Trump ignored pandemic playbook

To the editor,

President Trump said “the cupboards were bare” of PPE and ventilators when he took office, but they were bare three years into his administration. When asked about this, he blamed Russian Gate, Ukraine Gate and the impeachment, which is hogwash since there were adequate government resources available to address the need.

Ronald Klain, an Obama official who addressed potential pandemic outbreaks, said Obama provided the Trump administration with a 69-page pandemic manual called “Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents.” This document was ignored by Trump. Additionally, he abolished the office for pandemic preparedness in 2018, and gutted a global pandemic monitoring system.

Obama’s pandemic manual references the need for the federal government to procure PPE, detect the outbreak, acquire funding and invoke the Defense Production Act at the earliest indication of a pandemic. It calls for appointment of a single knowledgeable federal person to lead the response effort, not an unqualified vice president.

Trump said he could not have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Obama administration told Trump and his aides to prepare for a potential pandemic.

– Donald Moskowitz, Londonderry, N.H. via email