The world we are living in now is profoundly different from the one we were in two months ago. Throughout the winter, the “coronavirus” was an abstraction for many at Loomis\; reading the news doesn’t usually take priority over the night’s physics homework, and another version of the flu wouldn’t be anything our young immune systems couldn’t handle. Coronavirus was a distant idea for much of the United States until March. It was free from the minds of all but the most pessimistic among us. Sure, it was an epidemic, but definitely not something that could reach and diffuse through our country’s soil so thoroughly in a few short weeks.
But now in mid-April the U.S. has been hit harder than any other country, with thousands dying each day and all of our lives on hold. The virus went from one or two cases scattered around different states to dystopian proportions in a span of just a few weeks, begging the question: why were we hit so hard? Well, the American government’s response to the virus has been a lackluster affair: testing, quarantines, and guidance slowly jolting into effect with daily contradictions and failings.
It is difficult to look at the federal government’s response to the Coronavirus without examining the response of the president himself. Our commander-in-chief should in this time be a solid figurehead, a calm and stoic captain channeling us through a disaster the likes of which haven’t been seen in a century, but, alas, President Trump has been anything but.
Where did our notion of immunity from the virus derive from but, in part, the White House? In the first and second month of this year, the danger of the virus was downplayed with a series of presidential denials. This lack of recognition led to not only a false sense of security for Americans, but also the disjointed prevention and underwhelming response to the virus’ arrival.
The lack of available testing, the indecision about the necessity of masks, and the bizarre European travel ban have also led to a general lack of faith in the government, as Americans are left worrying about how we will continue to fight this disease. The uncertainty of our future is another result of the government’s scattered response: President Trump’s promise of churches opening for Easter was never realized, and his constant claims about the country’s reopening being two weeks away continues to dangle in front of our eyes\; however, the end mirroring our advance with its retreat has exasperated the country immensely.
The handling of the crisis is especially disappointing when compared to the swift actions taken by South Korea — a country that seemed to have been in a similar position during early stages of the outbreak but now has a fraction of the United State’s death and infection rates per capita. South Korea was able to stave off the level of infection with early and widespread usage of testing and quarantines, a response sorely lacking from our country.
As we near two months away from Loomis, the coming days are beginning to look more and more bleak. As Americans face an uncertain future, all we can do to protect ourselves is sit inside and wait.