US Leads confirmed Coronavirus cases! The US is now the hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic – to date, at least 81,321 people are known to have been infected with the COVID-19 virus, including more than 1,000 deaths.
This number is higher than China, Italy, or any other country. With 330 million residents, the United States is the world’s third most populous nation – that means that the country is ripe for a novel virus like the COVID-19 to spread rapidly.
The spread of this virus is not helped by different states setting different policies and the President sending mixed signals and messages about the efficacy and danger of this virus. To date, there is not a coherent nor unified response to this public health threat.
The failure to take this pandemic seriously has left this country blind to the extent of this crisis, and a deep shortage of protective gear to protect doctors and nurses on the front lines leaves our medical professionals vulnerable.
“This could have been stopped by implementing testing and surveillance much earlier – for example, when the first imported cases were identified,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University in New York.
In contrast, China’s autocratic government acted with fierce resolve – shutting down entire parts of the country. Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan quickly started preparing for the worst. The United States, by contrast, continued business as usual.
We received footage from China – bodies on hospital floors, doctors crying in frustration, and rows of unattended coffins outside crematories. What we did not see was Beijing’s directive to slowly hunt down the virus, case by case, cluster by cluster, city by city.
China was able to suppress this virus with incredibly draconian measures, but it was too late – the virus has spread across the globe, devastating countries like Iran, Italy, and France.
This should have been a wake up call to the United States. But it did not. Our response, even now, is anemic. The Coronavirus Task Force is led by politicians, not medical experts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the greatest medical organizations in the history of the world, has fallen silent as its director tucks his tail – humbled by a bungled attempt to produce a basic diagnostic test.
We have not yet peaked in terms of cases or deaths in this country, but now, 160 million Americans have been ordered to stay home in states across the United States. Hospitals are coping with soaring numbers of patients in New York City. Personal Protection Equipment supplies are dwindling, and ventilators are being rationed.
We can be cautious now, but we must remain diligent until a vaccine is produced. After the peak, we should see hospital numbers and confirmed cases start to drop. We could expect that in the summer. But when we do, we must plan for the second wave – as is happening right now in Hong Kong.
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