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One of the world’s most prestigious medical journals has lambasted the Trump administration’s “dangerously incompetent” handling of the pandemic and called for them to be voted out of office, as US coronavirus cases continue to soar.
In an unprecedented move in its more than two centuries-long history, the New England Journal of Medicine published an editorial in which it said the current leadership had “recklessly squandered lives” and “largely claimed immunity for their actions”.
The article, published on Wednesday under the headline “Dying in a leadership vacuum”, said protections against the virus have been politicised in the US, stating: “Truth is neither liberal nor conservative.” It did not endorse a particular candidate in the presidential election that is less than a month away, but said America should not “abet” its current leaders by allowing them to stay in power.
“This election gives us the power to render judgment. Reasonable people will certainly disagree about the many political positions taken by candidates. But truth is neither liberal nor conservative,” wrote the editors.
“When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.”
The journal is chiming in alongside Scientific American, which in September backed Democrat Joe Biden for the White House – marking the first time in the magazine’s 175-year history that it had endorsed a presidential candidate.
It comes as cases and hospitalisations continue to rise across most of the US as state and federal leaders struggle to get the virus under control.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the US is hitting an average of more than 44,000 new daily infections – the first time since August that this has been the case, reports CNN. The only two states to report a decline in new cases compared to the previous week were Alabama and Hawaii.
A total of 32,000 US patients are currently hospitalised with the virus, reported the Covid Tracking Project, with highest rates in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. Montana and South Dakota hit record numbers of cases on Wednesday.
To date, the US has had more than 7.5m coronavirus cases and over 211,000 deaths.
Meanwhile, the crisis continues to engulf the White House. On Wednesday night, ABC News reported that the coronavirus outbreak has infected “34 White House staffers and other contacts” in recent days, according to a leaked government memo – suggesting that perhaps the virus has spread to more people in the White House than previously known.
Following the president’s coronavirus diagnosis last week, the Commission on Presidential Debates has announced that next week’s second-round presidential debate with Democratic candidate Joe Biden would be held virtually.
This came just hours after Republican Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Kamala Harris, the vice-presidential rivals, debated on stage 13ft feet apart and sitting behind plexiglass screens. Mike Pence has consistently tested negative for the virus since White House staff and senior politicians began announcing they had tested positive in recent days as coronavirus swept 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the Pentagon.
“In order to protect the health and safety of all, the second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which the candidates would participate from separate remote locations,” they said in a statement.
But Trump swiftly refused to take part in an online debate, telling Fox Business: “I’m not gonna waste my time on a virtual debate, that’s not what debating is all about.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: ‘Dangerously incompetent’: medical journal slams Trump’s handling of pandemic | US news