by Brian T. Lynch, MSW
April 30, 2020 12:18 pm
Much of the national and local coverage of this coronavirus outbreak in the United States fails to set the proper global context as to how we are doing at handling it relative to every other country on earth. This lack of perspective gives us a false sense of success at how well we are doing in reducing new infections and COVID-19 deaths. This false sense of being over the hump fuels the polarized political debates that further divide us on every issue. We should be united behind the science of infection controls during a global pandemic rather than driving wedges into the public debate to support or defend our political instincts. The virus certainly doesn’t play politics, and neither should we.
So, for a better perspective on how the United States is doing in our efforts to control this epidemic against the backdrop of the rest of the world, here are a few observation based on the number of new infections and deaths from yesterday, April 29th:
1. The United States had nearly as many new cases of COVID-19 yesterday than the next seven countries combined.
2. The united states had more COVID-19 deaths yesterday than the next six countries combined.
These comparisons clearly show that COVID-19 infection rates and deaths make the United States a huge outlier in the world. We are not doing nearly as well as most other countries. And keep in mind that every nation still only has social distancing as the primary means to control the spread of infections. Testing, isolation, and contact tracing are part of the mix, but keeping infected people away from healthy people is all we’ve got at this point until we have a vaccine or effective treatments available. We are all in the same boat.
These data, by the way, are continuously updated from the Worldometer.info website, a non-government, non-affiliated international effort to provide global statistics in an easy to access formate.
So, the question has been asked, why are we doing so poorly compared with other countries?
The answer is clear and inconvenient for many Americans. We have a lack of political leadership from the top.
The wealthiest, most inventive, and industrious country in the history of the planet should, by now, have the capacity of testing 10 million citizens per day for the virus. Millions of people who are now unemployed should be hired, by now, to conduct testing, contract tracing, and welfare checks the millions who test positive for the disease and placed under quarantined. We should have in place a national stay at home order the same as every other country. We should have exceptions for stay at home order for essential workers, but we should have massive testing and mandatory guidelines, with aggressive enforcement, for those workers. We should not only have all the PPE we need by now, but we should also be exporting vast quantities of PPE to other nations that don’t have our manufacturing capacity.
This is a picture of the nation we should be, the great country we once were. Nations of the world should be looking to us for guidance and help. Instead, we are inching our way back towards another round of disaster and death.