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COVID-19’s Status in the US

The global count of COVID-19 cases has topped 2 million with just over a million being in the Unites States, where US deaths have surged to over 55,000. The number of confirmed cases in the United States appears to be doubling every three weeks. Officials have accepted the fact that the US is now a global hotspot and have shifted efforts of containing the virus to now focusing on mitigating the virus’ damage and spread.

An additional 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits just last week as businesses stay closed. Economists estimate the national unemployment rate to be between 15 and 20 percent. With businesses closed and people out of work, protestors have taken to States’ capitals with military grade weapons and demands to reopen businesses on the heels of Trump’s statements also wanting America to open. This has created standoffs between hospital workers and protesters who have carried out demonstrations like “operation gridlock” in Denver, where traffic was halted and access to hospitals was restricted. A spike is expected due to recent protests where demonstrators did not wear protective gear, nor abide by social distancing rules. Critics in support of social distancing also point to the recent Wisconsin election where mail-in ballots were prohibited by the courts, thus mandating citizens to break social distancing or not vote. Currently, thirty-six voters and poll workers have tested positive for COVID-19 after the April 7th primary.

On the economic front, an additional $310 billion is being added to the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses and hospitals. This comes after the initial small business package of $349 billion passed early April, was siphoned dry by chain restaurants and larger businesses, after two weeks, before small businesses saw any of the money. Some businesses like Shake Shack and the Los Angeles Lakers, have returned the funds after finding out that small businesses were left out of the payout.

On April 7th, Trump threatened to withdraw funding to the World Health Organization. After repeatedly attacking the organization, calling it pro-Chinese {and therefore anti-American} and blaming the organization for understating the threat of the virus. In contrast to his threats, other international leaders are stepping up and making this pandemic a collaborative international issue.

COVID-19’s Status Internationally

Oxford University of the U.K. has made immense progress in developing a vaccine for COVID-19. After its creation, scientists in Montana gave six macaque monkeys the vaccine and then exposed them to the virus. Nearly a month later, and the macaques are all still healthy. Additionally, China has created a vaccine that resulted in promising outcomes with macaques, and those scientists have started a clinical trial with 144 participants.

In response to Trump’s statements of funding withdrawal from the WHO, the European Union announced it would release 15 billion Euros to help poorer countries fight the coronavirus. In response, the United Kingdom also pledged 200 million Pounds  to help the poorer countries via international organizations like the WHO, Red Cross and UN.

Analysis:

The withdrawing of funds threat by the Trump Administration would be both cruel and counterproductive. As seen in his reduction in funding for national emergency response systems, resulting in a lack of preparedness in America, defunding the WHO will only result in this pandemic lasting longer than it needs to, with more preventable deaths, and likely a stronger second wave of cases to hit the US. If the Trump Administration was serious about curbing the spread of the virus, we, like other nations, should be bolstering up public health systems and disease containment strategies. This threat to defund the World Health Organization is simply abhorrent and is a direct threat to the health and safety of the globe.

With many counties having stay at home orders ending in the coming days, the threat of an inundation of new COVID-19 cases is a very real possibility. Against the recommendations of scientists, Governors and state leaders are pushing for America to be reopened. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman wants to “reopen the casinos and let the free market decide who lives.” In viral interview with Anderson Cooper the Mayor repeatedly stated that she wanted Las Vegas up and running, as one of the biggest US tourism capitals. Georgia’s shelter in place will remain in effect until April 30th, while some businesses like barber shops, salons and restaurants for dining service already opened back up last Friday. Some are arguing that the benefits of opening and restarting the economy outweigh the human toll of the pandemic. Such thinking is allowing a minority to suffer, while letting a majority benefit. However, the majority will likely suffer greatly if this pandemic reaches every person in the US as it ravages prematurely opened communities. This is an unethical proposition to sacrifice a portion of the population so the rest can enjoy the amenities of pre COVID-19.

A list of open states and precautions for customers and staff can be found here.

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
  • Wear a face mask when out in public spaces, it is not recommended to wear latex gloves.

Engagement Resources:

Numbers as of April 27, 2020 – Consult the CDC or Johns Hopkins for an update in numbers.

 

Top Ten Nations with Cases

Nation Confirmed Cases

April 27

Deaths
Globally 3,063,814 212,345
United States 990,135 56,475
Spain 232,128 23,822
Italy 199,414 26,977
France 164,589 23,293
Germany 159,038 6,161
United Kingdom 157,149 21,092
Turkey 112,261 2,900
Russia 93,558 867
Iran 91,472 5,806
China 83,912 4,637

 

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