“But of course, medical and public health professionals were not allowed to act without control,” he said, referring to Mr. Trump’s frequent undercutting of his own experts .
When the virus first emerged in the United States, Mr. Trump and his supporters quickly called it a “hoax” or a virus that would quickly go away once warmer weather arrived.
At one point, Mr. Trump suggested that ultraviolet light or the injection of disinfectants would kill the virus. (He later said he was facetious.)
Mr Trump’s frequent complaints about Dr Anthony Fauci have regularly made headlines in Europe, where the US infectious disease expert is a respected eminence grise. Italy’s main Covid hospital has offered Dr Fauci a job if Mr Trump fires him.
Mr Trump has defended the US response, accusing China, where the virus was first detected, of US problems and saying the US numbers are so high because there are so many tests.
Trump supporters and Americans who have refused to wear masks against medical advice support this line.
Dr David Ho, director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, who leads a team seeking treatments for Covid-19, has denounced such behavior, as well as the country’s handling of the virus.
“There is no national strategy, no national leadership and there is no incentive for the public to act in unison and implement the measures together,” he said. “That’s what it takes and we’ve completely given up on it as a nation. ”
When receiving Zoom calls with counterparts around the world, “Not everyone can believe what they see in the US and they can’t believe the words that come out of management.”
Even the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, took the unusual step of criticizing the United States when she urged Washington to reconsider its decision to sever ties with the WHO.
She also issued veiled criticisms of US efforts to buy stocks of any vaccine that might prove effective, promising that the EU will work to provide access to all “regardless of where they live” .
Many Europeans proudly point to their national healthcare systems which not only test but also treat Covid for free, unlike the US system where the virus crisis has only exacerbated income and racial inequalities in access to care health.
“The coronavirus has brutally exposed the vulnerability of a country that has been slipping for years,” Italian author Massimo Gaggi wrote in his new book Crack America (Broken America) on the American problems that long preceded Covid.
Mr Gaggi said he started writing the book last year and then believed the title would be seen as a provocative wake-up call. Then the virus hit.
“In March, the title was no longer a provocation,” he said. ” It was evident. “