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America’s Response to Covid-19

Introduction

The exponential spread of Coronavirus, complacency and delayed response by the Americans contributed to the devastating effects of the pandemic witnessed today. Since the Chinese authorities publicly acknowledged the first case of Coronavirus in early December 2019, different countries adopted varying measures to mitigate the spread of the scantily understood virus. At the onset, it was established that the imposition of movement restriction in and out of defined regions significantly reduced transmissibility and resulted in a notable decline in infection incidences (Quilty et al. 1). Consequently, the transmission trajectory and the rapid upsurge of cases were significantly dependent on how swiftly containment measures and other response mechanisms were implemented. For instance, China imposed stringent lockdown in Wuhan alongside travel prohibitions in nearby cities of Ezhou and Huanggang, and eventually, the entire Hubei Province to contain the outbreak. Although intelligence and experts offered prior warnings before the first case was reported in the United States, the inconsistent and slow responses resulted in the explosion of infections to overwhelming proportions.

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Complacent, Slow, and Inconsistent Responses

Covid-19 is a highly infectious disease currently ravaging the globe. The illness is caused by a newly discovered novel coronavirus strain, which triggers acute respiratory complications and spreads quickly when an individual comes into contact with an infected person. Since the initial reports of the first incidences in China’s Hubei Province in December 2019 (Li et al., 1199), accompanied by the disease’s high transmissibility, countries prepared and initiated measures to prevent the spread. Governments immediately closed their airspace as it became evident that air travel had immensely contributed to broadening the virus’ global footprint and the subsequent proliferation of infections. Additionally, countries sealed their border entry points and quarantined people who had previously traveled in regions or countries with recorded infections. On the converse, the American administration was slow in instituting drastic containment approaches as it insisted on comprehensively assessing the situation before executing strict guidelines. While this strategy impeded possible panic across the country, it grossly underestimated the pandemic and aggravated the constant misinformation, which ultimately had disastrous effects.

The inconsistent and erratic interventions significantly downplayed Coronavirus’s threat in the United States and led to the commission of monumental blunders. For instance, an estimated 430,000 people traveled to America from China since the pandemic started, while another 40,000 arrived after the 2nd February ban on flights from China (Eder et al.). Although the restriction of direct Chinese flights was a prudent public health initiative, its effectiveness was subverted by in-bound passengers flying from destinations that had not closed their airspace. According to Kaur et al., proper planning and carefully implemented travel restrictions were influential in halting the virus’s spread (1). This perspective is corroborated by the findings of a survey conducted by Costantino et al., which demonstrated that full travel bans resulted in a 86% reduction in new infections (1). Countries that introduced early and stringent movement limitations had registered adequate control in transmission. A comparative analysis of South Korea and the United States reveals glaring disparities in fatalities and cumulative caseload, attributed to the former’s swift initial responses. Therefore, the indecisive and discordant actions of America jeopardized the window of opportunity which was available to successfully contain the spread.

Piecemeal Responses

America’s response was characterized by a fragmented and unsystematic approach. Countries that adopted and applied a comprehensive approach effectively managed to contain the upsurge of Coronavirus at the onset. This implies that all the available scientifically proven tools to mitigate the spread had to be implemented inclusively without exception. For instance, strategies such as social distancing, wearing masks, and quarantining every contact would only work if implemented at full scale. Consequently, the proposed initiatives would fail if only a section of the population adhered to it, while the other disregarded. Kaur et al. argue that countries that employed a piecemeal approach reported an explosion of incidences, which quickly overrun the public health systems (1). Thus, America’s uncoordinated and fragmented approach severely sabotaged the effectiveness of the measures outlined to tackle the pandemic.

Additionally, although the public beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors generally supported the stringent proposals, the subsequent politicization and stigmatization of these initiatives led to the emergence of groups opposed to their implementation. For instance, face masks evolved into a huge political controversy and culture war, with a section of the population asserting that they impaired individual freedom. As a result, some states, depending on their political allegiance, mandated wearing face masks, while others were hesitant to obligate their wearing. Progressively, the mask-less appeals and protests metamorphosed into passionate anti-mask sentiments. The net effect of this division is that the American people were divided right down the middle on the importance of wearing masks and their effectiveness in controlling the spread of Coronavirus. For instance, a meeting organized by local leaders in Palm Beach, Florida, witnessed the most robust opposition of masks, with some speakers asserting that they eroded their constitutional rights (Aratani). This resistance was partly attributed to the confusing public messages disseminated by leaders and the absent concurrence by public health officials about the effectiveness of such measures.

In other episodes, some governors barred cities within their jurisdictions from introducing mask mandates, even as coronavirus infections spiked. Although scientists and researchers accentuated the indispensability of these measures as the only known preventive strategies, the fragmented, often conflicting approaches eroded their effectiveness and undermined their importance in the public eye. Consequently, these missteps of public figures impaired people’s mask-wearing habits as they increasingly became an element of stigma and downgraded their coronavirus risk perception. Arguably, this piecemeal model has contributed to the disproportionately high caseload and fatalities in the United States compared to other countries, some of which are even densely populated than America.

Conclusion

Coronavirus is a public health emergency demanding an elaborate and comprehensive response. Since the emergence of the pandemic, countries worldwide have implemented a wide array of mitigation mechanisms to halt the transmission rate, hospitalization, and fatalities. In the United States, Americans adopted interventions that had been proven effective in stopping or slowing down the spread. However, the effectiveness of these reactions was marred by the slow implementation, complacency, and inconsistencies. Moreover, the piecemeal approach amplified the adverse effects of fragmented approaches and eventually took a political twist. The outcome of these components is that America’s interventions were not adequately successful and contributed to the explosion of infection incidences, case fatalities, and a severely overwhelmed healthcare system. Although the United States recorded their first coronavirus cases simultaneously with other countries, the disparity in their response modalities resulted in glaring differences, both in the cumulative caseload and overall disease mortality. Therefore, America’s response to Covid-19 has been below expectations and was flawed by various administrative, systemic, and political setbacks.

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Works Cited

Aratani, Lauren. “How Did Face Masks Become a Political Issue in America?” The Guardian, 2020, Web.

Costantino, Valentina, et al. “The Effectiveness of Full and Partial Travel Bans against COVID-19 Spread in Australia for Travelers from China during and after the Epidemic Peak in China.” Journal of Travel Medicine, vol. 27, no. 5, 2020, 1−7. Web.

Eder, Steve, et al. “430,000 People Have Traveled from China to U.S. since Coronavirus Surfaced.” The New York Times, 2020, Web.

Kaur, Satinder, et al. “Understanding COVID-19 Transmission, Health Impacts and Mitigation: Timely Social Distancing Is the Key.” Environment, Development and Sustainability, 2020, 1−17. Web.

Li, Qun, et al. “Early Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China, of Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia.” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 382, no. 13, 2020, pp. 1199−1207. Web.

Quilty, Billy J., et al. “The Effect of Travel Restrictions on the Geographical Spread of COVID-19 between Large Cities in China: A Modeling Study.” BMC Medicine, vol. 18, no. 1, 2020, 259. Web.

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