(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Opinion

Opinion: The U.S. could have saved many lives from the coronavirus

Despite being one of the world’s wealthiest countries, the US has the highest amount of confirmed coronavirus cases, as well as having the highest number of deaths by far compared to other countries. Other countries, including China, have a death toll of well under 10,000, yet the US has a death toll of over 700,000…
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/edwinbai/" target="_self">Edwin Bai</a>

Edwin Bai

October 8, 2021

Despite being one of the world’s wealthiest countries, the US has the highest amount of confirmed coronavirus cases, as well as having the highest number of deaths by far compared to other countries. Other countries, including China, have a death toll of well under 10,000, yet the US has a death toll of over 700,000 as of writing.

If the US is the most advanced country in the world, why is it that we are suffering the most from the outbreak? 

“Exploring Lessons Learned from a Century of Outbreaks” is a book detailing the necessary actions that must be done in times of a pandemic, so that the spread and death toll of a virus remains at a minimum. According to the book, the most important part of containing an outbreak is making sure the first responders contain the virus and limit its spread. The U.S. has already failed in implementing this most important first step when the virus first reached the country. 

The federal government had an early warning in January that a new, dangerous virus was spreading across China and the world, yet the government stood by and did absolutely nothing to prevent the virus from reaching their shores, according to Washington Post. The U.S. government had ample time to prepare for the virus, and they could have done things such as limit travel from countries in Asia and in Europe where the virus hit the hardest. When the US government did limit traveling between countries, it was too late. 

Even when the virus reached the country, the government did little to contain the virus. Instead, according to NBCNews, the Trump administration proclaimed that the virus was a hoax brought by the Democrats as a plot to gain an advantage for the 2020 elections. This mindset slowed the health response to the rapidly spreading virus, and even to this day, the government has done little to stop or slow the spread. 

In fact, the government is doing quite the opposite — it is beginning to reopen some states to the world again, just as the virus is beginning to slow down. Recently, this has caused coronavirus cases to be on the rise again, according to HealthLine. Other countries have seen tremendous drops in cases, like Italy, due to their governments being quick to accept the virus as a legitimate problem and ordering a nationwide lockdown, according to BBC News and CNN News. The reason why the U.S. is being hit the hardest by the coronavirus is not that we are underdeveloped or poor; it’s because the government had failed to recognize the danger and is continuing to fail in reacting to it. 

Another strategy to combat an outbreak that the book, “Century of Outbreaks, recommends is the citizenry working together in an effort to stem the problem. 

On this point, too, the United States has failed. 

There is no doubt that the citizenry is extremely divided, not just in terms of politics but even on the basic facts about the virus, with many people believing that the virus is fake in contrast to the reality of the situation, according to the National Post. The US citizenry is constantly fighting over the facts such as virus origins, as reported in The Guardian, and even the reopening states, according to CNN.

Very few people are working together to solve the virus problem, and those that are trying have to constantly face opposition from skeptics and conspiracists.

NBC reports that many skeptics, including the former Oval Office occupant, argue that the virus is a democratic hoax, that it’s a government plot to create a dictatorship, as stated by NPR, or that it’s a biological weapon created by the Chinese government that was purposely leaked, according to the NPR. Recently, the Conversation reports that Americans have been claiming that American doctors and nurses working in hospitals are fake and that the hospitals are actually empty, or, as reported on BBC, that the doctors working in them are trying to kill the patients. 

The viral “Plandemic” video, reported on NPR, has influenced many social media users into believing that the alleged “pandemic” is actually a government plan to control the people and take away their human rights. The Plandemic targets the doctors and nurses who work in hospitals, claiming that they were part of a facade to keep the people under the control of the government. These examples show how divided our community is, which limits our capabilities to protect ourselves and unite into a single effort to combat the virus.

Additionally, “Century of Outbreaks” also points out that in times of an international pandemic, it is very important that countries work together in order to help find a cure quickly. Unfortunately, in the case of the coronavirus pandemic, the reality is that cooperation between countries is at a minimum. 

Recently, China pushed for a global ceasefire aimed at collectively addressing the coronavirus that included the World Health Organization, but the US rejected any reference to the WHO, due to the WHO allegedly working with China in order to cover up the pandemic, according to CNN.

The US and China also have fought over the origins of the virus, with China stating that the virus began in the U.S., as stated by Reuters, although without evidence to prove it. China also claims that the U.S. spread lies about the virus, and in turn present their own side of the story, albeit without evidence to back it up. Without the cooperation of the world’s arguably two most important countries, progress towards resolving the pandemic problem remains slow. 

Published in 2019, “Exploring Lessons Learned from a Century of Outbreaks” gives us clear guidelines on how to resolve pandemics and how to minimize casualties. The U.S. suffers heavily from having the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world. Had they heeded the early warnings of the virus and worked quickly to ensure that a pandemic didn’t spread uncontrollably within the country, perhaps the US wouldn’t, unfortunately, have the highest number of cases and deaths from the coronavirus.

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