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Why Does America Have So Many More Covid Cases?

12:00 July 16, 2020
By: McKenna Smith

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread globally, it has become clear that some countries' approach to mitigating the transmission of the virus is vastly more effective than that of the United States.

As of today, the U.S. currently stands at well over 3 million confirmed cases, according to data provided by the CDC. That's the highest number of cases for any single country in the world.

According to a report by the Miami Herald, there are several ways in which the United States' response to COVID-19 facilitated its transmission. Namely, the fact that many Americans did not consider the virus a threat and the lack of initial response by national and local leaders.

"Some countries have been very aggressive and have actually done quite a good job," said Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. "Other countries have been quite lackadaisical and, I think, have suffered immensely from it."

Countries like New Zealand, which were quick to recognize the danger of the virus and implemented mandatory quarantines, as well as a national lockdown, saw a steep decrease in case numbers.

"[The U.S.'] response is much, much worse than almost any other country that's been affected, and I don't understand it," said Jha. As a return to normal looms ever-longer into the future for U.S. residents, some countries have made moves to completely reopen in the coming weeks.

Many have expressed that the response of President Donald Trump in early March severely impacted how the country reacted to the coronavirus threat. He tweeted a claim that compared COVID-19 to the seasonal flu and another that accused Democrats of inflating the situation.

Meanwhile, local and state leaders also fell behind the ball on implementing adequate social-distancing procedures as well as stay-at-home orders.

Additionally, access to testing when the virus was in its earliest stages in the U.S. was severely limited and is a major attributable factor when discussing how and why the U.S. case numbers have gotten to be so immense. In March, there was a time in which Vietnam had the capacity to test more residents that the U.S.

While things like population size and the methods by which countries record their COVID-19-related data do come into play in terms of case numbers, it is clear that the American response thus far has been inadequate to combat the global pandemic that is currently affecting so much of its citizenry.

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