Caitlin Hernandez/Courier An illustration depicting the high-cost outcome of getting the tests for COVID-19.
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The U.S. government’s response to COVID-19 has been downright abysmal. Over this past week, Trump has tried to rewrite his initial handling of the pandemic, but the reality is that the president was slow in his response, and his administration is still not doing enough. While other countries like South Korea and China are making testing easily accessible, most of those in the U.S. are still going undiagnosed.

The country’s entire handling of this outbreak has been agonizingly slow in comparison to others. Since Feb., South Korea has tested over 300,000 people out of a population of five million, while the U.S. has conducted approximately 246,330 tests out of a population of 330 million. 

Two of the nation’s largest cities, Los Angeles and New York City, are already shifting away from testing. The Los Angeles Department of Health instructed doctors to not test patients with symptoms of the virus unless, “a diagnostic result will change clinical management or inform public health response.” On the same day, the New York City Department of Health directed healthcare facilities to stop testing non-hospitalized patients. 

Not testing those with symptoms will actively hurt chances of containing the outbreak. Every country that’s had success with curbing the spread of COVID-19 has put in place rigorous testing. This helps them know who has been infected, and from there officials can work on contacting and quarantining those who have been in contact with the virus.

We have also been seeing a disparity in who is being tested. Every day more celebrities announce they have been tested for the virus, and yet normal residents suffering symptoms are finding it near impossible to get tested. In early Mar., the state of Oklahoma, who at that point had a daily testing capacity of 100, used 58 of its tests just on members and employees of the Utah Jazz. Heidi Klum and Kris Jenner have both announced that they tested negative for the virus, and it begs the question of why they can get tested and why people with less status and money can not.

The U.S. government’s insistence on being independent has greatly hindered the ability for other countries to assist us in treatment. Cuba and China have been working together to fight the pandemic, with both countries seeing success in their treatment. Jack Ma, the richest man in China, donated 500,000 tests and 1 million face masks to the US, all while Trump continues to call COVID-19 the “China Virus.” 

There’s an unsurprising lack of seriousness being taken in Trump’s response to this outbreak, and it will cause the death of many citizens in the US. The country’s devastatingly slow turning out of tests will likely prove disastrous within the coming weeks. It seems unreal that an administration could be so dismissive of medical facts and suggestions understood by the entire world, but it’s something that U.S. citizens have gotten used to. It’s just unfortunate that these familiar failures will spell out the demise of thousands.

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