Claflin expert: Trump failed vs. pandemic

Mar 24, 2021


Dr. Omar Bagasra is professor of biology and founder and director of the S.C. Center for Biotechnology at Claflin.


Failures outweigh successes in how America handled the COVID-19 pandemic, a Claflin University expert said.

Dr. Omar Bagasra, professor of biology and founder and director of the S.C. Center for Biotechnology at Claflin, spoke with students via Zoom on March 9 as the country marked a year since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

“As a people, we have not done a good job in preventing COVID. That’s the reason we are in the situation we are in today,” he said.

Referring to the United States, Bagasra said, “As of right now, we still are the fastest and most infected people on earth.”

Bagasra blamed former President Donald Trump’s for a failure of leadership in handling the pandemic.

“Trump didn’t issue emergency measures,” he said. “He denied there was a virus and denied it was a danger to the public.”

Bagasra said the former president lied constantly about the pandemic and the country's preparation, citing Trump’s claims about bleach injections, the length of the pandemic, the immunity of children and the case-fatality rate.

 “He is the symbol of security,” Bagasra said in criticizing the president for failing to lead by wearing a mask and following social distancing.

With many people following Trump’s denial, Bagasra said it isn’t hard to see why the pandemic became an American disaster.

Some of the major failures during the pandemic were: the bureaucracy preventing accurate news, lack of proper software to locate the sick, racism and fear of the vaccine among minorities.

He elaborated on the issue of racism, saying that because of its existence, minorities were hesitant to take the vaccine.

Poor people also were neglected when it came to vaccine distribution, he said. “We did not take care of people like we should have.”

Bagasra told a story of his experience with vaccine distribution.

“It took weeks to get a hold of someone," he said. “Our nation is like a dinosaur; everything moves extremely slowly.”

When asked what the nation did right during the pandemic, Bagasra said, “Social distancing and masks, that’s it. Everything we did was wrong.”


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