In January the world watched in horror as Wuhan, China battled coronavirus. People criticized Beijing, they blamed Chinese culture and they debated how to properly manage such an outbreak.
Fast forward two months and the U.S. has found itself dealing with more cases than China as the virus spreads across the nation at a faster pace than anywhere else in the world.
When the virus spread from Wuhan to other parts of Asia it became clear coronavirus was a global problem. Covid-19 had ravaged Italy, France and Spain before cases started to spike in New York and California. The U.S. had the benefit of time and experience on its side, so how did we get here?
A short-sighted focus on economic growth is the answer to that question.
Governments around the world demanded social distancing and urged their populations to protect each other. Meanwhile, Donald Trump and politicians in Washington debated how to minimize the economic impact of coronavirus with little regard to slowing its spread. Instead they looked for ways to minimize the threat in the eyes of voters.
The stock market and economy were where the U.S. placed its focus, and it shows. Even as medics in New York City donned trash bags and pleaded for more medical supplies, President Trump continued to focus on the economy.
As the number of cases rose exponentially, he refused to consider a nationwide lockdown. He continued to push to reopen businesses and schools by Easter. He encouraged people to believe coronavirus was no worse than the flu.
Mr. Trump congratulated himself and Congress upon passing a coronavirus relief package that did very little to stop the virus’ spread or help hospitals in dire need of medical supplies.
He commended the government’s efforts to support New York City hospitals by sending 400 ventilators to the region’s worst-hit hospitals . But the city was in need of 15,000 of the life-saving devices, making Trump’s “generous” donation too little too late.
As the rest of the world worked to flatten the curve, the U.S. continued to question the severity of coronavirus. Despite scientific evidence showing that social distancing is the most powerful tool in the fight against coronavirus, the U.S. waited and watched. Even as health experts warned that millions would likely die if the U.S. allowed its healthcare system to become overwhelmed, the government did nothing.
And now as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb, Donald Trump is still looking for ways to hide the truth. Increased testing was cited as a reason for the rising numbers . Some pointed to a low mortality rate among U.S. coronavirus patients—but all of that masks a grim reality: things are already out of control.
The lack of federal intervention means travel between U.S. cities and states is unrestricted. Those living in places like New York where the outbreaks are most serious have traveled to other parts of the country, likely bringing the infection with them.
It remains to be seen whether the staggering number of cases will be enough to push Trump into action. Unlikely, considering his track record of blaming the media and spewing lies to the American public. But at some point the impact of coronavirus in America will become undeniable—something that touches everyone’s life in some way.
But by then it will be too late to slow the spread and save the healthcare system.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.