COVID-19 is remarkably different than SARs. The incubation period is longer, we have asymptomatic spread, we are sicker for longer, and it is communicated more easily. Just because SARs and COVID come from the same family of viruses does not mean they are comparable, I.e. Ebola vs Marburg, HIV vs HTLV. SARs was a virus that killed its host relatively quickly, which is a bad "strategy" for its own longevity. COVID has basically a perfectly planned terrorist attack. It sets off a bomb in a patient, and then waits for people to come help over the course of a 3 week hospitalization (RNs, MDs, etc.), and then sets off secondary bombs in each of those victims once infected - rinse and repeat.
The fact of the matter is that a modern health care system is setup to contain Ebola. We easily identify those are are infected and contagious as they are symptomatic and then we protect ourselves from contact with bodily fluids.
Unfortunately, countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone don't have such a strong infrastructure. Obama had nothing to do with containing the spread; just like the presidents of France, Spain, Germany, UK, Switzerland, Italy, and Norway had nothing to do with containing an outbreak in their respective lands. It had everything to do with a functioning healthcare system that has been matured over the last century - not the case in the West African nations that suffered through the Ebola 2014 outbreak.
Don't take my word for it though.
"Schleiss said the SARS virus didn’t have the “fitness to persist in the human population,” which eventually led to its demise.
Schleiss added this doesn’t seem to be the case with COVID-19, which seems to be able to spread and thrive in the human body.
Overall, though SARS’ death rate was higher, COVID-19 has led to “more fatalities, more economic repercussions, more social repercussions than we [had] with SARS,” Johnson said."
Dr. Schleiss is an infectious disease expert at UofMinn