Atlantic: ‘The U.S. May End Up With the Worst Outbreak in the Industrialized World’
The Atlantic has one of the most sobering articles you will read in some time, setting forth without any soft-edges exactly what the United States did wrong, and what might lie ahead. Two failures dominate the article, the lack of an epidemic response team or scientific team as part of the national security council, and the fact that no prior model or war game for a pandemic ever considered the possibility that the United States would lag behind the world in the ability to test for the disease.
Left unsaid but lingering throughout the article is that we’re led by an utter incompetent who is doing more harm than good, which isn’t hyperbole.
The United States is facing a scenario where it is the worst prepared and will be the hardest hit nation in the industrialized world.
Rudderless, blindsided, lethargic, and uncoordinated, America has mishandled the COVID-19 crisis to a substantially worse degree than what every health expert I’ve spoken with had feared. “Much worse,” said Ron Klain, who coordinated the U.S. response to the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014. “Beyond any expectations we had,” said Lauren Sauer, who works on disaster preparedness at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “As an American, I’m horrified,” said Seth Berkley, who heads Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “The U.S. may end up with the worst outbreak in the industrialized world.”
Yes, this is a virus – a part of nature, and just like hurricanes, it is impossible to hold back certain disastrous elements. But similar to hurricanes, you can replace supplies, you can have personnel at the ready, and you can even predict with reasonable ability when it will hit. The United States did none of the above.
Now prepare to be shocked, because our lack of testing has us flying so blind that it’s very possible that we STILL have no idea how bad this disease is going to be on our system.
As of last weekend, the nation had 17,000 confirmed cases, but the actual number was probably somewhere between 60,000 and 245,000. Numbers are now starting to rise exponentially: As of Wednesday morning, the official case count was 54,000, and the actual case count is unknown. Health-care workers are already seeing worrying signs: dwindling equipment, growing numbers of patients, and doctors and nurses who are themselves becoming infected.
The actual number of positives could be over 10 times the official number, and those cases won’t be hitting the ICUs for weeks.
The article states that with resources so disparate, some places having more than enough supplies some places with doctors using bandanas, the nation needs to utilize something that I have been discussing for three weeks – the people who are best at moving stuff around fast:
The solution, he says, is to tag in the Defense Logistics Agency—a 26,000-person group that prepares the U.S. military for overseas operations and that has assisted in past public-health crises, including the 2014 Ebola outbreak.
Trump keeps saying we’re in a war. Well, let’s use the people most ably trained and dedicated to protecting the nation! Who says that the military can only help in situations where someone is shooting at someone? We need a unit of people that can – within a week – have a system running out of Omaha or some other centralized location, collecting and distributing supplies all over to where the situation is most dire. We have a $1 trillion a year defense industry in place – use it!
We will not be through this until a vaccine is developed, however, we’re a long way from that:
The initial trial will simply tell researchers if the vaccine seems safe, and if it can actually mobilize the immune system. Researchers will then need to check that it actually prevents infection from SARS-CoV-2. They’ll need to do animal tests and large-scale trials to ensure that the vaccine doesn’t cause severe side effects. They’ll need to work out what dose is required, how many shots people need, if the vaccine works in elderly people, and if it requires other chemicals to boost its effectiveness.
And then even if it all works, they don’t have a means to make it on a national scale, or world-scale – not quickly, because this is a Covid virus, not a flu virus. If it were a flu virus, labs all over could be making the stuff, fast. Not this one – though we need to be preparing now to ramp-up capacity.
The article is very much worth reading, to truly prepare yourself. Having just come out yesterday, it is the most up to date, and most realistic assessment of where we’re heading, and it’s not comforting.
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