The US’s Disgraceful Pandemic Performance

“Short term, I think it’s fair to say we really have not distinguished ourselves in a positive way by how we responded to the crisis when it was upon us,” Senator Mitt Romney said in August. “And the proof of the pudding of that is simply that we have 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of the world’s deaths due to covid-19.” Many countries brought the virus spread under control after the big peak in April, including neighboring Canada. What made the US an exception?

Why such poor performance? Let me suggest this article:

How the Virus Won

Invisible outbreaks sprang up everywhere. The United States ignored the warning signs. We analyzed travel patterns, hidden infections and genetic data to show how the epidemic spun out of control.

By Derek Watkins, Josh Holder, James Glanz, Weiyi Cai, Benedict Carey and Jeremy White, June 25, 2020. New York Times.

Another round is likely coming soon.

What to do?

Yes, we should ask why the 1918–19 pandemic never made it into the history books. And why U.S. leaders didn’t listen to the scientists and screwed up so badly.

But we should assume that another big wave of our Covid-19 pandemic is coming. We need to learn what other countries did right and copy them. And assume that we only have several months to implement it.

In context



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William H. Calvin

President, Professor emeritus, University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. Author, many books on brains, human evolution, climate