When a local disaster strikes a community, it makes sense for local officials to organize the response, with federal backup when needed. A national disaster needs a nationally organized response. With COVID-19, this has not happened. President Donald Trump walked away, saying “I’m not responsible.” Instead, we have had a mishmash of proclamations, mandates, rules and suggestions, some in conflict with others and frequently not following the advice of senior health experts.
Consequently, we now have more than 2.5 million known cases. There are at least 126,000 deaths, growing daily by 600 to 700. At least 600 of these deaths were health professionals, some caused by an extreme lack of personal protective equipment, especially in the early stages. Because many people have continued to ignore instructions to reduce travel, maintain social distance, wear masks and avoid crowds, state and cities are having to backtrack on reopening places where people gather.
We are still discovering the extent of the long-term damage this virus can cause in some people. There has been a drastic reduction in the number of people arriving at emergency rooms with heart attacks and strokes; people are still having them, they are not being treated and many will die, indirectly adding to the overall death rate.
We need to increase testing by a factor of 10, the tests must be more reliable, increase contact tracing with quarantines and reopen in accordance with good health data, not on a political whim. This is a long-term situation; we have to make some permanent changes. The rest of the world is stunned by the incompetence that the richest nation on Earth, with the most expensive health system, has shown in dealing with this crisis.
— Peter Jenkins
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