Is the government doing enough?


People have been quick to blame the government for the worsening outbreak of coronavirus, instead of accepting some responsibility themselves. Illustration by Nora Talbott.

The U.S. has officially surpassed the rest of the world with the highest death count from the coronavirus- 36,000. And that’s just the reported amount. Many officials and doctors are warning that the actual number of fatal coronavirus cases could be much higher. China, India and South Korea have all flattened the curve. Meanwhile, we might’ve not even reached the peak yet here in the states. So why? Where did we go wrong?

The U.S. government had been warned since early January that the Coronavirus could spread to our country. They were given plenty of time to prepare for the effect it could have on the American people, but instead of planning for the worst, they ignored the warnings and underestimated the disease’s potential for devastating harm. In late February, President Trump tweeted that he had the situation “very much under control in the USA” and that he thought the stock market was “looking very good to me”. Then, the next day, Trump’s top economic advisor told CNBC that the coronavirus outbreak was unlikely to drastically worsen the economy. Several days later a whistleblower claimed that more than a dozen American workers without the adequate and necessary gear and training were sent to China. In early March, Trump said that he “wouldn’t generally be inclined” to cancel large social gatherings. Even after signing a funding bill and closing the borders to international travel, and even after reports of an ever-increasing curve of coronavirus cases in the U.S. was reported by major health organizations, he still seems to take the disease as a less serious threat than it really is.

The government isn’t the only one not taking the coronavirus seriously. Schools in Maryland closed in mid-March. Yet, children still went to hang out at playgrounds, where they would play on the same equipment as each other and not follow social distancing rules. So, then the state closed all the playgrounds. Adults go to the grocery store wearing masks, but then also break social distancing rules, as if wearing a piece of cloth on their face will just protect them from any chance of getting infected or infecting someone else. Some daycares remained open, so children ran around and played together, and then went home to their parents, some of whom might have still been working outside the house.

Yes, it’s the government’s job to protect us, but it’s also our job to use common sense and act responsibly. Regulations can only do so much. If we don’t self-quarantine, continually wash our hands and skip large gatherings, then the curve will just keep going up, rather than going flat.

No, the government has not done enough to protect us from Coronavirus’s toll. Perhaps if the president and his administration had done more to stock up on medical resources and supplies, put regulations in place earlier and just overall taken the disease more seriously, then we wouldn’t be where we are now, both socially and economically. Perhaps if Trump had decided to listen to the professionals, like Fauci, rather than ignoring their warnings and ideas like he usually does, then we would’ve been more prepared to take on the Coronavirus. Just the fact that test kits for the coronavirus are so hard to obtain is really a disaster in itself.

However, we, the public, need to take some responsibility for the curve as well. We were well aware of the risk every single time we went to a restaurant, store or large social gathering in the past few months. If we had simply made the decision to cancel or skip the birthday dinner or office party, perhaps not as many people would have gotten infected. Putting all the blame on the government is unfair and wrong. Because, even though the GOP didn’t take the necessary actions, that doesn’t mean that we couldn’t have.