Americans are paying a high price for the pandemic. More than half a million people have died from Covid-19 in the United States since its first death, known on February 29, 2020, in the Seattle area. A number of victims never seen in the country.
“More Americans have died in this pandemic than in World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined,” President Joe Biden said in a speech Monday. A figure that makes the United States the country most affected by the pandemic in the world.
How to explain? Why is the main world power so affected? What first lessons do US specialists draw from this pandemic year? For Dr. Joseph Masci, one of the staff at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, the pandemic of COVID-19 presented an element of surprise. Before their emergence in late 2019, Americans were watching coronaviruses “from afar,” he says, “and there, suddenly, the United States found itself at the epicenter of the problem.”
But the “confused” response from the Trump administration has not helped. “In a country like ours, with 50 states, an immense surface, a network of mainly private hospitals, it was going to be difficult to bring everyone together around the same strategies.” “The fact that hospitals were competing for protective equipment made no sense. It should have been centralized very quickly, and it wasn’t,” he says.
The mask, a political question
One of the mistakes was letting the use of a mask become “a political issue,” he believes. Michele Halpern, an infectious disease specialist at a suburban New York hospital. “It’s not difficult to wear a mask, you get used to it. But you have to make people understand that it is important,” he said. With his reversals, his skepticism shown about the virus and the barrier gestures, the management of Donald trump it will have been chaotic.
The epidemic has also exposed inequalities in the United States. regarding health, especially in housing, which mainly affects black or Hispanic minorities, emphasizes Dr. Masci, who assures that the promiscuity generated by housing that is too small makes it difficult to respect the gestures of the barrier.
Therefore, many factors have favored the spread of the virus within the main world power. Yet a number of indicators, notably the pace of vaccines, now offer real glimpses of hope to the American population.