Friday, August 14, 2020

Why the U.S. Is Losing the War On COVID-19

A healthcare worker sits on a bench near Central Park in New York City, on Mar. 30, 2020. Jeenah Moon–REUTERS

By Alex Fitzpatrick

It is a frightening time to live in the United States. COVID-19, a novel disease as ruthless as it is seemingly random, is picking us off by the thousands; even many of those who “recover” may never truly be the same again. The pandemic has exposed the gulf between what this country promises for its citizens and what it actually delivers. And as the U.S. barrels toward Election Day, the outbreak is sure to complicate the voting process, with potentially disastrous results.

At this point, we can start to see more clearly why the nation has foundered so miserably. A failure of political leadership at all levels; a distrust of scientists, the media and expertise in general; and deeply ingrained cultural attitudes about individuality and the values placed on life have all combined to result in a horrifically inadequate pandemic response compared to what are traditionally considered the U.S.’s peer nations.

That the U.S. federal government has failed in its duty to protect Americans’ health and well-being in a time of crisis is, by now, abundantly obvious. Despite the best attempts of public-health officials and others, many elected officials in the U.S. did not take the threat of COVID-19 seriously from the jump. By the time it became clear that the virus posed a major threat, federal efforts were confused at best. The government’s disarray was best demonstrated by an April episode in which Jared Kushner, senior adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump, and at the time tasked with orchestrating the federal response to the virus, confusingly claimed that a federal stockpile of ventilators—crucial equipment for saving severely ill patients—was not meant for the states.  Read more >>