The U.S. Response to COVID-19: Is it Reprehensible?

Coronavirus - San Mateo County Health
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By: Courtney Suber

It was said by many that 2020 would be the year for change, self-growth, and overall societal progression. This notion however was directly stumped by SARS-CoV-2 otherwise known as COVID-19, a deadly strand of flu that as of April 15th has killed thousands. So how did this happen? And why does it appear as if the US government cares more about the economy than people? The answer is simple: economic prosperity and a flourishing economy are the legs of American society.

As easy as it is to sit on the sidelines and yell at people to stay home this sudden pandemic has forced over 6 million Americans into unemployment, which is a 10% increase from numbers recorded in February. The pandemic has forced people out of their jobs and has forced them into state’s of insecurity and financial grief. This extreme decrease in American economic exchange is bound to create the inevitable; a recession. 

Despite this, if our economy is to reopen to the masses there will be an extreme second wave of COVID-19, and thousands or potentially millions of people could die.
It’s a game of two evils and a play on morality, a recession vs the spread of the deadly virus. When put into the limelight it’s been claimed that the U.S. should follow Asian lead, but we must remember that this is not Asia’s first rodeo. The SARS epidemic of 2002 spread through Asia preparing them for the face of crisis and in ordinary occurrences. The U.S. has not been directly affected by a pandemic this renowned since the Spanish Flu in 1918, making it so that crisis response is not as advanced or knowledgeable as Asian responses. It’s even presumed by professionals that China, the hub of the virus, could be lying about their numbers. That brings into the question, why do we blindly preach to Asian response if lies and deceit are behind the parent and they are much more knowledgeable than us?

This reasoning separates us from the U.S. vs Asian crisis response but forces us to address the question of morality. Should we save the economy while risking lives? Or should we wait on a recession that will force millions into further economic peril not yet caused by COVID-19? The US has issued stimulus checks and given unemployment payments until they reached the millions, but this does not guarantee the stop of a recession. The normal household simply cannot live on 1200$ a month. Going into a recession would arguably kill more than COVID has or will, and the want to protect the economy must be understood. The UN has warned of a ‘biblical famine’ as a result of the pandemic and job insecurity, which is projected to force millions of people below the poverty line. Internationally 4.93 million people have been confirmed to have the virus, 1.71 million have recovered, and 324k deaths have been caused. While economic downturn has not directly caused deaths within our country, food and job insecurity will become a direct cause, potentially taking more lives than COVID-19. To reopen the economy is to have in mind the well-being of the working class and to help them to put food on their tables. To keep it closed is to be complicit in potential deaths. 

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