Charles Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Now in America, is it the “best” or the “worst” of times?

In our current “worst of times,” Mr. Balentine blames China (“Biden should boycott Beijing Winter Olympics,” Feb. 12). He is partially correct: “… (China’s) deliberate misleading of health officials from the (World Health Organization) and (U.S.) and … resistance … for transparency and cooperation early on directly resulted in the … (present) health and economic crisis …”

However, once we knew of the COVID-19 pandemic, what did this country do next?

In considering the timeline of the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, Mr. Balentine has encountered his recurring nemesis, i.e., selective forgetfulness. Mr. Trump knew of the seriousness of COVID-19 in January 2020 (where was his “transparency”?). What was his “plan” to prevent and, thereafter, to control this serious pandemic? Early in our “worst of times,” Trump announced COVID-19 would “disappear,” or it was “just a hoax.” Soon, thereafter, his administration corrupted the CDC, not allowing its experts to counsel citizens on simple methods to reduce exposure to COVID-19 (e.g., masking, social distancing, etc.); did not fully utilize the Defense Production Act to enhance the production of PPE; had no nationwide distribution plan to disseminate the vaccine, once it became available; and delayed “early cooperation” with the president-elect’s transition team, thus impairing the implementation of Biden’s COVID-19 plan.

What is our “better” time? A new stimulus package to facilitate economic recovery, robust vaccination programs nationwide, support of local/ state schemes to reopen schools/ businesses and the continued utilization of masking, etc.

During our “worst” time: Blame the worldwide spread of COVID-19 on China! In this country, blame spread of COVID-19 on Balentine’s Trump-led Republicans!

John M. Mishler