COVID-19: The Pandemic of 2020

COVID-19: The Pandemic of 2020

Miles Gorman, Writer

Across the nation and around the globe, we’re seeing different governments react to the COVID-19 pandemic in their own ways. Governments such as South Korea have been aggressively testing, tracking, and treating, while others have been attempting to cover up their cases, which has resulted in widespread outbreaks. But maybe no government’s response has been as interesting as that of the United States. The private sector around the world also has had a highly varying reaction to the pandemic. Many companies have stepped up and donated massive amounts of money and services, while some areas such as Big Pharma have jacked up prices in an attempt to profit off of the pandemic. The responses of President Trump, scientists such as Dr. Fauci, and the private sector vary greatly, but how exactly has each group reacted?

President Trump’s angle on the Coronavirus has fluctuated a lot through the past few months. Social media is aflame with instances of the President making suggestions unbacked by science such as drinking disinfectants such as Clorox to kill the coronavirus (which was apparently made in jest) and using hydroxychloroquine (an unproven malaria drug) as a cure for COVID-19. The President has even announced he has been taking the unproven and deadly drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventative from the virus, against the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendations. The President has also stated incorrect statistics such as that the U.S. has tested more people than any other county. In reality, the United States has tested less than a fourth of the amount South Korea has. He has also stated that the Coronavirus will definitely “go away” without a vaccine. President Trump has also shown more interest in the economy than the American people. The 2-trillion-dollar stimulus bill introduced on March 27 has failed to deliver relief to many Americans including those with undocumented status, the homeless, or others who do not fit the requirements of the bill but still need monetary relief to simply be able to buy food or pay rent. In addition, he has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the pandemic, with statements like “I really don’t think we need that many tests,” and “It’s just a flu.” Statements like this have real-world effects because they make it harder for medical heroes to get PPE (personal protection equipment) and reduces funding to agencies fighting the pandemic. The worst mistake by far is the blatant disregarding of scientists. Scientists such as Dr. Fauci have even had to step up to the microphone after Trump at press conferences and explain his falsehoods. This has had detrimental effects across the board.

Another group part of responding to the coronavirus is the scientific community. Scientists like Dr. Fauci have been very busy fighting misinformation. Online forums like Twitter and Instagram have made it easy for misconceptions to run rampant. Making sure people are listening to the advice of scientists and not politicians is important. The scientific community has responded to the coronavirus mainly by releasing reliable information and working on treatments. These two duties are absolutely crucial during this time because if one myth becomes widespread, it has repercussions across the board. For instance, if someone says that coronavirus lasts for an entire week on a surface (a falsehood), and it goes unchallenged, then funds that could be put to work far more effectively elsewhere could be moved to cleaning public surfaces more. In addition, the spreader of the myth will be credited, and consequently will gain credibility, and have the ability to spread more myths. Treatments for the virus are just as important. If an effective COVID-19 drug is produced, the pandemic could more quickly. The research these scientists are conducting could save millions of lives. We need to respect these scientists’ work if we want to beat this pandemic. 

The private sector, which is the term used to describe any non-government company, has what is perhaps the most varied reaction to the pandemic anywhere in the world. A wide range of responses has been seen, including massive donations and price-gouging, sometimes by the same companies. Big Pharma has increased prices dramatically. For perspective, buying surgical masks in bulk used to cost $0.18 per mask. Now they cost $3 each! Price gouging isn’t limited to masks: all sorts of products like hand sanitizer and face shields have increased in price by at least 100%, which is a statistic never seen before by any country that wasn’t caused by a currency crisis. Companies like Novartis, a pharmaceutical mega-conglomerate which produces hydroxychloroquine, have begun producing items such as these on an unprecedented scale (and raising prices to match). However, we’re also seeing unprecedented philanthropy. Companies are donating on a huge scale. From flat-out money, to Dave Matthews charity online concerts, to PPE from the set of Modern Family, there are many companies are stepping up to help. All in all, this pandemic has brought out the best and worst of America’s companies.

This pandemic has shown the core values of our politicians, people, and companies. In this crisis, we have seen an outpouring of love and kindness from everybody. The staff of The Falcon Press commend our amazing healthcare workers for their brave and heroic work against the outbreak!