So many things to say about this. I won’t get to them all, and will probably end up adding to or rewriting many parts of this post.
First, please go read this article. It tells the story of how Hong Kong has survived COVID-19. When the article was published, March 15, a city with 7.5 million people had fewer than 150 cases and four deaths. That’s 0.00002% of the population that became infected. I can’t even do the math for the death percentage.
US Infections and Deaths
New York State has an estimated 19,453,561 people. As of May 09, 2020:
- 343,409 cases of COVID-19. (0.0176%)
- 26,771 deaths from COVID-19. (0.0013%)
The United States has an estimated 328,239,523 people. As of May 09, 2020:
- 1,347,309 cases of COVID-19. (0.0041%)
- 80,037 deaths from COVID-19. (Can’t calculate.)
So how did Hong Kong fare so much better than the United States? Quite simple, really. They took action and did what was necessary to prevent the spread. Virtually every building you went into your temperature was taken. It was considered impolite NOT to wear a mask.
It wasn’t just big events that were canceled. Small things changed too. Elevator buttons were covered in plastic and more frequently sanitized. Shop owners diligently scrubbed the handles of their entrances. Friends canceled dinners and parties. Restaurants and coffee shops were emptier, and some of them closed for good. “No fun stuff in Hong Kong anymore” was the refrain in my group chats.Rosalind Adams, BuzzFeed investigative reporter.
There were 58,318 US Armed Forces deaths in the Vietnam war, over the entire length of the United States’ involvement. As best I can determine this was at least 10 years.
The US Response
How did the United States manage to bungle the response to this pandemic? Well, let’s start with some words from John Oliver.
Testing, Testing, Testing. That’s right, the majority of this comes down to the fact that the United States can’t get it’s shit together on testing. As you will see in the clip, a good target for testing at a level that would contain and control COVID-19 is 500,000 to 35 million tests. Per Day. As of May 03, the United States was averaging close to 200,000k per day.
We are no where close to managing this pandemic. Yet many states are starting to open up with many businesses re-opening. Some, like Costco, now require you to wear a mask when you to to the store. More about opening up below.
Failure of American Public
The American public shares a large amount of blame for how this played out in America. Many people refuse to wear a mask because they say it infringes on their rights. Some business owners refuse to comply with State orders to close businesses to help contain the spread. One case out of Dallas, Texas, gained national attention when a salon owner ignored local and State orders to close down. When a local judge sent her to jail, the Texas Speaker of the House and Texas Governor got involved. It lead to this commentary from Dale Hansen.
Let’s go back to my comment about many in America refusing to wear a mask, which is part of a larger problem. It would seem that a certain segment of Americans think that all of this isn’t a Pandemic, but more of a Plandemic, meaning this was planned. There are even people who think that COVID-19 is a result of 5G networks. People are using any excuse they can to continue their normal lives.
Except, life isn’t normal right now. We are battling a virus that spreads very easily, leaves a not insignificant number of victims in the hospital overwhelming resources. In the US, 243 per 1 million people are dying from this. 4081 per 1 million are becoming infected. 10 States and the District of Columbia have a higher death per million than the US average.
It’s About The Money
Dale said it best.
If people die at least the Dow Jones goes up.YouTube Video at 1:56.
So much of the US response to this has been about money. There is a great deal of worry that this will cost the Republicans reelection in the Fall. And while one could reasonable argue that the Pandemic shouldn’t be held against the current administration, the absolute lack of a response can be.
So much of the response has been to ignore it, and hope the virus goes away. The current administration didn’t want anything to affect the market, as they were planning on riding that to reelection. When the economy is doing good, the current President tends to get re-elected.
As mentioned above, many States are reopening their economies with seemingly no concern about the lack of testing. Texas, for example, has checklists that businesses are required to follow when they reopen, or are allowed to reopen. The response of Texas businesses has been somewhat, uh, weak. How do we know?
Mark Cuban hired a team of secret shoppers to find out how businesses were doing. I don’t know which is more startling. The compliance rates being in the crapper, or the responses people post in the blog about how Mark is some sort of snitch. These are American’s who DO NOT CARE about the health and safety of others, and presumably themselves. They are more concerned about what they can do on their free time, to really care about others.
This is the type of attitude that is going to leave many Americans dead, and a country scarred for a long, long time. Business owners care more about the money than they do health. They are pushing hard for legislation to protect them from COVID-19 related lawsuits. Lawmakers say masks are recommended, but won’t wear one themselves. Small and some large businesses are skimping on protections.
Don’t believe me?
Go take a look at the numbers for Texas. While I agree with the argument that there will continue to be a rise in cases due to increased testing, the number of deaths is still going up. Yet the State has decided that it’s okay to reopen and allow more people to get sick.
Where Are We Going?
This is what I said on Twitter back on May 6, 2020.
At the time I wrote this paragraph, we are at 22.17% of my projected death toll come October.
I hope I’m wrong, and the number is lower than what I predicted. However, after watching the news and events of the past few days, I’m starting to think it will be much, much higher.