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Trump's America First-centered pandemic response delays global containment of COVID-19: Politico

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-12-03 12:01

Former president Donald Trump speaks to his supporters during the Save America Rally at the Sarasota Fairgrounds in Sarasota, Florida, US, July 3, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - The response of former US President Donald Trump's administration to the COVID-19 pandemic focused solely on protecting the United States and didn't commit to sharing resources with vulnerable countries, thus leading to the delay in containing the spread of the pandemic globally, US media outlet Politico has reported.

The report was based on interviews with five current and former US officials who worked under Trump on the federal pandemic response.

Those officials, according to the report released Wednesday, said the Trump administration's pandemic response was guided by the same "America First" strategy it had fostered in the national security apparatus -- isolating America and downplaying the importance of international cooperation.

The report said the officials "described a White House and its health agencies fixated on one goal: obtaining enough drugs and protective gear to shield the American people from COVID-19. But that strategy, pushed directly by Trump and his senior aides, neglected to seriously consider the threat of variants and spread of infections if lower-income countries were left unprotected."

Nor did the Trump administration "develop a strategy for helping the rest of the world access the vaccine or develop the infrastructure needed to administer vaccines," it said.

The current administration of President Joe Biden "failed to heed calls from within Operation Warp Speed, the group that worked to fast-track a vaccine, to ship surplus doses overseas before they expired."

The Biden team finally began international donation of vaccines in the summer of 2021, claiming, according to the report, that it was in April that the surplus had reached a level enough for being shared overseas.

"Still, the failure to move more quickly and to develop a more comprehensive plan for helping poor countries across the world access and administer doses has raised new frustrations among international health advocacy groups who say the Omicron variant is partly the result of that inaction," the report said.

Albeit its ongoing donation effort, the United States "has moved slowly to roll out doses to low- and middle-income countries, and it has sent only a fraction of its total donations to Africa," it said.

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