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Columnists

Pandemic Response Illustrates Differences Between Candidates

October 15, 2020
By Mariyana Spyropoulos

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the lives of more than 200,000 Americans, forced the permanent closure of hundreds of thousands of small businesses, and forced millions of people out of work. This virus is real, and it is serious and we currently do not have a coordinated Federal response to this pandemic that continues to infect and kill people every day.  

Don’t let anybody tell you that’s Ok.  

Since the beginning of this pandemic, President Trump and his administration have been downplaying the seriousness and potential impacts of the virus. In January he told us the virus was under control. In February he said, “one day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.” And in March the President said that anybody who needed to get tested could get tested.  

0 for 3, Mr. President.  

Of course, we now know, through his own admission, that the President intentionally downplayed the virus to the American people. Rather than explaining to Americans the danger we were facing and coordinating a response to mitigate that danger, President Trump lied to us and thought the problem would go away if we didn’t acknowledge it.  

And all the while, the President and his team refused to follow basic health guidelines like social distancing and wearing masks. They ignored or belittled the guidance of experts, failed to implement a national contract tracing program and mocked Joe Biden for “campaigning from his basement.” 

Then this all came to a head in early October when President Trump tested positive for Coronavirus, which quickly spread among White House staffers and other elected officials. How can we trust a president to keep the country safe when he blatantly ignores the guidelines to keep himself safe? 

In the three days that President Trump was in the hospital, more than 100,000 Americans were newly diagnosed with COVID. And they’re not going to get the same standard of treatment as the President of the United States.  

Despite all of this, the President left the hospital, returned to the White House, and dramatically ripped off his face mask, showing that he learned nothing from his ordeal. Imagine being personally hospitalized because of this virus or having lost a loved one and then seeing the President of the United States tweet, “don’t be afraid of COVID.” 

They deserve better. We all do.  

Since the beginning of this pandemic, Joe Biden’s priority has been the health and safety of Americans. He created a response plan that guarantees paid sick leave for those positive for COVID-19, provides PPE to all employees returning to work, implements a national contract tracing program and provides immediate financial assistance to workers and small businesses. 

Joe has done the responsible thing of wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, forgoing in-person rallies for safer virtual events and keeping himself and those he interacts with safe.  

We need a leader in the White House who takes this virus seriously and will coordinate a national response to both the health and economic crises we’re facing. But what we have is a President who abandoned negotiations on relief legislation that would have helped small businesses, the unemployed, schools, and families who are struggling.  

Millions of people are facing financial struggles directly related to this pandemic, and the President has turned his back on them.  

This virus isn’t going to just disappear. 34 states have more new cases now than they did a month ago. Hospitalizations are rising again for the first time in months. People are still out of work and there is no federal relief coming for them.   

We don’t know when this virus will end. But while we’re facing the greatest public health crisis in a century, we simply cannot have another four years of a president who ignores science and fact, who refuses to implement a coordinated plan to keep people safe, and who turns his back on the people he has been elected to lead.  

We deserve more. In November, we must elect Joe Biden to help us get to the other side of this pandemic.  

Mariyana Spyropoulos is an elected Biden delegate from the 5th Congressional District in Illinois and is on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Board of Commissioners

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