The United States has recently crossed 500,000 deaths reported by Covid-19 after one year of battling with this pandemic. The country reported its first death nearly one year ago on February 29th, 2020 from Seattle. The US has the status of the world’s superpower which is behind all economic development and geopolitics yet it seems like it is failing at saving people from this deadly pandemic.
Before the pandemic was officially recognized in the country, US experts were only observing it from a distant end. In the past US has not as such observed any virus close to coronavirus. During the SARS outbreak, there were limited cases in the US although its close neighbour Canada was badly affected. Still, US exposure to coronavirus, in general, was limited which is one of the many reasons that the country was not ready to tackle this pandemic.
Interestingly, US healthcare was all set against Ebola, which by the way never made it to the US. But there was no such preparation made for the novel coronavirus which emerged from China. According to health experts, criticizing the US for a poor healthcare system is probably not the right thing because it is easy for smaller countries to maintain a well-structured healthcare system.
But for a huge country like the US, which has 50 states connected through federal as well as local governments, a huge land area, and probably the world’s biggest private healthcare system, management of pandemic was extremely challenging.
Although Trump’s approach to managing the pandemic was haphazard it doesn’t mean that the country has failed to control Covid-19 deaths. During the first wave of coronavirus, private bodies, states, and even hospitals were also in a competition to get access to protective gear and other accessories. Pandemic management is not possible without a central governing body, which was not there in the first half of the pandemic increasing the chances of mismanagement and bad management of Covid-19 cases that ended in deaths.
Adding up to this, precautions and safety measures such as wearing a mask in public were largely politicized whereas the pandemic was a healthcare crisis with no political values. Many Americans found this compulsion to wear a mask as an infringement of their fundamental rights, however, these rules were to save them from a Covid-19 death.
Health experts have criticized this public opinion where wearing a facemask is considered equivalent to fundamental rights. They said that it is the same as many other routine things that are for personal safety such as fastening the seatbelt while driving or following the traffic rules. And there is no violation of anyone’s right by implying a rule that will save him from the virus.
The US has learned important lessons from this Covid-19 pandemic, including how reconfiguration of all hospitals is necessary to control a surge of patients that require hospitalizations. In addition to this, the ongoing pandemic has made the government realize that the healthcare system and all hospitals also need funds and resources to play a helpful role in such emergencies.