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Trump’s cost-cutting coronavirus response deserves scrutiny | READER COMMENTARY

Travelers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport wear masks Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in SeaTac, Wash. Six of the 18 Western Washington residents with the coronavirus have died as health officials rush to test more suspected cases and communities brace for spread of the disease. All confirmed cases of the virus in Washington are in Snohomish and King counties. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Travelers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport wear masks Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in SeaTac, Wash. Six of the 18 Western Washington residents with the coronavirus have died as health officials rush to test more suspected cases and communities brace for spread of the disease. All confirmed cases of the virus in Washington are in Snohomish and King counties. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) (Elaine Thompson/AP)

Thank you for The Baltimore Sun’s in-depth coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Leonard Pitts’ commentary, “A eulogy for competence amid coronavirus concerns” (March 3), highlights the incompleteness of President Donald Trump’s uneven response to our national health crisis.

Specifically, the Trump administration’s funding plan to address this epidemic deserves a rigorous review and critique. While a responsible, sufficiently-funded federal strategy is essential, President Trump’s plan to shift many millions of dollars from National Institute of Health programs that address the opioid and addiction epidemics is a myopic approach.

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Slashing funds from dozens of other programs devoted to current health crises is terrible health care policy. His proposed cuts for aging and disability services, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, mental health and rural health programs are short-sighted. Ironically, these cuts are especially harmful for people with drug addiction as people who use drugs are especially susceptible to the kind of respiratory infections that coronavirus spreads.

This epidemic requires an emergency supplemental appropriation with a fast-track plan for getting the funds and medical supplies to state and local health departments, hospitals and other treatment providers.

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Don Mathis, Havre de Grace

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