America is playing catch-up in the Coronavirus pandemic

Eliot Fuller , Co-Editor

The United States of America is often described as one of the best countries in the world. We are incredibly wealthy, have a highly advanced economy and boast the strongest military in the world. We put a man on the moon, fought our way through world wars, and pulled through a devastating economic depression. So how were we so utterly unprepared to deal with the Coronavirus? 

If you watch the national news, you’ve probably noticed that the U.S. appears to be multiple steps behind other countries in its action against the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. There has been a lot of finger pointing as to why this is, but the facts tell us all we need to know. 

According to the Washington Post, in 2019, the White House disassembled the National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, a group that was created by the Obama-Biden administration in 2013. The dismantling of this council inherently damaged our country’s ability to handle a health crisis, and as a result, the Trump-Pence administration was simply unprepared to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak.    

Additionally, President Trump himself showed a lack of seriousness towards the issue, referring to the virus as “the Democrats’ new hoax” at a rally on Feb. 28. In his speech, he evoked the flu, using it to downplay the severity of the Coronavirus.

“Thirty five thousand people on average die each year from the flu,” Trump told his supporters at the rally. “Thirty five thousand. That’s a lot of people. And so far, we have lost nobody to coronavirus in the United States.”

Mere weeks later, after multiple American lives were lost to the virus, Trump’s tone shifted, and he seemed to better grasp how serious the situation really was. On Mar. 11, the president addressed the country about the Coronavirus and declared a national emergency. 

Just days after the national emergency was announced, United States cases skyrocketed, and thousands of Americans were suddenly in need of tests. Unfortunately, the CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Disease Prevention) failure to get working test kits into the hands of the public health labs created chaos for those who had the disease and had not yet been tested. Not only was it challenging for Americans to get tested, the United States didn’t have enough kits to test the general public, something that other countries had been doing for weeks prior, and was a vital step in isolating the virus. Statistically speaking, China, Canada and other countries across the world did a far better job of testing their citizens than the United States. Additionally, they made their tests far more accessible to the general public. 

Little doubt surrounds the notion that our country’s handling of the Coronavirus has been one collective failure. The incompetence of our government has put the United States in an embarassing, even dangerous position, and as a result, our country is playing catch-up on the global stage.