On coronavirus: U.S. response versus other countries

by Gabriela Mendez

The Worldometer website has reported nearly 500,000 cases of coronavirus globally and more than 20,000 deaths since January and the numbers continue to change daily. 

Where in the U.S., case and death numbers of this virus have been on a rise and people such as Natalia Cruz, a sophomore Theatre and English double major at The University of Tampa, find that this is due to the U.S. government’s late reaction to act against this virus. 

“I think the U.S. government was utterly late to catch how dangerous this virus is and had they acted the moment they were made notice of this virus and what it could become they should have taken all of the necessary preventions and the deaths and cases of people from this virus would be way less to the numbers that they are now,” said Cruz. 

According to The Washington Post,  Donald Trump was made aware of the virus and what it could become in early January from U.S. intelligence but ignored them until it was declared as a pandemic by the CDC in the first weeks of March. 

“Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were–they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it,” stated an official of the White House cited in The Washington Post. “The System was blinking red.” 

In February, the virus was already starting to pick up and become more dangerous. Clusters started appearing in countries such as China, Italy, South Korea, and Iran. Trump tweeted, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.” He tweeted that the stock market was “starting to look very good” too. 

As of Thursday, March 26, there have already been nearly 70,000 cases reported in the United States and just over 1,000 deaths reported on the Worldometer website. 

Due to this rapid increase of cases seen in the U.S. in comparison to other places that were largely impacted as well such as Italy and China is the reason why people such as Paola Principe a sophomore majoring in Biology at UT find that the U.S. government has responded somewhat accordingly to fight the virus but it was not as fast as they should have. Where in comparison to the U.S. although these places were largely impacted as well their government did try to act as soon as the first cases started to appear whereas the U.S. government did not for the cases and deaths would be lower. 

“I believe that they’re trying but given the rapid incrementation of cases and deaths we can’t deny that they did act extremely late to fight against this virus in comparison to other places,” said Principe, “Had they acted when they first heard of it the number of cases and deaths wouldn’t be as bad as they are now in the U.S.” 

According to Forbes, the 20 richest people in the world lost almost $78 billion in a day and many experts expect the stocks to decline even more as this virus crisis continues. 

On Monday, Feb. 3, Trump took one of the first measures to prevent the outbreak to worsen in the U.S., where he banned foreigners that had previously been in China 14 days prior to entering the United States. 

When the first weeks the virus began its outbreak in China in January, the Chinese government constructed a hospital within the span of two days to tend all the cases of COVID-19 and implemented a lockdown on its citizens to prevent the spreading to worsen. 

On Saturday, March 14, Trump implemented a travel ban on flights incoming from some parts of Europe to the United States after coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose to approximately 2,000. 

Some believe the U.S. government has done enough to keep citizens virus-free and understand the difficulty in keeping citizens inside. 

“I feel like the U.S. government has been doing enough in order to prevent this pandemic to worsen although I do understand those who are mad that they responded late to the warnings that this would happen,” said Jack McMonagle, UT sophomore cybersecurity major. “Some states have implemented curfews and stuff like that. In Florida’s case, they let spring breakers in, but I don’t blame them for the economic gain.” 

However, some believe the U.S. did not take enough precautions in implementing preventions against coronavirus compared to other countries. 

States such as New York and California have implemented mandatory lockdowns on its citizens this week. Countries such as Puerto Rico and Japan implemented lockdowns when the first concrete case of the virus was found. 

But still, people such as Cruz find that the majority of states should implement this lockdown and be strict of them, especially states such as Florida. Cases are rising in Florida and the state has faced a dilemma, with thousands of Spring-Breakers visiting  the state these past few weeks. Some of which aren’t following the suggested ‘social distancing’ by medical professionals to lessen the cases in the U.S.

“I believe this virus will last well into the summer (July/August) because there are still people in the US who are being irresponsible and going outside to public places, despite all of the cases of the virus in each state,” said Cruz.

Gabriela Mendez can be reached at gabriela.mendez@spartans.ut.edu

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