In 2019, when the news reported that a new malady had infected many people in a province in China, namely Wuhan, most Americans simply thought this was just a typical news story about something happening in a far-off land, and wasn’t much of a concern. Now in March, people around the world recognize they drastically underestimated the power of this disease called the coronavirus or COVID – 19. So far, COVID – 19 has claimed 16,371 lives worldwide. Everywhere people are trying to reduce the spread as much as they can. Worldwide news reports have been saying “flatten the curve,” but what does this mean? This essentially means to minimize the peak number of daily infections, and thus spread out the disease and people infected over time so that the medical supplies can adequately cover the infected. A strategy to help reduce new infections is known as social distancing – avoiding contact with as many people as you can. But it comes more to that, with social distancing there comes many social and economic problems. With those challenges, it is the government’s duty to directly or indirectly help the nation. Currently, the United States has not been able to stop the growth of the coronavirus, but other governments have – here is a look at what they did.
We must start with China, the place where all of this originated. After it was determined that Wuhan was the province where COVID – 19 started, the Chinese government quickly placed then under lockdown. Over 50 million people were affected in some way by the quarantine. Social distancing wwas practiced there when people were ordered to stay indoors, and schools, movie theatres, and businesses shut down. China also quickly constructed two hospitals to specifically deal with COVID – 19. Criticisms have arisen over China’s handling of the situation as these hospitals operated only at half capacity. There have been some other mistakes made in China, starting with China censoring the doctor who tried to warn the world about this new virus, Li Wenliang, as well as 5 others. Nevertheless, China did start a program of government of intervention, however, not during the early stages of this deadly disease when that would have been more effective.
South Korea, massively hit by the disease, has made new technological advancements to help combat it. South Korea has created an efficient form of testing which some in the media have dubbed “drive through testing.” Medical personal do the test curbside, while the patient sits in their car, in order to prevent the potential spread of the disease. This 10-minute test produces results that are sent to the individual within 24 hours. If the victim has tested positive for COVID – 19, they are alerted as well as other people who were around the original victim. A new app called Coronamap.site, which was created in partnership with the South Korean Government, details a minute by minute description of where the victim was preceding their positive test, a method called contact tracing. With South Korea’s effective system, they have been able to test between 12,000 and 15,000 citizens daily.
Italy, on the other hand, has the opposite system. Italy closed schools and businesses just like China, but people did not individually quarantine themselves and COVID – 19 spread. A possible explanation could be Italy’s aging population. Scientists have determined that the disease spreads more among older people because their immune systems naturally are weaker, and their lungs have accumulated more wear and tear than the younger generation. According to Wired, 23% of Italy’s population is over the age of 65. On a related note, 16% of the U.S population is over 65, making Americans particularly susceptible to the disease.
So far, America has made some progress in allocating government resources to defeat this COVID – 19. The government has taken steps to help the American people. President Trump, and his administration, have moved tax day back to July 15, made it easier for employers to give their employees paid sick leave (in case they have COVID – 19), made it easier for small businesses to get loans to minimize the effect of their loss of customers, made it easier for students to pay off their loans, and requested insurance companies to cover COVID – 19 testing for all Americans.
COVID – 19 has forced the world to unite in the act of keeping every person in the world safe. Someday, this disease will be overcome.