On April 12, the United States became the global epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, surpassing Italy’s death toll of roughly 20,000. As of April 16, the United States is at almost 680,000 confirmed cases and nearly 35,000 confirmed deaths.
The number of infected people in America is almost half a million more than Spain’s total cases and just over half a million more than Italy’s. With the gradual increase in testing after months of lagged responses and inaccessibility, the actual number is speculated to be much larger.
The purpose of projecting these numbers, in this article, is to provide perspective and awareness. There is definitive evidence that a delayed, partial response is ineffective in the mitigation of a dangerous outbreak. Quick, draconian measures have been effective in other countries, even those as densely populated as China.
However, it may not be pragmatic to assume that the American government can and should take actions as extreme as those of the Chinese government. It may be more helpful, instead, to look to South Korea as a prime example of how early, accessible, frequent testing, pre-planned disease prevention procedures and diligent source tracing would have saved thousands of lives. They also would have prevented the country from having to spend an inordinate amount of time in lockdown.
Crisis such as these can allow countries to learn from mistakes and better understand how to deal with unprecedented situations. Hopefully, the future of the United States will hold an increased sense of emergency preparedness and cohesive structure following the COVID-19 pandemic. Otherwise, another unforeseen threat could bring the entire country to its knees just the same.