Politics Magazine

Why Does The United States Have Such A Large Percentage Of Coronavirus Cases And Deaths?

Posted on the 06 April 2020 by Jobsanger
Why Does The United States Have Such A Large Percentage Of Coronavirus Cases And Deaths?
According to the CDC website, about 170 nations now have cases of the Coronavirus within their borders. It truly is a worldwide pandemic. Since the United States has approximately 4.4% of the world's population, one might expect it would have about that same percentage of Coronavirus cases and deaths. Unfortunately, that is not true.
The United States has a much larger share of both cases and deaths than it should have. It has about 26% of the cases worldwide, and 13%-14% of the deaths worldwide. The percentage of deaths is lower than the percentage of cases primarily because of the heroic work of public health workers (doctors, nurses, etc.). But both cases and deaths are much higher than they should be. Why?
I believe it is due to a lack of federal leadership. Our government failed to act in a timely way, and that allowed the virus to spread faster and further than it should have.
Donald Trump likes to brag about his banning people entering this country from China. He seemed to think that was all he needed to do to stop the spread of the virus. But look at the chart above. By the time Trump imposed the ban on January 31st, 381,000 people had flown from China to the United States during the month of January. In other words, Trump locked the barn door after the animals had already escaped. The virus was already in the United States and spreading.
Since the ban another 40,000 have entered the United States from China. Some might think that 40,000 were tested for the virus before being allowed to enter. That is NOT the case. They were all asked to answer a short series of questions about where they had been and how they felt, and some had their temperature taken at the airport -- but they were not tested for the virus.
But even though the ban was too late and ineffective, the virus still could have been contained -- if Trump had acted at the end of January. During the latter part of the Obama administration, a plan was developed by public health officials on how the nation should deal with the start of a pandemic. Trump refused to put that plan into action. In fact, he delayed doing anything else until well into March.
He refused the tests offered by the World Health Organization, and that resulted in a delay in widespread testing for the virus. Trump now brags that "anyone who wants a test can get one", but that is not true. Most parts of the country barely have enough tests for doctors to test only those with symptoms of Coronavirus.
Trump also could have invoked the Defense Production Act much earlier, and demanded that industry produce the tests, the protective gear for medical workers, and the ventilators needed to save the sickest patients. He didn't, and still is depending on corporations doing this on their own. That has resulted in severe shortages that did not have to happen.
Because of Trump's ignorant and incompetent inaction, the United States has not been able to get ahead of the pandemic. It is struggling to catch up. Trump has failed the leadership test in his first real crisis. Because of that, many more Americans will get sick, and too many will die unnecessarily.

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