New York City is now officially a new epicenter of the pandemic, with 7,530 confirmed cases in the city as of this morning, a rapid rise from less than 800 cases of last week. At least 45 people have died. The city’s Mayor, Bill DeBlasio, said in a press conference yesterday, “I hate to say this, but it’s true: we are now the epicenter of this crisis.” FEMA has issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the city.
We now see what we’ve been suspecting: after Asia and Europe, the pandemic is now showing its ugly head in the U.S. And it will only get worse in the coming days. Especially because they are NOT PREPARED. They are no where near prepared for what is coming for them!
There are two main reasons for this:
- The US has lagged behind other advanced nations in testing for the coronavirus.
- The US government is still in denial about the severity of what is unfolding in front of them.
THE FAILED TEST KIT:
In January, shortly after China identifies the new coronavirus, WHO published a protocol with instructions for any country to manufacture tests. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) refused to use the protocol, and opted to develop its own test. On Feb 5, the CDC sent out its first test. On Feb 12, it recalled the test due to a defect. Then it was weeks before another test sent out.
Asked yesterday (Friday), whether the US can currently meet demand for tests, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, “We are not there yet.”
THE U.S. GOVERNMENT STILL IN DENIAL:
Yesterday, when asked by a reporter, “What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?” the US President said, “I say that you’re a terrible reporter. That’s what I say. I think it’s a very nasty question, and I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people. The American people are looking for answers and they’re looking for hope, and you’re doing sensationalism.”
Well, when you give people false hope, everybody will wake up in a worse than any nightmare situation.
Most of my family is currently in the US, and I’m worried!
* * *
The situation is less severe in Canada. We currently have 1,044 confirmed cases nationwide, and 13 died.
It seems our Public Health Agency is doing its job. A friend of mine, who works for Toronto Public Health, said that we’ve been actively screening travellers and monitoring self-quarantines since January.
Still, the public at large, including myself, has only started to take things seriously during this past week, when the situation in Europe worsened rapidly.
There are still those of us out there, who believe that this disease is “just a flu”, that it “will not kill young people”, that it is still “far away from here”! I know this, because I myself was thinking like that, not so many days ago! If you still carry these beliefs yourself, just go search for viral videos of a doctor in Bergamo, Italy, and a young patient in the UK, describing this disease, and you will change your mind. And the more important thing is you might survive it, but you might also give it to someone else who would not survive.
* * *
I’ve been closely watching 4 countries’ responses in the pandemic: Canada, US, Italy, and Vietnam, because I live in Canada, and used to live in the other 3 countries, and still have family and friends there. So far, one country stands out from the group with extraordinary results from their swift and effective response to the pandemic, and it is Vietnam.
Despite of the close proximity to China, Vietnam has been successful in keeping the spread contained, with a low number of confirmed cases, 94, as of today, of which 17 have recovered, and no death. Considering Vietnam population is 95.5 million, almost three times that of Canada, those are significantly low numbers! Its surrounding countries have not been as successful.
It’s very likely because of the close proximity to China that Vietnam has taken the pandemic seriously from the start! It’s closed its borders and schools since January, required everyone to wear masks in public to protect themselves and others, screened travellers, vigilantly monitored and quarantined those who have the virus, and then quickly tracked their contacts and quarantined them as well.
And though Vietnam has not applied a national lockdown (schools are closed, but people still go to work, restaurants and bars are still open), the number of cases has been successfully kept low. The majority of the confirmed cases are “imported cases”, and the rest are related to those. Vietnamese abroad are flying home because they feel it’s safer there, and the Vietnamese government has sent out flights for them. Vietnam has exported its successful test kits to twenty other countries.
It’s the proof that early actions at government levels are extremely important in the fight with this pandemic!
* * *
We don’t have time now!
We need both governments and the publics of the countries to take this pandemic seriously and immediately!
We’ve had a couple of months to get prepared, but we wasted them.
Slow response is costing ten thousands of lives.
We didn’t know. Now we do!
Any denial still happening at government levels now is a crime!
Mar 21, 2020