100,000 US Deaths. Who’s To Blame?

coronavirus-300x214We have now passed a horrific milestone: 100,000 US deaths from COVID-19, and climbing. And there more than 350,000 worldwide deaths. The headline asks the question who’s to blame?

The simple answer: The Trump administration is not to blame for the COVID-19 crisis. It’s as foolish to blame the COVID-19 crisis on the Trump administration as it is saying Democrats wish a greater crisis and economic ruin to make the current administration look bad. As we all know, the COVID-19 crisis is a worldwide one. But its impact varies greatly by country, based on how they’ve handled it. The important question is this: How is the US faring? As importantly, how are we responding to a health issue that we did not cause?

That answer is simple: poorly.

The math is straightforward

1. The US population is roughly 330 Million, a little more than 4% of the world’s population

2. As of today, the US now has 100,000+ COVID-19 deaths. That’s 29% of worldwide deaths. Moreover, this percentage has increased from the low 20%s since early April. That means the US performance relative to other countries is getting worse, not better. Slowing death rates, while a positive sign, still means more deaths.

3. As a result, the US death rate is 7x+ more per capita than the worldwide “average”. We can not escape the fact that we are in the top tier of nations with the worst response.

4. Our late start, lack of preparation, lack of coordinated testing and contact tracing, lack of a coordinated national response, and poor leadership are the causes of our far greater than average death rate. The conclusion is that had we recognized the severity of the problem earlier; countless lives would not have been lost.

5. Said another way, if we had merely an “average” per capita death rate (and lord knows since we believe we are “great”, we would not be happy with average) US deaths would be about 15,000—or 4% of the COVID-19 worldwide deaths.

The data is straightforward. Results are what they are.

US is 4% of world’s population. US is 29% of world’s COVID-19 deaths.

If the US had 4% of the world’s deaths, there would have been about 15,000 US deaths–awful, but far less.

Therefore, our lack of preparation, and woeful, divisive leadership is to blame for 85,000 US deaths, which is the amount greater than average.

We have a health crisis which has caused an awful economic crisis. We are now experiencing the double whammy. The latter won’t go away until we solve the former. Aggressively “liberating” the population, (and who isn’t antsy 10 weeks later) with superficial concern for the health impact that liberation brings, will only exacerbate the health problem, and won’t solve the economic problem substantially. Until a vaccine is created, we need to keep the full brakes on social contact, require masks in public places, and provide every means to maintain personal safety for each of us. We need universal (and ongoing) testing to determine who is infected, and who importantly they may have infected. We need a coordinated federal response to the problem, with some regional variation, but surely not 50 different solutions. States may be opening, but every indication is that we are not nearly past the worst, and it may return. The half of the country that opened first, and are more aggressive in loosening requirements, are not seeing the reduction of cases and deaths that the more restrictive states are experiencing. On the other hand, while we can not remain in self-isolation, yet we need to go slooooooooowly and err on the side of caution. We all know it’s not over until a vaccine can be found.

Put on a mask, Mr. President, stop assessing blame and own our late start and our inconsistent messages. It’s time to show real leadership and model the kind of behavior we expect from our leader.

Is it in you? #November3

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