And now … a good word about Operation Warp Speed

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Admittedly, this blog has spent a great deal of time, emotional energy and cyberspace over the past four years bashing, slashing and smashing at the Donald J. Trump administration.

Trump is about to exit the political stage in less than 30 days. I now want to say a good word about what — in a normal world — should stand as an enduring legacy to his term in office.

This isn’t a normal world. Operation Warp Speed is a creation of someone within the White House to define the mission of finding a vaccine for the coronavirus that has killed more than 300,000 Americans and nearly 2 million people around the world.

The COVID-19 virus arrived early this year. Trump dragged his feet in recognizing publicly the peril it posed. Then he owned up to its consequence. He also announced the strategy he said would expedite the research and development of a vaccine that could cure the world of the pandemic.

Trump predicted during his failed re-election campaign that we could have a vaccine by the end of the year. Skeptics scoffed. I don’t recall speaking directly to Trump’s boast, but it did ring a bit hollow. Others in the White House task force formed to come up with a response strategy said it would take longer.

Well, guess what. Donald Trump was right. Pfizer and Moderna have produced highly efficient vaccines that are now being administered around the world. A third pharmaceutical firm, AstraZeneca, is about to bring a vaccine on line.

There is plenty of debate about the impact that Operation Warp Speed had in delivering these vaccines. Some experts say the drug firms were well on the way to producing it already; others give Warp Speed a ton of credit for goosing the companies to delivering the goods in a timely fashion.

I am willing to dole out praise to Donald Trump for providing some of the impetus to get this vaccine developed and approved. But not all of it. Indeed, I am weary beyond belief of hearing Trump take undue credit for work that others did.

Drug company researchers and scientists worked their butts off to produce a vaccine with an efficacy level that experts have called “extraordinary.” Yet there was Trump the other day stepping into the limelight to say that no other politician in human history could have produced those kinds of results.

Mr. President, the program that came to be under your watch has done well. Accept the congratulations that belong mostly to the researchers … and then get the hell out of the way.

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