OPINION: Grading The COVID-19 Response At All Levels


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Officials governing us at a city, state, and national level have all had a variety of responses to the COVID-19 crisis.

As Westside Community Schools tries to make the most of quarantine, the city, state and federal governments have been working to prevent the spread and appropriately respond to the crisis. In this difficult time, citizens look to their governments for leadership. But can they find it? Without further ado, my “grades” for the officials governing us at a city, state, and national level. 


City of Omaha:

The City of Omaha, particularly Mayor Jean Stothert, has done an excellent job of taking action early and bringing the city together. In addition, Douglas County Health Department Director Adi Pour has held frequent press conferences giving realistic projections and sane analysis. With Omaha’s Fire Department and Police Department working together, Omaha looks ready to take on COVID-19. When Omahans look for leadership, they will find it with Jean Stothert.

However, the city hasn’t been forceful enough with their orders. For an entire day, limits on crowd size were not enforced, but rather “suggested”. Although the city has taken action early, its actions have been weak. I would prefer to see an absolute lockdown of the city. As seen on the beaches of Florida last week, huge crowds will still gather unless someone enforces the law. Even with the law now enforced, most places are still behind where they need to be, allowing the virus to spread. I hope to see Mayor Stothert issue an absolute lockdown of Omaha, along with no loopholes.


State of Nebraska: C-

We’ve seen many officials stand side-by-side with Ricketts, and he seems to have taken a back seat in the response. Ricketts has worked with UNMC to expand testing and has even requested evictions to stop, which I found to be surprising. I’m not sure why President Trump had praised Ricketts, as he’s not doing the best job, however, he’s let more capable officials take over for him, an idea incompatible with Trump.

As with Omaha, I’m disappointed but unsurprised the state government as a whole has done so little. In states like New York, Illinois and California, all of which have Democratic governors, there are shelter-in-place orders. Citizens all over the country have tuned in to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s updates, because they know he will stop at nothing to protect his state. Some states have less strict shelter-in-place orders, which still allows the virus to spread. Even these are better than unrestricted travel, which is the strategy most great plains states are taking, including Nebraska.


Federal Government: F+ (for Failure, plus Fauci)

I would appreciate it if Dr. Fauci could give us the daily updates rather than President Trump. It’s disgraceful that the American President is claiming, with evidence that is shaky at best, that a drug made to fight malaria, paired with an antibiotic, is some kind of “miracle cure.” By announcing to the nation via Twitter that Hydroxychloroquine, needed by many to treat chronic conditions, is a cure for the virus, he has unleashed panic-buying and hoarding. The FDA had not even approved this, and many doctors said the clinical trial was seriously flawed.

Trump has asked for Americans to “reopen America” by Easter. His surrogates have asked Americans to “live their lives.” While Americans have no idea what the future holds, Trump’s strategy seems to be “let’s find out.” As the federal government goes off the rails, I think that Americans would be much better off listening to Andrew Cuomo instead. 

In my opinion, Donald Trump’s most spectacular failure in this crisis has been his offer of American PPE and other medical supplies to North Korea. As Americans die by the hundreds every day, and doctors beg for supplies, Trump has offered what we have to our decades-long enemy, a brutal dictatorship that is rumored to execute patients. I believe that this is another example of President Trump’s traitorous deception.

Trump needs to get his act together, NOW. If he doesn’t, a bad future awaits this country and he will be responsible for it.