Barack Obama enters fray; highlights 'the biggest mistake leaders can make' amid Covid

Former United States President Barack Obama on Thursday, along with Michael Bloomberg addressed participants from more than 300 cities around the world, including mayors, local leaders, and members of response teams during Bloomberg Philanthropies’ fourth virtual COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convening on the challenges associated with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve had a chance to work with you in the past, and I couldn’t be prouder of the work that so many of you are doing. And Mike, thank you for helping put this together. Because I know it’s making a difference at a time when I know a lot of folks feel isolated. To be able to share information and best practices makes all the difference,” Obama said according to a press release on the virtual meeting.

“Speak the truth. Speak it clearly. Speak it with compassion. Speak it with empathy for what folks are going through. The biggest mistake any us can make in these situations is to misinform, particularly when we’re requiring people to make sacrifices and take actions that might not be their natural inclination,” said the former US President as he shared his perspective on the power of honesty and evidence during this time.

'Biggest mistake leaders can make in these situations is to misinform': Obama to Mayors

He also urged the mayors to build strong, reliable teams of experts. He said, “The more smart people you have around you, and the less embarrassed you are to ask questions, the better your response is going to be.”

After the meeting, Obama took to Twitter and wrote that Mayors have been working hard to help the people get through this pandemic and they will have just as big a task to help people through hard times ahead. "I spent some time with many of them today to thank them for their efforts and asked them to keep up the good work," he added. 

Coronavirus pandemic in the USA

Questions have been raised on the Trump administration over the handling of the Coronavirus crisis. New polls this week by Quinnipiac, Reuters and CNN all find disapproval of Trump's handling of the coronavirus rising to a majority of Americans.

The Coronavirus death toll in the U.S. now stands at 16,527 and total cases neared half a million at 460,967, according to an NBC News tally as of Thursday night. Meanwhile, the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in New York state has reached 159,937 — outpacing any country except the United States as a whole. The death toll in the United States has cross 16,000.

There are now more than 1.5 million confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world. More than 90,000 people have died and some 339,000 have recovered.

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