The US leads the world in the number of cases and deaths from Coronavirus. How can this be?

The name of the game in dealing with this kind of crisis is intensive, comprehensive coordination.

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If a friend asked me if I could guess which country currently had the most cases and deaths from the coronavirus I’d say, sure, it’s China. If he then said it wasn’t China, I would say that it certainly has to be India. 

I would be informed that it is none other than the United States. I would be aghast, stunned, and say there must be something wrong with that statement or the stats behind it.

My friend would be exactly right because the U.S. does lead the entire world of some 190 nations. Take a look at the following statistics, taken from this article that shows the totals of cases and the deaths for the U.S., China, and India. I can hardly believe what I see. 

As of May 4, there were 3,633,792 cases in the world and 251,492 deaths. 

  total cases           total deaths  

US   1,089,726           63,592 

China   82,862             4,633 

India     34,862             1,154 

nation populations and% of world population

U.S.      330.7 million                        4.3

China  1.438 billion                      18.5 

India    1.378 billion                      17.7

world   7.8 billion

The combined populations of China and India dwarf that of the U.S. while the total number of cases and deaths in the U.S. dwarf those of China and India combined. It’s mind-boggling to think that the U.S. has far greater numbers of virus damage than those countries with massive populations and density. Special note: there are unsubstantiated reports that say the China statistics are understated, but they don’t say by much.

America seems to be turning the corner with the upward curve of cases and deaths slowly but surely going down. And, instead of simply staying on that track, now we keep hearing that Trump and many governors want to begin to end the restrictions, i.e., “stay at home” by reopening businesses of various kinds to get more people back to work. It reminds me of the old saying. “It’s the economy, Stupid!”

They want badly to restart the economy even at the risk of reigniting the virus spread. And, while that is very, very troublesome there is little that can be done to change their minds. 

Top scientists and other experts are warning that reopening in so many states at the same time could cause a massive disaster which will throw this country into complete chaos. But their voices are being ignored by politicians in charge, this president and the governors of many states. There is no way of stopping those who know that this could cause a disaster but will take that risk to restore the economy. It’s “Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes.”

If governors are determined to end the lockdown there are various things that they should do to prevent another massive upsurge in the number of cases of the virus. 

To reopen effectively, we need to have the best minds in America to come up with creative, innovative ways to get people back to work as much as possible but also to be as safe as possible. Here are some thoughts:

It can’t be done right off in all parts of the country, it must be phased in, first in sections of the nation which are not dense and have the least amount of problems. Then move on to other sections.

Workers in meat plants, distribution centers, offices, manufacturing plants, and people in restaurants must be adequately separated with the six-foot distance rule applied. This will not be easy, and quite difficult in certain situations, but it must be done.

In many manufacturing plants that will be a real challenge because of the placement of machinery and equipment. How do you keep workers apart and still produce enough to be profitable? Well, you go to a 3-shift operation and work around the clock.

Wherever people are, in work areas or restaurants and stores, they all should be wearing masks and vinyl gloves. 

Students in schools and universities cannot sit close to each other. That will be very difficult to do in classrooms but administrators will just have to figure it out. Having large numbers of students switch to online education is one of the answers. 

Airlines cannot have passengers sitting right next to each other but must spread them out, with all of them wearing face masks. If the profits per flight go down, so be it.

If we had a thoroughly competent president he or she would have known how to deal with this virus crisis and we wouldn’t be in this huge mess. They might have followed the same process that India and China did. It worked very successfully for them and it would also work here. They used a total lockdown, they didn’t push reopening, and they had the people behind them.

But that will never happen with this president who is not that deep a thinker. He is doing the opposite, promoting the “open states again” movement to fuel the economy and who very apparently doesn’t care how many people die because of it? 

America had 50 governors and many officials in our government going off in various directions and it hasn’t been working. This president has been lost in the wilderness of himself and has made countless mistakes that have turned a very bad situation even worse. His feeble efforts at coordination have been so bad that we could best describe them by using the title of a highly successful radio show of the past called “The Amateur Hour.”

And one of the very worst things he has done by far, during this greatly tenuous time, is to constantly interfere with and countermand the advice given to the American people by the best scientists and medical experts in America. He needed to stay out of their way and let them do their work effectively but he has not and still continues to impede their work. 

Unfortunately, America and its people are paying a terrible price for what he has done and what he has failed to do. It’s called death!

The name of the game in dealing with this kind of crisis is intensive, comprehensive coordination. China and India and other Asian nations did just that and America did not. So, once again, we see America, the “exceptional, indispensable nation,” leading the world on an important matter, one in which its people are desperately wishing it wasn’t. 

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Michael Payne
Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.

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