The coronavirus outbreak will likely hit the United States “especially hard,” due to “multiple pre-existing weaknesses” in the country’s government, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who is also a widely-read New York Times columnist. First among those “weaknesses” exposed by the viral outbreak — which has now claimed 19 lives in the U.S. — is that “the country has “a man-child as president,” according to Krugman, writing on his Twitter account Saturday. The Nobel winner’s full Twitter essay was posted by Thread Reader.
Trump has been accused of focusing more intensely on the politics of the coronavirus crisis than on preventing the spread of the illness. His actions have included removing a warning to elderly Americans against flying on commercial airlines — this from a Centers for Disease Control plan to contain the possible epidemic, as The Inquisitr reported.
He has also publicly claimed that any American who wants to be tested for coronavirus can receive a test. But Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar contradicted Trump, according to a New York Times report, clarifying that only medical professionals may approve coronavirus testing.
In addition, there appears to have been a shortage of test kits available, with only 5,860 tests conducted as of Saturday evening, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said, as quoted by The Times.
Krugman placed the blame for the slow response on Trump, saying that his approach to the crisis has been to “downplay the threat to win today’s news cycle, never mind what might happen down the road.”
Trump makes judgments based on “whether it makes him look good,” Krugman said, adding that, in his view, the president is incapable of admitting to his own mistakes. Because Trump believes that “every past decision was perfect,” he has no ability to “adjust,” to avoid future errors and poor judgments, Krugman wrote.
But Krugman identified other “weaknesses” in the American system beyond Trump himself. The absence of a requirement that employers grant paid sick leave to employees could also lead to the spread of the coronavirus, according to the economist.
Because workers fear that a positive test would force them to stay out of work, they may simply skip the tests completely causing many cases of coronavirus to go undetected.
Saturday’s New York Times report appeared to confirm Krugman’s analysis. According to the Times, “not enough people have been tested.” Prior to this week, only Americans who had recently traveled to China — where the outbreak originated — were tested, as well as those known to have had contact with an infected person.
“We now know that there were many infected people in the country who weren’t being counted,” the Times report stated.