April 17, 2020


Coronavirus, Covid-19, Donald Trump, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Hydroxichloroquine, Pandemic, US Response

The United States of America and India have many things in common. One of them is the distribution of power between the government at the center and in respective states. The federal structure helps them address state and national levels issues in a democratic manner. However, such a structure also requires efficient coordination between the center and the state governments when faced with crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic.

With the number of Covid-19 cases crossing 600,000 mark in the US at the time of writing this blog, there has been severe criticism of the Trump administration for failing to tackle the pandemic effectively. However, in this blog, Student Cover focuses on those things that the United States, and more specifically, the Trump Administration is doing right in the war against the deadly disease.

1. Conducting tests on a mass scale

On 16th of March, 2020, the head of World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged the nations fighting Covid-19 to base their action plan on 3 basic principles. i.e. Testing, Isolation and Contact Tracing. Equating it with wildfire, he said that fighting this pandemic requires nations to take informed decisions which is only possible if they are aware of the scale of infections. Since then, United States has been carrying out tests at war footing. According to the available data, no other country has tested as many people as the US has done in last one and a half months. Statistics available from all over the world suggest that those countries which have conducted tests as mass level have been able to identify more number of people infected by Covid-19 virus thereby providing valuable information to trace, isolate and treat such patients before they spread the infection to others.

According to some estimates, the US has conducted Covid-19 test on more than 3 million people. And while critics may argue that these numbers are still very low and cover less than 9% of the population (US population: 320 million in 2019) it is still a significant number. With 9,260 tests per million, the rate of testing is quite impressive if one takes the scale and distribution of the population in that country.

2. Setting up coronavirus response team

Among the very first things that the Trump Administration did to tackle the pandemic was to set up a high powered task force under the leadership of Vice-President Mike Pence to find ways and means to fight the pandemic. This team, which includes experts from all fields including medicine, immunology etc. has been tasked with coordinating with all stakeholders and provide resources to address the crisis facing United States. The team also includes Dr. Anthony Fauci who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

3. Starting clinical trials without delay

There is no doubt that when it comes to healthcare infrastructure, the United States has the best healthcare infrastructure in the world. Its spending in medical research is also one of the highest in the world thereby making it the most preferred destination for treatment for all types of deadly diseases. From the very onset of the pandemic, United States and its healthcare industry has put its financial might behind its medical research fraternity. Moreover, considering the urgency, it has also overcome regulatory and bureaucratic inertia and has already started clinical trials on humans for possible anti-viral drugs and vaccines thereby increasing the possibility of achieving breakthrough much ahead of time.

4. Using past research to find solution for present problem

While clinical trials are going on, the United States has also been exploring ways to use empirical studies conducted in the past, to find ways to tackle the virus. Those who are criticizing President Donald Trump for suggesting doctors and hospitals to try anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine on Covid-19 patients ignore the fact that studies, however limited they may be, have shown that the said drug has been quite effective in treatment of the disease. However, since it is a prescription drug, people are advised to take it only after consulting a doctor or a certified medical practitioner.

5. Mitigating damage to economy

For last 50 years, the United States has been a driver of global consumption. That is why economists often say, ‘when US sneezes, the world catches cold.’ With a gross GDP of over 21 Trillion Dollars (nearly 10 times the GDP of India), United State is an undisputed economic superpower. Therefore, one of the biggest challenges facing Trump Administration was to find ways to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on US economy while keeping its citizens safe.

In this regard, he has done a fine job by delegating authority to governors and mayors of respective states and cities. This will help them address the problem depending on the nature of the problem facing their state as well as resources available for it. He on the other hand has given top priority to keep the US economy going by providing stimulus package for those affected by the pandemic. He has also invoked the Defence Production Act to rope in industries in the fight against Coronavirus. Major US companies have already been given orders worth millions of dollars to make ventilators for Covid-19 patients. There are talks of further stimulus package being offered by Federal Government for small businesses to mitigate the effect of the pandemic.

Let’s Wrap Up!

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Adversities, at times, bring the best in every man. Despite his shortcomings, US President Donald Trump has done a pretty good job so far in the fight against Coronavirus pandemic. As a leader of his country, he has taken advice of experts seriously and has made efforts to channelize all available resources so that the infection in controlled. Simultaneously, he has also tried to balance between public health and economy through delegation of authority and economic stimulus package. Only time will tell whether he succeeds or not. However, there is no doubt that he is making a serious and honest effort in that direction.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is based on personal research of the writer. Readers’ discretion is advised. Neither Student Cover nor the writer will be held responsible for any wrongful interpretation of the content of this blog.

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