​Is the US resilient against COVID-19 or complacent?

By Tom Fowdy
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, July 15, 2021
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A person walks past a memorial installation for those who died of COVID-19 outside Green-Wood Cemetery in New York, the United States, on June 14, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The U.S. business website Bloomberg published a study in late June, ranking countries in the world by their "COVID resilience." The ranking was based on a number of indicators, including vaccinations, lockdown severity, flight capacity and vaccinated travel routes. The article proceeded to rank the United States as the most "resilient" place in the world due to its return to normality. 

This, however, is a flawed and biased study based on unscrupulous methods. The United States isn't resilient from the pandemic, it's complacent. Hubris over the country's vaccination rollout and a total lack of precautions elsewhere has led to a rebounding of the virus which is now measuring over 30,000 cases a day, again. The Delta variant is running rampant throughout the country, exploiting an uneven vaccine distribution and sending hospitalisations soaring, exposing the gaping holes that have beset the country's flawed anti-pandemic approach from the beginning. Biden has said victory over the coronavirus pandemic in the United States is at hand, but the war isn't over.

The glossy overcoating of America's economic recovery conceals the more bitter reality that its path through the pandemic has come at a horrific human cost. The United States has experienced the highest death toll from COVID-19 in the entire world. With over 600,000 lives having been lost, this amounts to a loss of 0.2% or two out of every thousand people in America, making COVID-19 the deadliest event in the country since the Civil War, and surpassing the death toll of both World Wars and Vietnam. Is this somewhere desirable to be in a pandemic? Deaths even as of today, continue to be 200-300 a day.

Almost 10% of the entire population has tested positive for the virus, including even former U.S. President Donald Trump. Such a high quantity of cases is directly the product of ignoring lockdowns and opposing the wearing of face masks and social distancing. Some states such as New York have taken more scientific approaches, but states in the Deep South have pursued an approach of complete dismissal. Some states even rigged their own statistics in playing down the extent of the virus. Political and economic interests are coming before people's lives.

The argument of course is that the U.S. vaccination rate has otherwise been swift and successful. However, it has significantly slowed down as of late. If we look at the rate of U.S. vaccinations, it is unevenly distributed across income, class and geography. Again, states in the Deep South have made limited progress. As a report from CNN notes: "Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas are the only states to have fully vaccinated fewer than 35% of their residents. Average daily case rates in each state were among the 10 worst in the country last week." Is this a sign of a resilient country or the best place to be in a pandemic? 

In this case, what the report further misses out is that the United States is simply normal because of "complacency" and not due to objective success in beating the virus. A relaxed, anti-government and liberty centric approach to handling COVID-19 aptly underscores the roots of America's yet unfinished disaster concerning the pandemic, of which the government responded by exporting blame on others and proliferating conspiracy theories. Long-term precautions are vital and necessary, as defeating COVID-19 cannot be done with short term impulses which cater to what people want instead of what people need.

The United States has demonstrated itself to be one of the most dangerous locations to live through the pandemic, not least in a society which continues to be rampant with inequality, has uneven access to healthcare and inadequate public health information from authorities who prefer to cater to commercial interests and conspiracy theories. 

Tom Fowdy is a British political and international relations analyst and a graduate of Durham and Oxford universities. He writes on topics pertaining to China, the DPRK, Britain and the U.S. For more information please visit: 


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