The coronavirus is understandably dominating headlines and daily news broadcasts. A nerve-wracking sidebar is the downward spiral of the American economy and the personal financial suffering and uncertainty for so many.

The president holds daily news conferences, touting what a great job he is doing, parading one person after another up to the podium to parrot how he has shown so much foresight and leadership in directing such an effective battle against the virus. Meanwhile, hospitals are crying out for tests, masks, ventilators, and other front-line medical equipment and supplies. Professionals in the health care policy community and in our hospitals are not buying Trump's self-aggrandizing and hollow deflections, and neither should we.

What is most informative, but so sad, is how clearly this demonstrates the impact of Trump's – and so many of his fellow Republicans' - single-minded, almost rabid, commitment over these past three years to dismantle our federal government and trivialize the very agencies whose purpose it is to protect the American people and the American nation. He even disbanded a White House office in 2018 that was focusing directly on pandemic preparedness.

It says something that while the president spent weeks calling the emergence of a global health crisis a hoax, fake news, and a "China problem," it has had to be up to American sports leagues, state governors, local communities, and big box stores to show the leadership to launch actions that have actually tried to tackle the realities of this crisis.

We all need to work together to get through this crisis, but we need an effective federal government to lead the way. So far the current administration has not demonstrably assumed that role. Let's hope the administration will at least turn the federal-level responsibility for this crisis over to people who know what they're doing, to science and medical policy experts, not his yes-staffers. In the meantime, let's also hope that our states, local communities, our courageous health professionals, and the private sector can continue to make up for where the Trump administration has been so lacking.

Dennis Reynolds, Basye