America might be the most powerful country, but the Trump administration has failed in curbing the widespread Coronavirus pandemic, the American response to the crisis has been subpar. Observers around the world are shocked at the state of affairs the country even after being one of the most developed nations of the world.
The American response having been so poor is contrary to the fact that America takes pride in its ability to deal with catastrophic changes. Many countries far less developed than the United States have rigorously worked on applying several schemes and stringent rules to drive the infection rates to zero. The Coronavirus transmission in the country has long slipped out of control. The national response to this has been through fragmented political rancour and a war of cultural divisiveness. The shortcomings for the testing of the virus has reached an all-time high. With the test results taking more than a week to be brought out, contact tracing has been rendered useless and irrelevant.
The state of affairs the country is in right now might either lead it to sharp spasms of economic shutdowns or a spike in the deaths which could have been prevented due to Covid-19 or probably both of them. The country’s fiasco has led the whole world to see the American government for what it actually is, a country with incoherent leadership and dysfunctional politics, self-defeating political polarization with a lack of investment in public health and persistent socioeconomic and racial inequities making the people more exposed and vulnerable to the disease. The mere patchwork policies the different parts of the country are relying on is not adequately effective for a disease which does not know any bounds of borders.
One of the major misestimations that the country had was in rushing to reopen the economy when the virus rate is still high in the country. Experts in the field of epidemiology have said that everything should reopen when we “crush the curve” or in simple terms, drive the rate of viral transmission to a point where new infections will be very few and far between. The flattening of the curve is significant before we return to our lives of normalcy. But the country has failed to stick through to what it started in March, April and May. The US did not follow the rules, and now the curve is crushing America.
National Institutes of Health’s Director Francis Collins said, “If we’d had robust guidance from local, state and national leaders, maybe we could have sustained the determination to get the curve all the way down to zero, Now, we’re on the upswing, and I don’t quite see the top of the upswing yet.”
Countries like Spain, Italy, Germany and France had devastating results owing to the spread of the Coronavirus a while ago. Still, with determination, they have now driven cases and deaths to a drastically low level. Even the outlier amongst the European countries, the United Kingdom, which recorded the highest per capita death tolls, has not seen a resurgence of the virus after the suppression of the virus – as America has.
America has been a big let down for all the expectations and the predictions experts had made. In October, not long before the first cases of Coronavirus were detected in China, a comprehensive review known as Global Health Security Index ranked 195 countries on account of their pandemic preparedness and also to warn them of the rising threats of infectious disease outbreaks. The United States of America ranked 1st with a point of 83.5 out of 100. But it is a thing to wonder as to how could they suffer through such a downfall.
The federal government has passed off their responsibilities to the states, counties and cities, said Beth Cameron, who was the senior director for global health security and biodefense on the White House National Security Council. She also assisted in writing a pandemic response plan under President Barack Obama. This was disbanded though when Trump came in. “I just never expected that we would have such a lack of federal leadership, and it’s been deliberate,” she said. “In a national emergency like a pandemic spreading between states, federal leadership is essential. And if there was any doubt about that, we ran that experiment from March and April until now. It failed. So we have to run a different experiment.”
One of the major requirements for the country to combat the virus is to fight as a whole and not as different individuals. During the initial months of March and April, Americans were terrified of the virus, but along the way in May and June, it started losing its fearsomeness in their minds. They started resuming their day-to-day life, albeit the virus was still affecting people at large. The shutdowns, although tiring and miserable, were effective. That meant that many people didn’t know anyone personally who was attacked by the virus. In areas of low transmission, the crisis seemed far away. Some people have been revolting against wearing masks. Human nature is just not wired to obey something which doesn’t give any immediate results and does not reward them.
Fiana Tulip, 40, the daughter of Isabelle Papadimitriou, 64, a respiratory therapist in Dallas, said that she saw the ease in restrictions in Texas and simultaneously saw a surge of patients coming to her mother. Not long after, her mother tested positive and died after two days on the morning of 4th July. “I feel like her death was a hundred per cent preventable. I’m angry at the Trump administration. I’m angry with the state of our politics. I’m angry at the people who refuse to wear masks even now,” Tulip said to The Washington Post.
Kristin Urquiza, 39, said she repeatedly warned her father against going outside and risking infection, but her warnings fell into deaf ears when her Republican father heard their governor Doug Ducey (Republican) rushing to reopen everything in May and June in their home state of Arizona. “When the president, the governor and people on cable news are all saying one thing, how do you compete with that?” she said. “He would push back. ‘I hear what you’re saying, but why would the governor say it’s safe to go out if it’s not true?'” Her father died on 30th June after testing positive for the virus. In her obituary to her father, Urquiza lashed out at the government, “He was a huge supporter of Trump and Arizona governor Ducey. He believed what they said. And they betrayed him,”
The public health systems, which were decimated by years of staffing and budget cuts even before the virus hit, are now approaching a place where they might collapse with the overwhelming onslaught of the virus cases. The delays in results make contact tracing irrelevant and containing the patients in isolation is nearly impossible.
With these situations at hand and the American response not having improved, it won’t be improbable to think that one of the supreme powers of the world might be nearing its doom.