A recent Associated Press article stated that the way the coronavirus pandemic has been handled in the United States has “astonished and alarmed” Europe. But is the media missing the bigger picture?
The world’s first modern-day global pandemic has disrupted the global economy and shown how unprepared scientists and governments were to handle a quick spreading disease on a global scale. In the beginning, attention was first paid to China, the epicenter, before turning to Italy where the disease quickly spread and seemed to wipe out entire villages. When it reached the United States, more specifically New York, the number of infections quickly increased and now the United States has the highest number of cases and deaths.
The Associated Press argues that the United States, instead of leading containment efforts, has seemingly become an example of what not to do.
It quotes Italian columnist Massimo Franco, who stated, “We Italians always saw America as a model. But with this virus we’ve discovered a country that is very fragile, with bad infrastructure and a public health system that is nonexistent.”
“I am very well aware that this infringes on individual freedoms, but I believe that this is a justifiable intervention,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn said about including the United States on an “at-risk” countries list.
While the U.S. may be leading in terms of reported cases and infections, these countries and the media are missing the bigger picture.
When it comes to comparing the number of deaths to the population, the European continent sits at the same .04% as the United States. The mortality rate is worse, with Europe’s sitting at 7% and the United States at just 3%.
Despite comments to the contrary, the European continent is not faultless in its own coronavirus response nor has it been a great example.
In terms of cases and deaths compared to the population, the United Kingdom has been one of the hardest-hit countries in the entire world. Currently, about 15% of the patients infected with the coronavirus have died. In Spain, the number is 9%. For the United States, that number sits at only 3%.
It also appears like new infections are spreading quickly within South and Central American countries, with Mexico having the world’s second-highest mortality rate at 11%. Brazil is currently behind the United States with 3,035,422 cases, with Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Chile rounding out the top 10 countries in terms of infection rate.
There are also other countries where the number of cases reported is suspect, including, most obviously, China then Iran, Turkey, Russia and other countries more interested in maintaining authoritarian control than reporting accurately to the rest of the world. Others, like India, would have a difficult if not impossible time trying to identify all suspected cases due to population and lack of infrastructure.
The coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented, and there have been a fair number of hiccups along the way, but the media’s coverage over the U.S.’s handling of COVID is somewhat unfair. The United States remains the world’s third most populous country. That it has the highest number of cases should be somewhat expected, not a shock.
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