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How the Pandemic Will End

Author: Ed Yong

Affiliation: Atlantic Council

Organization/Publisher: Atlantic Council

Date/Place: March 25, 2020/ U.S.

Type of Literature: Analysis

Word Count: 5466

Link: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/how-will-coronavirus-end/608719/

Keywords: Coronavirus, U.S., Pandemic, Economy, Failure.

Brief: 

This article primarily focuses on how the pandemic in the US may be the worst in the industrialised world. On the Global Health Security Index, a report card that grades every country on its pandemic preparedness, the US has a score of 83.5, the world’s highest. In spite of being a developed nation and biomedical powerhouse, it has been affected the worst by the virus due to numerous failures to act. When countries like South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong started to screen people in order to identify pathogen carriers and trace their contacts with others, the US failed miserably to implement a diagnostic test, thereby undermining all other countermeasures. The testing fiasco was the original sin of America’s pandemic failure. Exacerbating this failure, the pandemic preparedness office within the US National Security Council that would coordinate a response to such a crisis was dissolved by Trump in 2018 as part of his vendetta to undue anything tied to the Obama administration. It will be difficult for the US to play catch up, as overcoming a stealthy and quick-spreading pandemic is a slow and long process that is socially difficult for Americans to handle. A study released by the Imperial College London concluded that if the pandemic is left unchecked, all the leftover hospital beds will be filled and incoming patients will exceed capacity. To prevent that capacity failure, four things need to be done. First, masks, gloves and protective gear needs to be produced rapidly. Second, a massive rollout of COVID-19 tests needs to be implemented and emphasized. Third, social distancing needs to continue for several weeks in order to “flatten the curve” and forestall the future collapse of the health-care system. The author proposes to make two categories of Americans, Group A and Group B. Group A includes everyone in the medical field, and Group B helps Group A by staying home. The fourth need is to let the public know about the importance of social distancing by keeping them reassured and informed. Trump has been doing the complete opposite by downplaying the problem, telling the American public that everything is under control, lying about the availability and magnitude of diagnostic testing, and promoting unproven medications. These four measures can bring the pandemic under control in America. The endgame is horrible, as this virus is expected to linger in America at least for a year. The properties of the virus are still unknow as to whether it is seasonal or not. After the pandemic, the survivors might be shunned and stigmatized as occurred with Ebola. This pandemic will teach people not only about masks but the importance of a stable health care system and fair labour policies. The author concludes that the Generation C, those born during this pandemic, will see terrorism and communism replaced by foreign plagues as the new generational threat.

By: Saima Rashid, CIGA Research Assistant.

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