Author Taylor J Smith
April 6, 2020 UPDATE: Coronavirus
COVID-19’s Status in the US
Fear mounts as the global number of COVID-19 cases surpasses 1 million. As the Trump Administration projects 100,000 -250,000 deaths by the end of the pandemic, a nation grapples with massive losses. The US surgeon general, Jerome M. Adams, has announced that this week will be “the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives”, referring to the expectation that this will be a peak in deaths across the country. Alternately, Donald Trump has repeatedly provided unsupported optimism regarding the mitigating and relief efforts. Few Americans share his optimism as 6.6 million filed for unemployment benefits just last week (from 3.3mil the week before), and panic can be felt in every hospital and supermarket. After much back and forth, the Center for Disease Control has finally issued a recommendation for the general public to wear masks when outside of their homes as cases reach new heights. Hospitals are currently facing extreme and widespread shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, testing supply and healthcare workers, amid being inundated by patients. With hospitals looking like a “war zone”, peaks expected to last for three to four weeks, and fears that the pandemic will cycle again after the fall, hospitals and staffs are figuratively on their last leg.
COVID-19’s Status Internationally
Spain, the nation currently in second for the most confirmed cases globally, appears to be experiencing another peak. The government reported their lowest 24-hour death rate in two weeks, on Sunday, but on Tuesday there was another increase after a steady decline. India has imposed the largest national lockdown, impacting a whopping 1.3 billion people for three weeks. As a nation where social distancing is unfathomable having some of the most densely populated regions in the globe, passenger trains are being used as isolation facilities. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has pardoned 5,600 prisoners to curb the spread of coronavirus. The same has occurred in Algeria, Libya, Jordan, Bahrain, and Iran, with a total of over 60,000 prisoners have been released. Sparking frustration among residents, Dubai police are mandating that residents apply for a police permit in order to leave their house as cases soar. Residents are confined to their homes for 24 hours a day to limit additional infections. In Europe, stock markets rallied Monday morning as nations appear to be flattening the curve and have somewhat a grip on the pandemic. Despite the promising news, officials are still reluctant to reopening businesses or lifting restrictions. Japan has declared a state of emergency for major cities as infections spike and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a stimulus package worth 20% of Japan’s GDP.
Recent US policies:
- Food and Drug Administration has authorized a 15-minute COVID-19 test for emergency use.
- Center for Disease Control recommends the use of facial masks for the public when leaving their homes.
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo increases fines for those who violate the state’s social distancing directive to $1,000.
Again, below are best practices to protect yourself and others from getting and spreading the coronavirus:
- Wash your hand thoroughly and frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- If you cannot wash your hands, use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Cough into your elbow or a tissue, immediately throw the tissue away and wash your hands
- Avoid touching your face
- Keep a safe distance from others, 6 feet is recommended
- Stay home if you can and avoid going out unless it is necessary
- Clean frequently touched surfaces.
Experts still expect a recession as businesses that have been severely impacted are still struggling and their future is uncertain regarding reopening once the pandemic is over. Americans are hurting in their wallet with an estimated 10 million currently unemployed, and a portion of those working from home having reduced hours.
Critics point to the pitfalls of the Act as reasons why Americans will continue to struggle during this pandemic. The initial concern is that the Act does not address the cost for treatment – which could be thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. Nor does it make it easier for people to get insurance coverage. With 35 million people who lost their health insurance when they also lost their jobs due to COVID-19, millions are both uninsured and at risk for high bills should they need treatment. While the proposed $1,200 will provide some temporary assistance, it is understandable how such an amount is inadequate in providing financial security.
Additionally, there are also calls for the release of non-violent offenders in prisons and jails to be released to prevent overcrowding and to prevent the spread of the virus. While many have spoken out against this option, multiple other countries have successfully released prisoners and the need to do so has been highlighted with the increase of cases amongst inmates and correctional staff.
The future is uncertain for many Americans, as we are unsure when the pandemic will officially end, the magnitude of the damage, and the time it will take for the country to bounce back In this time, Americans need effective leadership providing guidance, information, and reassurance. The current Administration isn’t fulfilling many of those requirements resulting in people suffering.
Healthcare, health, COVID-19, virus, coronavirus, influenza, China, epidemic, pandemic, infection.
For resources and information on how to make your own face mask, go here.
If you have lost health insurance due to COVID-19, see if you qualify for Medicaid.
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