In the midst of a crisis, sometimes we need to take a step back and look at the wide shot. Forget the daily Trump spin cycle for a moment and read this truly brilliant piece of writing by Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman from Politico Playbook:

YOU’D BE FORGIVEN, in this time of trouble and distress, for wondering whether your federal government has a handle on this pandemic, or if it’s a complete and utter train wreck.

FIRST THEY TOLD US they had the coronavirus under control; now they tell us hundreds of thousands of people could die.

FIRST THEY TOLD US you’d need prolonged physical contact with someone with the virus to be exposed; now there are reports suggesting the disease might be transmitted in the air.

FIRST THEY TOLD US only old people or those with severely compromised immune systems were at risk; now people of all ages are dying due to COVID-19.

FIRST THEY TOLD US that we would be out of our houses by Easter; now we’re all quarantined in our homes, with Virginia suggesting residents can’t leave until June.

FIRST THEY TOLD US we didn’t need to cover our mouths in public because it would do no good; now the CDC says they might recommend it. 

FIRST THEY TOLD US tests are available, plentiful and easy to get; now we hear stories almost daily about how some people can’t get tested, and if they can, many are waiting weeks for results. We’ve heard some grim stories about people dying before their results are in.

FIRST THEY TOLD US Google would be building a website to help people figure out if they need to get tested, and direct them where to go if so; now, we see the site is live in just four counties in California, not across the country, as they indicated. 

FIRST THEY TOLD US they had enough ventilators; now, in New York — one of the world’s most important cities — a top hospital is telling doctors to “think more critically” about who to give assistive air to.