The Coronavirus Shows how Backward the United States has BecomeBreaking News
tags: conservatism, national emergency, coronavirus
Ever since John Winthrop boasted in 1630 that the Massachusetts Bay Colony would be “a city upon a hill,” Americans have believed that we have a mission to lead the world, whether by the power of example or by sheer power. That self-confidence has been bolstered by a century of achievements: We saved Western civilization from German and Soviet militarism, built the most prosperous society in history, and landed a man on the moon.
Our self-confidence, verging on hubris, should be shaken by the coronavirus. The United States has been a laggard, not a world leader, in confronting the pandemic. As The Post reported, a German company shipped more than 1.4 million diagnostic tests for the World Health Organization by the end of February. During that same time, U.S. efforts to produce our own test misfired. By Feb. 28, only 4,000 tests from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been used. U.S. testing is now ramping up, but as of Tuesday we had only tested roughly 56,000 people, or 1 in 5,800 Americans. South Korea has tested 274,000 people, or 1 in 187 South Koreans. “Losing two months is close to disastrous, and that’s what we did,” Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told Bloomberg.
We should not be especially surprised by our failure at pandemic-fighting, because if we are being honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that the United States has long been failing. We remain one of the richest countries in the world, but by international standards we look more like a Third World nation.
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