In a blistering column for the Huffington Post, Dr. Dipti S. Barot accused the Trump administration of criminal negligence in its response to the coronavirus outbreak that has brought the nation to a halt.
Dr. Barot writes: “I am a doctor. And I am immunocompromised. I am safe at home screening patients over the phone for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, while my colleagues are marching into war with plastic water guns and papier-mâché bombs, lambs to the COVID-19 slaughter. “
They are entreating people to stay at home, begging for personal protective equipment via Twitter hashtags (#GetMePPE), fashioning masks out of surgical sheets, rigging ventilators to increase their capacity as the number of confirmed cases keeps increasing. Some are living in the garage or in a separate room in their home, for fear of infecting their loved ones.”
Barot points out that all of this transpired while many officials tried to minimize the impact of the outbreak to make Trump look good.
“Unconscionable” is a feather-light word to use for the response to this pandemic by those in charge. After weeks of inaction, of downplaying the pandemic, of calling it a hoax, President Donald Trump had no choice but to shift tone once this crisis was undeniable. He then stood shoulder to shoulder at press conferences, shaking hands while declaring a national emergency that his own experts said only social distancing would quell. He has failed our nation.
When you are a governor bragging about the packed restaurant that your family is dining in during this pandemic that requires you to stay home, you are essentially stealing N95 masks from the nurses in your state. When you are a U.S. representative appearing on a morning show encouraging people to go to pubs while the head of the nation’s infectious disease response is stating clearly that people need to shelter in place, you have effectively robbed the ICU staff in your district of countless needed ventilators.
We health care workers are, and have been, on our own. We are making decisions hospital by hospital because there is no centralized response or clear guidelines.
Our heroes out the in field will not be derelict in their duties — even if they have been forced to compromise their safety by those who continue to sit in their insular cocoons and suffer no consequences. It is criminal what is being done. And beyond criminal what is not being done.
Barot concludes by saying: “Blood will be on the hands of those who have sent health care workers to war without armor, to fight battles brandishing pool noodles instead of swords.”
You can read the entire column here.