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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Editors of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday published a scathing rebuke of the Trump administration over its "astonishing" failure to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, writing that "this election gives us the power to render judgment" of current U.S. leadership.

Why it matters: The world's top medical journal has never before condemned or supported a political candidate, according to the New York Times, making Wednesday's editorial a first in the publication's 208-year history.

What they're saying: Without specifically naming President Trump, the editorial said U.S. leaders took "a crisis and turned it into a tragedy."

  • "COVID-19 has created a crisis throughout the world. This crisis has produced a test of leadership. With no good options to combat a novel pathogen, countries were forced to make hard choices about how to respond. Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. ... The magnitude of this failure is astonishing," reads the editorial, which according to the Times was signed by 34 editors who are U.S. citizens.
  • "Instead of relying on expertise, the administration has turned to uninformed 'opinion leaders' and charlatans who obscure the truth and facilitate the promulgation of outright lies."
  • "Let’s be clear about the cost of not taking even simple measures. An outbreak that has disproportionately affected communities of color has exacerbated the tensions associated with inequality."
"When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs."

Worth noting: Last month, Scientific American for the first time in its 175-history endorsed a candidate. "We urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment," the editors at Scientific American wrote.

Go deeper

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
Jan 14, 2021 - Health

SoCal on the brink

A COVID-19 ICU at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in the Willowbrook neighborhood of Los Angeles. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Southern California's COVID outbreak is in a terrible place, and hospitals haven't even been hit with a wave of potential infections from Christmas and New Year's.

The big picture: Hospitalizations have stabilized, but public health officials say that's just from infections linked to Thanksgiving, the L.A. Times reports.

Jan 14, 2021 - Health

Coronavirus deaths climbing while country deals with political unrest

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Coronavirus deaths continue to reach tragic heights while the country grapples with a vaccine rollout, an impeachment and ongoing civil unrest.