It’s a study in contrasts.
When they finally realized what the coronavirus was capable of, China stepped up. Yeah, the Wuhan and local government messed up pretty bad in the beginning. But I hope history will judge them less harshly after we've seen countless other local governments drop the ball themselves. One just doesn't conduct one's governance expecting that a once-a-century plague is imminent. And that, honestly, is understandable.
But once the Chinese central government took over from the local yokels, they took some pretty drastic measures almost immediately - like locking down almost 500 million people in megacities close to the virus epicenter, instituting temperature checks everywhere, enabling financial support from the central bank, and daily communication of statistics and health tips to citizens.
Meanwhile, the United States government sat around in shock, pointing fingers at what was going on in China and hoping that the soft border closing - Have you been to Hubei Province in the past 14 days? No, well come on in! - would somehow insulate them from the spread of the most contagious virus in recent memory.
No US government - not at the local, state or federal level - adequately prepared their emergency first responders. Nor did they purchase a surplus of supplies they would most likely need. Nor did they did pass any emergency funding measures in a timely manner. Now This Weekend in America is like a certain movie that has all of a sudden become a harbinger:
None of these incredibly reasonable actions were taken, despite the maxim that everyone knows:
Hope for the best; prepare for the worst.
Instead, the US government - at all levels - appears to have been completely preoccupied with the 2020 election cycle. For much of February, the virus was barely mentioned in policy debates. The thinking, I guess, was that as long as the stock markets were up, the US was invincible. As if somehow unrealized gains can insulate you from infection! 😂
But now that we are facing a virus-induced Recession with a capital R and the Dow Jones is down almost 4,000 points in a single week, NOW all of a sudden the government is scrambling!
C’mon! You guys had 5 weeks to prepare for this! To have only 200 test kits in California, one of the top destinations for Wuhan evacuees in Dec-Jan, is just completely irresponsible. To not have properly trained fire departments the protocol for dealing with infected medical facilities, as what happened in Washington, is a complete disgrace. To only be testing people for the COVID-19 strain if they meet a laundry list of requirements despite showing every symptom is absolutely preposterous.
I could go on...
But to the US government - Republicans, Democrats & Independents alike, there's plenty of blame to go around! - I have one thing to say.
Step up your game!