- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Rock icon Neil Young has lambasted President Trump’s handling of the global coronavirus pandemic, saying his lack of leadership will result in the loss of thousands of lives.

The acclaimed Canadian-born musician excoriated the president’s approach to the outbreak in a statement published on the artist’s official Neil Young Archives website Sunday.

“Kids returning from a Spring Break that never should have happened will have an unwelcome visitor with them – The Virus. It will spread around America as the kids return home,” Mr. Young wrote.

“This could have been avoided with real leadership in the White House. Thousands of lives will be lost because of this inept handling of the virus by the president,” Mr. Young added.

Mr. Young, 73, made the remarks amid the U.S. experiencing a surge in the number of individuals confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, the infectious and potentially deadly respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The World Health Organization has documented more than 16,000 deaths caused by COVID-19 among over 330,000 cases and counting of the disease confirmed across 190 counties.

And while the governors of several states have instructed residents to shelter in place to slow the spread of the disease, Mr. Trump has shied away from ordering nationwide restrictions like those imposed in countries such as Italy, France and Spain, arguing this week that the U.S. “wasn’t built to be shut down.”

“People don’t want to admit it, but because of leadership’s continuing uncaring behavior, America may become the country most affected by the virus,” Mr. Young wrote on his website. “Just sit back inside your home and watch. America #1.”

As of Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has documented more than 44,000 domestic cases of COVID-19, including over 500 fatal infections.

Comparably, the World Health Organization has confirmed more than 81,000 cases of COVID-19 in China, where the disease was first discovered in late December.

Mr. Young has been inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, both as a solo artist and for his work with ‘60s folk rock band Buffalo Springfield.

Born in Toronto, Mr. Young became a U.S. citizen earlier this year. He has endorsed Democratic candidate Bernard Sanders in the 2020 presidential race.

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