America in a Pandemic: How is “The Greatest Country in the World” Handling Corona?

Written By: Maeve Ballantine

America as a country prides itself on being one of the most organized and advanced countries in the world. However, just because America considers itself to be these things does not mean that it is 100% accurate. These past six months have shown just how put together our country can be in a medical crisis.

In winter of 2020, the virus did not seem to be that large of a threat to the citizens of America. It was only affecting people in China and there did not seem to be too much danger of spreading. However, when the danger began to show itself, America ignored the signs. Even as more and more countries in the world reported cases, America still chose to remain ignorant of the virus, choosing not to take any steps to prepare for the imminent threat of the virus breaking out in America. When this eventually happened and cases began to sprout around the country, we still did very little to combat it until it became too large of a threat for us to manage.

Part of the fault lies with the administration and government, and part of the fault lies with the people. Back in 2018, President Trump disbanded the Pandemic Response Team, a decision that many Americans believe to be incredibly foolish and wonder if we would be in a better state as a country if the PRT were still in action. Even as the virus continues to rage, many politicians seem to care more about the struggling economy than the fact that people are dying. Businesses and schools were reopened far before a reasonable amount of time had passed to be considered a suitable quarantine. This will no doubt cause a second wave and a surge of new cases that could have easily been avoided had the proper steps been taken early on.

Not all of the blame goes to the government. There are people in this country who believe that this life threatening virus is not as dangerous as it seems. At the very least, they are not taking it as seriously as they should. There are people who refuse to wear masks and refuse to social distance, living under the delusion that just because the virus does not affect them personally, it is not something that should be worried about. Many are also refusing to wear masks on the grounds that they feel it violates their basic human rights. While being forced to wear a mask when outside of your home or when interacting with people outside your family or inner circle is annoying, the alternative is far worse. Even if the people refusing to wear masks are asymptomatic, they are still selfishly putting other people at risk simply because they feel inconvenienced. 
As of now, according to The New York Times, there are over 6 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States, resulting in nearly 185 thousand deaths. This could have been avoided. While it is not useful or helpful to say what could have been done, perhaps by pointing out what could have been done better, we as a country can take steps to avoid further disaster. But until we start thinking ahead and value practicality and safety over immediate comfort, we cannot continue parading ourselves around as if we are the greatest country in the world, because it is simply not true.

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