On Monday, the U.S. surpassed 3.8 million cases of COVID-19. Over 140,000 Americans have already succumbed to this deadly virus and it is not slowing down. However, India, with a population four times larger than that of the U.S., has managed to control the spread of the virus more efficiently with only 25,000 deaths.
Florida’s cases have spiked after lockdown restrictions were lifted, reaching a high of 15,300 last Sunday. If the economic progression of the country continues to be prioritized over the public’s health, many more Americans will suffer until a vaccine is created.
To understand the reason behind this spike we have to go over the events that led to this disaster. From the beginning of the pandemic, President Donald Trump showed neglect toward the coronavirus and denied the severity of it.
From Feb. 10 to July 1, Trump said nearly 20 times in various interviews and press conferences that the coronavirus “would just go away,” according to the Washington Post.
Whether it was poor planning or just unfortunate mistakes, the Trump administration managed to make more incorrect decisions than correct ones in the past few months.
Trump has received a lot of blame because he “dismantled” the Global Health Security and Biodefense unit, also known as the Pandemic Response Team.
However, according to a fact check done by Reuters in March, “The Trump administration disbanded the Pandemic Response Team, but some of the team members were reassigned to roles that included pandemic response.”
Although this issue was proved to not be completely accurate, other countries have still managed to handle this crisis better than the U.S. has.
This means that there’s only one action taken by the U.S. that’s at fault for this country’s current pandemic disaster — slow decision-making.
Slow decision-making has been one of the deadliest reasons behind the spread of the virus.
Whether it was shutting down international flights, putting states under a lockdown or just something as simple as wearing a mask, the Trump administration has refused to take these measures. Instead, the state governments and individual companies had to take it upon themselves to make these decisions.
As early as April 17, Trump initiated reopening the country through phases, which permitted states to allow stores and gyms to begin to reopen, a decision that may have cost a large number of American lives.
Decisions to economically save the country were taken with haste while decisions regarding public health were put off.
Many leaders around the world chose to wear masks in public to send a message to their people that they were taking COVID-19 seriously. Japan’s prime minister was seen wearing it as early as April 2, and Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, was seen using it in public in May.
However, as cases increased, Trump still refused to wear a mask.
This sent a clear message to his supporters – wearing a mask was not essential.
On June 20, Trump said at a Tulsa presidential rally that he had recently ordered the White House Coronavirus Task Force to slow down coronavirus testing with the apparent end game of lowering U.S. case rates.
When asked again after the rally if he was kidding when he said he instructed his administration to slow down coronavirus testing, he told a CNN reporter, “I don’t kid.”
U.S. Disease Chief Dr. Anthony Fauci denied that the White House Coronavirus Task Force had received orders to slow down on testing. Trump’s deliberate mention of such an action in itself takes away from the seriousness of the situation at hand and puts more lives at risk.
During a global pandemic, Trump is still more worried about how the U.S. compares to other countries than actual American lives.
On July 12, and after neglecting it for months, Trump finally wore a mask in public. Even if it was long overdue, it was still the correct action to take, and that is the problem facing the U.S. today.
Correct decisions may have been taken, and people’s health may be the first priority but the Trump administration has failed to take these measures with the speed needed to save American lives.
Masks should be mandated in public as soon as possible to contain the spread. Even though many people may oppose such a policy, the public’s health has to become the top priority for the US government. Moving forward, let’s make the right decisions at the correct time.