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The United States’ Divided Response to COVID-19

Though united the states may be, divided they are on their response to a global crisis. COVID-19, so named because of its emergence in December 2019, is a rapidly developing phenomenon as the death toll rises and hospitals continue to be overwhelmed. Even though science has yet to provide us with more certain answers about the disease such as its origins, treatment, and lasting health effects, medical authorities have provided us with objective, observable facts about the nature of COVID-19 and its spread. Given this objective knowledge, the response should be seemingly self-explanatory in terms of practicing social distancing to minimize human contact. Yet, medical efforts have been sabotaged by political ones as conservative rhetoric increasingly minimizes the extent of the virus and deliberately spread misinformation in an effort to reopen the country. For people subscribing to this politically-driven rhetoric, the need to revive the nation’s economy is becoming more urgent over the need to ensure public health. The people in primarily conservative states protest what they perceive to be government overreach, but ironically they are rallying against restrictions established to protect them. The urgency to get the nation’s economy back up and running in the midst of a public health crisis is reflective of a U.S. image that hasn’t changed much: at the end of the day, the dollar is chosen over human lives.

Frustration about the indefinite length of this pandemic and the economic fallout is understandable. And misinformation that is almost as rampant as the spread of the disease itself is not new. However, acting on this misinformation now has literal life and death consequences as COVID-19 is both more contagious and more fatal than the flu. Taking lupus medication and medical-grade masks on baseless facts are taking resources away from those who really need it, and going outside is needlessly continuing to put others at risk. The response from the government should be clear and unified in its approach to combatting COVID-19. Instead, inconsistent enforcement from the nation’s political leaders is posing a challenging threat to the progress made so far by the nation’s medical ones. Doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals are working their hardest already on the frontlines fighting COVID-19. They can’t be tasked with battling the virus and misinformed people. For all the battles the United States has fought and won, its

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