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Serious mistakes in the U.S. virus response

New York (Associated Press)-A president downplayed the threat of the coronavirus, wore masks contemptuously, and weakened scientists at all times. A governor who resists or revokes containment measures under strong public opposition. Use federal COVID-19 assistance to fill budget gaps instead of strengthening testing and contact tracking state legislators.

With a powerful new wave of infection sweeping the United States, the upcoming election day, the United States’ handling of this eight-month-old crisis is a sign that health experts believe that serious mistakes, a waste of time and leaders at all levels waste opportunities. .

The result: The country may be experiencing a terrible winter.

Dr. Irwin Redlener of Columbia University’s National Disaster Preparedness Center said: “The inconsistency in response is very frustrating.” “If we are just constrained and must actively adopt all these public health methods as early as possible, then we Will not be in the current situation.”


Although Redlener believes that certain new trends are inevitable, he estimates that if the country uses masks and social distancing more widely, at least 130,000 of the country’s 227,000 deaths can be avoided.

Redlerner said that even if a Chinese-style lockdown is impossible, a more moderate method like Canada would strongly warn people to pay attention to reopening, and to wear masks and alienation masks widely, which will save the lives of the entire state. And a broad partisan attitude.

There is now a surge in cases in the United States, especially in the Midwest and the Plains, where the country’s new infections last week hit a record high of nearly 500,000.

The nation’s largest infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, also pointed out that states have reacted differently to the increasing number of cases in reopening.

Fauci said on Wednesday’s online forum: “It’s like it’s free.”

In the competition between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, handling crises has become a central issue. Trump mocked Biden for wearing a mask and repeatedly assured the country that the epidemic is “turning from danger to peace.” Biden criticized the president for downplaying the virus and destroying scientists.

The governors of many hardest-hit states have been under tremendous political pressure, which makes it difficult to take measures like what public health officials say to stop the spread of the virus and overwhelm hospitals.

In the early days of the outbreak, the governor was almost universal in enacting aggressive restrictive measures to flatten the curve. However, they soon met with strong opposition from the residents, who were sick of the economic collapse and the violation of their constitutional freedom.

At the same time, many states are snapping up millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug touted by Trump, but was later abandoned by the Food and Drug Administration as a COVID-19 treatment. Utah alone spent $800,000 to build a reserve of this drug.

States have also begun to receive large amounts of federal funding from the CARES Act, partly to help local governments respond to COVID-19. But many states have been criticized for spending money on efforts that have nothing to do with public health. For example, North Dakota has spent $16 million to support hydraulic fracturing, which has become one of the most serious hot spots for the virus. Iowa has spent millions of dollars on state government information technology projects.

In Utah, state epidemiologist Angela Dunn called for reinstatement of restrictions in June so that hospitals would not overwhelm everything, and warned: “This may be our last chance for route correction.” Republican governor Gary Herbert did not heed this advice and refused to impose a statewide mask requirement.

Utah hospitals are still open, most high school students attend classes in person, while football and other sports activities continue, Utah hospitals are now treating more COVID-19 patients than ever before.

Dr. Andrew Pavia, Head of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Department of Health, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, said: “This response to the third wave is really half-hearted.” “Everything in the healthcare field from ED technology to ICU doc Individuals are working hard: “Come on, people, help us here.” Frustration, fatigue, disappointment are really obvious.”

In neighboring Idaho, Republican Governor Brad Little also boycotted the request for masks, even if the hospital was in crisis, he had to airlift patients to Seattle and other places.

Since Little added small restrictions such as crowd restrictions this week, his lieutenant governor and some Republican lawmakers posted a video condemning this practice as unconstitutional.

Dr. Howard Markle, a public health historian at the University of Michigan, said: “This epidemic is more politicized than any epidemic I have experienced, studied or studied. This is a lot of epidemics.”

Although part of the blame is attributed to local leaders and their supporters, Markle said that a large part of it belongs to Trump and other government officials, who do not support the governor’s stricter measures to weaken and insult infectious disease experts, and refuse to wear Masks. .

He said: “Whether you realize it or not, this sets an example.”

Redlerer also questioned Trump’s “do not understand how many people followed his advice” and said the president “has blood on his hands.”

The cool weather drives more people indoors to spread the virus more easily indoors, and now it has entered a new dangerous stage due to fatigue and anger over virus restrictions.

Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease and pandemic prevention expert at the University of Minnesota, said: “Put these three factors together, we should not be surprised.”

In Europe, some of the same factors are at play, and Europe is also proliferating.

Dr. Eric Caumes, head of infectious and tropical diseases at Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris, told broadcaster Franceinfo: “We have lost control of this epidemic.” Although the infection rate in France rose during the summer, The government has not imposed other restrictions to encourage people to return to work and study.

Italy used to be the epicenter of the European pandemic, and protests against the new restrictions have been going on for several days. The new restrictions forced bars and restaurants to close at 6 pm, shut down theaters, gyms and swimming pools, and required high school students to transition to 75% of the distance to study .

Italy has an average of more than 20,000 cases per day, and the COVID-19 ward of the hospital is also full.

In Rome’s Guimel Hospital, there are almost no beds in the intensive care unit, and Andrea Crisanti, one of the country’s leading virologists, encouraged the government’s response to this surge. . He said he submitted a proposal on August 20 for an accelerated test, but never received a response.

“Three months later, they passed the new law,” he wrote in an article published by the Lettera 150 online think tank. “They continue to make mistakes and don’t ask themselves what they are doing. Once they gradually adopt more restrictive measures to reduce the level of infectious diseases, they will keep infectious diseases at a low level.

In the UK, the government tried to strike a balance between saving lives and protecting the economy—and was widely accused of making mistakes in both areas. The UK has the highest number of coronavirus deaths in Europe, with more than 45,000 deaths, and one of the worst economic recessions.

After locking down the country in March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson relaxed the restrictions in June. By August, the government encouraged people to return to restaurants through a “dining out” discount program.

When the new craze came, the government again took repressive measures.


Cedensky reports from Philadelphia. Sophia Eppolito and Brady McCombs of Salt Lake City contributed to this report; Nicole Winfield, Rome; Jill Lawless in London; and Raf Casert in Brussels, Belgium.

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