There's a massive leadership gap at the top on coronavirus — but states are stepping in

www.salon.com
5 min read
fairly difficult
Many mayors and governors have responded heroically, but the absence of national leadership is already deadly
One of the arguments in support of the Affordable Care Act that Chief Justice John Roberts cited, when he sided with the court's majority to uphold the law as constitutional, was the idea that health care cannot be solely left to the states. A disease, after all, does not respect borders.

So far, everything about the coronavirus pandemic is playing out as predicted. If the United States only follows the limited guidance given by the Trump administration, then the current trajectory will likely lead to over 9 million people infected and nearly 1 million deaths. Traditionally public health has been left to individual states, but the fight against COVID-19 is a global crisis that calls for a coordinated effort. Instead, it's the clearest case yet that the federal government, under President Trump's addled leadership, is tragically leading from behind.

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AMERICA USED TO BE THE LEADER OF THE WORLD. THANKS TO OBAMA AMERICA ISN'T EVEN LEADING FROM BEHIND. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2014

In the absence of decisive national leadership, governors and mayors suddenly find themselves stepping into the void.

"I wish," San Francisco Mayor London Breed said on Friday, "the country had acted sooner."

At the top of the week, all six counties in the San Francisco Bay Area issued a shelter-in-place order — the first of its kind in the nation. The governors of Oregon, Washington, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania ordered all nonessential businesses temporarily close down. By Friday, even Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, the subject of intense criticism for keeping the state's crowded beaches open during spring break, had called for the statewide closure of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. By week's end, more than 75 million Americans will be living under an order to remain indoors except for exercise or grocery shopping.

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"We are not getting what we need," Breed said about assistance from the federal government in an…
Sophia Tesfaye
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