efforts in many places "lackadaisical at best, with loosening of restrictions long before adequate disease control had been achieved."

It also said the administration's treatment of face masks as "political tools rather than effective infection control measures" has contributed to widespread opposition to them, and added that even the administration's rhetoric about its heavily funded COVID-19 vaccine development efforts gave also politicized it and "led to growing public distrust."

Citing the administration's decision to leave pandemic decision-making to state governors, the editorial said the federal government "largely abandoned" the states and undermined the federal tools that could have aided them.

It claimed The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "has been eviscerated and has suffered dramatic testing and policy failures," The National Institutes of Health has "been excluded from much crucial government decision making" and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been "shamefully politicized" in its seeming response to the administration's pressure "rather than scientific evidence."

Donald Trump New England Journal Medicine COVID-19
The New England Journal of Medicine has published an editorial sharply criticizing Republican President Donald Trump's leadership during the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. In this July 23, 2020 picture, Trump gestures to a map during a White House coronavirus briefing. Drew Angerer/Getty

"Instead of relying on expertise," the editorial continues, "the administration has turned to uninformed 'opinion leaders' and charlatans who obscure the truth and facilitate the promulgation of outright lies."

The biggest indication of the administration's ongoing failure, the editorial says, is the low U.S. "positivity rate,"the number of tests performed per infected person. The United State's own positivity rate is far lower than that of Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, the editorial states.

"They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy," the editorial concludes. "Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences."

Instead, the journal urges its readers to vote out federal leadership so they can no longer oversee a pandemic which has lost more than 200,000 American lives, hundreds of billions of dollars and millions of jobs.

The editorial echoes sentiments from Democratic leaders on Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the U.S. alone, the coronavirus has killed more people than the military conflicts in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and World War I combined. Despite that, Trump has continued to state that COVID-19 is less deadly than the flu, something which the CDC's own statistics demonstrate is untrue.

An early October poll showed that only one-third of Americans consider Trump to be honest when speaking about coronavirus. Trump himself admitted to downplaying the virus' lethality upon first learning about it to keep citizens from panicking.

An ad released this week by the Republican-led political action committee, The Lincoln Project, stated "Donald Trump has recovered from COVID-19, but more than 200,000 Americans will never recover from Donald Trump," as the sound of labored breathing through a ventilator played in the background.

Newsweek contacted the Trump campaign for comment.