The fact that the US is the new epicentre of the virus with more than a quarter of the total global cases and over 10,000 deaths, is a foregone conclusion.
Let us look at some of the hits and misses of the current administration in this fight against the deadly virus.
These are a few things the US has got it right:
1. Fiscal stimulus-
There was bipartisan support for the US government’s fiscal package of USD 2 trillion. This rare unity sent out a strong message that the US will
fight this virus, protect its industries and take care of its unemployed population.
2. Research prowess-
While the crisis has exposed the shortcomings in the health infrastructure of the US, it has also shown the world, some of the research prowess
of the nation. Pharmaceutical companies have developed quick testing mechanisms and are researching intensely regarding different vaccines.
3. State Power-
While the federal government has been found wanting in many aspects, it is the states which have taken the lead in fighting this deadly virus.
States such as New York and California have proactively tackled this crisis and are ensuring the safety and protection of their residents by
ensuring shut downs, fiscal aid and more.
Here are some of the shortcomings:
1. Shortages in equipment-
Many of the critical states haven’t got enough Personal Protection Equippments (PPE) and other medical items.
These items include masks, gloves, ventilators and vaccines.
It was this that prompted the US President to prematurely threaten India with retaliation in case of failing to export the anti- malarial drug, Hydroxychloroquine.
2. Delay in testing-
The US has been accused of being modest in terms of reporting positive cases and casualties.
This has been due to massive delays in starting testing facilities for those who are sick and exhibiting symptoms of the disease.
Infact, comparisons are being drawn to an efficient South Korea which immediately started the process after reporting a few cases.
3. President Trump’s messaging-
The President has been taking many u-turns during this period.
It was only last week that he assured the Americans that the lockdown will end soon and it will be business as usual. However, during the Press conference on Tuesday, he looked grim and asked the Americans to be prepared for a long haul and ‘May’ casualties.
4. Failure of social distancing-
Firstly, the US was late in enforcing a travel ban, which permitted many Europeans and others to enter the nation before the situation became serious. Also different states are either enforcing a lockdown partially or are completely ignoring it. It is only New York and California who are enforcing it fully due to the severity of the situation.
However, the US will have to do more to contain the spread of this virus and now it is time for the federal government to take the lead and not
act ‘helpless’. They are, after all, the epicentre that the world will remember, may be more than China.