How did we get here with Covid-19?

What went wrong with the handling of Coronavirus?

At the beginning of this year we all had so many hopes and aspirations. 2020 was going to be the year that had to be so much better than 2019. But then March hit and the rest is history.

Not wanting to go over the history over the last five to six months as we have all lived it and want to put it behind us. But the question that does come up time and again when you sit down and reflect. How did the United States of America, the strongest economy and the leader of the Western World get it so wrong with handling the pandemic?

There were warning signs at the beginning of the year. Countries around the world were reporting number of people getting sick and dying. There is even evidence that as early as November 2019 that people were getting sick of a mystery virus. But nothing seemed to be alarming people of power. Everything was deemed okay and proceed as normal.

Jump to March this year, there was a lot wrong in the world with the explosion of cases. Covid-19 seemed to be affecting China and Western Europe with a number of countries closing their economies and enforcing a lockdown. People were sick in the USA but not the numbers that were being reported. It only seemed New England and California were affected whereas the rest of America was Covid free.

As of today the United States of America is the country currently with the largest number of affected individuals and deaths, accounting for almost 25% of the global numbers. Cases are increasing daily and no longer is New York State the region with the largest number of cases, it has slipped to forth with Texas, California and Florida all having higher numbers.

But why has the rest of the Western World got their numbers under control whereas the reported cases in America don’t every to seems to have reduced or had a downturn??

One noticeable difference is that all the other Western countries and countries that make up Europe all have universal healthcare. With the populations having access to free and efficient health care professional and medication at a significantly reduced price as health and medicine is not seen as a profit driven industry. 

As an Australian living in New York the difference in the medical industry and the providing of health care is vastly different. In Australia you go to the doctor if you feel sick and the cost is covered by the Government. Tests and medication are also heavily subsidized and if you need to go to hospital it is also covered by the Government provided Medicare. There is very little to no cost involved with maintaining your health in Australia.

Whereas here you have to find a primary health care professional who accepts your insurance. You also need to make sure that any tests or medication are also covered by your insurance as I have found out the hard was with blood tests and medication that sometimes it isn’t and there is a rather large bill waiting for you. There doesn’t seem to be any safe guard against these obvious flaws and it leaves it to the individual to learn from their costly mistake.

The other noticeable difference in sick leave. In both Australia and the UK, where I have also lived, there is extensive sick leave provisions for all employees, up to three months annually. This is advised to be taken if you ever feel unwell. Instead of bringing your germs to the office, you are encourages to stay home and recover. 

In the United States of America sick leave is roughly 5-7 days annually, which if an employee is actually sick with the cold or flu, they have to make the decision to either go into the office or use the little amount of leave they have for the year on a cold, which unless significant isn’t going to stop you from going into the office. Let’s be honest how many of us have actually gone into the office when they have a slight sore throat of runny nose thinking it would go away. 

There are many great things about the United States of America, but like any country there are also areas for improvement that the thing about the pandemic and the handling of it by the currently elected Government is that there are flaws and areas that need vast improvement. 

As universal healthcare in a consideration at the upcoming election. It is worthwhile to be reflective and think about what we have learned from the pandemic crisis and also work with potential elected officials so that improvements are made so we never have to experience a pandemic like this again.

Follow Matt D’Silva on Twitter @MattDSilva

One Comment Add yours

  1. Good points; viewed from Europe, the lack of a natonal strategy or clear messaging in the US seems to have been central. The lockdown in the States was late, incomplete, only partially observed and lifted two weeks early in too many states. Hope that things can be brought under control.

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