Coronavirus Response Things The US Has Got Right And Got Wrong


Coronavirus Response Things The US Has Got Right And Got Wrong

It’s been two months since the US declared a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak. The death toll from Covid-19 now stands at more than 83,000 – and tens of millions of Americans are out of work.

There has been a robust ongoing debate over whether the US was adequately prepared for a pandemic and if the proper steps were taken as the virus began to appear on American soil.

Ever since mid-March, however, most government officials have acknowledged that the magnitude of the crisis required a response of enormous scope.

The unprecedented lockdowns imposed in much of the country were designed to slow the spread of the virus, prevent the nation’s healthcare system from being overwhelmed, buy time for further preparations and protect Americans particularly at-risk of serious health complications.

Next, the concerning news. Outside of those three states, the rest of the US has continued to see an overall rise in the infection rates, albeit not nearly as sharply as before. Taken together, the chart of new cases in the US seems to have reached a plateau, but perhaps not a stable one.

And now some bad news. According to the Washington Post, states that have begun a partial reopening have seen their number of cases increase the most compared to those that have kept them in place. And an unreleased Coronavirus task force report leaked to NBC News indicates that cities in the interior of the US, including Des Moines, Nashville and Amarillo, all recently have seen more than 70% week-over-week increases in cases.

So while the efforts at restricting movement and business have been one of the success stories of the past six weeks, this success could be short-lived if it’s not followed by a rigorous testing programme that includes extensive contact-tracing for those found to be infected.

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“I think we’re going in the right direction, but the right direction does not mean we have by any means total control of this outbreak,” Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a White House Coronavirus Task Force member, said in Senate testimony on Tuesday.

Ventilator surplus

When asked to cite an administration accomplishment in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany pointed to ventilators – the medical devices used to help patients breathe when they can no longer do so on their own.

“The success story is that this administration mobilised the greatest efforts since WW2, that we provided something like 4,000 ventilators to New York,” she said. “Not a single American died in this country for lack of a ventilator.”

The US government spent several billion dollars on contracts for new ventilators, and the president used a 70-year-old law, the Defense Production Act, to prod auto manufacturer General Motors to switch to ventilator production and streamline supply-chain issues for other manufacturers.

Coronavirus Response Things The US Has Got Right And Got Wrong


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