US lacks preparation for coronavirius pandemic as cases continue to rise

US lacks preparation for coronavirius pandemic as cases continue to rise

Photo courtesy of CDC.gov

Misbah Rajan, Reporter

The United States is far less prepared than other nations experiencing outbreaks of the coronavirus. Case counts so far reflect not an absence of the pathogen, but a lack of testing.

Disruptions are almost certain to multiply in the weeks to come. Airlines are scaling back flights. Conferences, including Austin’s signature event, South by Southwest, are being cancelled, something that creates a lot of revenue for the city. The decrease in imports is hurting global supply chains and corporations are prohibiting their employees from traveling and attending mass gatherings. Stanford University canceled their in-person classes for the rest of the quarter and other institutions are taking similar steps. Government agencies and private companies will activate continuity-of-operations protocols.

Aggressive steps are necessary to protect the public from this deadly virus. On the 22, the World Health Organization (WHO) assessed the fatality rate at a shocking 3.4%, much higher than previously said. Many American medical experts withheld judgment about the limited data coming out of China, but new information from around the world has now confirmed how severe COVID-19 is and how rapidly it is spreading.COV

The United States has often turned to investigative commissions to examine why a crisis happened and how the government might better respond in the future. The commission is seeking the answers to the following questions: Why was it that the United States had tested such a small number of people for the coronavirus so many weeks into the crisis? Why did the Trump administration eliminate the National Security Council’s pandemic unit in May 2018 and what effect might that have had on the lethargic response to the crisis? What role did right-wing media play in downplaying the crisis?, etc. Currently the answers are unknown.

Although the United States may not seem ready for the coronavirus, there are some things people can do to limit the spread of the virus. On March 26, the number of cases in the United States rose higher than the number of cases in China. This is a big deal because the United States’ population compared to China’s population is much smaller, meaning more American’s will be affected the same and be said for Italy and Iran two nations that also have been highly impacted by the spread of the virus.

One should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after having been in a public place, or coughing and sneezing.  If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching one’s eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and put distance between oneself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in the community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands. Only wear face masks if one is sick, otherwise there is no need. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily, including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks. All precautions stated above are directly from the CDC visit the CDC website for more information.