Medical journal wades into politics by condemning US response to COVID-19

Medical journal wades into politics by condemning US response to COVID-19
Posted at 6:12 PM, Oct 07, 2020

The New England Journal of Medicine is one of the most popular medical journals in the world, where researchers go to share trials and information on data and science. But on Wednesday, the journal entered the world of politics.

In an unusual and highly unprecedented fashion, the New England Journal of Medicine wrote a scathing rebuke of US leaders’ response to the coronavirus pandemic. While not formally offering any sort of endorsement, the journal referenced the upcoming election in its editorial. The piece did not name President Donald Trump or opponent Joe Biden by name.

“Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences,” the journal wrote. “Our leaders have largely claimed immunity for their actions. But 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. 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."

The editorial, titled “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum,” comes just 27 days before the US election. While much of the world has been able to keep coronavirus deaths to a minimum in recent months, the US still has one of the highest death rates in the world from the virus related to the coronavirus.

The United States continues to average 800 deaths per day from the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Only India has been averaging more deaths per day than the US in recent weeks, and India’s population is nearly quadruple America’s population.

While many European nations saw a reprieve from the despair of the coronavirus over the summer, counties such as France and the United Kingdom are seeing cases jump in recent weeks, although their death counts still pale in comparison to the United States.

The New England Journal of Medicine said that the US had every advantage going into the pandemic to combat the disease.

“The United States came into this crisis with enormous advantages,” the journal’s editors wrote. “Along with tremendous manufacturing capacity, we have a biomedical research system that is the envy of the world. We have enormous expertise in public health, health policy, and basic biology and have consistently been able to turn that expertise into new therapies and preventive measures. And much of that national expertise resides in government institutions. Yet our leaders have largely chosen to ignore and even denigrate experts.”

To read the full editorial, click here.