One year, 400,000 coronavirus deaths: how America guaranteed itself a failure

Incoming President, Joseph R. Biden Jr. has stated that he will formulate a federal strategy to bring the virus under control, which will include a coordinated plan for everyone to wear masks and broaden the distribution of vaccines over the next 100 days. “We will manage the hell out of this operation,” Mr. Biden said on Friday. “Our administration will lead with science and scientists.”

The strategy signals a change from the previous year, during which the Trump administration largely delegated responsibility for controlling the virus and reopening the economy to 50 governors, dissolving the nation’s response. Interviews and emails with more than 100 health, political and community leaders across the country and a review of other state government records all offered a complete picture of what was wrong:

  • The severity of the current outbreak can be traced to the rush to reopen last spring. Many governors moved quickly, sometimes acting on the objections of their advisors. The reopening at the national level led to an increase in new infections that increased over time: never again would the nation average an average of 20,000 new cases a day.

  • Science was bypassed at every level of government. More than 100 state and local health officials have been fired or resigned since the onset of the epidemic. In Florida, prominent scientists offered their expertise in the governor’s office, but were marginalized, while Gov. Ron Desantis called Dr. Scott W. Atlas, a Trump adviser, and others whose views were embraced in conservative circles, but were dismissed by scores of scientists.

  • While the president had publicly reduced the need for masks, White House officials were privately recommending that deteriorated outbreaks in some states require face coverings in public places. But records show that at least 26 states ignored White House recommendations on masks and other health issues. In South Dakota, Gov. Christie Noam, who was not even in the midst of her state outbreak, boasted political allies about one of the worst conditions in the country.

Jared Polis of the Colorado government said states have faced difficult choices in balancing the virus – often voicing competing to do the best they can – and said Mr Trump left them without political backing Had given, as they urged the public to accept masks. And social distance. “One of the biggest things that has made a difference was the clarity of the message from above the person,” Mr. Polis said in an interview.

The epidemic actually came with significant challenges, including record unemployment and a dynamic disease that continues to surround the world. Without a national strategy from the White House, it is unlikely that any state could have completely prevented the spread of the epidemic.

But the majority of deaths have occurred in the United States because the strategy needed to get involved was clear for state leaders who had a range of options, ranging from masked orders to targeted shutdowns and increased trials. Inequalities have emerged between states that took sanctions seriously and those that did not.

The US now makes up 4 percent of the world’s population but accounts for about 20 percent of global deaths. While Australia, Japan, and South Korea showed that it is possible to keep deaths down, the United States – armed with money, scientific skills, and global power – became the world leader: it now has one of the highest number of deaths. . Many people gave fatal results as any other country.


The country once had a chance to set itself on a path to defeat the virus.

There were many early misunderstandings. The United States failed in January and February to build a vast testing and contact tracing network that could quickly identify cases and perhaps bring back the crisis. Then, cases exploded quietly in New York, while the government’s Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio waited for significant days to close schools and businesses.

Researchers found that thousands of lives in the New York metropolitan area alone could have been saved if measures had been taken even a week earlier. Motivated by Spring Surge, New York and New Jersey have the worst mortality rates in the nation to date.

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