By Upendra Mishra
Dear Mr. President,
As you know, United States is the greatest nation in the world. No one can match its economy, its system of government, technology, military power, entrepreneurial spirit, and most importantly innovation and medical technology.
Yet, a nation of only 331 million people, the United States has 2.51 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and a whopping 125,559 deaths as of Sunday, June 28, 2020. This compares with 84,745 confirmed cases and 4,641 deaths in China whose population is 1.44 billion. India, whose population is 1.38 billion, has done far better than the US. Although rising, India still has only 528,859 confirmed cases and 16,095 deaths.
The deadly Coronavirus is surging again in the United States, especially in those states that did not listen to COVID-19 guidelines. Even your own Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Sunday warned that the “window is closing” for the United States to get the coronavirus pandemic under control, as confirmed cases are surging in a majority of the country and some states are dealing with record numbers of hospitalizations as CNN reported.
“Things are very different from two months ago… So it is a very different situation, but this is a very, very serious situation and the window is closing for us to take action and get this under control,” Mr. Azar told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
It is sad to see that so many people have died and still dying in this powerful nation. Why? Because you have failed to lead this nation. You have been living in an unreal or delusional world and have flagrantly ignored the advice of experts and even your own team.
When the Coronavirus was first reported and started to spread, you did a good thing that you stopped flights from China where the virus had originated. But by that time, the virus had already landed in the mainland US. After that, however, you went into a world of denial. You wished that one day the virus would magically disappear. You blamed World Health Organization and China for this–instead of launching a full-fledged war on the Coronavirus. You encouraged US citizens not to wear masks.
You yourself refused to wear mask in public. You also encouraged state governments against the lockdown and even pressured some to re-open the economy early. You thought that the lockdown will slow down the economy and may lead you to lose the election. As a leader of a great nation, you failed to take care of health and well-being of your people. When you’re president of a nation, you’re president of every individual—not only Republicans or Democrats. As a result, your negligent policies have led to unnecessary death of more than 125,000 Americans.
No matter what, you’re the leader of a great nation and people still pay attention to what you say and what you do. Sometimes I wonder why you cannot listen to the best doctors and senior communicable diseases experts in our own country and from your own team. I am sure you’re not an expert in this area and your instincts and guts are not powerful enough to leads us out of this crisis. Let the experts do their jobs and you and all of us should follow their advice in unison. We can beat this virus as many nations have achieved tremendous success.
As the president of the most powerful nation, you can still turn things around and still save tens of thousands of lives. Not knowing the results of the upcoming elections, you still have solid six months to focus on this. Given the communications channels in our great country and your own twitter followers, you can instantly change the direction of our great nation by sending a positive message of change and strength.
In order to communicate your message, however, you must be completely honest, authentic and have genuine compassion for the people of this nation.
You need to do the following:
- Focus only on stopping the spread of this deadly virus. Put your entire machinery—health care system, technology, media, entrepreneurs and even military—to spread the message of care, caution, precaution, social distancing, wearing masks and everything that your own advisors have suggested. You should also follow those advices in public. You will send a strong message.
- Do not blame China, WHO or anyone else for the Coronavirus. It is already here and spreading fast and killing so many people. The time has come to launch an all-out war against the virus.
- Also, forget about the economy during the next six months. If we are alive and healthy, and if there is no panic, the economy will bounce back.
- Don’t worry about the elections either. The worst come worst, you will loose the election. So, let it be. But imagine how many lives you would have saved. There is nothing more precious than human life. That is what leaders do—save people, lives and lead with compassion and courage. Leaders don’t live for election.
- Ego lives for winning. We all have egos, but sometimes we need to put it aside and look beyond for the greater good. Put your ego aside, and think for a minute about the people, children and elders who are suffering from COVID-19. Think about millions of Americans who are so fearful.
- Forget about what has happened so far and who has said what or done what. If you focus on COVID-19 and are able to stop it spread or at least commit to fight it head on and do whatever it takes—even you wearing a mask—you name will be written in golden letters.
- Just do one thing. You have a great opportunity. Don’t waste this opportunity for satisfying your ego. You can settle your score after this monster virus is defeated.
- BONUS: If you show your compassion and commitment, you might even win the election in November.
President Turmp, a record number of Americans are saying that your strategy against the outbreak is going very badly and you’re receiving lowest marks for handling the pandemic since it began. Twice as many expect the outbreak to worsen, rather than improve, according to a new CBS poll.
Mr. President, prove everyone wrong and take charge of this fight against the Coronavirus. All you have to is listen to your team of experts and execute their strategies and guidelines. Nothing more. Nothing less.
(Mr. Mishra is managing partner of Waltham, MA-based public relations, media and digital strategy firm The Mishra Group, and publisher of Boston Real Estate Times, INDIA New England News and IndUS Business Journal. He also writes about mythologies and gardening.)