Ed Yong’s excellent article in the Atlantic, “How the Pandemic Defeated America,” is a devastatingly honest account of why the United States has the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the world:
Despite its epochal effects, COVID‑19 is merely a harbinger of worse plagues to come. The U.S. cannot prepare for these inevitable crises if it returns to normal, as many of its people ache to do. Normal led to this. Normal was a world ever more prone to a pandemic but ever less ready for one. To avert another catastrophe, the U.S. needs to grapple with all the ways normal failed us. It needs a full accounting of every recent misstep and foundational sin, every unattended weakness and unheeded warning, every festering wound and reopened scar.
Yong details how the combination of an inept President, an inadequate health care system, decades of racist policies, and early reopenings as reasons for the widespread outbreak in the US. Even Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Deborah Brix admits that the virus is “extraordinarily widespread,” even into the rural and urban areas.
Eventually, COVID-19 will be manageable either through treatments or vaccines. We will be able to get close to one another, go out to places, and travel again. But as Yong shows in his article, it will take a very long time for the country to recover from the economic and social problems exposed and exacerbated by the pandemic.