Now that the US has reached the top with the highest corona cases, there is a question that arises. Despite being a superpower, does the country even know how to control the COVID-19 spread?
The US has become a new epicenter of coronavirus bypassing the total number of cases in Italy and China. The first case in the United States was reported on January 20, 2020, after three weeks when China reported several cases of unusual pneumonia in Wuhan to the WHO. Being aware of the threat that the coronavirus can pose, many states started taking measures for the pandemic. The US, however, failed to take appropriate actions.
Although Global Health Security Index, which is an assessment of 195 countries on their global health security capabilities, rated 83.5 to the US, the world’s highest and also that the US spends more than any other country on its health system, COVID-19 showed us how a superpower can fail when its government does not assess a threat effectively.
On January 31, 2020, President Donald Trump restricted entry into the United States of foreigners who had been present in China. However, the restriction did not apply to U.S. citizens who had traveled to China. Similar steps were followed for foreigners arriving from Iran, Europe, Italy, and South Korea. The mandatory screening was placed for people coming from these countries.
With the coming days, the measures taken by the Trump administration were very vague. When the cases were on a rise, then only people were asked to stay at home. Similarly, schools were closed in mid-March, roughly two months after the first COVID case in the nation.
Compared to many other countries, the actions taken by the U.S. are to date inadequate. The government has not able to project its authority and adequately ensure the safety of its population. Even citizens are not content with their government’s efforts.
We all now know that in terms of the coronavirus every minute matters. But the steps taken by the US government came very late.
Many believe that Trump failed to assess properly the coronavirus threat and as a result, it became difficult to control the cases. The president himself has been very inconsistent in his announcements which resulted in confusion among Americans.
Only on March 31, did Trump accepted the gravity of the situation when approximately 4,000 Americans lost their lives as a result of COVID-19.
The U.S. needed to test as many people as possible, to trace the positive cases, and isolate them as soon as possible. The reason why the confirmed cases were at a low for approximately two months is not that the U.S. effectively controlled the situation but because enough tests were not conducted to track the infected individuals. This created a false sense of security among citizens which later hampered the country.
With all this, even hospitals found themselves unprepared with people who were ill. There was a lack of medical supplies such as masks, gloves, and medical gowns.
The US, as a superpower, praises itself as “the best, most technologically advanced society in the world, but Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic shows a different story. Meanwhile, many other smaller or weaker states seem to be handling the spread of the virus better. Seeing all this, US does need to buck up.