A prestigious medical journal published a scathing editorial ahead of the election, slamming the Trump administration and other US leaders for their COVID-19 response

Drew Angerer/GettyPresident Donald Trump, flanked by tables holding testing supplies and machines, speaks during a press briefing about coronavirus testing in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 11, 2020 in Washington, DC.
  • The New England Journal of Medicine published an unprecedented editorial slamming the Trump administration and other US leaders for their “failure” to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Dr. Eric Rubin, editor-in-chief of the medical journal who wrote the editorial, told CNN the publication “rarely” publishes editorials signed by all editors, and it had never published an editorial about elections since the publication’s inception in 1812.
  • “We don’t have the right leaders for this epidemic,” he said. “I think we need better leadership.”
  • The scathing editorial tore into US leaders for being “consistently inadequate” in addressing the fallout and ongoing issues of the public health crisis.
  • “This crisis has produced a test of leadership,” the editorial said. “… Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.”
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A prestigious medical journal published an unprecedented editorial criticising President Donald Trump, and citing his administration and other US leaders for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The New England Journal of Medicine, which was started in 1812, published an editorialWednesday ahead of the upcoming election — the first time the medical journal has ever addressed elections.

“This crisis has produced a test of leadership,” the editorial said. “… Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.”

The scathing editorial tore into US leaders for being “consistently inadequate” in addressing the fallout and ongoing issues of the public health crisis.

“The federal government has largely abandoned disease control to the states,” the editorial read. “Governors have varied in their responses, not so much by party as by competence.”

“But whatever their competence, governors do not have the tools that Washington controls,” it continued. “Instead of using those tools, the federal government has undermined them.”

Dr. Eric Rubin, editor-in-chief of the medical journal who wrote the editorial, told CNN the publication “rarely” publishes editorials signed by all editors, and it had never published an editorial about elections.

“The reason we’ve never published an editorial about elections is we’re not a political journal, and I don’t think that we want to be a political journal — but the issue here is around fact, not around opinion,” Rubin told CNN. “There have been many mistakes made that were not only foolish but reckless and I think we want people to realise that there are truths here, not just opinions.”

He added: “For example, masks work. Social distancing works. Quarantine and isolation work. They’re not opinions. Deciding not to use them is maybe a political decision but trying to suggest that they’re not real is imaginary and dangerous.”

“We don’t have the right leaders for this epidemic. I think we need better leadership.”

The editorial criticises the US government’s response to the pandemic but says “this election gives us the power to render judgment.”

The editorial, though largely critical of the Trump administration and federal government as a whole, does not take a clear political stance nor endorse any single candidate, saying, “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,” it read. “We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.”

Though it was an unprecedented move by the New England Journal of Medicine to publish a politically-charged editorial, it is not the first scientific publication to address the upcoming election.

Last month, the Scientific American magazine published an editorial endorsing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, writing, “The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the US and its people—because he rejects evidence and science.”

It was the first time the science journal published a presidential endorsement in its 175-history.

“It’s time to move Trump out and elect Biden, who has a record of following the data and being guided by science,” the editorial said.

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