STAT interviewed more than a dozen physicians and scientists around the country, and one after another, they leveled strikingly similar critiques at both the federal and local levels: That the Trump administration neglected scientists and public health experts and downplayed the severity of the disease, helping stoke a spread of misinformation. That many state leaders, toeing party lines, were too paralyzed to act in a timely fashion. And that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, once a venerable institution, bungled a critical component of pandemic control — diagnostic testing.

“I’m livid. This is all being mismanaged, and we’re being put at risk unnecessarily,” said Barry Schapiro, an orthopedic surgeon practicing in Palm Beach, Fla. “We had ample time to prepare. It didn’t have to be like this.”

Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in San Diego, said, “The American public doesn’t know that a large portion of this catastrophe was preventable, if not for the sinful incompetence of our leaders. It didn’t have to be like this.”…

“Many of us feel we’ve been put at risk by the ineptitude of leadership across the board,” said one critical care physician in Miami. “We saw a pandemic developing, but still couldn’t get our hands around it.”